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Black Hills

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A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from in A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body. As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most. Coop recently left his fast-paced life as an investigator in New York to take care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something ... or someone ... has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe. Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

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A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from in A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body. As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most. Coop recently left his fast-paced life as an investigator in New York to take care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something ... or someone ... has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe. Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

30 review for Black Hills

  1. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    [4.5🌟] This wasn't a novel I was expecting to fall in love with but I did, and aren't novels like that the best kind of novels? Where the story creeps up on you and you realise how much you love it as you're reading it? I won't give too much away since it is a story surrounded by mystery but it's set in South Dakota. It's about childhood sweethearts, Lil and Coop, who met on a farm when they were kids and then lost touch. 12 years later their story picks up again and they both have more or less ac [4.5🌟] This wasn't a novel I was expecting to fall in love with but I did, and aren't novels like that the best kind of novels? Where the story creeps up on you and you realise how much you love it as you're reading it? I won't give too much away since it is a story surrounded by mystery but it's set in South Dakota. It's about childhood sweethearts, Lil and Coop, who met on a farm when they were kids and then lost touch. 12 years later their story picks up again and they both have more or less accomplished what it is they wanted, grew up and changed but something brings them back together, intertwining their lives once again. This was such an enriching and scenic story. It's true escapism. I loved being surrounded by nature and wildlife and the animals and Nora Roberts really went into a lot of detail which at first bored me. But after 50 pages the story completely enveloped me and I couldn't get enough of it. The pacing was dead right for me and I enjoyed reading the elements of Lil's job and her care in looking after animals, whilst following the story forward with the mystery, the development between Lil and Coop as well as the side characters. I felt like I was there and I truly got a feel for the characters and their lives and it was just beautiful to read and enjoyable to follow them on their respective journeys. I liked that there was a balance between the suspense, the characters and their development, and the enriching wildlife of South Dakota. It just didn't feel contrived, rather the story felt wholesome and complete and real. It wasn't just about finding out about the murders, or Lil and Coop's love story. It was just about life, farm life, nature and animals and following your dreams, being surrounded by good family and friends and finding meaning and yourself within it all. The story felt really authentic and I really appreciated how Nora Roberts brought that all to life. I enjoyed this immensely. ---------------------- First pick for the #TomeTopple readathon. I went back to using my local library after years of not going to it and I'm so glad I've re-discovered it again. This is the first book I borrowed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lindig

    I liked: The setting (South Dakota), the information (endangered animals, especially big cats), most of the characters (but not the hero). I didn't like: The plot (psychopathic killer stalks our heroine; shades of Montana Sky), the hero (my way or else, my way or else, my way or else; if that's his idea of love, no thanks), the heroine (for letting him have his way). Roberts does her usual trademark workmanlike stuff, so the book is readable. However, the "love" story kept pissing me off so much tha I liked: The setting (South Dakota), the information (endangered animals, especially big cats), most of the characters (but not the hero). I didn't like: The plot (psychopathic killer stalks our heroine; shades of Montana Sky), the hero (my way or else, my way or else, my way or else; if that's his idea of love, no thanks), the heroine (for letting him have his way). Roberts does her usual trademark workmanlike stuff, so the book is readable. However, the "love" story kept pissing me off so much that the suspense was diluted. And the secondary "love" story, while meant to be interesting for its socially progressive messages, was both skimmed over and almost undermined because of the man's attitude of sureness that he wanted this and so it would be. I'm trying not to add spoilers but I didn't find much in this novel that would be surprising to anyone. I've always liked Roberts for the humor her characters displayed. I've been known to laugh out loud. But not this time. As I said, workmanlike, but certainly not one of her best. Overall, a disappointment. Update June 2011: having forgotten I'd read it before, I tried to read it again. This time, I disliked it so much I put it down about a third of the way through an said, "ick." Changed the stars to two. Thinking about rating it one star. One of NR's biggest disappointments so far.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jenjn79

