Made: J.M. Darhower

23295358Book Information: 

Published: October 27th 2014 by J.M. Darhower

Author: J.M. Darhower

Page Count: 530

Rating: 5.0 ⭐️

Genre: Romance/Dark

Amazon: $3.99 (Kindle)

Barnes and Noble: $3.99 (Nook E-Book)

*Note: This is considered to be the sequel to the Sempre duology but the events that happen in this novel give away spoilers to the ending of Sempre and Sempre Redemption.

Synopsis via Goodreads: 

Corrado Moretti.

The world knows the notorious Kevlar Killer, but few have ever seen what lies beneath his armor. The abused child. The neglected teenager. The broken man. He always did whatever he had to do in order to survive.

It’s kill or be killed.

Throughout his life, he has been there in the shadows, a witness to everything from beginning to end. Bound by loyalty and honor, there’s only one thing he would sacrifice it all for: family.

Never get close. Never get attached. It’s a lesson that has been brutally pounded into him since childhood, but they’re words the DeMarcos make it difficult for him to follow. Through them he finds love and grieves loss, realizing the world isn’t quite as black and white as it’s made out to be.


Thoughts:

This novel is in my top 10 best books I have read this year. I have found myself going back and re-reading my favorite parts and all I can think of is “Corrado Moretti, how have you wormed yourself into my mind?” Like the rest of the series, this book contains swearing, violence, abuse, and steamy scenes. 

This book follows the infamous Kevlar Killer from his earliest days. Corrado didn’t have a good childhood. His father is absent quite a lot, his mother is physically and verbally abusive, and his twin sister manipulative.

While reading about his childhood there were lots of times where I felt horrible about the life he had to endure at such a young age. Of course being the emotional reader that I am, I cried at several of the parts. From an early age he learned how to take care of himself and how not to grow attached to anything or anyone.

That flies out the window the moment he meets the stunning (both inside and out) Celia DeMarco. She is everything that Corrado isn’t. She is loud, passionate, and has the biggest heart. It isn’t until they meet later in their teenage years where things are set into motion.

After deciding that the life his father lives is the life he should live Corrado tries to find his ground in La Costa Nostra. The boss of this mafia is none other Celia’s father which means that both Celia and Corrado will be running into each other more than ever before.

The hardships that both Corrado and Celia go through before they have her father’s blessing is saddening. Corrado wants nothing more than to be with Celia but he knows that without the blessing he is as good as dead if he tries to make a move. As time goes on things work out and the romance really begins to bloom and take off.

The couple have a love like no other. They both know the risks of the life Corrado lives and they know that certain things just won’t be in their life plan, such as having children. This part broke my heart because Celia would have been such an amazing mother.

The love that these two had for one another is truly heart stopping. Corrado isn’t the typical husband but no matter what he loved his wife fiercely and she would be the only woman in his book. He knew how their story would end and he wanted to try and give her moments to remember.

He is a ruthless killer, he has done terrible things, he has destroyed things in his wake, but no matter what he will always bring home flowers to his wife. He will always make sure she is okay and not hurting. He holds her above himself and will gladly die to protect her.

What I also loved seeing was the different relationships between the characters in this novel. We get to see more of Vincent, Celia’s brother and Carmine’s father, and see how he fell in love with the sweet Maura. We got to know Antonio, Celia’s father and the head of La Costa Nostra during this time.

We also get to see different scenes that happen in Sempre and Sempre Redemption through Corrado’s eyes and in my opinion it made them even more heartbreaking. He was in this lifestyle much deeper than Carmine or Vincent ever were. He knew the outcome of these situations before he even walked through the door.

I was so intrigued about Corrado from the moment that we met him and I am beyond thrilled that he has his own book! This story was utterly perfect, there is not one thing that I would ask to be changed. It is real and it is raw. Corrado is one of those characters that will stick with you.

There is no way that I could ever forget this man.

Favorite Quote:

“Smiling, Celia leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him. She pulled back, pressing her hand flat against his chest. His heart thumped erratically against her palm.
“You’re wrong about yourself,” she said seriously. “You said you were heartless, but that’s not true. I can feel it, Corrado. It’s in there. And as long as it’s beating, I know it’s there, working overtime, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.”

 

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Sempre Redemption: J.M. Darhower

17838379Book Information: 

Published: April 1st 2014 by Gallery Books (1st pub. 12/16/13)

Author: J.M. Darhower

Page Count: 528

Rating: 4.0 ⭐️

Amazon: $11.94

Barnes and Noble: $4.48


*Note: This is the second book in the Sempre duology. There will be spoilers so please if you haven’t read Sempre yet, please beware! I reviewed the first book so you can find that here.

