Mar 6, 2014

Sempre by J.M. Darhower Review

Sempre by J.M. Darhower
(Forever Series, #1)
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books; 528 pages
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.

Thanks Gallery books for providing us with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Human trafficking.  It's sad that I am so naive that I didn't realize that human trafficking still existed in the United States until I read this book.  I along with many American assumed that it ended when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.  It saddens me that humans are still sold as slaves.  I think that that's one of the reasons why this book is just so emotional.  It deals with such a strong subject matter.  It had been awhile since I had read something that pulled my emotions.  Now I originally read this story back when it was online a few years ago.  But I am gonna base this review on the finished version, because there were changes made to the version that was available online.

Sempre tells the story of a young girl named Haven who was born a slave.  Her mother also a slave tries her best to take care of her daughter, but the constant abuse from their owners makes life extremely difficult for them both.  One day Haven is sold to a mysterious man named Vincent DeMarco.  She is taken from her home in California and moved to North Carolina separated from her mother.  In North Carolina she is forced to live with Vincent and his sons Carmine and Dominic.  Sempre bounces between three point of views, Haven's, Carmine's, and Vincent's.  I love multiple point of views it helps readers get into the minds of the characters in a book.  Because you can't always tell what someone is truly feeling from someone else's point of view.  Sometimes characters don't always show their true colors and won't display true feelings.  But I do feel that this story would have benefited more without Vincent's point of view.  Vincent is such a powerful character.  In fact, he may be my favorite character in the book.  He is definitely not black or white, and it's hard to find a middle ground with him.

The bread and butter of this story is Haven and Carmine.  These two characters are both so emotionally damaged.  And as a reader I must admit there were times that I found parts difficult to read.  I remember bawling my eyes out at one point.  The emotions that ran threw me while reading were just so deep.  I connected with both Haven and Carmine.  Even though Carmine is such a hot head and acts before he thinks.  I can't help but love him.  Reading their story and watching them fall in love, I just ate it up.

I've read a few mafia stories, but this one seems so real.  I imagine that the author did research on both human trafficking and organized crime.  It was nice to see it not glamorized like how other books and movies tend to do.  The subject matter was very real and very deep.  But I do have to say that I think the story would have benefited more if it was broken in half.  This book is over 500 pages.  And with such a serious subject manner, it can be a little draining emotionally.  In fact I was a bit surprised to find out that there is another book in the series.  I remember when I read it online that there was just one.  So it makes me excited and curious to see what is added in the second book.  I can't wait to pick it up!

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