Book Review – Sempre (Forever) by JM Darhower

by Maryse on March 11, 2012 · 47 comments

in Bad Boys & Rock Stars

Sempre (Forever)
I received four separate recommendations for this one within a week. THAT caught my attention and even though the cover wouldn’t have intrigued me off the bat (I’m not usually into murder mysteries, and this one *looked* like it might have been one), I set aside my reservations and immediately moved it to the top of my reading list.

Missy: “The other book for me that has the wow effect was Sempre (forever) by J.M Darhower. Now that was a book that made my heart do flips.”

Chekera: “This book is really amazing. It has love and a boy who is found by a girl he doesn’t expect :D

Missy: “ I wanted to tell you about a “must read” book I just finished that is between 50 and Travis. It is called a Sempre (Forever) by JM Darhower. It was awesome. Loved it!”

Tess: “I have to agree! I’ve been completely unproductive since starting this book! Love, Mystery … The one downside is this book is quite vanilla compared to 50 in the descriptive scenes, but is just … sweet. This book made my heart squeeze ♥”

Verdict? I almost couldn’t put it down!! The only reason I did was because the book is quite long (which I LOVED).

“Maryse’s Book Blog: The one I just finished last night is LONG!!!! My favorite kind of book. Drawn out and full of detail and story! You know the kind where you’ve been reading for 3 hours straight and you’ve only just hit like, I dunno… 19%? LOL!”

Had I tried to read this one in one sitting, I’d have lost the overall feel of the book. You know… by falling asleep with my eyes open? Yep. I’ve done that before. I even started doing it with this one, ’cause I really wanted to read it all night. You know when you’re reading, you can feel that you’re tired but you think you’re good to go, and the story is puttering along real well, until your head conks into the book (or e-reader) and you realize you were asleep? And that story that was “going on”, was really you just dreaming about it, thinking you were still actually reading? I do that. Happened with this one.

And while it wasn’t a murder “mystery” (oh wait, it sort of was, at one point) this book was exactly what I was looking for. An intense story of forbidden love, with all sorts of drama and bad guys lurking in the vicinity. Even those the heroine lived with, had serious bad-guy potential. There were many reasons why I loved this book. The romantic tension, and eventual succumbing (and unavoidable problems) between the two main characters (of course!!) being the main reason. But I LOVED that I had NO idea where this story was going. No idea right to the end. What was gonna happen? Is that guy a bad guy? How about that one?

Dr. DeMarco had been decent, but she wasn’t fooled by his gentle voice and small tokens of independence. Nothing came without a price. She was still a prisoner, trapped with no way out.

And the romantic tension… Is that one gonna get the girl? But what about that guy? Who IS the girl, anyway? Where did she really come from? Who did she come from? And is the “hero” really a hero at all, or was I going to find myself completely devastated in my crush? Will there be an HEA? Hehe. Yeah…. lots of questions, and plenty of answers. I was certainly entertained, and am thrilled to have read it.

And I’ll admit. While I was reading it, I knew I was loving it, but wondered just how much. I didn’t go all crazy mid-way and start spouting my enthusiasm for it, like I did with Kellan (Thoughtless) and Travis (Beautiful Disaster) and of course Christian (Fifty Shades). I wondered if my lack of mid-way “need to explode and tell everyone” was a telltale sign that I wasn’t “loving” loving it, ya know? I read right to the very end, even, with that sentiment. But I realized I DID love it, only a few hours later.

Right after I read it, I had to tell my friend Tina about it:

Maryse: I just read “Sempre” and I actually liked it. Not IN LOVE LOVE but I’m missing them today, so yep… definitely a good one. I just found out it was once fanfic, but I guess I just like the pacing of fanfic… slow and detailed and emotionally intense.

Tina: fan fic of what other book?

Maryse: good question – aint got a clue. I guess I’d say Twilight only because it’s forbidden love. 17 year old slave girl (“Haven”) part of a human trafficking ring (SLAVES!! in modern times!!) is “saved” by a mafia head, brings her home to live with him (serve him).

Yep. Serve! Her new “Master” warns her…

“Before we get there, I want to make something clear,” Dr. DeMarco said. “You’re going to have some normalcy living with us but don’t mistake my kindness for  weakness. I expect your loyalty, and if you betray my trust in any way, there will be consequences. As long as you remember that, we won’t have any problems.”

I told Tina the “gist” of it:

He has two sons (Dominic, 18, and Carmine, 17). Carmine is being prepared to be a mafia head (He’s a mafia “prince”)… But there’s a whole back story to who she is, this modern “slave trade”, the mafia guys, a war with the russian mob etc etc… and how her new “master” (this mafia guy) is also under the control of HIS master (the Don)… (his own story is heartbreaking).

But it’s mostly about his son and her. Very good, very heartbreaking – never made me all out crazy but I bonded.