    Solid 4-stars, maybe bordering on 4.5. This was just an all around solid book for me. There were two things that kept it from being a 5-star read, and neither of those were critical issues. But overall, I have to say I enjoyed this book a lot (and I'm trying not to be a biased Nora Roberts groupie when I say that). Cooper Sullivan was just eleven years old when his parents sent him off to his grandparents farm in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the summer. For Coop, it was like being sent to Solid 4-stars, maybe bordering on 4.5. This was just an all around solid book for me. There were two things that kept it from being a 5-star read, and neither of those were critical issues. But overall, I have to say I enjoyed this book a lot (and I'm trying not to be a biased Nora Roberts groupie when I say that). Cooper Sullivan was just eleven years old when his parents sent him off to his grandparents farm in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the summer. For Coop, it was like being sent to prison and he hated it. But a talk with his grandmother convinces him to give it a chance so he does and befriends nine-year-old Lil Chance in the process. Over the years their friendship grows until, in their late teens, it becomes more. Lil thinks they are starting their future together, but after a while it all falls apart and they go their separate ways. Now twelve years have passed. Lil has fulfilled her lifelong dream of opening a wildlife refuge and everything is going well for her. Then Coop, a retired detective, returns, this time for good. Coop broke her heart once and Lil is determined to not let him do it again. For Coop, seeing Lil is a painful reminder of the hardships of his life. The two come to an unintentional truce of leaving each other alone. But then danger threatens Lil. Someone is messing with her Refuge, pulling "pranks" and then killing a cougar. Coop can't sit by while Lil is in danger, especially when it becomes clear that Lil is in real danger. He also realizes that it's time to clear things up between them personally. He loves her, always has, but now he has to regain her trust. And hope to keep her safe from a madman who loves the thrill of the hunt. I've read quite a few comments already about hot the animal/nature aspect of the book didn't do anything for the reader...but for me, I loved that part of the story. Of course, I love nature and animals and all that. So it was interesting to read about the Refuge, how things worked, the animals, etc. And I loved the bond between Lil and Baby the cougar. So sweet. Especially how the ending worked out. Realistic? Probably not! But very interesting to read and a great way to resolve the suspense part of the story. All in all, this part of the story just worked for me. I also liked how the beginning of the book was done. The story goes back to when Coop and Lil are kids and meet for the first time and progresses through some key scenes. Roberts has done "time progression" stories before (and I've always loved them), but this one is not quite as involved. The "flashback" part is only about 80 pages. So the past doesn't overwhelm the story. But I thought those first 80 pages were nice to read; gives you some great insight into the characters and the bond between them. As for the relationship between Lil and Coop...I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. There was definitely chemistry between them and a strong bond, but there was something just a little bit off and I can't put my finger on it. The two were enjoyable to read overall, though. There were some really sweet scenes and I liked how Coop worked to show here he was back for good and that she could trust him. There's also a secondary romance between Farley and Tansy. Enjoyable to read. Farley was a cool character. Very "aww schucks!" And Tansy was like his polar opposite. So their romance was interesting. I have two somewhat minor complaints about the book: First, the identity of the bad guy is reveals fairly early in the book and I found that rather annoying. It deadened the suspense angle somewhat and made things a bit less intense. It didn't really make sense to me why Roberts just flat out gave away the identity. I would have rather there been more of a guessing game, more trying to figure out who was trying to hurt Lil. So that took away a little bit from the book, for me. And secondly - and this is may be more personal preference than anything else - I would have liked it if Coop had had to face his family issues within the present part of the story. There's some reference to Coop "coming to peace," so to speak, with the way things were, but to me, things between Coop and his parents felt rather unsettled. And because Coop's family dynamics played a role in what happened between him and Lil, it took a little away from their relationship (that unsettled feeling between Coop and his parents). So yeah, I wouldn't have minded something happening on that front. Overall, though, this was a solid book from Roberts. I'm not sure it would qualify in my top ten of favorites, but it's definitely a book I wouldn't mind reading again in a year or so. It was fun to read, very nature-centered, with a nice romance, and a pretty good suspense angle.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    3.5 Stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Miss Kim

    It was a little difficult to decide on a star rating for Nora’s latest. The begining was great, the middle lulled, and then the end was good. I waffled between 3 and 4 and decided-what the heck, go for four. Lil and Coop became close as children when he would spend summers at his grandparents’ home in South Dakota. He was a city boy that had never seen the country. Lil, a Sioux descendant, was raised there with her sort of hippie-like parents. Lil is fascinated by wild animals, particularly the It was a little difficult to decide on a star rating for Nora’s latest. The begining was great, the middle lulled, and then the end was good. I waffled between 3 ½ and 4 and decided-what the heck, go for four. Lil and Coop became close as children when he would spend summers at his grandparents’ home in South Dakota. He was a city boy that had never seen the country. Lil, a Sioux descendant, was raised there with her sort of hippie-like parents. Lil is fascinated by wild animals, particularly the cougar. They fall in love in their teens; however, they have separate goals and are inevitably separated. Lil wants to open a wildlife refuge on her parents’ land, and Coop is defying his father by not going to law school and joining the police academy. On one of their last few days together, they are in the woods and stumble upon a crime scene. Twelve years later, Lil has opened her refuge. She’s just come home from a six month trip in South America, and she discovers Coop is back in town for good. She has mixed feelings about it, because she feels he broke her heart years ago. She was willing to do anything to keep their relationship, but he was insistent they separate. While the two are getting reacquainted, a psycho appears. Someone is terrorizing Lil and her refuge. I liked Coop a lot, and it didn’t hurt that he was a cop—my favorite type of hero. He was of course gorgeous, patient, and determined to protect Lil and to keep her forever. Lil was very reluctant to let him back in after she was hurt. She’s a tough girl, however didn’t cross to line to being a ball buster. I can’t stand that type of heroine. There is a secondary romance that is really sweet, and I wish the author had spent more time on them. For those that are interested in interracial romance, you’d like this one. The couple is BWWM. The hot cowboy pursues this few years older woman and romances her to pieces. I recommend to fans of Nora, and those that like light romantic suspense.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved Lil and Coop together. They were adorable together. Farley and Tansy were also adorable together. I may have shed a few tears when Farley had gone outside when they were going to start making plans for a house then Jenna followed him out, and he called her Ma. Baby was my favorite of all the animals especially since he had followed Lil and he was her favorite also. Lil and Coop's relationship showed that you never get over your first love. It also showed that there are always obstacles w I loved Lil and Coop together. They were adorable together. Farley and Tansy were also adorable together. I may have shed a few tears when Farley had gone outside when they were going to start making plans for a house then Jenna followed him out, and he called her Ma. Baby was my favorite of all the animals especially since he had followed Lil and he was her favorite also. Lil and Coop's relationship showed that you never get over your first love. It also showed that there are always obstacles when it comes to the people you love. When it comes to the people you love you will do whatever you can to keep them safe. One quote that I liked : “Do you know how many ways love can hit you? So it makes you happy, or miserable? It makes you sick in the belly or hurt in the heart. It makes everything brighter and sharper, or it blurs all the edges. It makes you feel like a king or a fool. Every way love can hit you, it's hit me when it comes to you”

