Sempre by JM Darhower: Book Review




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?

Publisher: Gallery Books

Date Published: February 25, 2014

Date Read: April 2016

Number of Pages: 528

Source: BookOutlet


Buddy read this one with my beautiful sissy Pearl.

Finally I was able to read this book! I’ve been eyeing this book since it came out, but never got the chance to actually get a copy and so when I did, I read it immediately, the experience was more fun since I have someone to buddy read it with.

Mafia + Love Story is a sure recipe to capture my attention. I’ve been craving for stories like this. I am sucker for great romance with a lot of action, you know, the damsel in distress kind with a knight in shining armor but in a realistic and modern setting. The book’s premise was screaming all the right things I’ve been looking for in a book, so I succumbed and read it. Did it hold its end of the bargain? Partly, yes. Was I a tad bid disappointed? Well let’s just say this book wasn’t what I completely expected. Has it turned out to be a bad one? Definitely not, it was a good book, but then I was maybe looking for something else. I know, my expectations got the better of me – again.

The book started out really well, I could say this because the only way I could gauge a good book is when I was engrossed by it the first 100 pages. It captured my attention and I was able to read a substantial amount of pages in just one sitting (which doesn’t happen a lot these days, because I have the attention span worse than a 2y/o) so I thought I’m in for a great ride. But as the story went on, the pacing seemed to be slower than what I would have liked. I wanted action and heart stopping, breath taking scenes but all of this only happened during the latter part of the book, around 10% or so towards the end. So that was kind of a little disappointing for me, because it was a book concerning mafias, it is just natural to expect a lot of actions, but alas there were only a little of it. I would like to say that the focus of the book was more on the love story of Carmine and Haven, i’m saying that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however it could have been better if the mafia part was played out well. I love the love story though, it was cheesy when it needs to be and serious when the circumstances asked for it to. I loved how consistent the characters were. Carmine who had a bad temper but turned out to be more patient and understanding because of Haven, and Haven who was the shy girl at first but came out of her shell to open up. I loved how their characters developed and who they have become towards the end of the book. I loved how it centered on family too, how important love is and would take extreme measures just to protect the ones they love. Sacrifices had to be made, betrayal for a greater good, it was a mixture of good family values and human frailties making the readers kind of relate to the book. I felt it, the emotions that the book was trying to draw out from its readers, and I couldn’t discount the fact that not many books can do that.

I also appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too explicit or with contents that would make a reader cringe such as excessive use of profanities or abusive situations that one can  not begin to fathom. I have read my fair share of books with explicit contents, and I am glad that Sempre did not dwell on that completely, I’d say I expected it in this book, but this book proved me that a good book doesn’t need to have explicit contents to be a cut above the rest.

The reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is that I was perpetually lost and confused, what with all the characters, there are so many! I seriously had a hard time figuring out who is who and their relation to each other. I literally had to write down the family tree and whatnot just to keep up to what was happening – but even doing so I was still left with too many questions, if anything I was more confused than I already am. There were a lot of loose ends. I had a lot of questions, and I thought the last chapters will wrap it up, but then it just served to add more questions to my already lost mind. I want to put every question I had in this review, but then it will become a spoiler, so I’d rather not spoil you of anything. I guess I would have to keep it to myself and just read book 2 to find the answers I’ve been desperately craving. So there’s that. Also there are parts that the book can certainly do away with. I guess the author could have condensed the book into a shorter one and not make it more than 500 pages. I understand that this was the debut novel of the author, but the book can really do some polishing, leaving out really important details that would make the book more coherent.

And oh, I would love to read more of Vincent and Maura’s back story, I wish the author can do a novella of some sort. That would be amazing. And also I wish there was more backstory as to what happened to Nicholas and Carmine, I was left wanting more. Maybe let’s put it this way, I wanted to see the whole back story of everything, of how everything really came about. There was something lacking, something I need to get a grip on so the story would come out real solid. Let’s see if Sempre Redemption could give me the satisfaction I needed. All in all this was a good read, and I could recommend it even to younger readers (okay not super super young, but enough to decipher the message the book wanted to convey). And of course I will be reading more of JM Darhower’s works, I heard her other books are just as gripping if not more. Looking forward to it!


“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. 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. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is
irrevocably changed.”
― J.M. DarhowerSempre



5 thoughts on “Sempre by JM Darhower: Book Review

  1. I love your honest and well-written, very enthusiastic review, sis. ☺️ I agree with everything you said though I admit I overlooked those imperfections because the romance was the thing that really got me haha😂. Let’s hope the second book will make up for it. 😃

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