Book Review - Sempre (Forever #1) by J.M. Darhower

26 Oct 2014



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?

{Read more for my 5++ stars review!}

My Review

“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied.” 

Ever know what it feels like to have your heart ripped out, stomped over and being handed back over to you and then to have it crushed yet again? Well, no? Really?

Read this one for ye almighty love that is this glorious book.

WARNING: Possibly lengthy review ahead because that's how I deal with my feels when a book decides to rip my soul apart and owns my life. Don't say I didn't warn ya.


Sempre begins off with a fuzzy prologue which introduces Haven Antonelli, a modern slave that has been living off in a desert and is later being taken away by a man named Vincent DeMarco. Whisked off by this unknown man into his own home, Haven struggles to adjust with her new life as opposed to her old one where she has been abused; physically and mentally.

Living under this same roof is Dominic & Carmine DeMarco, sons of Vincent; but only one of them will be hit by a whirlwind that is Haven. In a story where family doesn't just equate to real bloodlines, loyalties will be tested and sacrifices will be made in this thrilling Mafia read as we embark into the lives of 'la famiglia'.



Let me just say that I found it extremely hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote Monster in His Eyes because Sempre evoked almost all humanly possible emotions in me whereas MiHE did the total opposite. And this is also where I say, THANK HEAVENS that I decided to give this author another shot because this book simply stripped me raw of my emotions and left me naked and crying in my puddle of feels.

Fuck, thinking of this book right now is already making me quiver.

I mean, fan-fucking-static book. Honestly, I couldn't even tell that this book is mighty lengthy. One minute I plopped onto my bed and read it, next thing I know 2 hours had passed and I'm silently whimpering as I'm torn apart reading this epic beautiful love story that is Carmine and Haven. And the next morning I woke up late for work, go figure. #sorrynotsorry #ihavenoregrets

Haven. I love that girl so so much. Her character is just all sorts of inspiring for me. Her naivety and innocence at first had already captured my heart but it was her optimism that totally sold me. Even after all the shit she's been through (which breaks my fucking heart), she was still such a brave soul and so eager to live. Even the foul-mouthed teenage boy saw something so alive flicker in her as he watched her in their library.
“But then she happened. The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live. He wasn’t alone anymore.”


And there's Carmine. He was a man-whore with a temper that flares and has a foul mouth that could fill up a potty mouth jar within a day or two. But with a past and a possible future that weighs down heavily on him, he was just another lost young soul. When he's with Haven, he realizes that a privileged boy like him is no different than this abused girl he's in love with; both equally broken but still have the heart in them to help each other heal and live and love again.
“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. Besides, there’s a reason we don’t know how the story ends.” 


“Because it doesn’t."

This was the best kind of young love I could actually ask for. Slow build-up but undeniable chemistry throughout. The kind of bond that these two shared, the commitment they had for each other despite their contrasting background; it was tough, raw, gritty, powerful; jeezus it just sent my heart into a turmoil as I watched this couple reached every milestone in their relationship and all I can say is: it was so heartachingly beautiful on so many levels. FLUTTERS AND FEELS AND HEARTACHES.
"Love was the fluttering in her tummy whenever Carmine was near, the twinkle in his eyes when he laughed, the heat in her body from his words. Love was happy. Love was safe. Love was green.

Love was him - the beautifully flawed boy who made her glow."

"And I love you. Per sempre." 


"Always and forever."

The entire Mafia aspect in this story also sucked me in so deep in this read. I found myself perplexed with this entire "la famiglia" and the mystery surrounding it all made this book even more compelling than it already is. Even the secondary characters are so well-developed! Thrilling, suspenseful and a whole lot of BAMF action from Vincent and Corrado (yes ladies, we're gonna to have a fight over this gentleman here), this book can only keep getting better from here on out.
"Leave. Because I'll be forced to kill you if you don't, and I'm wearing my favorite shirt. It'll ruin my night to get your filthy blood on it." - Corrado


Well if you've made it through my feels, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING! ♥♥ If not, THANK YOU STILL! ♥♥ If you've yet to read this book, READ IT. I swear I won't put a gun to your head but read it if you you're looking for that one powerful motha of all love reads that has mafia written all over it.

All I can say is that Sempre is no doubt a story of freedom, love, redemption, hope and sacrifice. Ultimately, it shows you the depths of how far one is willing to go in the name of love.
"Sempre. No matter what happened next, or what went on tomorrow, nothing would ever take that away. Their love existed, depsite everything else, and it was that love that would go on forever. The moment was etched in time, transcending the constraints put on them by life."

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