Five Stars for The Soldier’s Secret!

PROMO_WITH ENDORSEMENT-page-001A shiny five star badge from Readers’ Favorite for my latest novel! This is such an honor for me because I feel I put so much of my own blood, sweat, and tears into this novel.

This is the review:
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite

When her father is severely injured at the family store and Emma discovers that her younger brother has left home to join the Confederate Army, she realizes the only way to get answers about Harrison and her older brother, Will, is to join the army herself. The Soldier’s Secret is really a big one – Emma Mansfield becomes Emmett Hawkins and fights alongside the men of the Union Army in the Civil War. Heather Osborne relates the horrors of the bloodiest war on American soil and the pressures families faced, given the shortage of news regarding loved ones. Emma is fortunate enough to find both brothers as well as her fiance, Colin, who joined the Union forces as a doctor. Together, Emma and Colin escape the front lines in Virginia and the unreasonable attention from an unscrupulous officer who takes this desertion particularly personally. Hiding along the way home to Rochester, NY, Emma and Colin meet some wonderful people who are willing to help. What cost will this have on everyone involved as Timmons pursues the pair?

The Soldier’s Secret by Heather Osborne is a well-told tale of devotion, courage and daring during the course of the American Civil War. The writing is lively and realistic to the time period and the characters bring the action to life – from the drawing room of a wealthy family of the North to the blood and mayhem of the battlefield. Beyond the sorrow and devastation, though, the book clearly demonstrates the importance of family and the lengths to which some people would go to protect their loved ones. Hope keeps everyone grounded as they all wait for the action to play out and for the family to be reunited once more. This is a great story!

The book is available on all Amazon marketplaces and soon will be available in paperback! 🙂

Featured Author: V.M Sawh

Another unexpected Readers’ Favorite discovery! I love fairy tales rewritten with a twist and V.M. Sawh’s series, “Good Tales for Bad Dreams,” certainly met that criteria! I was lucky enough to have Sawh respond to my request for an interview, after I read and reviewed the two stories in this series, “Cinders” and “Hontas.”

Cinders small coverI loved both short stories, but felt “Cinders,” although Anastasia cover smallvery dark, was lacking in the area of character development. I was happy when Sawh provided me with a free link to the prequel, “Anastasia” and told me “Cinders” had a word limit. I can more than understand this because “Crushed Gardenias” had a word limit and people were disappointed when it ended. I look forward to reading this one as well.

Anyways, on with the questions!


What made you want to become an author?

I have been writing from a very young age and I still have copies of all of my early, handwritten work. The first scribblings of a story I ever wrote was a little piece called “Jungle Peril”, about a pair of swashbuckling explorers tackling smugglers in the wild bush. Given that the wild bush was essentially my backyard in South America, I think I had some first-hand knowledge to back up my wild imagination. My problem has always been caused and solved by those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. I devoured those as a kid, because I loved that there were always multiple paths, twists and endings to every story. So, when reading regular books, I always thought of different ways things could go and how I wanted them to play out. Writing my own fiction allows me to explore those ideas.

Where did your ideas for Cinders and Hontas come from?

Legend has it that Cinders was originally written for submission to an anthology, kind of as a lark. I was looking for a challenge and one day, during a long drive, I was listening to a piece of Japanese music, and this scene popped into my head. I was describing it to my wife when the story took on a life of it’s own. She then told me I had to write it down and try to submit it. So, the challenge became to try and take this very traditional fairy-tale and depict it in a way that it had never been done before. Of course, when I applied my particular flavour to it, the submission was rejected for being too graphic ~ and that was the toned down version! Taking this rejection to heart, I decided to go all full-tilt-boogie on the thing and take the censorship wheels off. That story was eventually published as Cinders.

I wrote Anastasia due to a reader’s request to know more about some of the side characters in that world. Taking that on as a fun exercise, Anastasia got away from me and became it’s own story, sort of a sequel to Cinders.

Hontas Cover smallNow with Hontas the goal was to tackle a genre I had never written before. Mind you, that had been the challenge with the previous two as well, but hey, what can I say – stretching yourself is good!

