Thursday, October 29, 2009

Black Hill by Nora Roberts

First let me apology to Alice, from Hello, My Name is Alice (my joint-read buddy)for delaying the review. I've been sick for 2 weeks and writing review was just out of my mind, when I'm on a bed rest. But that should not be an excused to delay sending my three Q&A to her, so that she can post her review up at her blog before me. Sorry! :) As always I enjoy joint-reading Black Hills with you, Alice. And hope to do more joint-read with you in the future :)

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. 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 by, Lil remains 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 dear need them most....

Here is my Joint-Reading Q&A Review with Alice. Below is Alice's first three questions and than mine first three questions. I've add a mini review after my Q&A too. I've always enjoy joint-reading with Alice and hope to do more with her in later future. I want to thanks Alice for her patient to wait for me with these Q&A. Enjoy our reviews! P.S. Please forgive my none sense babbling answers *teeheee*.

Alice's Question 1
BLACK HILLS looks like an ordinary love story, but the presence of the serial killer that terrorizes Lil Chance, and Coop Sullivan’s return to his grandparent’s farm after many years, makes a good story—one that is suspenseful and satisfying. What do you think of it and what of the characters, Lil and Coop, and their romance?

~~ I have always love the childhood become best friend first and than lover later. One of my favorite theme I always love to read and look for when searching from "New to me authors". I love that we get to see them as kids and what their life was before growing up. I also like the point of view of Coop thoughts at the beginning. It was done in a way a young boy would reacted, funny, tough, sad and mad. You can feel his emotion and attitude as he take in what is happening on that one particular bad day. One of the thing that I think Nora Roberts does well with male POV, IMO. Their relationship was cut short when they grew apart because of an issues that Coop believe he did the right thing doing what he did, for both of them. But once they met again, when they confront their issues, I thought it was well done.
~~ The mystery were not suspenseful as it should but the violence on poor animals was a little hard to take. It kinda reminded me of Nora's Montana Sky, which happen to be one of my favorite of Nora.

Alice's Question 2
Nora Roberts researched Black Hills of South Dakota for her story, and included the respected war leader of the Oglala Dakota, Crazy Horse, as Lil is somewhat related to the bloodline. She also impart some knowledge about cougars and other big cats that are residing in the Chance Wildlife Reserve Lil has put so much effort in setting up. Is there any part of the story that you disliked or found too tedious? What do you like best about this particular book?

~~ The fact that these Wildlife animals/creature are held in a cages and not being free. But I understand that Lil want to protect them from harms that existed around the wild out there. She loves these animals as much as the animals love her back. You can tell by the way they interacted with one another. I love "Baby"!
~~ IMO, Nora have always been good at doing research of the many places for her story. And when she write it felt so real, as if I can really image myself actually being there. The place she told, is always fascinating. Even when I never been in the places before. With Black Hills I wasn't sure if I got that feel of the places well enough. But I felt I knew the people who existed in that place to over look that.

Alice's Question 3
Family support plays an important part to the development of the characters. Lil has a wonderful set of parents and stays in the farm at Black Hills. Coop is sent to his grandparents’ house in Black Hills for the summer as his parents go through divorce proceedings in the city, leaving him bitter. Lucky for him, he has a set of grandparents who care for him and patiently shape him into what he is as an adult. His relationship with Lil then grows from that of childhood friends to lovers. Do you think that the story is clich├ęd or too programmed? What are your thoughts about their family dynamics?

~~ I love how Nora write about family. Even family who taking in a stray/trouble child and make them as part of their family. As if s(he) one of their own child or sibling. And shape them into becoming a better person that they can be as adult. And learning about what family is all about. It one of my favorite thing Nora have done in past.
~~ I love Coop's grandparents from first 'meeting' and knew they will care for him and give him a better life. My grandparents was not around by the time I grew up, but what I remember of my grandparents, as young as I was, was that they kept their families together. And this is what I see in Coop's grandparent.

Julia's Questions 1:
Coop and Lil go their separate ways in their younger days. It is more of Coop’s idea of disappearing even though his intention is a good one. Lil is, of course, heartbroken. In your opinion, did he do the right thing?

~~ Without spoiling it, I think he did the right thing. Because Lil life weren't be where it is now. And it is the good life. I can understand his reason behind it but he could have handle it more better than the way he did. The way he handle the situation made it far worse. And Lil feeling was hurt too deep. It as if he have thought only about the decision for her best interest without thinking of Lil feeling. I can also understand that he had to make a tough, heart wrenching decision too. I can also understand Lil being upset as I would reacted the same way she did. Coops acted as if her feeling doesn't matter and that he can just get back into her life when ever he want to, as if nothing happen. I think of Lil as strong stable woman who can take care of herself in a way that Coop didn't realized. But than I also felt that Lil was too emotionally involved that she couldn't see the logical perspective decision in his part. Looking at his family background, you can see where his decision came from. And I'm glad that Coop had to work at trying to win her back. Both were too stubborn with pride.

Julia's Question 2:
There is also another interesting couple who are supporting characters in the story. Farley (a younger man) is interested in Tansy (an older woman) and they both work for Lil. Not only is there an age difference, they’re also both of different races. What do you think of this relationship?

~~ I love the secondary supporting couple and was rooting for them. I really don't mind the age/race different between them. They're in love and that what counted. I love that Farley is so sweet and pursuing Tansy until she given him a chance. The scene at the store were my favorite, the one with Farley, Lil in it. I chuckle through the whole thing.

Julia's Question 3:
What did you think about the cover art of Black Hills? Goes well with the story or not?

~~ I love the cover art of Black Hills and thought it does match the story inside. Most of the time when a cover art don't matched the story inside, it take me out of the reading and make me go "uh?". The cover art of Black Hills has an interesting picture, showing the beauty of Wildlife.

Mini Review:
I didn't think I would, but I did enjoy reading Black Hills, probably because the romance part of it. Yes the story did focus a lot on animals Wildlife Reserve and it's history but while the topic don't interested me much, the research are well done, the animals, the characters and their relationship kept me reading. These animals that are not consider as pet are kept for their protection and those that can be on their own are released back in the wild. Lil know the land and understand the hunt of wild life. She have studies it and protected them as it's her own kin. There is a hunter who prey to kill and won't stop until the hunter get what he want. The villain was not as suspense as it could be but it simple to feel sorry for the person. I did like the relationship between Coop and Lil, including all the other characters too. And I love the dialogue where Lil and Coop confront their past, as well. I thought this show at lease more focus in romance than the last two books Tribute and High Noon, which is what I like about it. My only complaint is that I felt the ending was a bit rushed, leaving some part unsaid. Would have love to read a couple more pages. Other than that, I like the book.

Grade: 4 stars

If you would like to see Alice's answer to these 6 Q&A at her blog, please visit here. Again, thanks for the enjoyment of joint-reading with you, Alice! :)


Melody said...

Great questions and answers! I'm glad you enjoyed reading this book, Julia. Now I can't wait to read Alice's answer. :)

Alice Teh said...

I enjoyed reading this together with you too, Julia. Don't worry about delaying anything. We're not competing! LOL! This is one of the better recent books by Nora and I really like it.

Julia said...

Melody - Thanks! I sure hope you give this book a try.

Alice - Me too, I enjoy reading the book along with you! And again thank for being patient with me :) You right, that this book is much better than the other :)