After having spent three very long (but enthralling) evenings with these characters, I was still thinking about them. I was missing them. And the longer that I am away from it, the more I realize just how much I actually LOVED the book. I won’t forget this one It is STILL with me. It was just so different than what I usually read, and yet, the intensity and depth was similar to those that had me enthralled.

Everyone, all of the characters, were believable, and VERY human. Very emotional. Mistakes are made, they have bad thoughts, bad reactions, even bad intentions, and some are all-out bad guys (the question is who?), and yet… some were good guys, too. And the “main” love interest? The potential “Mafia Prince”. Bad boy all the way, and makes no excuses for it. He does what he wants, he does WHO he wants, he fights, he takes and he never gives.

Dr. DeMarco turned to Haven as the boy stormed out. “He isn’t usually so… well, never mind; that’s a lie. He is usually like this. He’s finicky and angry, but that neither here nor there. He’s set in his ways, and it doesn’t matter what I do. Carmine is who he is.”

Carmine. A strange name for a strange boy.

He has true mafia bad-guy potential… until *she* shows up. He struggles with himself in a way that has the reader really connecting. Suddenly forced to face things his bad-boy ways were once helping him to avoid.

I want more. Badly! And I hope there will be more, because if you ask me, there is PLENTY of potential for a future story. No worries, I didn’t just give away whether there is an HEA or not. Just that, if I were asked, I’d say there is room for more, and it would continue to be interesting, if not, even MORE so.

BTW: I don’t know if this is considered YA, because it’s quite a bit tame in *that* area, compared to what I normally read, but it DOES go “there”. Not in crazy detail or anything, but it is most certainly for an older audience. That, and of course, all the mafia bad guy stuff, and the scary stuff that happens (a few scenes, even one near the beginning, that had my heart racing. I was scared!). Yep. Definitely for a more mature audience.

She felt her cheeks reddening from the intensity of his stare, but before she could get her thoughts in order, Dominic’s voice rang out. “Colpo di fulmine.”

They both jumped, glancing toward the doorway, and Carmine pulled his hand away from Haven.


“Colpo di fulmine,” Dominic said again, a slow grin spreading across his face. “I don’t know why I didn’t see it hit earlier.”

Carmine’s expression shifted. His eyes narrowed, and brow creased as he shook his head. “No f@&*%ing way.”

“Yep,” Dominic said. “Kaboom!”

Carmine jumped up and stormed out of the room as Dominic laughed. He took a seat on the bed, looking at Haven with a smile. “That brother of mine is full of surprises.”


Why’d I end off with this strange quote from the book? ‘Cause when I finally found out what it meant, well… let’s just say it made an impact on me. ;) 4.5 stars!!


P.S. I just found out that the author IS planning a sequel. Thanks Christina for finding it for me!! As per the author: ”There’s also a sequel to Sempre that I hope to write this year.”

UPDATE: Sempre has been purchased by Gallery Books and will be released on November 25th 2013 (and is available for pre-order on Amazon). Sempre: Redemption (book #2) will be released at a later date.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrissy March 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I really love this story…and yes, it’s a twilight fanfic! It was titled “Emancipation Proclamation” then. Anyway, thanks for all your book reviews. I usually start & end my day reading your blog. And of course, i’ m a die-hard Christian (our Fifty) fanatic…I’m so sad & happy that millions of readers own & love him now. I miss those days (also twilight fanfic days) when only a few of us know him. More power, Maryse! Keep inspiring us on what books to read!

Maryse March 11, 2012 at 3:17 PM

*hug* Chrissy! Thank you!! I shall be starting yet another “once upon a time this was fan-fic” tonight. Gabriel’s Inferno is next…

Mariel March 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I think you’ll like Gabriel’s inferno ;) it wasn’t like Grey, but good indeed!

Krista March 12, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Chrissy, thanks for mentioning that – as I was reading the info, I was thinking to myself, MAN this sounds alot like EP! But I wasn’t sure if it was just because we had been talking a fair bit of Twi FF on here lately between Fifty and Gabriel’s Inferno. I figured I’d read the Amazon reviews and see if anyone mentioned there or if there was a “bella ragazza” comment ;)

Maryse March 12, 2012 at 2:58 PM



Krystal March 12, 2012 at 4:56 PM

OMG !!!!!!!! it was amazing !!!!!!! i was captivated the entire time !!!!!!!!!!!!! i was a lil overwhelmed.. learning of a whole new world.. and experiencing it with the characters. !! I cried a few times but man oh man my heart was soaring !!!! lol
*sigh* such an amazing story, thanks Maryse !!! :D

Andrea March 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I was uncomfortable and intrigued. I can’t wait for the second one. I’m probably the only one on this blog that liked this better than Fifty. Lol. Don’t hate!! :)

Maryse March 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Andrea… no worries ;) Actually, I’d say this one is a “What to Read After Beautiful Disaster” because so far, Carmine has reminded me the most (in all ways) of Travis. I LOVED this book the more I think about it, and it is probably going to rank very high in my best of 2012 list.

