We Read Sempre by @JMDarhower

We Read Sempre by @JMDarhowerSeries: Forever #1
on January 30th 2012
Pages: 558
AmazonB&NNarrator: Carla Mercer-Meyer
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.

In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that started before either were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price-- especially not freedom. How much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

Not everything is as it seems, and no one can possibly come out unscathed, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be worth it in the end.
five-stars

Nika’s Review:

Sempre is something that I really enjoyed. It was different then all of the YA that I read in 2012 and has already became one of my favorite reads of 2013 and I am not sure that anything can surpass this. The writing in this book flowed so nicely that the 500+ pages just flew pass me. I loved how this story flowed together it just made it so easy to follow.

Haven was so amazing to get to know and so strong. She took everything in stride and never once forgot where she came from. Most characters who have that proverbial wall up I never can understand but Haven’s wall I got and I understood. It’s hard to trust individuals when people who are suppose to protect you hurt you instead. Carmine was the über emotional guy that felt his life was over and it was heart breaking to watch him grow through his ups and downs.

The break out character in this book was Carrado he instantly became my favorite bad/good guy. He did what he could for his gamily and didn’t care what anyone said. He lived by a code of ethics and made sure that he lived those until the end. Dominic and Dia were my favorite characters in a sense that they added some lightness to a story that was so dark and emotional.

Ivan and the Mob boss are great bad guys they are written so effectively that I hated them and for you to provoke that much emotion and good job was done at developing all of the characters in this book. I can’t wait to read part 2.

I recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of YA but is tired of the genre because every book that you read seems the same. Sempre is something that I really enjoyed. It was different then all of the YA that I read in 2012 and has already became one of my favorite reads of 2013 and I am not sure that anything can surpass this. The writing in this book flowed so nicely that the 500+ pages just flew pass me. I loved how this story flowed together it just made it so easy to follow.

Haven was so amazing to get to know and so strong. She took everything in stride and never once forgot where she came from. Most characters who have that proverbial wall up I never can understand but Haven’s wall I got and I understood. It’s hard to trust individuals when people who are suppose to protect you hurt you instead. Carmine was the über emotional guy that felt his life was over and it was heart breaking to watch him grow through his ups and downs.

The break out character in this book was Carrado he instantly became my favorite bad/good guy. He did what he could for his gamily and didn’t care what anyone said. He lived by a code of ethics and made sure that he lived those until the end. Dominic and Dia were my favorite characters in a sense that they added some lightness to a story that was so dark and emotional.

Ivan and the Mob boss are great bad guys they are written so effectively that I hated them and for you to provoke that much emotion and good job was done at developing all of the characters in this book. I can’t wait to read part 2.

I recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of YA but is tired of the genre because every book that you read seems the same.

Ezi’s Review

As soon as I read chapter 1, I thought to myself, not another child slavery book. But this book was much more than child slavery. It was a story of people trying to grow and move out of the shadows of their parents.

Haven and her mother grew up as slaves in the house of Michael Antonelli until the day her mother convinced her to run away. Her mother Miranda overheard the lady of the house asking master Michael to get rid of Haven, so Miranda asked Haven to run for help. Her attempt to escape her slavers led her to Dr. Vincent DeMarco.
Dr. Vincent DeMarco was an angry man. He was a physician who had been forced into serving La Costra Nostra, the Chicago Italian Mafia. His wife was murdered and his youngest son Carmine was acting up from grief. He was now a Consigliere, but now the mafia wants son Carmine. Dr. DeMarco is trying everything he can to protect his son Carmine, but had to follow orders as they were all dispensable. The addition of Haven to their lives complicated everything.

From the moment Haven moved into the DeMarco’s household, Carmine was mesmerized by her. Haven, on the hand, did all she could to avoid everyone in the household. She was used to living in the stables or basement, and she did not trust that the DeMarco household would be different from her prior home. Hope was a dangerous thing for slaves like her.

As the story began to unfurl, it became clear that Dr. DeMarco’s taking of Haven was not a coincidence and there was more to Haven’s identity than even she knew. Haven was a pawn in a dangerous mob agenda, but then so was Carmine, the mafia Principe.
Slowly, the DeMarco family taught Haven how to live, and a year later Haven and Carmine were in love. That’s when the past came to catch up with Haven, and the DeMarcos.

I listened to this book and the narrator was fantastic. This book read like a movie. It was descriptive, concise, and paced evenly. I was apprehensive about the book when I saw the page count as well as the audiobook hours, but it flowed so well that I didn’t even notice the length. It wasn’t just a story about two damaged kids falling in love, but about choices and responsibilities. It was about freedom and redemption too. This wasn’t just Carmine and Haven’s story, this was Vincent & Mara’s story as well as a cautionary tale about “The Life”.

The author did a great job with laying the foundation, and keeping the story interesting. I really appreciate the fact that there weren’t these huge emotional swings. Yes, there was sad events, but there was happy events and even funny scenes. The author mixed things up by interjecting characters like Dominic and Nicholas, Dia and even Aunt Celia, so there was a continual break in the serious tone of the novel.

I had a love-hate relationship with Vincent DeMarco, but I came to understand him as the novel went on, and I also came to find compassion for his actions. Carmine’s father was forced into “the life” by love and by his father, but he really loved his wife and sons. I was blown away by how well adjusted Dominic was and it was nice to see him be understanding of Carmine’s plight. Carmine was an impulsive kid that you wanted to smack on the back of his head and give a high-five at the same time. Carmine’s smart mouth was source of many chuckles from me. The narrator did a great job in giving each character very distinct voices, and I loved that about the audiobook.

If you want a New Adult book that isn’t wrought with cliché drama and dialogue, then this book is for you. I want to read the sequel but it isn’t out on audible. I don’t think I can just read it after enjoying this ride on audio, so it is likely that I will wait until the audiobook is offered at audible. But I really enjoyed this book and look forward to sequel.

**Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Share your thoughts