Synopsis via Goodreads: 

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.

The electrifying sequel to Sempre! This is a story about loyalty and love. It is a story about finding redemption— even when all seems lost.

Swearing allegiance to the Mafia in order to save Haven Antonelli—the girl he loves—forces Carmine DeMarco to make the ultimate sacrifice. Sent to Chicago to work for La Cosa Nostra, he refuses to place Haven in harm’s way by taking her with him. She deserves a shot at a normal life. But as he becomes more and more immersed in a world of terrible crimes, he realizes that surviving without her may be more than he is able to bear. . . .

Stunned and hurt that Carmine has left her, Haven must now learn to make her way in the world without him. Her heart aches with the loss, but for the first time, she’s making her own choices and accomplishing dreams she never thought were within her reach. The past, however, is not done with either her or Carmine. As Haven discovers dark secrets about the family who enslaved her and her mother, and why she matters so much in this web of lies, she realizes what terrible pain may still lie in wait for her and the boy she loves. And what they must suffer to find redemption. . . .


Thoughts:

I really liked this sequel! Now I usually say that about the majority of the sequel’s I read but Sempre: Redemption was different. I felt like I was riding alongside the characters and feeling exactly how they were feeling.

This book is more about independence and learning to live and find yourself. I would also like to again mention, like the first novel, there is a heavy topic of violence, death, and a dark tone to this story.

We left off Sempre with Carmine signing away his life to La Cosa Nostra to save the girl he loves. When the second book takes off Carmine is in an internal battle with himself. He wants to keep Haven around and love her but he knows that the life he has now will not allow that.

The heartbreak in this book is crazy. Within the first fifty pages or so I cried twice!! Again, I’m an emotional reader but still, my heart and mind was invested in these characters.

You grow attached to these characters in new ways from the first book. You’re introduced to new characters that will steal your breath away. Corrado, Carmine’s uncle, is easily one of the most interesting characters I have read about. He brought this story a unique and different vibe which I really felt the story needed.

I was disappointed with the way the separation between Haven and Carmine happened. I really wished that we could have seen how both characters worked their way through the obstacles standing in their way. I would have loved to see how Haven dealt with Carmine now being part of the mafia and how in turn she tried to help him through some of the obstacles.

Most of the novel the characters are apart and learning how to live without one another. Carmine wanted Haven to have a chance to live and normal life and she had that. I found the parts with them apart still very fast paced but I had grown so fond of the parts of Sempre where they were together. I wished more of those scenes had been present!

When the couple does find their way back to one another, after yet another heartbreak, then I felt more at ease. I had missed those scenes so terribly and I was a very happy camper when they reunited.

J.M. Darhower knows how to suck readers in! I devoured this book in two sittings and I craved more even after the epilogue. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these two books.

I found that my newest favorite character Corrado has his own story so you know that I will be hopping onto that train and devouring that book soon!!

Sempre: J.M. Darhower

18338465 Book Information: 

Published: February 25th 2014 by Gallery Books

Author: J.M. Darhower

Page Count: 528

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Amazon: $12.08

Barnes and Noble: $11.95


Synopsis via Goodreads:

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT SACRIFICE… DEATH… LOVE… FREEDOM. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT FOREVER.

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 causes 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?


Thoughts:

This book was a roller coaster of emotions. I included the proper synopsis of Sempre from Goodreads because I’m all over the place with my thoughts! What a book this is. It is gripping, heartbreaking, interesting, and shocking all wrapped into one.

I picked up Sempre after seeing it on my book recommendations page. I ordered it right away and when I got my copy in the mail I jumped straight in. I didn’t imagine that I would grow attached to the characters or feel so deeply about them.

This is a heavy novel. The story follows a young woman who is broken in more ways than one. It deals with the topics of abuse, both verbal and physical, violence, and death. There is a very heavy mafia theme to this story. I wasn’t aware when I dove right in how utterly heartbreaking this book was going to be.

I cried more times then I can count while reading. Now I’m a pretty emotional reader and this book pushed me over the edge! The writing was beautiful, paired with the characters, my heart was pressed over the edge.

The love story between both Carmine and Haven is what some may describe as earth shaking. It showcases that even with flaws two people can come together in the most beautiful of ways and hang onto the innocence that each have inside of themselves.

Neither of these teenagers asked for the lives that they were born into, nor did they ask for everyone to try and hold them back. They know deep down that their love is forbidden, that it is looked down upon, but it doesn’t matter. When the lightning bolt strikes it strikes. <– Special little toss in from the book 🙂

This book goes beyond a love story. The secondary characters in my eyes were just as important as the main cast of characters. Their backstories show why Carmine and Haven are the way they are. They help make the pain felt by the couple come alive.

