Sahalie Blue-Love Under the Western Star

Before I say anything at all about Love Under the Western Star, I need to just say how freaking awesome the name Sahalie is. Don’t you think it’s pretty damn awesome? I know I’ve reviewed a book by this author before on here, but I don’t remember if it was under this name or a different one. It was a great book though, all about a female rodeo rider through the years. You got to see history through her eyes and see how things progressed. I really liked it.

This one, though, is all futuristic mixed with Wild West and is definitely scifi. It is based on a real story that took place out in Arizona, back in the day. It was called The Pleasant Valley War, and it made Romeo and Juliet look like a sweet fluffy story. Nearly all the male line of both the Tewksburys and the Grahams were killed during the conflict, and it delayed Arizona’s statehood. Interesting reading about it, and it made me appreciate Love a little more knowing some of the real background behind it. So how does a western range war fit into a scifi book? Well, just wait and I’ll tell you.

This book takes place well into the future. People left Earth on ships and landed on something like a dozen different planets. However, it’s been long enough that many of the people on those planets don’t have the history of Earth anymore, and the majority of those planets are lost. There are some planets, like Eden, who are really advanced scientifically and technologically, and then you get the ones that aren’t. Love takes place on a planet that isn’t all that advanced. They are stuck, technologically speaking, right around the late 1800s. They have steam engines and other similar things, but that’s as far as they get.

We start out with Hope Tewksbury and Joseph Graham. She’s supposed to be off to teacher college, but she couldn’t do it, so she got back on the train to go back to the town of Payson. She sat next to a nice military man who was headed to Payson as well. It isn’t until he’s driving her home that she finds out that he’s a Graham, which earns her her first spanking. Joseph does end up taking her back to the train so she will go to school. He kisses her and she never forgets him.

Meanwhile, on Eden, Dr. Amy Toller is talking about her latest project. They are going to go to Chi-4 and see if they can find relating to Earth. Her goal is to find out where Earth is which can help them figure out where all the other planets are. So they are going to get on their spaceship and do some covert research.

Two years after the first scene, Amy and her people are infiltrating Payson, Hope is coming home from school as a teacher, and the feud between the Grahams and Tewksburys is getting worse. Cue Romeo and Juliet, only call Joseph and Hope.

Sahalie did a hell of a job mixing up the scifi and Wild West stuff in here, plus adding in some spanking and romance. Really, we have 3 main characters who we get to see a lot of and find out what they are doing, as well as some side characters we see more of. I think that it could’ve been really easy to drop a thread when you are trying to weave together two distinct genres, include some history, keep track of various main characters, and make sure that everything comes out well. However, Sahalie made it look effortless and gives us a really tight story. The one thing I wish we had, though, was more of Osimov, the android captain.

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I have to wonder how much Joseph’s dad knew about the ship and all the info, since he had stuff hiding all over the place about the ship. I wouldn’t trust the man further than I could spit, and since I can’t spit all that well, that’s not very far.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out. You’ll enjoy it. Happy reading!

Sahalie Blue and Sterling Scott-Cowgirl Thrill Rider

When I looked at the title of Cowgirl Thrill Rider, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself in for. I could guess from the title that there was a cowgirl and that it was going be some kind of romance, and knowing the authors, I knew it was going to involve sex and spanking, but outside that, I had no clue.

So, CTR is all about Polly. We follow her and her exploits from 1916 to 1948. The story is episodic in nature. That means that we just peek in at various times of Polly’s life and see what she is doing. Some of the episodes are longer than others, and some seem like they are all one time period because they take place in the same basic setting, but if you check the time stamps, you’ll see that really they are months or more apart. I really liked this because the story does cover 30 years. Having 30 straight years would be boring and unwieldy, and nowhere near as enjoyable as CTR is. So, very well done there.

In 1916, little Polly is 14 and getting ready to ride in her first bronco busting event. She’s been riding since she could walk. Her dad is supportive of it, her mom isn’t. Her mom wants her to be a lady, and riding horses and bustin’ broncs is not all that particularly ladylike, even in Nebraska. But that doesn’t stop Polly. She goes out there and gets on the horse and wins. And boom, her life is set at that very point.

Years later, Polly has joined a big Wild West show. She’s 18 now, she has kept up her riding and rodeoing, and she is now off to show off how well she can ride. This is what she wants to do and she’s good at it. She knows that there are risks, but she’s never let that start her.

When she gets to the show, she rooms with Lulu, who is Annie Oakley’s niece and a sharpshooter herself. Polly gets to try all kinds of things, like learning trick riding from some “Cossacks”. She also meets Buck. She and Buck get close, especially after he spanks her. That pretty much sets the tone of their relationship. After a while of touring, they make it back to Nebraska, where Buck and Polly are both from, meet parents, and get married.

OK, This is where I’m going to go my way and you can choose yours. I read in the back of the book where Polly was created from the profiles of a lot of women. I think it really shows through. I fell in absolute love with Polly. I think that she is pretty kick ass. I also like that the story is more about Polly’s story than it is about Polly and Buck’s story. I mean, yes, that is an important part of the story and it would be wrong to diminish it in any way, but it’s not the most important part of the story. The important part of the story is Polly and her courage in getting up and being the cowgirl that she wanted to be and to do all the riding she wanted. That’s just awesome, IMO. Polly really is the hero of her own story. This is a truly awesome story on a lot of levels, so even if you aren’t sure about whether or not you’ll like western romances, you should go check it out.

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There is a lot of spanking in this, and I think that in most cases it’s perfectly justified. However, there is one spanking that I thought was completely unjustified, and if I was Polly, Buck would’ve had to sleep with one eye open that night. She had a justifiable reason for her feelings and for what she did, and Buck didn’t even try to talk to her about it or about why she felt that way. In fact, he owed her an apology, if you ask me. Just because he’s the head of the household doesn’t mean he’s perfect and doesn’t make mistakes, and I think that this was on. When you get to the point in the story, you’ll see what I mean, and I’m eager to see what you think of it and if you agree with me about it.

I think that’s the only spoiler-y thing I have to say, and I’ve said everything I wanted to say. It’s a good story, a lot of fun, and one I’m glad to have read.

I’m looking forward to a weekend where my nose rarely comes out of my Kindle and lots of good posts for next week, so be looking for that. Meanwhile, happy reading!