Title: SEMPRE (Forever, #1)
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.
Ramblings. If I’m not mistaken, Sempre is originally a Twilight fanfiction under the title of Emancipation Proclamation. I’ve come across EP for years already (years where left and right, Twilight fanfics flourished) and fully remembering some of my friends even raving about it. I think I even saved a copy of the fanfic but just haven’t got the time into fully reading. Or maybe I did try reading it but just wasn’t that enthusiastic and kind of iffy towards it. *Shrugs*, that was years ago already and I’m just a teen being too picky with what she’s reading. So when all of a sudden Netgalley places Sempre up for reviewing, I just thought of giving this another shot and ended up requesting it.
My thoughts. Is it just me or this book is a really long read? Ha ha this book took me forever to finish reading it. Yep, quite lengthy but I can tell you that reading this book will be totally worth it because it’s so good and quite a package when it comes to the events that happened in this book. It somewhat perplexed me that all of it just happened in a single book because it’s like curveball after curveball being thrown at us readers.
Sempre is a story that revolves around Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco. Haven grew up in a terrifying and abusive world, considering that she is a “second-generation slave”. All she’s ever known in her life is to obey and serve his Master Michael. Then one day, she ends up being bought by Dr. Vincent DeMarco – who’s involved in an Italian Mafia. In the DeMarco household she meets Dr. DeMarco’s son, Carmine DeMarco, who’s a little bit of fucked up. Carmine and all kinds of trouble are like a package, wherever Carmine goes trouble always seem to find him. She falls in love with Carmine … but remember that this story isn’t a love story which involves rainbows and unicorns in it.
This story is set in a darker world with SECRETS, LIES, LOSS, LOVE and most especially SACRIFICE involved. We see the extent or how much farther a person can go just for the sake of the safety/life of the ones he or she loves. And oh boy, Carmine will really go to the ends of the Earth just to keep Haven safe. That is how his love for her goes, it runs very deep. He may be an ass towards other people but when it comes to Haven and his love for her ... it means all business to him.
This book also deals with the constant battle between good and evil, which will conflict your thoughts and feels. I know mine was. But you will certainly see reason and understand it as you go along with the chapters of the book. OneRepublic’s song Counting Stars keep nagging my brain while reading this book, especially these lines "I feel something so right/Doing the wrong thing/I feel something so wrong/Doing the right thing/I could lie, coudn't I, could lie/Everything that kills me makes me feel alive" Ha!
I wouldn’t consider Sempre as that of a page turner or a book that I couldn’t find myself putting it down because there really are chapters wherein the pacing of the story trickles down. BUT what blew me away the most about this book is the amazing character development because with just a number of pages J.M. Darhower managed to give us a 180 or even 360 degrees with Haven and Carmine’s character.
I tell you, this is one of those books that I’ve read with a really great character development and it was very beautiful to read and witness considering the characters we have in the beginning of the story. It was like watching a bud bloom into a flower because that was really how Haven's character transformed. Oh let's not forget Carmine (though his change was mainly directed to Haven ...AT LEAST there was lol), even if there were moments that he slips up to his old self.
While developments are happening with our characters, the overall tension of the book is gradual picking up. I think it was when I reached 70-80% of the book when shit hit the fan. From there, I was just literally at the edge of my seat waiting for everything to unfold and was like "WHAT? WHAT? WHY? OMG!". Those last bits of the book were sooooo good and it was quite scary. Wow.
All in all, Sempre is a beautiful, touching and thrilling story. I definitely recommend this to you, guys.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This review is also posted on my Goodreads account.
Mark and add this book in your "to read" list on Goodreads, here.