4.4 98
by J. M. Darhower, Carla Mercer-Meyer

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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 has caused their worlds to collide. Entangled in a web of


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 has caused 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?

Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Forever Series, #1
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

J. M. Darhower is the author of countless stories and poems, most of which only she has ever read. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina.

Carla Mercer-Meyer is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator. She has a strong musical theater background, as she has been performing her entire life. Her performances include Into the Woods; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; and many other theatrical productions. Carla resides in Southern California.

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Sempre (Forever) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Tammi_D More than 1 year ago
I started following this author when she wrote fanfiction. It was beautiful then and even more so seeing it in print. The book is about human trafficking, young love, redemption, trying to fight for the good even if you are on not exactly the right side of the road. J.M Darhower is a wonderful, delightful author. She makes you fall in love with her characters, you want to know what happens to them after the final word has been written. I could not put this book down. I needed to know what happened next. You will smile, laugh, and cry. Thank you J.M. for a wonderful book. Keep writing!!!!
FutureNovelist07 More than 1 year ago
J.M. Darhower amazes me without fail everything time I read her work!! The way she makes her characters jump out of the book and make it seem like reality, makes you want to take the tough journey along with Carmine and Haven. From reading EP on fanfiction to buying this story, I have learned to love more, realize the harshness of the world, but also that you need to take chances in life. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It not only makes you realize the harsh realities of human trafficking but it also lets you enter a world of utter love. For me personally, I have bought the paperback copy and ebook edition...I could not pass up having both copies. If you decide to buy this book (which you should!), you will not be disappointed!! :D
Laurielu1207 More than 1 year ago
Sempre by J.M. Darhower is an powerful, outstanding story that covers the gamut of the human condition while being a very sweet love story between two young adults whose lives have not been easy and have been emotionally traumatized. Haven Antonelli is brought into the DeMaro household as permanent housekeeper under the direction of Carmine’s father after extricating her from a very atrocious situation. As time goes on Carmine and Haven develop a steadfast relationship that is all about two different, yet not so different worlds coming together and deeply affecting each other by healing each other’s past and present emotional wounds. In addition, the ties she develops with Carmine’s brother, father, and friends assists in her metamorphasis into a very confident, lovely young woman from the scared person she was after the trauma she endured in her younger life of true slavery. The story that unfolds is gripping and perceptively emotional, yet moments of sweetness take over the depth of the story. A quality that softens the seriousness of the circumstances. Plus, ties to the mafia add to the intensity of the story as well as the family connections that are discovered that bind the young couple even closer to each other and binging them together forever (sempre). As the novel unfolds, the reader will excitedly find themselves turning the pages or hitting the forward button on their e-reader. J.M. Darhower writes with skill, purpose, and depth. This is one of the best stories of contemporary romance that I have read in a long time. Happy Reading from Bona Fide Reflections!!
MamaPhan More than 1 year ago
I really wish I could give half stars. This is a 2.5 star review for me. The story itself was gripping . . . when it finally got to the climax, and that didn't happen until the last third of the book. However, when a book is as riddled with grammatical errors as this one is, it's hard for me to take it very seriously. Little things like using apostrophes when they weren't necessary because a word was being pluralized instead of showing possession (this was particularly evident when pluralizing a family's name), using "that" instead of "who" when talking about people, and one glaring continuity error (referenced below) made enjoying this book very difficult. I felt like for the first 2/3 of the book, there were a lot of needless details. I get why the author explained all the things Carmine and Haven did, and why she explained Vincent doing what he did to Haven on the anniversary of his wife's death. And it was nice to see Haven's first chance to celebrate holidays like Halloween and Christmas. The interactions with several minor characters didn't seem as essential as they were in the fanfiction, though. The continuity error focused on the date of Maura's death. When Vincent goes to the cemetery to visit his wife's grave, it gives a date of death of 1996. From there on out, her murder is described as happening in 1997. In the long run, it was a minor detail, but it kept throwing me off. I should note that I read this story to a certain point when it was available for free. The book version differs a lot from the fanfiction, and I have to give Ms. Darhower kudos for doing that. Sempre managed to keep my attention the way the fanfic could not. I enjoyed the book a lot more than the fanfiction. Again though, the grammatical errors really threw me off the entire time. Maybe mine is a technical brain, but I found myself annoyed at having to correct things in my head.