Saturday, February 25, 2012

Desert Dreams (Into The West #4) by J.A. Campbell

Desert Dreams
Into the West #4
J.A. Campbell
echelon press

cover love - I just love all the covers of this series. Each cover seems to get better, and they all tie into the series. This cover is especially scenic and reminds me of my long ago trip to Colorado/Utah area, where we drove through and around different canyons. The rock formations (I'm sure there is a more accurate terms for these particular canyon land) are way more colorful than they seem at first glance...

Desert Dreams is the fourth installment of the Into The West series of shorts. I like to call this a serial story, though Into The West is complete with the sixth installment. **if you haven't read ANY of this series, the beginning story is Westward, Yo!; it's a very good idea to start at the beginning of this series. At 99 cents per story, these e-books are reasonable and you get a lot for a buck.**There's an over-all story arc over the six stories and each of the short stories has it's own plot and resolution.
Fun for me is the cliff hangers at the end of each - I'm one of those who enjoy a good cliff hanger ending. In the last story (Silver Rush), there was the best ever cliff hanger. Tina (the main character) had this compelling NEED to find Rowe, so she prepared for a day or two in the desert and went through The Canyon to find him. Only things didn't go as she planned; she ended up wandering around and became disoriented. Silver Rush ended with her passing out and vaguely seeing someone looming over - friend or foe?
Luckily for Tina she was found by a friendly tribe of Native Americans. She meets up with Rowe and together they go on a trip to find a silver mine that will hopefully turn the tide concerning the range war between Matheson and Ol'Man Taggart. On this adventure Tina gets a bit more than she bargained for from a trail ride. Rowe and their guide teach her a bit of desert lore, how to find water, how to stay alive, etc. Their plan is to find the location of the silver mine, let Taggart know and stay out of the line of fire while performing their mission. Not easy to do.
While it's easy to sum up this installment in a paragraph, there is more than easily explained. I enjoyed reading about Tina's recovery from her desert/dehydration ordeal; the ride itself, with the sights and conversations between Rowe and Tina - they have the beginnings of a romance stirring. There's a couple times where danger lurks - a couple run-ins with human and animal enemies and Tina is put to the test on her survival skills.
Ms Campbell really seems to know how to capture how a normally intelligent and practical teen can make decisions that seem so good to her (Tina) at the time, yet are decisions that grownups - with our life experiences and wisdom wouldn't necessarily make. She's also pretty good at capturing the sometimes awkward and sweet beginnings of a romance without going over the top with the hot and heavy. Which is very refreshing. She has a way with words that tell a story without a lot of frills. There's enough description that you know Tina is in a desert, in a dangerous situation or having a sweet moment, yet you aren't overwhelmed with words. Sometimes authors go a little overboard with words. Ms Campbell does not, and she gets the point across. I enjoy her writing quite a bit - you might notice that I don't mention many young adult novels. I don't tend to read them, yet I've found myself enjoying each young adult novel written by J. A. Campbell.
I would recommend these short stories to many readers - especially to younger readers who find themselves needing to read something, yet don't like to read much. You're not going to get overwhelmed with formal dialog, formal writing and a lot of "filler" words. You're going to get a story that is tightly written and gets to the situations soon. I think a lot of different teens will enjoy this series. Best of all - the teens sound like teens. The dialog between characters sound refreshingly NORMAL.
Next in the series is Sagebrush Song Give this series a look - you won't regret it.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, thanks a ton :) Nice way to start my morning, reading such a nice review.