Andrea March 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM

I would agree. It ranks up there (in my opinion) with Thoughtless, Effortless and Love Unscripted. I’m really liking right now a newer author Sarah MacLean. Her number series was hysterical and I ended up falling in love w/ these twin brothers in it. But that’s more Historical Romance.
With Sempre, I would reccommend it to people who can’t stomach the dominating or SUPER intense male. My sister even talked our 65 year old mother to read it and she is really liking it!!!!

becks March 15, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Wow i think this book just bet thoughtless as my favorite book. it was so nice to have a little something different than my usual reads loved the mafia story line, and carmine oh my god especially when i translated what he was saying to haven i fell hard lol .
Thanks for suggesting another great book i wouldnt have a clue what to read without your blog.

Missy March 16, 2012 at 8:18 PM

I am so glad you liked this book. I think it is awesome it made it to your “what to read after BD” list. I can not wait for the sequel.

Maryse March 16, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Loved it, Missy!! Thank you! *bear hug*

Natalie March 17, 2012 at 6:43 AM

LOVE Gabriel´s Inferno, I´m rereading it right now for the third time, can´t wait for the sequel to come out…..(also a twillight fanfic btw, it was called The University of Edward Masen)

vanessa March 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM

oh my oh my what a story I was up until the weee hours reading this and all day yesterday just lounging. Thank you so much for keeping you site up to date and with reviews :) I’m not done yet so gotta go ………..

Jen March 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I was obsessed with this book for days, and wanted it so badly to end differently!!! I’m glad you mentioned that there is a possibility for a second book because I just don’t feel like their story is done. So much was still hanging. I don’t like to guess what happens with the loose ends, I like them to all be tied up nicely by the end of the book. Thanks for this suggestion though, I am glad I read it!

vanessa March 20, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I am finally done and @jen I felt the same way. Hopefully another book does come out because things were left hanging. Yes it was a great book I was jumping out of my seat at times, laughing out loud and even an emotional wtf what an A-hole and wondering when she’d get some courage and it finally came and i don’t want to spoil it for any one but it finally came at the game woohoo Haven!!!! :D

Kim March 30, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVe, this book!! I am so happy to hear there will be another one to look forward too! I’ve read (2x) “Fifty” (LOVE CHRISTIAN!)..moved onto “Beautiful Disaster” (another good one) then “Sempre”..I’m almost finsihed with it (at 93% on my Kindle) and I cannot put it down…I’m scouring your blog (love it, btw) for my next journey! :)

Maryse April 2, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Kim!! So glad you’re loving it, like I did.

Let me know what you choose next. Personally, I recommend Slammed. That one was my latest “squee” fest.

Jill April 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Just finished it also and I agree with Vanessa and Jen. The ending left me a little upset… I need more!!!! I am slightly sad about their future. :( I wanted more for them… His football career and her education. The life neither of them dreamed of. I guess I have read too many stories with ‘perfect’ endings lately. However, if this ending brings a second book then I am more than happy to deal with my slight disappointment! ;o) Overall a great read! I think I might even have my hubby read it!

Maryse April 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Jill. Yep, as long as a #2 is coming, I can be happy :) I DO think she is working on it.

Jen May 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Just finished in the wee hours of the morning and my stomach still hurts! I have to say if you didn’t pull up blue october’s 18 th floor balcony and read the cabin again you need to! Carmine is totally right, that song is soooo Haven and Carmine’s. Need book 2 now. Thanks for the recommendation, another great read! Oh! Yes should be on the “what to read after BD list”! ;)

Maryse May 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Hi Jen!

A great story isn’t it. I know how you feel, and yes, it has already been added to the ‘What to Read After Beautiful Disaster” list the weekend I read it. LOVE it!!

Lisa K July 6, 2012 at 11:19 AM

LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Book 2 PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Maryse July 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM

I am very excited for #2, also!

kristin July 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Another great recommendation! I LOVED this book so much that once I finished I started reading it again the next day to be sure I absorbed everything it had to offer.
I can’t wait for #2! I want more!

Tanya Humphreys August 2, 2012 at 5:58 AM

I really want to read this!! But I can’t find it?!?
I normally read through Kobo on my IPad do you know if where I can get it??

Takisha August 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I just finished this book..OMG!!!!! Loved it!!! Man!!

Maryse August 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM

She’s working on the sequel!! Yay us!