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. Great story and characters. Couldn't put it down, it kept my interest from beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sempre is one of those books that grips you heart and soul and takes you on such a ride that you physically feel it after you have closed the cover. As much as I'd like to, I can't deny that there is more reality to this fictional tale than I want to admit. I'm grateful to the author for touching the slavery and human trafficking issues still occurring in almost plain sight.  While Haven and Carmine are the central focus of the story, Dr. Vincent DeMarco is my favorite character. I especially enjoyed his times with his priest and at church. Their conversations and his refusal to take communion gave such insight to such a, at least superficially, complicated personality. His conversations with his mother were the absolute best though!  Looking forward to reading the next installment, as this story is not over. I feel Haven isn't the only one who will find her freedom in the end.
Kate_c77 More than 1 year ago
I have read other works by JM Darhower and I am still surprised by how well she writes. Her stories make you feel connected to the characters, despite how tragically different the characters lives are from your own. Her writing is direct, simple, yet extremely passionate full of foreshadowing. This book is a must read. It brings the subject of slavery to the forefront, forcing its readers to think about how good their own lives are. The characters are complex, beautiful, and tragic. Every page will suck you in further to the lives of these characters, and leaving you wishing for more pages to turn. Don't hesitate. Buy. xox
Anonymous 9 months ago
I loved this book. Haven is heartbreaking and beautiful. Carmine is heartbroken and sexy. They make an unlikely pair but I think that's why the story was so good. If you're a grammar nazi or you are expecting Jane Austen then don't bother reading this.
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Thoughts_and_Pens More than 1 year ago
This is a real gem. Can't believe it!  This is an overdue review, one of the leftovers of my ARC pile during my long hiatus.  And I must admit that I only forced myself to read it due to the fact that I should still fulfill my responsibility as a reviewer no matter how late my submission is.    I am very glad that I did because Sempre turned out to be a gem.  It was everything that I expected it to be when I sent in the request.    So I didn’t know that this book started to be as a Twilight FanFic until today and it somehow scared me.  I don’t think I can handle a repeat performance of Fifty Shades of Grey.  But OMG, this book was anything but Twilight.  The storyline alone was enough proof of that.  There’s modern day slavery here and violence… a lot of it.  With this said, I don’t think Sempre will be for everyone as it’s dark and messy.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some will DNF it even before they reach the second chapter.  But in my case, Sempre really connected with me in a lot of ways.   Where do I even begin? One of the primary reasons I requested this book is because of the synopsis.  Look at that.  It’s about the Mafia. And ever since I watched the Godfather, I developed this crazy fascination about the Mob.   The way they worked together, their hierarchy, the way they put the Mob first over their families are all interesting.  Sempre made me missed the Corleone family and how united they are despite the odds.  They are not good people…they’re despicable (beyond redemption maybe) but I admire how they protect their own.  The La Costa Nostra family in Sempre is also the same.  They’re f**** bastards with no hope of salvation….they murder, they rob, they enslave people… but when it comes to their women and children, the ruthless veneer comes off and you will find insecure, overemotional people who will do what it takes not to drag the former into the mess.  Oh, I am not saying that they should be forgiven… It’s just that there’s still good in there somewhere.   So aside from getting immersed into the Mafia way of life, another thing I liked about Sempre is the character development.  Obviously, because we’re talking about the Mafia here, there are so many characters to keep track of.  And as you know, a story with so many characters rarely succeeds in capturing the hearts of the readers.  But Sempre did not suffer that because the overall character development was awesome.  I am especially in awe with Vincent DeMarco, Corrado Moretti and of course, Carmine DeMarco—our male MC.  The latter could really curse well. What a broken…broken boy.  I do have an issue with our female lead, Haven Antonelli.  As I am writing this review, I still couldn’t figure whether to hate or love her.  For the most part, she maintained a passive stance, generally accepting of her life as a slave. And I don’t like it because I love feisty females. But I also reasoned out that making her the way she is was the most realistic course of action the author can take given the fact that she grew up as a slave.  