Review: Blacklands by Belinda Bauer


“Slicing through every social norm, evading capture with superhuman ease, and preying on the small, the vulnerable, and the trusting, Avery had swept down like the angel of death and pulled a pin out of his family. Then he hadn’t even stuck around to watch it explode.”

4/5 Stars


Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.

So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer.

My Thoughts

For a mystery/ crime thriller, Blacklands was definitely one of those books that has you wondering what’s going to happen next, while not noticing the slow building, anxiety inducing stress that has crept into your mind, because deep down you do know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s delicious.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the fascinating narrative. Points of view switch between Steven, Arnold Avery, and Stephen’s mother, although the latter is brief. SO, we’ll just focus on Steven and Arnold.

This is a beautifully done ‘cat-and-mouse’ game written from the perspective of the intellectual mind. That is, without much dialogue happening, the narrative is almost strictly written from the perspective of the conscious and subconscious mind. Each is trying to figure the other out, while maintaining the illusion that the game isn’t about ultimately getting what one wants from the other in the end. And the game can have deadly consequences for each.

Some may find that the story is a bit slow, but I think that’s where you’ll discover the whole point of the book. This book is NOT about what happens at the end, because the end can go one of two ways. No, this book is 100 percent about the chase, and the study of each individual as they move their pieces in a game of chess.

I would highly recommend this to any fans of the mystery/thriller genre. It’s different, and it’s absolutely a fascinating story. You can find the Goodreads page here.

Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite genre to read?

Weekend Reads: 01/18-01/20

open book - unsplash Jonas Jacobsson

Happy Friday all! I’m going to be trying out something new, something that involves my reading plans for the weekend. (I know, totally not obvious from the title 😉 ) I’ll be posting these every Friday, and I can’t wait to see what this may/may not do for that ever growing list of books I would love to get to.

There are a lot of books I want to devour this year, as we all do, and the weekend is a great time to do that. I can take a book with me on the go, or curl up with one when I get a chance to relax. And let’s be honest: that IS what the weekend is for, right? No matter how busy or packed they can get, it’s always super important to try and get some R&R out of them. You owe it to yourself, and to those around you to get those anti-stress activities in whenever possible. Drifting off to story land is definitely one of my go-to’s.

So here are the books I will be getting into this weekend! Let me know what your weekend plans entail!


The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (Amazon Classics Edition)

I started this about a week ago and have been reading each night before I go to bed. This edition is on my Kindle Paperwhite so it has been nice having a book to read without a book light attached to the top. So far, I’m enjoying the story and am actually a little embarrassed to say this is the first classic I’ve read since high school. I’m about 44% through and am hoping to make some more progress this weekend.


Spindle's EndSpindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley stole a piece of my heart when I read the Beauty and the Beast retelling from her Folktales collection a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been meaning to get into another one from the collection, and Spindle’s End is exactly where I mean to pick it back up. This is a Sleeping Beauty story and I can’t wait to see how she spins this one.



When Angels Play PokerWhen Angels Play Poker by Maura O’Leary

I received this from the publisher for review, a while ago actually, and need to get this one wrapped up and well, reviewed. The story is about a man who dies and goes to heaven as a guardian angel to someone he had a connection to while he was alive. I’ve only about 40 pages left to read, so I don’t think finishing it this weekend should be an issue at all. I’m curious to see how it ends!



Fierce Marriage: Radically Pursuing Each Other in Light of Christ's Relentless LoveFierce Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick

My husband and I started Fierce Marriage this past Tuesday, and have been reading a chapter on nights when we have time. It’s nice to get the opportunity to read together, something we try to do often, and it’s not been very challenging to find a book we are both interested in reading, whether it be fantasy, sci-fi, or a book that feels more like a devotional. The content in this is great so far, and I’m really looking forward to reading another chapter or two this weekend!


That’s all for this post, thanks for reading! How are you spending your weekend? 🙂 

Library Haul: 2019-01

jan library haul

I love a good library haul! While I love a book buying session as much as the next bookworm, I have been working on buying less (like I’ve seen most have resolved to do during this new year 😉 ) and utilizing my local library more. I’m thankful the library exists, for all sorts of reasons, and would like to make a more conscious effort to use it, rather than buying a ton of books I may not end up enjoying.

I haven’t really made any resolutions for 2019, but I have made a goal that involves my backlisted TBR. I have books that have been sitting on my Goodreads to-read list since as far back as 2012, many of those being YA fantasy. And while there is nothing at all wrong with the young adult genre, I’ve realized from my reading last year that I may be growing out of it, and am no longer the target audience for these types of books. Problem is, I added them for a reason. The stories sound super interesting and my curiosity is still quite piqued. All of this ^^^ is to say:

In 2019, my library hauls will be focused mainly on getting to my backlisted TBR books, with a higher priority being given to the YA books I think still sound worth going after. I’m not gathering books in a strict order, but am rather picking and choosing titles, keeping in mind which ones have been there the longest. OK, you’re probably here to see the books so here we go! I grabbed five library books this month and, as usual, Goodreads links will be included for each book. 🙂

This is Belinda Bauer’s debut novel and is a mystery crime thriller. It follows the narratives of a young boy and a child serial killer, both linked in a way you wouldn’t expect. I’ve actually started reading this one already and am about 60 percent of the way through. It’s amazing, chilling, and quite the roller coaster. The story is quite dark, and although it isn’t gory, doesn’t really leave out much in the way of details in some parts. But I can’t wait to see how it ends!



Not sure why this one has been unread for so long. I love Robin McKinley’s retellings and this folktale focuses on Sleeping Beauty’s story. She writes excellent characters, and the narration is never dialogue heavy. And the romance that almost always accompanies a fairy tale, when controlled by this author, is believable and actually quite good.

Spindle's End


If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know by now I am a sucker for assassins. Naturally, this YA fantasy about a girl who runs away from her family of pirates to avoid a marriage, and ends up being hunted by an assassin. This story has all the elements of something I’d be instantly drawn to from the synopsis alone, and the book cover gives kind of an “Arabian Nights” vibe so I’m really hoping to enjoy the story.

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)


This is a historical fiction novel that follows a young girl named Dora who becomes a midwife apprentice during WWI. The story sounds tragic, but so interesting as Dora must learn to navigate her new profession during a time when modern medicine is pushing back against some of the more traditional ways of healing and caring for patients. This sounds like a book I’ll have trouble putting down.

The Birth House


This is the story of young Will, orphaned assistant to a doctor of monstrumology: the study of monsters. The book sounds like it contains diary passages written by this young assistant as he recounts the terrors and successes of their work in the field. I don’t really know much more about it, but all the more reason to get started reading it right away!

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

That’s all for this haul. Thanks for stopping by! Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think? I’d really love to know 🙂