Sunday 17 August 2014

The Hot Bed #Route69 Trip @TheHotBed

Today we are catching up with The Hot Bed in Chicago for their #Route69 trip. We are going to take a look back at our reviews for JM Darhower's Sempre Series.
Review ~ Sempre (Forever 1) by JM Darhower
Reviewed 11th January 2014
Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 Stars

“Per sempre.”
“Always and forever.”

How comes I have waited so long to read this series? Seriously, I have missed out! It was through the hype for the sequel Sempre Redemption that my book brain was drawn towards this book, I downloaded both books and started…and I couldn’t put them down, in 2 days both books were done, gone…I was a wreck but I knew that I had read 2 really damn good books. I never thought that a book about the mafia would be so interesting and so addictive, but they were. From the first till last page I was there, enveloped in this grisly but incredibly romantic tale that kept me enraptured, I lived and breathed this story and I didn’t want them to end.

This is the story of Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco. Haven was in a bad place when she was rescued by Vincent DeMarco, she was a slave whose father was her master. Since she was born, her life was full of abuse and neglect and she should never have witnessed some of the things that she had. Her nights were full of nightmares and the days were no better either. Always wanting for food, being dirty and living in an outbuilding, to say her life was dire is an understatement. Once “bought” by Vincent she is taken to live with him and his two sons, Carmine and Dominic. Dominic is on the straight and narrow, his life is focused, he does well at school and has a great girlfriend. Carmine is on a downward slippery slope, having witnessed his mums murder and been shot when he was younger, these events left him with issues, deep rooted issues that he lets dictate his life.

Haven is a very complex character, yet considering what she has been through is extremely strong. Having had such a woeful and sheltered upbringing when she is suddenly thrust into her new environment she has a lot of adjusting to do. She can’t comprehend that she is not living the life she once was and works hard to keep the house clean and the men fed, but she is constantly on guard for fear that “bad behaviour” will bring with it serious consequences. It takes Vincent, Carmine and Dominic quite a while to make her see that she actually has a life now and that she needs to grab it with both hands. Whilst she may not be totally “free” so is certainly no longer a slave and the men try to slowly but surely introduce her to the goings on of the outside world.

Carmine has the reputation of a drinker and recreational drug user, he has a constant stream of different girls he uses for sex but never kisses. He does not want to make attachments. His mothers death left him physically and emotionally scarred, he actually feels that he died that day too. The Carmine that exists is just a shell of the person he was. When Carmine finally “notices” Haven it seems that he gets hit by the “Colpo di fulmine” the thunderbolt of love, kaboom as Dominic says. They help each other “heal,” they are so good for one another, two broken souls on a voyage of discovery and this is documented brilliantly. Carmine is so protective over Haven, he totally changes, even going against his dad in some instances. This is a slow build romance and it is beautifully written, extremely emotional and totally and utterly captivating. You can’t help but be moved by their story. However, as with any Mafioso connections, will true love run smooth or with the Cosa Nostra cause problems for these young lovers?

“Love. The word perplexed him. He wasn’t swimming in lust anymore. This was uncharted territory, and he was fucking drowning.”

I would love to rant and rave but it would give away too much of this brilliant story. Be prepared though, have Sempre Redemption downloaded ready to go as you will want to carry on with this captivating story.

“He had finally found his light in the darkness, the spark that snuffed when his mom died reignited in Haven.”

I have found another author that will be an auto download, not only did I fall in love with the story, but I fell in love with the writing style. You could tell that the author had spilled their love and life into this book. I was emotionally connected and emotionally invested and I didn’t want it to end. Such an amazing read, well done JM Darhower!

Review ~ Sempre Redemption (Forever 2) by JM Darhower
Reviewed 12th January 2014
Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 Stars
“Everyone falls sometimes, son, even me, but the trick is to get right back up. They’ll always target the ones who appear vulnerable, so you need to be strong. Fake it until you make it.”

I really don’t know what to say about this one, to say I was engrossed is an understatement. My kindle was glued to my hand, I neither bathed, ate or went to the loo until I had devoured this baby. I could not put it down, seriously, I had to call in my reading buddy for a shoulder to cry on when I got too emotional and I cried…A LOT!! I know I am blubberer, everyone who knows me, knows this, but this book ripped out my heart, stamped on it, shredded it into tiny pieces and threw them around for good measure. JM Darhower sure knows how to tug on your heart strings and pull out them tears. I was a mess, red puffy eyes, runny nose, hiccups…yes I was emotionally destroyed and my husband just laughed! But, it was such a bloody good book, you know you have read a good one when it pulls out that kind of reaction and all this from reading about the Mafioso, who would have thought?? This series is one of my favourite reads of 2013 and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

“La mia bella regazza” - my beautiful girl

Carmine and Haven’s love story continues in this book, however as expected with the types of lives they lead, the course of true love never runs smooth. We knew that Carmine had made the ultimate sacrifice in Sempre and now he must fulfil his commitment. Carmine has to make some tough choices right at the very start of this instalment and whilst it made sense and I could understand, I didn’t like it one bit, I cried a lot. But this gave us an incredible journey and story for both Carmine and Haven. Both characters grew and evolved tremendously in this instalment. Carmine matured a lot and Haven, she discovered herself and life. This book really was a voyage of discovery for them both and a real eye opener.

“He was Carmine Marcello DeMarco…and even broken, he was beautiful.”

JM Darhower takes you on a dark and gritty journey throughout this book. I could have thrown my kindle many a time, if I could have throttled her I would have, my emotions were destroyed and my heart went with it. The author is extremely brave in this instalment and she took the book to a place that you could never have predicted, but that is the beauty of this story, you never knew what was going to happen, you never knew what was around the corner and JM Darhower is certainly unpredictable.

The style of writing is extremely engaging and captivating, at times I forgot I was reading and felt as if I was right there, there was one particular scene where the hairs on the back of my neck and arms were standing on end, I was scared, I was frightened and it was as if I was watching a movie in slow motion. I could visually picture the scene, I could hear everything and I felt EVERYTHING. I cannot express enough how this author pulls you in. Total and utter absorption into this story.

Vincent and Corrado really made this story too, I have always had a major soft spot for Vincent, but Corrado really comes through in this book. I always felt he was a bit high and mighty and aloof before, but we see a different side to him in Sempre Redemption and I totally adore him now. He goes above and beyond in this story and while I don’t agree with some of the decisions he made, I can see why and I understand but it doesn’t make them any more palatable.

“Out of curiosity would you be willing to take a lie detector test?
“I’m afraid not,” he said. “It goes against my religion.”
“Only God can judge me. I certainly do not trust a machine to do it.”
“You only have to worry if you’re untruthful. Do you plan to lie?”
“No, I prefer to sit, thank you.” - Corrado and Agent Cerone

I would love to rant and rave but this book cannot be detailed as it would spoil the story too much. All I can say is it is a must read, put aside a good amount of time because once you start this series or even this book you will not be able to put them down and they are longer than the usual, so are well worth the money.

“Ama, ridi, sogna-e vai dormaire” - Love, laugh, dream and go to sleep

JM Darhower you are a true genius. I cannot express enough how much I have loved this series. I cannot wait to see what you have up your sleeve for us next but I am secretly hoping for more Corrado and Carmine et al.

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