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. 😉
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.