  7. 5 out of 5

    CD {Boulder Blvd}

    This is probably one of my favorite NR books. It was a re-read that still kept me turning pages. First, I loved the secondary characters and the secondary romance in this one. It brought a lot of depth to an already good story. What was not to love about Coop's grandparents, Lil's parents and Tansy and Farley? The Chance Animal Reserve was great backdrop, especially Baby the cougar.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carmaletta Hilton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The only reason I finished this book was because I wanted to see how the end scene played out. I assumed that the bad guy would kidnap her and I wanted to see what happened there. Honestly, the only good thing I can say about this book was that it was pretty cool the way Baby came to the rescue. The rest of this book was just not fun for me. I couldn't fully get behind Lil's refuge because while I understand some of the animals there, I don't really agree with taking an animal out of its natural The only reason I finished this book was because I wanted to see how the end scene played out. I assumed that the bad guy would kidnap her and I wanted to see what happened there. Honestly, the only good thing I can say about this book was that it was pretty cool the way Baby came to the rescue. The rest of this book was just not fun for me. I couldn't fully get behind Lil's refuge because while I understand some of the animals there, I don't really agree with taking an animal out of its natural habitat because it got old. The majority of the story felt like the refuge and, after a while, I just didn't care to hear anymore. I liked Lil and Coop a lot more as children than adults, and even as children, Lil's "This place is SO much better than the city even though I've never been to the city" got on my nerves. As adults, I found Coop to be bossy, controlling, and selfish. I found Lil to be annoying in how she kept swearing that Coop broke her heart 11 years ago and she still can't get over it. Basically, this book has left me wondering if I'll ever read another romance novel again. It seems as though the trend is to have this boorish men who only care about what they want, and their feelings. Coop flat out said that he didn't care what she wanted or thought, he wanted her and she would just have to come around. The same thing happened with Farley and Tansy. This is excused away by saying that the women had feelings for the men, too, but they had to be convinced that it was okay. It bothered me that these women were basically stalked and I'm supposed to think that this is romantic. The way Farley told Tansy that they were going to get married really bugged me. As did Coop's decision that the relationship was too hard back then, but now it's easier since he moved back, so now they'll be together. I find relationships more romantic and appealing when they are equal partners. Coop cared nothing at all about Lil's feelings when they broke up or when he decided they were going to hook back up. Tansy's fears regarding a relationship with Farley were just blown off as being silly. So, no, I didn't like this book at all. The ending was okay, but overall, I had to force myself to read it and I basically skimmed the last half of the book just to get it finished.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janja

    This could be easy five stars rating if it wasn't so damn long and quite boring with all the manual of wild life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    One Sentence Summary: Can Dr Lillian Chance and ex-cop Cooper Sullivan outwit a crazed serial killer to save Lil's Wildlife Refuge and reignite the passionate flame of first love? Favourite Quote: "Loving you made a man out of me," he said when he let her go. "It's the man who came back for you." (Page 374) My Review: Being an Aussie who lives half an hour from the beach and has ridden a horse only once in her lifetime; I loved this Nora Roberts novel! There is just something about the American Wil One Sentence Summary: Can Dr Lillian Chance and ex-cop Cooper Sullivan outwit a crazed serial killer to save Lil's Wildlife Refuge and reignite the passionate flame of first love? Favourite Quote: "Loving you made a man out of me," he said when he let her go. "It's the man who came back for you." (Page 374) My Review: Being an Aussie who lives half an hour from the beach and has ridden a horse only once in her lifetime; I loved this Nora Roberts novel! There is just something about the American Wilderness - so different to the Aussie outback or rainforest - that I found so appealing. Combined with the wildlife refuge element and all the talk about big cats and I was sucked in. I fell in love with the setting and premise of this novel before I fell in love with the characters (although that didn't take long either!) I wanted to book a plane ticket so I could see the South Dakota night sky for real. Although I've read a couple of other reviews who haven't favoured the characters of this book, I have to tell you honestly that I really loved the main characters and their chemistry. Cooper's a typical bossy alpha male (no complaints here) and Lil is an intelligent, likeable female lead who gives just as good as she gets. Surprisingly, even the jilted childhood sweethearts storyline worked for me and the suspense element really heightens the romantic tension. The suspense element of this novel wasn't nightmare-inducing however it certainly was enough to keep me flipping pages quickly. I tend to think of Nora Roberts romantic suspense as crime novels for chickens (like me). If it weren't for the absolute guarantee that both the hero and the heroine are going to live and have their happily ever after, I don't think my poor nerves could cope with the serial killers and other assorted nasties she writes about. So if you're a seasoned suspense reader you may not be phased by this part of the plot; if you're like me, you may find yourself biting your nails on more than one occasion. Apart from wanting to read the talked-about wedding, I really can't think of anything I'd like to change about this book. I loved it from start to finish - it was just what I needed. Fans of Angel's Falls and Nora Roberts's other romantic suspense novels will enjoy this read! For more reviews visit my blog by clicking below:

