Thursday, April 3, 2014

*ARC* Sempre - Review

Sempre (Forever Series #1)

By: J. M. Darhower

Published: November 25, 2013 by Pocket Star

528 pages

Source: ARC from Netgalley

(Goodreads / Amazon)

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.
I've become a fan of books about the Mafia lately. I've read several so I wouldn't go so far as to say that I love all books with a Mafia theme. So when my snl (Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) was approved for this one she immediately recommended it to me.

Carmine is considered a Mafia prince but his Dad has worked hard to separate the dangerous lifestyle of the Mafia from his boys. Carmine is a junior in high school and nearing his 18th birthday. Dominic, his brother, is a senior in high school, is graduating and looking ahead to college. They lead fairly normal lives considering what their Dad does to keep them safe is far from normal.

So it's no big surprise when their Dad brings home a 17 year old girl named Haven. They've learned the less they know the better. They know he is involved in a whole bunch of stuff that they really don't want to know the details of. Ignorance is bliss and all that. Haven is skittish, doesn't know much about anything with exception to cleaning and cooking. She has lived as a slave her whole life, literally living in a barn with horses. She has been beaten and has the scars to prove it, has seen her mother be raped, and has seen other girls be killed. If there's one thing ingrained in her head, it's that running equals death. Dr. DeMarco saves her from the life she has known but in a lot of ways she is still a slave and he is her master. Her existence is very precarious.

But Carmine grows fond of Haven and as they become friends they realize they are more alike than either could have imagined. Haven softens Carmine's rough edges. He is a bad boy, constantly in trouble, drunk, high, skipping school, getting in fights. Unfortunately the bad behavior comes from his own demons when he watched his mother be murdered. To say they both have issues is a serious understatement. They find safety in each other. They find acceptance for who they are and not just the labels put on them by others.

The problem with all of this is that the Mafia boss wants Carmine as his next soldier and if anyone finds out who Haven really is, a whole lot of trouble and death is sure to follow all of them.

I have two small complaints and one goes back to personal preference. The first is that in the ARC copy I received there was no distinction between whose POV you were reading when. At chapter breaks or in the middle of the chapter, all of a sudden the POV would switch to someone else (the book is primarily told between Dr. DeMarco, Carmine and Haven's POV's). This was quite distracting for me as it caused me to sometimes have to stop to figure out who was talking instead of a smooth transition between characters. The second complaint is a personal preference of mine: the length of the book. Parts of it felt like they were drug out too long just for the sake of a longer story. It still could've been a great story but perhaps a bit shorter IMO. I tend to lose my focus and interest in books over 500 pages. They don't deter me from reading them, but I am more picky about what longer books I read.

Favorite Quotes:
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.

They were two broken kids, desperate to be whole again, struggling to find balance in a world out of their control.

Final Rating - 4 stars
This post is part of the ARC Thursday feature on Words Fueled by Love.


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