Monday 22 October 2012

Book Review: 40 Souls to Keep by Libby Drew

Review copy from Netgalley courtesy of the publisher
40 Souls to Keep
by Libby Drew
Carina Press
M/M Romance/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Release date 19 November 2012
4 Stars


Seven years ago, Jase awoke with the mystical power to heal people—and no memory of his past. The only clue to his identity is the number forty tattooed on his arm. Driven by a mission he doesn't understand, Jase follows his visions to those he's meant to save. He is convinced that the fortieth person he's drawn to—a little girl named Macy Pearl—is the key to finally learning the truth…

Social worker Lucas Jacobson has made a promise to protect Macy, orphaned when her parents were brutally murdered. So when Jase shows up in Naples claiming he's there to heal the child, Lucas is wary, despite his attraction to the enigmatic stranger.

Then Macy is abducted, and Lucas has no choice but to trust in Jase. Scouring the city from its glitzy resorts to its seedy underbelly only deepens the mystery—and draws the two men closer. But Jase is certain of one thing: if Macy dies, a dark fate awaits them all.


This book has more of a plot than some M/M romances I've read, but that isn't a problem for me, I like a bit of a plot with my romance. The book opens with a man awakening on a park bench with no memory of his past, or even who he is. A kindly grandmother takes him home, feeds him and gives him some money to help him on his way and calls him Jase, the name of her dead son. Before he goes, Jase senses that she has cancer and more than that, he senses he can heal her. He doesn't know how, but just by touching her he cures her cancer. She was number one and now he has thirty-nine more people to heal.

Macy Pearl is number forty and Jase is determined to save her and once that is done hopes to discover the secrets of his past. Lucas Jacobson, the social worker called to the scene after Macy's parents are murdered, is standing in his way. As well as being able to heal, Jase also has the power to influence people, but for some reason Lucas is immune to this power.

The sparks fly between Lucas and Jase from the moment they first meet, but Lucas is understandably wary of this stranger and his weird talk of saving people. They grow closer over their concern for Macy and after an intimate moment on the couch, Macy is kidnapped from the bedroom.

You can feel their guilt over this, as they both knew Macy was being targeted by someone, but who and why? The mystery keeps you guessing right till near the end. And, such a treat for me, I didn't guess the culprit until way near the end, even though there were a few hints throughout the book.

We have flashbacks in the book regarding Jase's use of his healing abilities and sometimes his not no nice use of his influence, which might have made him a dislikeable character, but the flashbacks also go to show how much he's grown and how he desperately wants to do the right thing now, and not just because he might get his memory back.

There was a bit too much social commentary for my taste, but as it was from Lucas' point of view, and I could well imagine Lucas thinking these things, it didn't interrupt the flow of the story too much. The love scenes were deftly handled, with most of it concentrating on the emotional connection between the characters rather than just the physical. It was a well-written book with engaging characters and descriptions so vivid you could feel the heat, humidity and torrential rains of Florida and almost see the alligators. Lucas and Jase were both flawed in some ways, but that just made them seem that bit more realistic. There was also a touch of humour dotted throughout the book which helped balance the darker aspects.

An enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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