  11. 4 out of 5

    SB*needs low angst books*

    Did a library reread but now remember why this wasn't one I was a fan of. Second chance love story between hero and heroine. He was a city kid visiting and she was a tom boy and they became friends that became more then broke up due to hero feeling inadequate due to his upbringing. He and her are both back at the same time after years away and fall again. It was one that didn't appeal for me. I could never really enjoy the couple truly and the main story and mystery didn't keep me in it either s Did a library reread but now remember why this wasn't one I was a fan of. Second chance love story between hero and heroine. He was a city kid visiting and she was a tom boy and they became friends that became more then broke up due to hero feeling inadequate due to his upbringing. He and her are both back at the same time after years away and fall again. It was one that didn't appeal for me. I could never really enjoy the couple truly and the main story and mystery didn't keep me in it either so more like two stars really.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Blair

    I'd a little less patience for Cooper this time around and his heavy handed ways. But, it's still a kick-ass book, set in one of my favorite places in the world with an awesome heroine written by one of the coolest and most talented authors to ever put pen to page.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Thenia

    A story of childhood friends turned sweethearts, who get a second chance at love after re-entering each other's lives years after they broke up. Lil is a confident, driven woman, who has fulfilled her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge she dreamed of as a girl after seeing a cougar up close the day she first met Coop. Coop is the opposite of Lil, unhappy with his home life growing up and directionless, (view spoiler)[which is his reason for breaking up with her in the first place, not wan A story of childhood friends turned sweethearts, who get a second chance at love after re-entering each other's lives years after they broke up. Lil is a confident, driven woman, who has fulfilled her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge she dreamed of as a girl after seeing a cougar up close the day she first met Coop. Coop is the opposite of Lil, unhappy with his home life growing up and directionless, (view spoiler)[which is his reason for breaking up with her in the first place, not wanting to keep her back from achieving her dreams (hide spoiler)] . He has found his footing and himself and has now returned to take care of his grandparents' farm, and hopefully make things right with Lil again. Lil is more than a little reluctant to let him back into her life given how much he hurt her, but when she's targeted by a psychopath who seems to want to torture and then kill her, Coop is determined to stick by her side and keep her safe. The two spend time together, and despite Lil's reservations, fall back in love. It takes a while but, (view spoiler)[the psycho hunting her who believed that she was a traitor to their "people", their Indian ancestors, wanted to hunt her like they did and kill her as a tribute to them. She managed to use her considerable skills to evade him and lead him to where Coop could get to them before it was too late (hide spoiler)] . Engaging story that showed the journey of the main couple from their first meeting until their happy ending.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Everyone’s hella horny and that’s all you really need to know. I mean, when you’re transporting a big ass tiger to a wildlife sanctuary and you have to stop on the road FOUR TIMES so you can get it on... that’s horny. Review coming soon!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm

