Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sagebrush Song (Into The West #5) by J.A. Campbell - review

Sagebrush Song
Into the West #5
mg/ya fantasy (series)

J.A. Campbell

cover - all of the covers for this entire series have been beautifully relevant to the story covers.  I've never really been into western themes, but these are wonderful covers with beautiful imagery.  I'll include all the past covers with the newest, the final story's cover at the end of this post.  This editor might have dropped the ball on timely publication of Into the West, but the covers - those have been great.

Sagebrush Song is the second to last of this six part series about Tina - a young teen who has been reluctantly relocated to the wild west- and her cowboy Rowe, a young man who lives about 100 years before Tina...  They meet up and together take part in a bit of an adventure.


How is this possible?  Well, there's some time travel involved.  In the first four stories, Tina moved to a small town - pretty much a ghost town - with her family because her father's work made this necessary.  She's a city girl, a mall shopper, they type of young girl who polishes her nails, has manicures, face treatments, shops for fun, and pays attention to her looks.  Things are very different in the desert.  Now she's learning how to ride a horse for something besides show, has been helping out at a working ranch, and in the process learning more about desert/ranch life than she ever thought she wanted to know.  Once she inadvertantly goes through a canyon - one that everyone avoids because of strange, mysterious things that happen there.  Ended up getting mixed up with a cowboy and bandits...Turns out she was also quite a ways into the past.

In this past is a handsome young man named Rowe who works for a rancher who has been having some trouble with a rival rancher - trouble that includes horse stealing, shootouts, bandits and lots of danger.

In Sagebrush Song, Tina and Rowe have committed to a plan that will help Ol' Man Taggart keep his ranch and hopefully end the ranch war.  She's going to impersonate a young lady - meaning she has to behave demurely (something many young women of today have a hard time with, lol), wear a long dress and pretend to be a young lady relative of Ol'Man Taggart.  Angie - the Shaman in Training for Eli (medicine man of the local tribe) goes back in time with Tina and Rowe to help out with the plan.  Tina is planning to visit the sheriff to enlist legal help with Taggart's problems.  (Taggart's ranch is the very same ranch that Tina has been working at in her time)

Things don't go quite like they planned, in fact things get dangerous for the three.  However, where one door closes, another door opens....  They meet up with a few good men who are looking for a good cause.  Good thing, because while in town, a bad situation pops up...

In a short story format, Ms Campbell manages to tell a story complete with humor, the beginnings of first love, danger and suspense and sets things up for the final story in the series.  The dialogue between characters is deftly done - Rowe sounds like a cowboy from the early 1900's (how I would imagine one to sound) complete with the manners of that era, while the Medicine Man and his apprentice Angie sound how I would imagine tribal members of modern times to sound like - there's a small difference between Angie and Eli -  young Navajo and elder - which is appropriate.  All the side characters sound like they should.  

I'm not very good at summaries, trying to remember all that I like from a story.  But one of the things I remember enjoying quite a bit was the small little details Campbell included - such as Tina looking around the hotel room when staying the night in an inn.  This would be during their stay in the past.  There are enough details about the differences between now and then that I could just imagine what it would feel like to be in the past suddenly.  It would be strange - no electricity, running water, toilets that flush, so phones, etc.  J.A. Campbell did a good job of detailing some of this without overwhelming a reader with too much.

Sagebrush Song is an enjoyable read with humor, suspense, a few heartstopping moments, and the tender stirrings of a first love - one that might end up to be bittersweet, because the two live in two different time zones - not just a few hours apart, but decades apart!

If you haven't read the series yet, give this one a try.  There will be six parts in all - and each one is an enjoyable read - appropriate for young tweens to young adult.  If I could enjoy this series at 51 years of age - I think many people will like this series.


newest cover - final episode coming soon
(sorry guys - the new Blogger interface is even harder to format with than the old one, no rhyme, no reason, it's DRIVING ME CRAZY!)


  1. *grin* Thanks for the great review!!!

    Love the LOL cat you captioned from your last post. Perfect.


  2. *g* have you watched the Henri Paw video? so great!