March 24, 2014

Title: Sempre
Author: J. M. Darhower
Series: Forever Series
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: January 29, 2012

Synopsis: 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.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher,
but that did not influence the review**

First Thoughts: 3 stars The story started off with a bang and totally drew me in, but before long I found it dragging, almost going in circles, and I was ready for it to be wrapped up. However, while the story was just ok for me Carmine DeMarco was a solid smexy 5 stars.

Plot, Pacing, and Style: I won’t give away any of the storyline other than what is in the synopsis because that really was the plotline. So what was the story then? It was the journey of how Haven adjusted to her new life, and how she brought Carmine back to life to deal with the demons that had haunted him for so many years. We got to see them fall in love, and realize that they had so much to live for, and live that life happily. However, I do wish the book had been told in 1st person, as it might have just made me connect with the characters just a little bit more.

Main Characters: I loved Carmine something fierce. He is one bada$$ motherf*cker. And I think he would appreciate that lol. He was the quarterback for his high school football team, had a foul mouth, was hot tempered, but just wanted to be loved. His loyalty to Haven was unwavering, and honestly, it was so romantic.

Haven was also a really strong character, considering how terrible her life had been. She accepted her fate, even if she was miserable, and always put one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t help but admire her because I know that there’s no way I could have been that brave. She had lived such a sheltered life, and while she hadn’t experienced almost all things a normal teenager would have, it didn’t always jive because she did know things that she never, ever would have picked up from just watching Jeopardy. However, I just accepted the inconsistencies at face value and continued reading.

Romance/Chemistry: The romance was so sweet and tender, not scorching hot like I was expecting. That’s not a bad thing, and it really made me savor every kiss, every touch. I think the reason I really loved it so much was because Carmine was such a tough guy, swearing every other word he spoke, but then one look from Haven would be his undoing and she could just bring him to his knees…and I loved it.

Ending: The ending wrapped up (finally) and while it wasn’t pretty and fully of ponies and rainbows, it felt the real, and I thought the author did a great job with it. It matched the beginning with intensity, and was exactly what I needed for the ending to work for me.

Final Thoughts/Rec it? Would I rec this? Probably…well, if you like stories about the mafia I’d say yes. We all know that it’s a viscous world full of crime and violence so you’d have to be ready for the ugly reality of that lifestyle (I can’t get enough of it). The story was just too long for me, with about 3/4 of it totally stalled. If it had had more action in the middle I think I would have enjoyed it just a little bit more.

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