    The story is set in a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota, hence the title. Lil Chance met brooding city boy named Cooper Sullivan, who clearly had family issues but won’t admit it. Soon they became close with each other and remain friends until their adolescent years. But in their case, absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder. Because during the times that they didn’t see each other, their feelings had grown apart and the long distance had deviated their attention… well, mostly The story is set in a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota, hence the title. Lil Chance met brooding city boy named Cooper Sullivan, who clearly had family issues but won’t admit it. Soon they became close with each other and remain friends until their adolescent years. But in their case, absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder. Because during the times that they didn’t see each other, their feelings had grown apart and the long distance had deviated their attention… well, mostly in Cooper’s case actually. One day, when Cooper decided to go back to the ranch after something terrible happened while he was on duty as a cop. His feelings towards Lil changed. But a psychopathic killer was on the loose and had been stalking Lil. She and Cooper teamed up to discover the truth behind the mystery surrounding Black Hills. To tell you the truth, I’ve been reading a number of YA/Fantasies/Paranormals lately and most of them are about shapeshifters. Thankfully, this book, Black Hills isn’t one of them, even if there are cougars and wolves present in the story. Black Hills is actually a suspense mystery that is very much a staple on Nora Roberts’ books. As expected, Nora Roberts writes with passion and her characters really pull you into the story. Cooper and Lilian found themselves embroiled in a romance that needed to be nurtured. The mystery part of the story is awesome, although the main characters were a little complicated, in my opinion. I would have given this a 5star rating, but something held me back – maybe because I see some Montana Sky anecdotes in the story, specifically on the animal protection part. Nevertheless, Nora Roberts still is one of my favorite authors ever!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Let me say up front that I had especially high standards for this book. I'm from the Black Hills: I was born in Deadwood, graduated high school in Rapid City, and went to grad school in Spearfish, the three towns she names in the book. I also have a decent amount of knowledge about the Lakota history and relationship with the Hills. Maybe if this plot was used in a setting/culture I was unfamiliar with, I would have liked it, but I really, really didn't. There were little mistakes (a "beef farmer Let me say up front that I had especially high standards for this book. I'm from the Black Hills: I was born in Deadwood, graduated high school in Rapid City, and went to grad school in Spearfish, the three towns she names in the book. I also have a decent amount of knowledge about the Lakota history and relationship with the Hills. Maybe if this plot was used in a setting/culture I was unfamiliar with, I would have liked it, but I really, really didn't. There were little mistakes (a "beef farmer" = a "rancher," dude), wacky geography, and clunky exposition (there was an infodump about the Sioux Black Hills lawsuit/settlement that made me grind my teeth, it had so little place in the scene). But the thing that really bothers me is this: the villain has bought into every stupid stereotype about Native Americans Roberts could think of. She attempted to balance that with some exposition from other characters about why he was wrong, but see above about clunky exposition. It really didn't work for me. I'm super extra sensitive about this, and it made me nuts. Also, there were three Native American characters in the entire book, and not a one of them had both Lakota parents. Not one. The plot itself was okay but not great; the two romance storylines were all about the guys pursuing women who told them no, which I'm also not fond of. And did I mention? A beef farmer is a RANCHER. wtf.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    ~* 3.5 Stars *~ For years I've read Nora Roberts books, always considering myself a huge fan. Whether contemporary romance, paranormal romance, or romantic suspense...whether stand alone books or trilogies or short series...I've always counted on Roberts for a sweeping romantic read that satisfies as it entertains, and for years she's delivered. Some books, of course, I've liked more than others. Some series or trilogies have hit closer to home than others. Some characters I've liked more than ot ~* 3.5 Stars *~ For years I've read Nora Roberts books, always considering myself a huge fan. Whether contemporary romance, paranormal romance, or romantic suspense...whether stand alone books or trilogies or short series...I've always counted on Roberts for a sweeping romantic read that satisfies as it entertains, and for years she's delivered. Some books, of course, I've liked more than others. Some series or trilogies have hit closer to home than others. Some characters I've liked more than others. That's to be expected, I suppose, when you favor an author that produces such a wide range and so many opportunities to read. And saying that, I can honestly admit I enjoyed Black Hills. It wasn't my favorite effort, but I did enjoy it. The story of Lil and Cooper, two people who have loved each other their whole lives, who knew the love of best friends as children, the world-ending romance of young love, and the sometimes too realistic love of adults, was definitely comprehensive and at turns sweet, romantic, and sensual. Their characters were palatable enough, though I always felt that Lil had a bit more life in her than Coop did, and I very much enjoyed her profession and her passion for it. The surrounding threat of a serial killer loose in the Black Hills of South Dakota was reasonably represented and blended well with the romantic narrative, as do most of Roberts' efforts in this sub-genre. And yet... Without a doubt, Nora Roberts has written some of the best romantic suspense out there. Montana Sky was a personal favorite of mine, as was River's End and Carolina Moon, and those are just off the top of my head. In those books, and others that I have read of Roberts, the characters and the tension in the story combined with the romance to bring me into the book with almost lyrical effortlessness, until I cared beyond reason for the lives of the characters and their love and safety. I can't say that Black Hills evoked that same sort of passion in me, and that's a true shame. Like I said, I liked the characters - Roberts is excellent at filling her book with both lead characters and secondary and ancillary characters that could be neighbors, relatives, friends, they're so often recognizable. So comfortable. But for some reason, Black Hills didn't connect me to them as other books of hers have done, so I never quite reached that reading nirvana of feeling like I'd stepped into the book and had it surround me, capture me, and force me into experiencing it on a visceral level. And I can't say I'm sure why it didn't happen here. Maybe it was the writing style. The flow of the narrative struck me as odd through most of the book...there was a very artistic structure even to the dialogue that read more like a painting of words to stand back and admire aesthetically than a flowing, living story that sucked me in. Several important scenes in Black Hills, scenes that would have given a reader a much more personal experience with these characters, were sort of glossed over or mentioned in a past tense...like the big scene between Lil and Coop that split them up for almost twelve years. Or the scene in New York that closed the door on Cooper's career on the police force. Or Lil's breakup with Jean-Paul. The way this story unfolded, with significant scenes happening outside of the reader's awareness and having them told instead of experienced, I think, hindered the intimacy between character and reader and kept that relationship at a far more superficial level than I'm used to in Nora Roberts's books. At least...I think that's part of the reason. I also never quite got any sense that I was able to feel what Lil and Cooper were feeling for each other, and Cooper in particular was a far more stoic character than I prefer. The words for his love for Lil were their...eventually...but by then he'd put off such a phlegmatic air that I had a hard time pinning him down. He seemed rather joyless, even proclaiming his love. Dedicated, yes. Unwavering, yes. Determined, yes. Happy about it? Not really. That didn't connect well with me. In that regard, the simple joy between Tansy and Farley in their relationship was more appealing to me as a reader. I liked the story. I'm still a fan of Roberts. And I'm not one of the many critics who think she's jumped the shark as an author and is now just regurgitating romances and scenes and dialogue with each "new" book. There were parts of this story and characters in it that I felt worked very well. But I've seen her do better. And I was hoping that Black Hills was one of the better ones. It just...wasn't. Not quite. ~*~*~*~ Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)

