Review: Sempre by J.M. Darhower

April 20, 2012 Book Review, New Adult 23 ★★★★★

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
SempreSempre by J.M. Darhower
Series: Sempre #1
Published by Self-pub Genres: Contemporary Fiction, New Adult, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
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This is a story about sacrifice... death... love... freedom. This is a story about forever.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did. Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think. In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that started before either were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price-- especially not freedom. How much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free? Not everything is as it seems, and no one can possibly come out unscathed, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be worth it in the end.

I am having trouble finding the words for how much I loved this story, a story of a young girl who was raised as a slave, and a boy who teaches her what it is like to live.
Haven is a girl who was raised away from the outside world and does not know what freedom is, but what is so amazing about her is that she has so much spirit. She is incredibly strong and learns to overcome more than any young girl should ever have to. Carmine is the ultimate bad boy. Before he met Haven, he was well known for his temper, his cursing, and his womanizing ways. And even though he falls in love and is wholly dedicated to only her (expect some swoony Italian phrases), he never loses his crassness and humor. He can turn something so simple into such a moment of laughter.

“There isn’t a button,” she said. “You choose your setting and then you pull the dial.” He glanced at her as she folded a shirt, annoyed by her nonchalance at doing laundry. “What exactly is my setting? It looks to me like the setting is the goddamn laundry room and the plot is I don’t know how to fucking turn this thing on.”

But this isn’t just a story of Haven and Carmine. There are a number of amazing secondary characters but no one as important as Vincent, Carmine’s father, who also happens to be the consigliere in the mafia. His story is interwoven into the details of Haven and Carmine’s past, present and future and keeps you on the edge of your seat as you discover all the new pieces of information. I had a love/hate relationship with him. There were moments, moreso in the beginning, where I just wanted to slap that man. But just as Haven and Carmine grow and change, so does he. And it is wonderful to see.

The most important thing I will take away from this amazing story, is how it opened my eyes to human trafficking. It is hard to believe that slavery is still going on in the modern world, but it is a very real problem that needs more awareness because it can happen to anyone. I think it is important to note that a portion of the proceeds from Sempre goes towards Love146, an organization dedicated to the prevention and aftercare solutions for those who are survivors.

Sempre is a story that will always stay with me. It is an amazing first novel from the self-published J.M. Darhower and I cannot wait for the sequel!

“And I love you,” he said, his voice a whisper, but Haven felt it powerfully, deep down in her soul. “Ti amo, mia bella ragazza. Per sempre.”


**I would recommend this book for older teens and up due to profanity, violence, and sexual situations.**

About J.M. Darhower

J.M. Darhower is the USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal/erotic/romantic suspense novels about the baddest bad boys and the ladies who love them. Fangirl at heart, J.M. is obsessed with books, music, and all things Marvel, especially the glorious Sebastian Stan. She spends her days in a tiny town in North Carolina, churning out words and chasing down Pokémon.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

23 Responses to “Review: Sempre by J.M. Darhower”

  1. Sam

    Oh wow, this sounds like a very moving story. I haven’t heard of this before so thank you for drawing it to my attention! I think it goes to prove how great this book was if you were struggling to find the words to express how much you loved it. Great review! 🙂

  2. Mimi Valentine

    Oh my goodness, Sara, how have I never heard of this book before?? It sounds AMAZING! And not the kind of fast-paced fantasy amazing, but the REAL amazing, the kind of amazing that’s touching and sweet at the exact same time! I’ve always been against human trafficking but for some reason, I’ve never read a book about it before. I definitely need to change that now! 🙂

    Awesome review, Sarah! Thanks so much for telling me about this beautiful-sounding book! 🙂 <3

  3. Celine

    I haven’t heard of this book before too but it sounds AWESOME! I love the cover too, it looks so cool!

    Thank you for putting this book in radar, Sara! I hope I can get the chance to read this book and awesome review! ♥

  4. Jenny

    Wow, how have I never heard of this book before?! It sounds powerful and amazing, and it’s definitely going on my list. I can tell due to the subject matter that this is going to be a story that weighs heavily on me, but those are always the stories that stay with me the longest:)

  5. Eesti

    This story is amazing. I had originally read the fanfic version of this story. When I found out she was publishing it as an actual book, I was extremely happy. It’s an amazing story about love, freedom, death, and sacrificing. This story has a perfect balance of Love and drama. However, it is not recommended for everyone. The author writes about many heavy and dark subjects. I love the way the author writes. It’s a story that is hard to put down. There are points when you want to stop reading because you don’t want it to end but at the same time you just won’t be able to stop. She manages to capture your attention and your emotions. Her characters aren’t just like any characters. They become real, you fall in love with them. You find yourself feeling what they feel. This is definitely one of those stories that is a must read and a read more than once.

  6. MellyBells

    I loved this story when it was being posted one chapter at a time & driving all of fanfic readers insane! I laughed at some things, I cried at even more, & I even had moments where I laughed so hard I was in tears. When she pulled it to publish I was both excited & disappointed. Excited because I couldn’t wait to be one of the first to own my very own, signed copy! Disappointed because I knew the character names were going to change & things were going to have to be edited & changed up. But I was pleasantly surprised when I got my copy of Sempre because while yes there were changes made the story didn’t lose any of the amazingness that made me fall so hard in love with EP! If you’re looking for a great book to read with a difficult subject matter then this book is perfect!!! I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

  7. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I love when people are so excited for a book. Both you and Megan recommend this book to me from my review of Captive in the Dark (which I LOVE). Does it have to do with sex slaves too? And I really liked Extinguished so I will definitely be reading this one too. And OMG, this has to do with the mafia!? Have I ever told you how fascinated I am by the mafia? (GH) Looking forward to this one!

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