❦ This one surprised me. I didn't know what to expect from Libby Drew's 40 Souls to Keep (Carina Press 2012) and I'd never heard of the author before (digitally) "picking up" this book. Moreover the basis of the plot was unique to my experience: A man wakes up on a park bench with no memory of who he is, where he is, or how he got there. All he has to go by is the number 40 tattooed on his arm. He discovers that the tattoo represents the number of people he needs to heal—not just random sick people, but the 40 specific people he's intended for.
Not expecting much, I started reading. As with most books, it started out a bit slow, but not too slow to keep me reading. Turns out, 40 Souls is one quarter fantasy, one third mystery, and one half romance—which all adds up to a ⚅. Once it finally got underway, it moved quickly. The characters were well developed and likable. The hook at the end was not only unexpected, but came to light in the most interesting way and at the best possible point in the novel.
Most books I'd read for quite a while rolled low numbers, but several lately have rolled ⚅'s. For this reason, I nearly gave this one a ⚄, simply because it's not very artsy and isn't a Times best-seller. But, considering I was as intrigued and entertained by 40 Souls as I'd been by anything in quite a while, I had to be honest and admit that it rolled a ⚅.