    I thought this book was great. Predominately a romance novel, Lil and Cooper are introduced as children, and fall in love as young adults. Driven away from each other, they lead separate lives until a serial killer brings them back together. The romance between them is lovely, and there are great moments of suspense and mystery, but I guess like any good Nora Roberts book, it's all about the love.. A few things made this a 4 and not 5 star book for me. It was just a little too drawn out. Most of th I thought this book was great. Predominately a romance novel, Lil and Cooper are introduced as children, and fall in love as young adults. Driven away from each other, they lead separate lives until a serial killer brings them back together. The romance between them is lovely, and there are great moments of suspense and mystery, but I guess like any good Nora Roberts book, it's all about the love.. A few things made this a 4 and not 5 star book for me. It was just a little too drawn out. Most of the book was just waiting for them to get together, which you (and they) knew was going to happen. I know that's what romance books do... But the tension kinda floated away when they acknowledged their feelings towards each other. Then nothing happens. It was very anticlimactic in that way, a lot of it was unnecessary. I did like the history of the relationship though, from hanging out together as children, to young adults, to finally seeing each other again 12 years after they separated. We find out quite early in the book who the killer is, and I think it took away the majority of the suspense. For me I love a good suspense book with a surprise twist. Something that keeps you guessing. Who could it be? Is it this person? Was it that person? There was none of this after the first half of the book, and after you find out who it is, you feel totally underwhelmed. However I felt this was saved by the ending suspense scenes, where it became quite enjoyable again. I loved the wildlife reserve setting, loved the big cats. I thought this was an awesome aspect of the book. The secondary love story I found a bit bland, but I love that Nora loves the love!! It just took up a chunk of space that I felt could have been completely cut out, and saved me precious reading time. However, even though these criticisms may seems quite large, as I was reading it I didn't think so at all. I really enjoyed this book overall.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Books.Paper.Mania

    One of the cheesiest novels I’ve read. Seriously, the plot was somehow boring, characters were very shallow, & there was alot of exaggeration. I just couldn’t relate all the action to the main point of this novel. It’s about South Dakota Biologist Lilian Chance & her wildlife habitat which she had build at her home. Comes Coop, her life sweetheart who dumped her when they were in college & returned back to help his injured grandfather to take care of his business & farm. & so One of the cheesiest novels I’ve read. Seriously, the plot was somehow boring, characters were very shallow, & there was alot of exaggeration. I just couldn’t relate all the action to the main point of this novel. It’s about South Dakota Biologist Lilian Chance & her wildlife habitat which she had build at her home. Comes Coop, her life sweetheart who dumped her when they were in college & returned back to help his injured grandfather to take care of his business & farm. & so they meet & remember the good old days. Will they hook up again?! That’s for you to know . . . or I’ll just say it coz it’s so obvious. Yes they do. That’s not the whole story. There’s a mad man out there, running after people & hunting them down around Lil’s habitat just because he likes it. He threatens Lil that he will be coming after bla bla bla just because she’s caging animals & not giving them their freedom. It would have been better if it didn’t have all the silly parts of Coop & Lil trying to come back to each other or Tansey not wanting to get engaged to Farley because he’s younger & she’s black *blekh*. So many useless details that didn’t help forming the plot at all. My last book for Nora Roberts (it’s my 2nd one btw).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Another typical Nora Roberts. I wish my library had a wider romance section for when my funds run out. Anyway, strong heroine and hero, strange murder mystery that puts the heroine in danger, hero wants to save her, but heroine can mostly save herself. Like I said, typical Nora. I liked the setting of South Dakota and Lil's big cats rescue. I liked Lil and Coopers backstory; I've always had a thing for the childhood friends to lovers trope. That they got together as youngsters was believable and t Another typical Nora Roberts. I wish my library had a wider romance section for when my funds run out. Anyway, strong heroine and hero, strange murder mystery that puts the heroine in danger, hero wants to save her, but heroine can mostly save herself. Like I said, typical Nora. I liked the setting of South Dakota and Lil's big cats rescue. I liked Lil and Coopers backstory; I've always had a thing for the childhood friends to lovers trope. That they got together as youngsters was believable and that they broke up later was even more so. Once Coop was back in town, it was obvisouly only a matter of time before they found each other again. With characters and a setting this interesting, you don't really need a murder mystery, and I thought it got in the way of the romance quite a bit. I liked that Coop realized who it was so early, but for the rest I thought that story line not very interesting, and the final confrontation was very unbelievable. It also contributed to the cold feeling of the romance. And if I think about it, that's also standard Nora. Her romances miss warmth, her characters often overthink things and behave distant. I'm really starting to wonder why =roberts is the queen of contemporary romance, because except for Northern Lights I still haven't read one I'd like to reread one day.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Georgina

