Review: Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower

Sempre: Redemption (Sempre, #2)

Sempre Redemption
(Forever #2)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: April 1, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.

The electrifying sequel to Sempre! This is a story about loyalty and love. It is a story about finding redemption— even when all seems lost.

Swearing allegiance to the Mafia in order to save Haven Antonelli—the girl he loves—forces Carmine DeMarco to make the ultimate sacrifice. Sent to Chicago to work for La Cosa Nostra, he refuses to place Haven in harm’s way by taking her with him. She deserves a shot at a normal life. But as he becomes more and more immersed in a world of terrible crimes, he realizes that surviving without her may be more than he is able to bear. . . .

Stunned and hurt that Carmine has left her, Haven must now learn to make her way in the world without him. Her heart aches with the loss, but for the first time, she’s making her own choices and accomplishing dreams she never thought were within her reach. The past, however, is not done with either her or Carmine. As Haven discovers dark secrets about the family who enslaved her and her mother, and why she matters so much in this web of lies, she realizes what terrible pain may still lie in wait for her and the boy she loves. And what they must suffer to find redemption. . . .

my thoughts new

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“What do you do when the thing you want most suddenly feels like it’s beyond your fingertips?”

5 stars will never be enough for this book.

I still can’t believe how this series ended in such a beautiful, satisfying, and all-consuming fashion. This is absolutely one of the riveting series-enders I’ve read so far– one that will stay glued in my mind forever.

In this second and final book of Sempre duology, Carmine and Haven’s life totally changed. Both of them were forced to separate and go in opposite directions because of the deal Carmine made with Salvatore in the previous book. Carmine is now a full-pledged member of the Mafia while Haven is basically free and is pursuing a normal college life in New York. With the absence of each other, their hearts didn’t seem to grow fonder and despite the things that happened, both of them weren’t able to forget their love.

I cannot think of better words that will do the book justice. Everything messed up my emotions. First off, I loved J.M. Darhower’s writing. As always. It just didn’t get old. This author manages to leave such an overwhelming impact to her readers because of her raw and brilliant way of writing. The dialogues shared by the characters were so intimately sensitive that I found myself falling in love and feeling their sadness and pain.

“He was surrounded by violence and death, the ugliness eating away at him, but then on the other side, there was her. She was peace and hope, and pure beauty. She was the good that he hoped would overpower the bad.”

Sempre: Redemption didn’t particularly prepare me with its much darker approach. I thought Sempre has a mild touch of darkness and graphic violence scenes but in this book, I can say that J.M. Darhower gave it all when it comes to the intensity of its dark theme. Some daring actions were thrown in and even the major character Corrado Moretti(who was so much badass-er) was given an opportunity to stand out.

Haven and Carmine’s character was also nicely developed here. I loved their strength and their faith. What basically made them admirable was how they didn’t give in to possible new relationships when they were no longer together. It took a lot of chapters for me to endure their sacrifice but in the end, I was glad because what happened to them was exactly what I wished to transpire in the book.

Yes, this book was hard to read at times because of its emotionally-draining scenes which were dragged on an interlude of heartaches and even tragedies, but it was so worth it. This book was so heartfelt and it wasn’t just about two characters in a forbidden love but it was also more about how these Mafia people value their devotion to their family. Given the length of the book which is about 500+ pages, I wasn’t intimated. It’s because no matter how tough this book was and even if there were sad and terrifying moments that occurred, the ending turned out to be a perfection it made me wept both sad and happy tears. I will never forget this series. It will remain in my heart, SEMPRE.

“Everyone falls sometimes, son, even me, but the trick is to get right back up. They’ll always target the ones who appear vulnerable, so you need to be strong. Fake it until you make it.”

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Rating:

5 stars new

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Novella Review: Friends by J.M. Darhower

Friends (Sempre, #0.5)

Friends
(Sempre #0.5)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: J.M. Darhower
Published: October 27, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary, Dark
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Friends:
One moment.
One wrong choice.
That was all it took to destroy a friendship.
*takes place before Sempre*

my thoughts new

Friends is a Sempre novella. It’s about what happened to our boy Carmine DeMarco before he met Haven Antonelli. I loved how we get to see a glimpse of his friendship withNicholas here and the reason why they fell apart. This novella pulled on a few heartstrings. A bit heavy but it sure was worth reading. My heart ached for both boys since obviously these two are f*cked up in more ways than one and they came from families who have complicated issues.