Dana Delamar August 9, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Hi Maryse! Thanks so much for recommending “Sempre”! I write Mafia romance too, so I’m always interested in stories in that genre. I ran across “Sempre” on your “Illicit Bad Boys” post, and bumped it to the top of my TBR pile. LOVED it! I’m doing a little happy dance to hear that there’s going to be a sequel. (I was just about to Google to see if I could find out, and here you’ve got the scoop!) Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention. :)

amelia August 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM

As I was reading the book, one of the things that crossed my mind was to do this. Thank you Maryse.
I was suffering from 50 shades withdrawal and was googling around until I found your page. Read Bared To You and Beautiful Disaster and then THIS. I LOVE SEMPRE (FOREVER).
I love everything about the book, cried and laughed and cried and cried and cried. Took me three days to finish everything because I wanted to savor each page slowly and I really didn’t want it to end. The plot was so ‘right’, every moment so well written, clues and revelations dropping at the right times…I know its kinda lame to compare this to songs, but you know, it feels like listening to the songs you love and when the beat drops and you’re like “yes!” dum dum dummmm “yes!”
I’m going to reread it and I know the Sempre withdrawal is going to hit me so bad I will watch Godfather until my dvd player dies.
SO thank you for recommending this book. Its on top of my list of fav books, above 50 shades and twilight and all. I hope the sequel will come out soon…

Lisa September 14, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I finished this book a few days ago and it was so good. I honestly had no clue what it was about when i started reading it other than maybe a Mob Romance but OMG it was so much more. When I started reading and slaves were mentioned I had a mild panic attack as this book might not be for me but BOY OH BOY was i wrong. I loved watching the growth of both Carmine and Haven. This book made me laugh, cry, cringe, and hold my breath a lot. Not to mention i had to google a certain phrase about a dragon LOL! I was so relieved today to see there will be a sequel. Thank you for the recommendation!

Kristin September 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Great suggestion..loved it can’t wait for a sequel

Sarah January 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Oops 5 stars I mean ;) and I also had to look up the definition of angry dragon lol never heard of that one before. The things I learn when I read

Kim Cheeseman January 27, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Just finished Sempre…What to read next???
Every time I have read something that is most fabulous I am stumped with what to read next….I absolutely am sooooo glad I took the time to read this…what a different type of love story and plot…never EVER thought I would want to read about a MOB or Mafia….BUT wow J.M. put it together superbly….is that even a word?.?….
LOVE Love love it!!!! When is the sequel…from all of the blogs and her website – I still could not narrow down a release dated???? BUT I want it NOW!!!!!

Maryse January 27, 2013 at 8:34 PM

I know… we are all on pins and needles waiting for #2. I’ll continue stalking her updates.

heather February 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Great love story!! Glad I read this one. Cant wait for #2

Jennell May 7, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Does anyone know why this book is no longer available on amazon? There is no pricing information for the kindle or paperback version.

Jackquelin May 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Loveeeeed it! Carmine just wow:) thanks for never letting me down maryse!

Tori May 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

@Jennell – the author’s blog says it’s being retooled because it was picked up by a publisher, and that’s why it’s not available for purchase at this time. Sempre will be re-released in November and the sequel in December (2013).

Jennell May 14, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Tori thank you so much for the information.

Leigh May 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I’ve been trying to find this book for awhile now with no luck. I usually read through my Kindle app on my iPad. Any suggestions? And Maryse, so glad to have found your site! Your suggestions are spot on for me.

raquel July 1, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Please help I can’t buy this book on amazon , it says this book is not available. Anyone can help?

Kim July 8, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Tori above says Sempre will be rereleased November and then sequel in December – author signed with publisher and she is having to follow what they say- author is truly nice person – just her hands are tide..

Beth Knipple August 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Not sure when I downloaded this book. It sort of got buried in my TBR pile. Was scrolling through my cloud and found it. Was thinking military (miss read the title). Got caught up in the story quickly but confused, (not alpha military male) so I looked back through your blog and found your review. I only read enough to realign my thoughts about the book, and went back to reading. Totally caught up in the story line and loved how their story unfolded.
I’m sure I downloaded it from your recommendation, so thank you Maryse! Another great story grabbed me and swept me into another world.

Jean December 30, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Okay, so don’t know why I waited so long to read this….but finally decided that I would read it as my last book for 2013 (which would be #204 for the year….wow)! Anyway, this book! Wow, why did I wait so long to read it?!?! I usually fly through a book, but I find myself slowing down with this one and really taking it in….going back and re-reading bits….just don’t want to miss anything…and really don’t want it to be over. I am now at 50% and have no idea how this story is going to end. Ugh, why do I have to work today…… hoo!

Megan March 14, 2014 at 7:52 PM

This book is great, I also loved Redemption! Great recommendation!

Kyong April 20, 2014 at 7:58 AM

Hi, Maryse! I discovered Sempre here on your site a few days ago and I just finished reading the second book about 10 minutes ago :) I enjoyed it so much that I had to leave a comment here! Both Sempre books are fantastic heartwarming, and heart racing! Definitely 5 stars!

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