    This is my first Nora Roberts book, and I loved it! For starters the setting was great - love big country, big sky, wide open spaces. Also love romances where the characters first meet as children (or young adults), spend time apart and then reconnect as more experienced adults. The characters are really endearing. I like reading about strong, independent women who aren't stubborn to the point of stupidity. Lil is courageous, intelligent and skilled in her field but also keeps a cool head in a cris This is my first Nora Roberts book, and I loved it! For starters the setting was great - love big country, big sky, wide open spaces. Also love romances where the characters first meet as children (or young adults), spend time apart and then reconnect as more experienced adults. The characters are really endearing. I like reading about strong, independent women who aren't stubborn to the point of stupidity. Lil is courageous, intelligent and skilled in her field but also keeps a cool head in a crisis - no running off like an idiot just to prove a point (well, not until she literally has no choice but it really was a life or death decision). Coop is a great mix of strength and vulnerability. Sure, he gets a bit bossy but it's tolerable, and hey, it's fiction, so I indulged him! I think the author has a real talent for creating sexual tension between her characters - keeps me turning the pages until well into the early hours. I'm actually nearly finished my second book of Nora Roberts (The Reef), and I really love the worlds she paints for her characters and the plots. My only complaint about this book (and the reason it didn't get 5 stars) is because I felt it ended abrubtly. I would have liked her to linger a little more on the outcome between Coop and Lil.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    BLACK HILLS Written by Nora Roberts 2009; Putnam (472 Pages) Genre: romantic suspense, mystery Rating: ★★1/2 Eleven year old Cooper Sullivan feels like his parents exiled him to his maternal grandparents’ ranch in South Dakota and is down in the dumps until he meets tomboyish Lil Chance. The two become fast friends bonding over baseball, horseback riding and their encounter with a cougar. Over the years as Cooper visits, he and Lil become more than friends until one day Cooper breaks Lil’s heart and BLACK HILLS Written by Nora Roberts 2009; Putnam (472 Pages) Genre: romantic suspense, mystery Rating: ★★1/2 Eleven year old Cooper Sullivan feels like his parents exiled him to his maternal grandparents’ ranch in South Dakota and is down in the dumps until he meets tomboyish Lil Chance. The two become fast friends bonding over baseball, horseback riding and their encounter with a cougar. Over the years as Cooper visits, he and Lil become more than friends until one day Cooper breaks Lil’s heart and leaves for New York on his own. Fast forward to 2009 Cooper has come back to stay and run his grandparents ranch when his grandfather breaks his leg. Lil has also returned from a trip to Peru to run her wildlife reserves. If that wasn’t enough someone is out killing animals…and maybe humans. Nora Roberts and only 2.5 stars???!!! I did not care for the wildlife story line and the serial killer story line grew old and went on longer than it should have. Cooper and Lil were okay but I felt that Tansy and Farley overshadowed them and were a better couple. I dragged on this book and barley finished it My Novelesque Life

  23. 5 out of 5

    Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh

    First-class escapism; this one takes place in a South Dakota wild animal refuge. It’s your typical Nora Roberts plot; great romance with lots of suspense. One of my favorite Nora Roberts books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becky Lower

