ARC Review-Sempre & Sempre: Redemption: J.M. Darhower

Add to Goodreads     Buy: Kindle/Nook

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.

Um, wow! Sempre left me aching to immediately delve into the next chapter of Carmine and Haven’s journey...

"They were two broken kids, desperate to be whole again, struggling to find balance in a world out of their control. What's black and white and red all over? Carmine was, Haven thought. A soul savagely ripped in half, bleeding out for all to see. The yin and yang, the good and evil, the love and pain all at odds with each other. Two sides, two vastly different worlds, but someday they would merge as one. They had to."

At first glance, Carmine and Haven are the epitome of opposites attract. Mobster vs slave. Carmen's world is upended by life as an heir to the mafia; Haven’s from being grossly mistreated as a second-generation slave. He’s reckless, outgoing, and selfish; she’s meek, skittish, and giving. Looking past all that you'll realize that these two souls so vastly different are indeed quite the same.

“Tell me, Mr. DeMarco. What’s love to you?”
He glared at his teacher. “I think it’s ridiculous you’re even trying to define it like it’s something material you can just go find if you want it. People use the word too loosely as it is. They say they love this and they love that, when they don’t. They just like the shi— uh, stuff. Love is something that changes you, and if you really loved all the crap you say you love, you’d never know who you were because you’d constantly be changing. Once you love, you love forever. You can’t help it.”

Redemption was not a quick or simple fix for our hero and heroine, they had to work hard for every ounce of it. And in the end, their struggles and hardships allowed them an opportunity to seek solace, self-identity, atonement, and one's own place in the world. I'll admit I enjoyed this aspect of the story very much. It was refreshing to sit down and read a book that I didn't have to experience the typical plot line of instalove or the oh so overwhelming fight and flight syndrome. I loved the fact that nothing came easy to them, and because of this I quite often forgot I was reading a YA novel. Carmine and Haven were only 17-years-old, however, Ms. Darhower wrote them with such character and depth that their maturity came across as beyond their young years. 

Carmine and Haven are without a doubt one of my favorite couples ever written! They are a raw, beautiful mess. Carmine and Haven's relationship was one of pain, trepidation and desperation, but in the same sense it was one built on no judgments; offering friendship, love, hope, and sacrifice. Their story often feeling as though these two would never be on the same page. It was inspiring to watch the two of them explore and flounder cautiously through these new found feelings of love for each other. And holy hell did they make this journey worth every frustrating roller coaster moment. The absolute connection between the two dripped from the pages with every turn; captivating me with the steady growth of their relationship, hook line and sinker. Everything about this couple seamlessly blended together beautifully. Carmine and Haven were two perfect and stunningly written characters that will stay with me forever; their journey marking me in a way I wasn't quite expecting. 

“Il tempo guarisce tutti i mali. Time heals all wounds. Some things in life only happen once, the memories of them lasting forever. They are  moments that alter you, turning you into a person you never thought you'd become, but someone you were always destined to be. There's no magical rewind button in life, no take backs or do-overs to fix things you wish could change. ”

Sempre has been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year now and I am totally kicking myself for not reading this book sooner rather than later. Was it one of those in your face type stories?  No, in my opinion, it wasn't. Carmine and Haven snuck up on  me; completely knocking me on my ass.  It's one of the few books I've read this year that wrapped me up so completely and intensely. I mean I knew from all the stunning reviews it would be good, I just didn't realized how much it would move me. I can honestly say that by the time you reach the last page, you'll find  J.M. Darhower poured her heart and soul into these characters, and I felt it with every word I devoured.  

In case you haven't noticed from my review, this book comes highly recommended from me! I loved Sempre so much I immediately added it straight to my faves of 2013 shelves. So what are you waiting for, hurry up and one click!!

Thank you, Gallery Books and J.M. Darhower, for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Sempre: Redemption in exchange for my honest opinion.
Add to Goodreads           Buy: Kindle/Nook

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.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine’s father, and with his family’s help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions of a mafia family cost Carmine a steep price: he was forced to swear loyalty to them.

Now, still passionately in love, Carmine and Haven must face the fall-out of Carmine’s forced service, as Haven discovers terrifying secrets about the family that enslaved both her and her mother—and why she matters so much in this intricate web of lies.

I know, I know, I am obviously in the minority here.

Rating revised: I've been replaying this book over and over again in my head for the last week (it's an added plus that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it), and I am going to change my rating to 3.5-4 stars. Although there were major things that royally pissed me off, the fact that I can't stop thinking about it is the reason I am slightly revising my rating.

After devouring Sempre and absolutely loving it, I had to start Sempre: Redemption immediately. I am beyond gutted to be rating this book so low, first book was a 4.5-5 star read for me. 

1-25% = 4.5 Emotionally wrecking Stars
25-75% = 2 Taking way too long Stars
75-95% = 4 FINALLY Stars
95-100% = 5+ OMG one of my favorite epi's ever Stars

I adored the start to this book, so much so I had an ugly cry going on. I fell head over heels in love with Carmine and Haven as well as the author's writing in Sempre. J.M. Darhower is a genius with words; the world she created for this couple wrapped me up and held me captive. However, I didn't feel that as much with book two. The lack of character interaction in Sempre: Redemption (and when I say lack, I mean ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT/INTERACTION) between Carmine and Haven for well over 50% of the book just killed it for me. I wonder too how much of my thoughts played off the first. I mean I just finished Sempre and their emotional and physical connection was front and center in that book, so to enter this book and hit a straight brick wall like that just threw me for a loop. I really needed their intensity to blend all the pieces of the puzzle together perfectly. Sempre: Redemption felt like too much description, too much time lost, and not anywhere close to enough contact or romance between two soul mates, whereas with the first book their love for each other poured effortless off the pages, holding me transfixed. I NEEDED their interaction desperately to carry this story. The thing is when Carmine and Haven were together, I was so fricken hooked. I was in love with this beautifully written couple every time they graced the pages together. When all was said and done I really missed the couple that left me aching with pain and excitement for them. And I'm not gonna lie because of their lack of togetherness I found myself skimming the pages. 

With that said, the writing of this book was intriguing enough that it kept me reading until I finished it at 3 in the morning. Oh, and how can I forget to mention that AMAZING epi! One of my favorite epi's ever. Seriously, I found myself smiling and sighing majorly. 

Thank you, Gallery Books and J.M. Darhower, for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Sempre: Redemption in exchange for my honest opinion.

JM Darhower is the author of the New Adult Sempre series (Sempre & Sempre: Redemption), andthe paranormal romance novella, Extinguish. She lives in a tiny town in the Carolinas with her family, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and human rights, and when she isn’t writing she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can find her there.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...