Review: SEMPRE REDEMPTION by J.M. Darhower

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.

Review:

Sempre Redemption was my most anticipated books of the year! Sempre is one of my all-time favorites. It was thrilling, sexy and emotionally exhausting at times and I loved every minute of it. Carmine and Haven are two of the most unforgettable characters I have ever read about. Their story is different and unique. The love these two share is beautiful and everlasting. I was so excited to get my hands on this book and I had very high expectations. Sempre blew me away so I was expecting the same reaction to this book. It pains me to say it didn’t. It wasn’t that it was bad, I would recommend it to anyone who read Sempre, but it fell short of being amazing. I keep thinking about how to rate it and it’s been very hard. Some parts I loved and others were just okay. The beginning and end were 5 stars and the middle fell around 3 stars for me. The epilogue was one of the best I have ever read. I’m sad that their story is over. I want more!

"Redemption… because I’m not perfect, so thank fuck for second chances to try to make things right." - Carmine DeMarco

Sempre Redemption picks up right where Sempre ended. Carmine and Haven are back in North Carolina celebrating Christmas. I really enjoyed the first 20% or so of this book. It had the same fast paced storyline as Sempre. I was sucked in. I already had a connection to the characters after reading the first book so I immediately felt their struggles as they dealt with the aftermath of events that happened in Sempre. These two are true soul mates. Carmine and Haven may be young but the love they share is real and intense. I was excited to see how these two were going to stay together and deal with their lives as Carmine became one of Salvador’s pawns.

"I did it because I love you, Haven, and you didn't force me to fucking love you. I did that shit all on my own. And I don't regret any of it."

So I was surprised by the turn of events in the first part of the book. While I understand why it was done it didn’t make me happy. I think it was necessary for the characters to grow but I wish it wouldn’t have taken up the majority of the storyline. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until around 70% when things picked back up. Since this is a longer book, the middle portion takes up a large percent of the book and this is what made the book drag for me!!

The character growth in this book is amazing. I already loved Carmine and Haven from Sempre but Vincent and Corrado weren’t my favorites. I came to understand them more and appreciate the roles they played in the story. They both grew on me and I can say that I love them now. I still hate Salvador. He is a monster! Haven is one of my all-time favorite heroines. I just adore her. I loved that she was able to find herself in this book. She has lived such a sheltered life and her growth was necessary. She gains her wings and flies in this book. I just wish she wouldn’t have struggled while getting there. My heart broke for her. She has already been through so much and I hated to see her in pain. Carmine is still the same smart mouth kid he was in Sempre. As he joins the family business, he really struggles with his choice and losing his freedom. He is still damaged by his mother’s death. He loves Haven more than anything and makes a huge decision thinking he is protecting her. I think that decision almost breaks them though. I understand why he did it and think for his age it was a very mature decision but I hated to see the heartache it brought on. I can’t say enough how much I love these two.

"Fate. You came into my life because you were meant to be in my life. It wasn't an accident! So don't push me war, because I fucking love you, Carmine DeMarco, and you’re just hurting yourself doing it."

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I loved getting more of Carmine and Haven. I think the book is much more than a love story and while I wanted more romance I think it makes me appreciate their story even more. I’m sad that their journey is over and I can never get enough of these characters.


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