Part of exploring the Pocahontas story was an attempt to deal with my own feelings of alienation with regards to Indian culture (dot, not feather). I transplanted that struggle into the main character and used her as a cypher. She is an ‘other’ and even though I grew up in Canada, there were many times when I felt like the ‘other’ as well. So that story came out of a desire to express that dichotomy that I think a lot of immigrants and particularly immigrant children feel.

What tips would you give to aspiring authors?

Nobody was born with a pencil in their hand. There’s talent and there’s practice. You need both in order to make it. Chasing trends is like a dog chasing cars. You’ll never catch them and all you’ll be is lost and out of breath. Be original. Write the stories you’d want to read.

What are you working on for future release?

Good Tales For Bad Dreams will continue. I am planning a set number of releases before moving to a hardcover print collection.

The next installment of Good Tales for Bad Dreams takes us far away from Earth, to the outer reaches of space on a distant, unknown planet. Two sentient robots have been abandoned on its surface, one is an advanced planetary survey droid carrying the latest scientific technology and a healthy curiosity; the other is a battle-hardened combat drone that’s armed to the teeth and ready to go to war. The two are forced to work together both to survive the brutal landscape and to plan their own rescue. What they don’t know is that the planet has one other surprise in store for them: they are not alone.

This is V.M. Sawh’s “Hansel & Gretel”. This is GR3T3L-1.

I have to say, personally, out of the two, I loved Hontas more. I gave it five stars over at Readers’ Favorite. I’m looking forward to the sci fi take on Hansel & Gretel!

Kind thanks to V.M. Sawh for taking the time to answer my questions!

VM Sawh

Contact Links:
Website: (for The Official)
Pinterest: (for The Pretty Pictures)

Facebook: (for The Issue Discussions)


Twitter: @VMS_author (for the Random & the Immediate)
Google+:  V.M. Sawh
(P.S. I don’t know what’s up with the formatting of this last bit. Ebil WordPress!)
Happy reading!

Review: Hooked

As you all know, I review for Readers’ Favorite. Every once in a while, I come across a book that captivates me completely. I felt this one would be interesting to share as the author donates a portion of his proceeds to a human trafficking charity.

In my next novel, The Fairest of Them, I talk a bit about human trafficking. It is something that doesn’t just happen on an international level, but often times right in our own backyards.

Cover for Hooked. Courtesy of Goodreads

I had the pleasure to read and review a book by Allen Wolf entitled Hooked.

The following is my synopsis and review:

Hooked by Allen Wolf is a contemporary novel about an autistic man struggling with finding love and happiness. Shawn desperately wants to find someone to spend the rest of his life with, but due to his autism, finds it difficult to even get past the first date. His family is encouraging and protective of Shawn’s heart after he lost his first girlfriend in college. Then, at a party for his work, a dating agency, Shawn meets Violet. He mistakes her for an “ordinary” girl and asks her out on a date. Unbeknownst to him, Violet is actually a prostitute with a difficult past. Still, she takes a sort of pity on Shawn and agrees to meet with him, their relationship growing. Shawn and Violet embark on a new kind of relationship, but can he accept her past and save her from a dangerous lifestyle?

Mr. Wolf’s novel is beautifully written. Rarely will I find myself captivated by a book that I cannot put it down for nearly two hours. I read this book from start to finish in one sitting. Shawn was so sweet and Mr. Wolf really strove to write him as believable as possible. My heart went out to his gentle nature and simple desire to be loved. After all, isn’t that what we all want in life? Violet was a very sympathetic character and I found myself hoping more than anything for a happy ending for the pair. I was also very pleased to see this author donates a portion of the proceeds from his sales to a human trafficking charity. I love that the author raised awareness of local trafficking as it doesn’t just happen to women from other countries. All I can say is, pick up this book and get lost in the beauty of their relationship. Hooked is simply remarkable and was a complete pleasure to review.

Not only did Mr. Wolf raise awareness of trafficking, but touched on the tender topic of autism. All I can say is, bravo. I was blown away! I hope Mr. Wolf manages to turn his novel into a feature film, as is his goal.

This is the link to the book on Goodreads:

If you have a couple hours, sit down and have a read. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!