Joint Review ~ Sempre by J.M. Darhower @jmdarhower

Joint Review 

Sempre by J.M. Darhower




Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was 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 and excess. Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. 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 began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price-especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?


This post contains 2 reviews, Susi’s Review & a special guest, HT  AKA- Carmine DeMarco @DefiantSmartAss , a male fan of this author.

 Susi’s  Review

Sempre is one of those books/stories that lives on with you forever. From the moment I started this book, I was not able to put it down.  J.M. Darhower, your book, your words, your story,  took over and consumed me.  Although this story is fiction, the content of this story is one that needs to be addressed and you did that in such an amazing way.  The story and the characters are complex and following them throughout the story is truly an emotional ride.  Honestly, reading this book and then listening to it on audio for the second time made it feel real, not like a book.  The characters and the story were realistic.  It is not a story for the weak.   Honestly, how can I describe this book? Love, sacrifice, trust, danger, suspense and hope;  those words all come to mind.  The story is powerful and one that I highly recommend.

This book tops my lists of favorites read in 2014.  In one word, Perfection.

On a personal note, while the topic of Human Trafficking was one I was somewhat familiar with, this story made me more aware of a problem that exists everywhere. Human Trafficking  is happening right before our very eyes.  I have recently started a project to assist one of the organizations that brings awareness, provides education/prevention and assistance to victims of human trafficking.  Writing the love story of Haven and Carmine was an amazing way to bring light to this topic.

Your expertly written characters, Haven and Carmine will live on in my mind.  While both of them come from different worlds, they learn how to live, love and seek freedom together. Freedom… what human trafficking victims ultimately long for.


I gave this book 5 stars!

5 stars

My Favorite Quotes/Lines

“Go for it, while you can. I know you have it in you. And I can’t promise you’ll get everything you want, but I can promise nothing will change if you don’t try.”

“Nella vita: chi non risica, non rosica,” he said finally, his voice quiet. “In life: nothing ventured, nothing gained. My mom used to tell us that. It’s been a long time, but I can still hear her saying it.”

“Can I keep you? he whispered, laughing and pulling away from her as soon as the words came out. “Whats wrong with me? I’m quoting Casper.”

“But then she happened. The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live. He wasn’t alone anymore.”

“Sogni dóro, mia bella ragazza,” he mumbled, closing his eyes. “Sweet dreams my beautiful girl.”

“Ti amo, mia bella ragazza. Per sempre.” “Sempre?” She asked. Cracking a smile, he brushed his finger softly across her lips. “Always and forever”

“When you dream, you can go anywhere. I always go to the snow”

“Colpo di fulmine?” he suggested. She just stared at him, and he smiled.
“I guess you’re gonna want a translation.”
“It’s when you’re drawn to someone so forcefully that it’s like being struck by lightning.”

“Bella ragazza (beautiful girl) you scared the shit outta me.”
She gazed at him. “What does that mean?”
Carmine sighed. “I said you scared me.”
“La-mia-fucking-bella-ragazza (My fucking beautiful girl),” he said. He tipped his drink back and chugged it. “You have potential, tesoro (sweetheart/treasure).”
“Sogni d’oro, mia bella ragazza.” Sweet dreams ,my beautiful girl.
“Ti mo tantissimo, mia bella ragazza.” I love you so much my beautiful girl.
“So I’m not a schifosa (ugly, disgusting girl)?” Haven said
Carmine chuckled.”Definitely not. You, my lady, are bellissima (lovely/beautiful).”
“La mia bella ragazza. Non capisco,” he said. “Tanto gentile e onesta pare la donna mia.” My beautiful girl. I don’t understand. My lady appears to be so kind and honest..
“You gonna miss me, tesoro?
“I always miss you when you’re not here.”

“Il tempo guarisce tutti i mali,” “Time heals all wounds.”

“How about we just be Haven and Carmine?” she suggested. “We don’t know the ending, but we can always hope for the best.”
“I like that,” he said. “Besides, there’s a reason we don’t know how the story ends.”
“Because it doesn’t.”

lightning strike pic quote sempre

HT , AKA- Carmine’s Review 

I was initially captivated by this story when it was Emancipation Proclamation (a fan-fiction creation) and was not surprised to see it receive publication. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reading both books: Sempre and Sempre Redemption, but I feel compelled to help this story reach the hearts of many. Do not be deceived into thinking it is solely about ‘romance’, although love (unconditional, selfless love) plays a huge role…FREEDOM and hope are at the story’s core. A beautiful blend of tragedy, devastation, brutality, greed, faith, family, and second chances.
JM Darhower puts you through the emotional ringer (from start to finish) while bringing to light a very real and ever-present problem we are still fighting today: slavery. Artfully written, each chapter draws you in, consuming you. The characters, whether you love them or hate them, are people you easily become attached to. A story I found myself not being able to put down, it leaves you with the reminder….”You were worth it.”
Love and family can defy ALL odds. Sempre.
I gave this book 5 stars!
HT (Carmine DeMarco on Twitter)
carmine demarco image

Thanks HT for your review.   🙂 ~Susi

Add it to your TBR


Buy Links




About the Author

 JM Darhower is the author of the New Adult Sempre series (Sempre & Sempre: Redemption), and the paranormal romance novella, Extinguish. She lives in a tiny town in the Carolinas with her family, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and human rights, and when she isn’t writing she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can find her there.



 Stay tuned for another post inspired by Sempre by J.M. Darhower.   A recipe….


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2 thoughts on “Joint Review ~ Sempre by J.M. Darhower @jmdarhower

  1. Fantastic review and fantastic books. I loved the first one and now I’m reading Sempre Redemption. J.M Darhower, meravigliosa.

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