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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Sempre by J.M. Darhower

Title: Sempre
Author: J. M. Darhower
Format Acquired: eGalley
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publishing House: Galley Books
ISBN: 9781476760759
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher on NetGalley


Seventeen-year-old Haven Antonelli has never known freedom. From the time she was a little girl, she and her mother have been slaves; victims of human trafficking orchestrated by a vast Mafia network. But when Haven manages to escape and is caught, one man gives her a choice: go with him or die. Agreeing to leave with Dr. Vincent DeMarco, Haven arrives at his home and meets the doctor's defiant yet intriguing son, Carmine. Though Carmine's privileged upbringing is a world away from hers, Haven senses the things they share. And soon her tenuous friendship with Carmine blossoms into unexpected love.

Carmine has breezed through life breaking every rule, scorning attachments until he meets this strange, timid girl his father has brought home. Her innocence draws him in a way he cannot understand, and makes him feel in ways he never thought he'd experience. And when he learns the Mafia isn't through with her, he becomes bent on protecting her... no matter the cost.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


You know that you have to give a book 4 stars when: a.) even on hiatus because of finals, you finish the book in one sitting, b.) you want the second book immediately and are crossing your fingers that the second book makes its way to NetGalley as well (and soon!), c.) you want finger puppets of the main protagonists and make them kiss every chance you get because they are freaking adorable... and hot (It's not as weird as it sounds, guys!), d.) you want to watch The Godfather (if you aren't a loser like me who's never watched it), and e.) you're having a hard time articulating into words what you want to say without sounding redundant.

A second-generation slave, Haven thinks that she is beneath everyone. All her life, the rules have always been to stay out of anyone's way, and to blend in with the furniture if possible. When she meets Carmine DeMarco, a broken, beautiful boy from a prominent Mafia family, the rules she's used to slowly don't seem to matter anymore, not with Carmine slowly opening her up to the world and into his heart. With Carmine, she's just a girl; and with Haven, Carmine is just a boy. But the world they're living in don't play by their rules. If anything, their world only seeks to tear them apart, because Haven's a slave... and Carmine might be the next successor.

I love these two protagonists something fierce. Carmine is all about recklessness, impulsiveness, and a clumsy red-hot fiery temper, but when he's with Haven, he's different. He has the same rough edges, but he approaches her as gentle and as tender as he can. Haven is skittish, jumpy, and does not know the meaning of home. But with Carmine's help, she does. Her world slowly expanding, just as their pure love deepens, and I loved every part of it. While Carmine might have seen it all, but because of Haven's innocence to practically everything, it's as if he's seeing everything again for the first time, and it was both beautiful and glorious at the same time.

While most romance books have me rolling my eyes because every word that seems to roll out of their tongues seem like lines, Sempre had me swooning over and over again, and you guys know how tough I can be when it comes to romance novels. The romance in this one is simply phenomenal, and I must note that this is NOT a fluffy romance. While some parts may be confusing, I was hastily flipping through all 500+ pages on my iPad because even if my heavy school load was practically staring me down, I had to have more, more, MORE of Carmine and Haven. Darhower has a way of making every interaction between them significant and sexy at the same time.

But don't go thinking that this is just a romance book, the Mafia setting plays heavily into this. I have insufficient knowledge of how the Mafia operates, but this gritty, and even sometimes brutal, book makes me want to know more. 

When I find myself in need of a romance book that makes my heart plummet to my stomach and my throat run dry, you can best be sure that I will be rereading this. If you are a romance fan, you simply must read this if you haven't already. Also, you must stay in either an igloo, or in Antartica, with a tall, tall glass of iced tea (heavy on ice) because this book will undoubtedly make you melt.


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