December 19, 2013

Review: Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower

Title: Sempre: Redemption
Author: J.M. Darhower
Published: Simon & Schuster | Dec 16, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspence
Source: From Publisher for Review (Thank You!)
Series: Forever Series
Sempre: Redemption

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine’s father, and with his family’s help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions of a mafia family cost Carmine a steep price: he was forced to swear loyalty to them.

Now, still passionately in love, Carmine and Haven must face the fall-out of Carmine’s forced service, as Haven discovers terrifying secrets about the family that enslaved both her and her mother—and why she matters so much in this intricate web of lies.

     I HAVE NO WORDS! There is no way I can do justice to this book with my review. It's just not possible! But I'm still going to try. After finishing Sempre, I wasn't in love with the story; the character did leave a mark and as far as storytelling and direction goes, I was sort of in the middle. Cut to now, where I've just finished Sempre Redemption and can't be more happier with my decision to continue this series. It was out of the world! The feels it gave me were simply indescribably. The length wasn't even an issue, I flew through that book within a day and I can honestly say that this was the best sequel I've ever read to date. The story could not have gone in a better direction and I'm so glad that the author took that risque step regarding the romance and for me, it works! Job well done!

     Sempre Redemption opens up Haven and Carmine and the whole DeMarco family preparing for Christmas. The sweet moments only lasts for a few pages because that Christmas weekend, involving some very bittersweet interactions and a truly heartbreaking letter, sets up the base for the entire story. Carmine and Haven are set to explore their lives, him being a newbie in the Mafia dealings and her being just a normal girl experiencing the world for the first time. Haven goes to a college and starts making new friends. I loved this development in her character; from the naive, inexperienced girl, we see Haven grow into a mature, independent girl who wasn't afraid to take the next step. I loved seeing her come to terms with her past and accepting who she was and not wanting to hide it, I think that's something wonderful in itself. Haven was a beautiful, smart girl to began with, but the private time in New York ended up making her more confident and self-satisfied. Oh, I loved that girl so much!

     I wasn't a diehard fan of Carmine in the first book, he was too cocky for his own good and the only thing I hoped he would accomplish in the sequel was--to be more in control and patient. And hallelujah, he managed to achieve that! Not only did he get a hold of his anger and controlled his mouth, dare I say that Carmine in-fact ended up making me fall for him! This was the Carmine I wanted all the time; after error and fail, drugs and hospital visits, violence and revelations, he grew up a lot faster than I expected and that's a good thing! Besides Haven and Carmine, we get a POV of a man I feared and sort of loved in the first book, Corrado Moretti. He was a fucking awesome character! I'm obsessed with him and his lifestyle and his thought process, and I only hope that, if there is a sequel or companion to this series (which I've a feeling there would be), we get to see more of Corrado. His case trial and hearing was my favorite scene/part in Sempre Redemption. 

     All in all, Sempre Redemption was a thrilling read that played with our hearts and mind, and made us question our morals as well as our values. It was also a rough yet beautiful story about a lost girl and a clueless boy, and their path to redemption and a possible happily-ever-after. In short, read this series! The first book might be difficult to get into initially, but if you stick with it and complete it all the way, you're going to be left with a memorable story to cherish forever.

PS: I looked back to one of my reviews where I said that Sweet Peril was the best sequel to date, but I guess it's second now. It's a competitive world, people! :D


  1. I have only heard amazing things about Sempre, but I didn't request a copy as I was slightly overwhelmed with review books at the time, it looks like this decision will come back later and bite me in the bum! This year has been really mixed for me with follow up books, so I'm glad to see that you found an excellent story in Sempre Redemption near the end of the year. Also I truly appreciate character growth over the course of a series, so I'm glad that Carmine was finally able to win you over! Lovely review Aman! :)

  2. So happy to hear you loved this one! It's simply fantastic when sequels don't fall sort and somehow manage to surpass the first book and not have a middle book syndrome!

  3. AWESOME!!! I love when a sequel blows away its predecessor, especially when you were only lukewarm about it to start with. I'm so glad both Haven and Carmine really grew as characters, that's always something I really look for in a book. Character growth is huge for me:) Definitely thinking I should pick this series up now Aman, beautiful review!

  4. Yay! I'm so glad to see that this book turned out to be super awesome! I shall definitely be getting to it sometime because it looks like Carmine and Haven finally get what they deserve. I really excited to see Corrado's pov too! Amazing review Aman! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  5. AAAHHH I just wrote a whole comment. WHERE DID IT GO? BOO Google. Anyway, I will try again… I am so so happy to hear how much you connected to REDEMPTION. I agree, both Haven and Carmine's growth in this story was beautiful and heartbreaking to watch. But incredibly necessary. THough I missed them together like in the first book (that is still my favorite), I agree that they could have never moved forward without this part of their lives. I'm glad Darhower gave them the time without adding unnecessary angst or love triangles. Corrado! YES. He's amazing. He stole a bit of my heart hear. So badass it's crazy. But still caring, though he doesn't like to show it. It was fun to see the difference in how he treated Carmine and Haven. Oh and I can't not mention Vincent whose change from the start of book 1 to the end of this one was just astounding. How much he would do to save his family blew me away. Great review!


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