Well, at least, I get to see her finally making decisions for herself and debating with male MC as we go deeper into the story.   The romance in Sempre was also remarkable.  I could not believe it either because the situation where our two main characters are in is quite doomed.  Add the fact that this book is New Adult which as you know is littered with crappy romance stories that are brimming with incessant sex and kissing.  But the romance in Sempre progressed nicely and the intimate moments were somewhat underplayed.  We get to see how our characters handled their relationship even though it was dangerous…even if the girl was a slave and the boy was the son of the slave’s master.  There will be a lot of people who will think that the relationship is going to be unhealthy but it wasn’t.  As a matter of fact, the relationship gradually turned them into better individuals.  They didn’t change overnight but you can see that they’re striving hard to be worthy of one another.   The plot was perfectly balanced.  There was romance and action that made me interested until the end.  Sensitive issues were also covered here.  Sempre’s story is not just about the cold-blooded killings, the cringe-worthy slavery, and the romance but it’s about rising above one’s baser nature… that even if our souls have been tainted with so much evil, we can still get up and start anew.     Overall, Sempre is a beautifully written story that took me on a wonderful journey… unexpected but definitely worth the 400+ pages. 
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Literary_Marie More than 1 year ago
Sempre is the first book in the Forever series by J.M. Darhower. Even though Sempre features two seventeen-year-olds, it is sexy with traces of a dark mystery. Haven is a second-generation slave and victim of human trafficking. It goes without saying that her life is full of abuse. Carmine was born into a Mafia family and happens to be the son of the man who enslaved Haven. What a twist! Fate causes Haven and Carmine's lives to cross and they are soon caught in a web of secrets, lies, betrayal and murder. Over 500 pages worth! I like big books and I cannot lie (¿ cue Sir Mix-a-Marie ¿). Sempre is very engaging. I was so caught up in the story that I lost track of time and didn't realize I was flipping hundreds of ePages. This novel can be categorized as young adult but young-to-middle aged women may enjoy the well written dark romance too. In the Author's Acknowledgements, she states that "while Sempre is a work of fiction, the concept of modern-day slavery is not make-believe. There are an estimated 27 million people in the world today who are coerced and forced into sexual or labor slavery." Darhower encourages us to become abolitionists. You have to love fiction with a cause!  Literary Marie of Precision Reviews
virginia2 More than 1 year ago
good book for rain or snow afternoon.....a bit too long tho
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good book. I was at the edge of my seat any times.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt, one of the finest, most heart-breaking novels I have read in quite a while! A young girl is born a mafia slave, brutalized and beaten, she has never known freedom, until one powerful man takes her into his home in honor of his late wife, who felt a soul deep bond with the child. Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have nothing in common. She is the slave, a prisoner in the DeMarco home, and he is the godson of the Chicago mafia don, the local bad boy still reeling from the loss of his mother, the rebellious and lost soul, royalty in a world he wants no part of. Together they forge a bond that defies the rules, upsets the balance of the “family” and could mean death to both themselves and those around them. Will their love bring them joy or pain? As the past is unveiled, and family secrets are revealed, Haven’s true identity puts a bulleye on her back, while Carmine trades his very soul for the protection of the “family.” Sempre by J. M. Darhower, the first book in the Forever series is a story of two young people struggling to fit in in a world they want desperately to escape. It is a heart wrenching tale of loss, trust and love, as well as the dream of freedom and redemption from the nightmares and sins of the past. J. M. Darhower has created a masterpiece with her words. Rich in detail and and emotion, this is a story to be savored and absorbed, from the horrors of child trafficking to the joys of finally being able to spread one’s wings and soar with the support of someone who truly loves you for who you are. Each character is beautifully developed and colored in as the story progresses, some grow and blossom like a well-tended flower, while others struggle with the ugliness their lives have become, all of them seeking some form of redemption and salvation. The dark and dangerous world of the mafia with its lust for absolute power and control is portrayed with brutal clarity. The brilliant dialogue, and exposed raw emotion of two damaged teens seeking their own oasis to be together will leave no one untouched. I am in awe of the talent and gifts J. M. Darhower possesses. I received an ARC edition from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books in exchange for my honest review.
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Who is the real bad guy in this book? Were they good ppl that made bad choices?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice read..... sweet