    This book was published in 2009 but I just now got around to reading it. I prefer Nora's older stuff, anyway, and this one kept me fascinated to the very end. Nicely done.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Reading this felt like a blast from the past. I always loved the books that spent time on the characters as kids and then showed them when they were older. This style doesn't always work for me, but this author has a way with it and I always enjoy it. The last couple books I've read by this author haven't been in this style (which isn't a bad thing) but I really enjoyed revisiting it. Getting to know Lil and Cooper when they were young made a nice start to the novel. There wasn't a huge chunk of Reading this felt like a blast from the past. I always loved the books that spent time on the characters as kids and then showed them when they were older. This style doesn't always work for me, but this author has a way with it and I always enjoy it. The last couple books I've read by this author haven't been in this style (which isn't a bad thing) but I really enjoyed revisiting it. Getting to know Lil and Cooper when they were young made a nice start to the novel. There wasn't a huge chunk of the book spent in this period which kept it short and sweet. The beginning of this novel was great and the end was great, but the middle dragged a bit. It's like the book lost steam for a bit before it finally got back on track. I liked all the information we had about the refuge and the wildlife there. I love how most of this author's characters have such different careers. It's nice to get a peek into the intricacies of some of the jobs. I didn't really enjoy the secondary romance. I felt we only got a shallow view and not really enough to be interesting. I think my biggest problem with this book was Lil. I thought she was beating a dead horse with the way she held on to her grudge. I'm going to rant at fictional Lil here for a bit... So, Cooper has told you why he broke up with you years ago. It may be a harsh reason, but I think it's a pretty good one all things considered. You keep him dancing on a string because you just can't believe him 100 percent. But you keep sleeping with him and you keep expecting him to bend over backwards for you. You seem bitter and like you need to get over yourself. There, I feel better now. Even with those irritating details, I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading the next one she puts out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    3.5 stars. really enjoyable book. I found it hard to put down at times. Cool meets Lil when he is 11 after being sent to live with his grandparents while his parents attempt to save their marriage. What he thinks will be the worst summer of his life becomes one that shapes his life. Coop meets Lil, a baseball loving girl with a homemade baseball diamond in her backyard. He continues to visit his grandparents each summer and his bond with Lil grows turning into romance during their teen years. Se 3.5 stars. really enjoyable book. I found it hard to put down at times. Cool meets Lil when he is 11 after being sent to live with his grandparents while his parents attempt to save their marriage. What he thinks will be the worst summer of his life becomes one that shapes his life. Coop meets Lil, a baseball loving girl with a homemade baseball diamond in her backyard. He continues to visit his grandparents each summer and his bond with Lil grows turning into romance during their teen years. Separated by distance, and their different career dreams, their relationship end. years later they meet again as Coop moves back to care for his grandparents. Lil is running a successful animal sanctuary and has traveled the world working as an animal biologist. The same attraction is there between them but Lil cannot forget how Coop broke her heart years ago. making matters worse, there is a serial killer taunting Lil. A seriAl killer who believes he is a Sioux Warrior defending sacred land that is rightfully his. We learn his identity fairly early on and learn about his various kills. I didn't mind knowing who the killer was. As the killer taunts Lil, killing animals, sending her an email, etc. her relationship with Coop intensifies as does the relationship between characters Tansey and Farley. The suspense builds as Lil attempts to save a loved ones life. As mentioned, I found this book to be hard toput down at times.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Gosh, I don't know how Nora Roberts does it, but she still manages to write one great book after the next ... Out of the 20 or so books I have read by her yet (I only discovered her books a year ago) this is possibly the best --- I absolutely loved it, and finished it in 3 days! The characters are great - both the lead and supporting characters. The story is set mostly in a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota --- not your usual setting for a book, and definitely very interesting. Gosh, I don't know how Nora Roberts does it, but she still manages to write one great book after the next ... Out of the 20 or so books I have read by her yet (I only discovered her books a year ago) this is possibly the best --- I absolutely loved it, and finished it in 3 days! The characters are great - both the lead and supporting characters. The story is set mostly in a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota --- not your usual setting for a book, and definitely very interesting. That's something I really like about Mrs. Roberts's books --- she always makes sure to use different geographical settings (Alaska, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Dakota and many more) and themes (from the repercussions of traumatic events or family secrets to such things as house-flipping or now wildlife conservation). "Black Hills" is superbly written and engaging ... there's a beautiful romance (actually, more than one), there's suspense right until the end ... a definite winner ... :o) If you liked "Angels Fall" or "Northern Lights" then you're going to love "Black Hills"!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I have read nearly everything this author has ever written including the Eve Dallas futuristic detective series. Just when you think you can't possibly love another story so much, she proves you wrong. She does I admit have a theme to this "type" of book, man, women, bad person, threat, climax, happily ever after. I can't deny this, it does not however detract from what is still an excellent read. Nora Roberts has a knack of getting to the heart of people, she gives details of their quirks, pers I have read nearly everything this author has ever written including the Eve Dallas futuristic detective series. Just when you think you can't possibly love another story so much, she proves you wrong. She does I admit have a theme to this "type" of book, man, women, bad person, threat, climax, happily ever after. I can't deny this, it does not however detract from what is still an excellent read. Nora Roberts has a knack of getting to the heart of people, she gives details of their quirks, personality their family relationships and the "way of life" for her characters. I was first introduced to Nora Roberts books after having my first child, a difficult baby who left me sleep deprived and lacking concentration. This author spins such an easy tale and gives a feeling of understanding to each of the characters that without little effort you are hooked. Black Hills doesn't dissappoint, it delivers on all the elements I mentioned and Coop and Lil become your friends overnight. I had a feeling of deflation at the end of the book, I was so sorry it had finished.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Coop and Lil were childhood sweethearts, but their paths diverged. Coop became a cop, then private investigator, and Lil realized her dream of founding a wildlife refuge on her parents land. When Coop's grandfather takes a fall and breaks his leg, Coop comes back to help out. He and Lil have a lot to work out, which is complicated by the fact that a psycho serial killer is stalking her. I don't know why, but I was really emotionally connected to the characters in this book. Every time any of the Coop and Lil were childhood sweethearts, but their paths diverged. Coop became a cop, then private investigator, and Lil realized her dream of founding a wildlife refuge on her parents land. When Coop's grandfather takes a fall and breaks his leg, Coop comes back to help out. He and Lil have a lot to work out, which is complicated by the fact that a psycho serial killer is stalking her. I don't know why, but I was really emotionally connected to the characters in this book. Every time any of them went off by themselves, I was so scared for them, thinking something was going to happen to them. It's a testament to the skill of Nora Roberts that she can not only write romance with crackling chemistry, but also an extremely suspenseful mystery/thriller all at the same time. It's difficult to do both; usually one or the other suffers, but, again, Roberts is a champion at both. It makes me sad that this genre gets a bad rap, because writing this beautiful deserves to be more lauded.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lorihudeck

    I actually read this book aloud to my husband while driving back from Ocean City, Md. I am pleased to report that it kept both of us entertained for the eight-hour drive. As someone who has read several of Nora Roberts' novels, I was able to predict major plot events as they are somewhat standard. Still, her stand alone works are so much better than some of her series' works. I am not an outdoorsy, let's go camping, kind of person, but this story made me want to go to South Dakota and ride a horse I actually read this book aloud to my husband while driving back from Ocean City, Md. I am pleased to report that it kept both of us entertained for the eight-hour drive. As someone who has read several of Nora Roberts' novels, I was able to predict major plot events as they are somewhat standard. Still, her stand alone works are so much better than some of her series' works. I am not an outdoorsy, let's go camping, kind of person, but this story made me want to go to South Dakota and ride a horse up a trail and spot cougars. There were just enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. The writing was fairly strong and the dialogue actually drew a few chuckles from my husband. It's not great literature, but it was good, fast-paced, if somewhat predictable tale. I would call it a romance with some mystery and murder thrown in. My husband called it a modern day Gunsmoke with just a little too much romance.

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