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The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Rating: Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

You will love this book if you enjoy:

- Zombies

- Stories about Fae magic

- A slow build romance

- Adventure

My friend and co-host of my new podcast, The Scarlet Readers, suggested this book to me. I admit I was a little scared because I'm a full wimp when it comes to characters I love dying and zombie books are generally known for killing people off. However, I would totally recommend this book to people. Emily Lloyd-Jones successfully gives her readers the obligatory zombie scenes (you know, those scenes zombie-book lovers would be mad not to have) within a fresh, original take on the tale.

No viruses bring the dead back to life in this book. Instead, a mysterious curse is leaking toward 17 year old Ryn's hometown. A gravedigger by trade and the oldest one in her family, Ryn carries the weight of her sibling's safety as she struggles to earn enough money to keep the graveyard and their home. So when the lost (but polite) mapmaker named Ellis asks for her help to get through the mountains, she uses the chance to not only make money for her family but to uncover the source of the curse and destroy it before the zombies, or bone-houses as they're called in the book, destroy her town. The opposition Ryn faces is believable within the world Emily Lloyd-Jones created. I loved Ryn's respect for the dead, how she tried to honor the dead even as they came back to life and threatened her family. Roughly half of the book is in Ellis's point of view which gave the readers an outsider's view of the town which added to the richness of the setting and character development.

It's so refreshing to have a male love interest who is a genuinely good guy, who treats others with respect without expecting anything in return. Long before Ryn and Ellis started looking at each other romantically, I was already texting my sisters with just this gif.

The characters were unique (how many grave-digger and lost mapmaker duos are out there?) and the twist at the end strangely uplifting. I did guess a lot of the twists within the book but that was okay. I would totally recommend this book to anyone who's in the right head space to delve into concepts of death (2020 has been rough). This book obviously deals with grief but does so in a great way, a not dwelling on the harder parts but celebrating the memories, the love, and the journey toward letting go. You can find The Bone Houses on Amazon or wherever you purchase your books.

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