Once again I was awed by J.M. Darhower’s writing style. It made me miss reading Sempre. I have yet to read Sempre Redemption and I’m so excited on what’s about to happen to Carmine and the rest of the gang.

P.S. You can read this novella after reading Sempre. 🙂

Rating:

5 stars new

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Review: Sempre by J.M. Darhower

 Sempre (Forever, #1)

Sempre
(Sempre #1)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: February 25, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Dark, Romance Contemporary, Suspense
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT SACRIFICE… DEATH… LOVE… FREEDOM. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT FOREVER.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was 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 and excess. Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. 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 began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead.

Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price-especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

my thoughts new

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(Buddyreading this book with my lovely sis Eunice)

“When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it.”

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I believe this is one of the best books written so far.

Sempre is yet another masterpiece where J.M. Darhower uses a dark theme as a plot device for a YA/NA romantic genre.

The story centered around Haven who grew up as a slave under the Antonelli family. She was about to escape and ask for help when she stumbled upon Dr. Vincent DeMarco who brought her to his home and basically gave her shelter. In return, she was also to work as his slave– with restrictions and certain rules to never get out of the house or open any code inside. In her new home she met the notorious bad boy Carmin DeMarco, a Mafia prince who has the entire world under his fingertips. What soon blossomed between them was an unexpected love which eventually became a complication to their situation where danger continues to threaten them and heavy decisions matter.

I loved the concept of this book and the exquisite romance of two young people who fell in love against seemingly impossible odds. I expected it to be something different, something that I’m used to in a Mafia romance, but I was surprised by its uniqueness. The writing of J.M. Darhower and the ardent tone she used gave me a plethora of different emotions.

She was quiet, running her fingers across his abs and tracing his scars with her fingertips. “How about we just be Haven and Carmine? We don’t know the ending, but we can always hope for the best.”

“I like that,” he said. “Besides, there’s a reason we don’t know how a story ends.”

“Why?”

“Because it doesn’t.”

Carmine and Haven’s love story was one of a kind. I absolutely loved their exchange of lines and the way their cheesy yet heart-warming conversations moved me. It also helped a lot that Carmine was such a cocky, sarcastic, yet very passionate and sweet guy. Just a heads up, this guy is extremely jealous and possessive but I admit to myself that I didn’t have any problem with him being that way because well, who am I to complain? His character was defined so perfectly and I just could’t do anything but SWOON.

“You were brought to me for a reason, for us to save each other. Because you weren’t the only one needing to be saved, Haven. I was drowning, and you rescued me.”

At first I did have a little problem with the pacing. The book, I admit, did drag out too long. BUT! I realized when I got to Chapters 40 and beyond that those dragging scenes were a necessity. They were like spices that made the whole book entirely meaningful and dramatic. If the story did not finish with a BOOM, and if the story didn’t have that beautifulclimax, then I’d probably resent its slow-pacing but then I loved how the overall story turned out so it didn’t become a problem with me.

There were many places Carmine would go back to, many things he would have done differently, but one thing he wouldn’t take back was what he had done to save her.

As a whole, this book was a real surprise. The drama, the sentiments, the dilemma, and even the slow-burn flaw that the author managed to convey were so overwhelming and thought-provoking. I cried a lot of times as I went through its pages (How could an author do that to me?) and I experienced a great deal of adrenaline-rush after reading those action scenes in the near-end. It was just so good!!!

To those who love heavy drama and romance with action-packed scenarios, you definitely should read this book. I cannot be alone in this, guys! I have to get you to read and experience the beauty of this book, too!

Their love existed, despite everything else, and it was the love that would go on forever. The moment was etched in time, transcending the constraints put on them by life..

Rating:

5 stars new

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xo pearl