Throughout the book it was interesting to see the growth and development of both of the characters. Haven begins to grow into herself and embrace normalcy and Carmine is no longer the boy who couldn’t bring himself to open up/trust anyone.

I have also completed the sequel, Sempre Redemption, and my heart aches even more. J.M. Darhower has a way of writing that will make you swoon and have your eyes filling with tears from both happy and sad moments.

Favorite Quote:

“How about we just be Haven and Carmine?” she suggested. “We don’t know the ending, but we can always hope for the best.”

Dragonfly in Amber: Diana Gabaldon

Gabaldon-Dragonfly-in-Amber-220x332Book Information: 

Published: August 7th 2001 by Bantam (1st pub. 7/1/92)

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Page Count: 743

Rating: 4.75/5 ⭐️

Amazon: $11.05

Barnes and Noble: $6.84 (Mass Market Paperback I believe)


**NOTE**: This is a book review for book 2 of Outlander. There will be spoilers so please if you haven’t read the book come back and read this or read at your own risk!

OH MY GOD THAT ENDING THOUGH!!!! I AM SPEECHLESS AND NEED A GOOD CRY! Diana Gabaldon definitely delivers in the sequel to Outlander. All I can fathom to think is wow.

Dragonfly in Amber does end off on a cliffhanger note!! So if you want a break to read something else I suggest reading something after Outlander since the ending of that book makes you all warm and tingly.

I on the other hand had no idea what I was getting into. After reading and finishing Outlander I dove straight into Dragonfly in Amber without knowing anything. Well the tables had turned since I had last put down Outlander and grabbed DiA.

The first part of DiA “Inverness, 1968” is written in Claire’s present time. It is 20 or so years after she first stepped through the stones and was taken back in time.Let me tell you that I was not at all expecting this jump. No longer is Claire in her mid twenties but in her forties and a head surgeon.

Not only was that shocking enough but she has a daughter that was fathered by Jamie….. I NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING. I’m not even kidding when I say that I had to make sure I didn’t miss a book or something because things were spinning off course.

Claire has brought her daughter to Scotland and is willing to share her tale for the first time ever to young Briana. Alongside them through this telling is the Reverand’s (first book character) son, Roger, who Claire has put to the task of finding out the men who died in the Battle of Culloden.


Summary:

When we left off in Outlander Jamie and Claire, now pregnant, are on their way to France to stop the Jacobite Rebellion and try to change the future. Once there they must grow accustomed to the way of life that the french live and grow to understand their way of politics. With Jamie taking over his cousins wine business for a few months the couple discovers that this will be a perfect way to worm themselves into the Jacobite circle.

As things slowly turn out to be more deadly and live threatening the couple must place their lives on the table as well as their love.

Plot:

The plot of book two is much different then the plot in book one. In Dragonfly in Amber the whole story is based on trying to rewrite history and save the thousands of Highlanders that will be murdered during this rebellion. We have moved slightly away from the time travel and more into the political aspect of trying to share thoughts and ideas to stop a rebellion from happening.

Setting:

Readers are transported back to 18th century France and oh my! I loved reading Claire’s descriptions of everything around her. I felt like I had once again followed her back in time and was seeing exactly what she saw. Through the novel we are brought back to present day Scotland, 18th century France and Scotland.


Claire and Jamie have gone through so much in this book it is truly a miracle that they have stuck together. They have been thrown every obstacle possible and they are still moving through it together.

In DiA I loved seeing Claire’s medical knowledge shine through. That is one of her strongest traits and I loved to see it used the way that it was. Jamie is his loving and strong self still. He, in my opinion, has grown and evolved from the first book. It was interesting to read about how he dealt with the politics and people he encountered.

I’m not going to lie the first 300 or so pages of this book moved very slowly. There were some really good parts and others that made you want to put the book down.

Once you get passed that mark the novel will blow your mind. There were times when I refused to put the book down and pick up another task. So much was happening towards the end of the book that it was face paced and overwhelming in a good sense.

So much happened in the second part of this book that wrenches your heart. You feel like you are on the battle field or in the rooms along with the characters. This is not a 2D book, but real and life like. I felt as though I could reach out and hold Jamie/Claire’s hand.

There are definitely cry worthy moments, both sad and some happy. But mostly they are the sad, ugly cry moments. I had many of those throughout this novel.

I loved this book so much and I highly recommend it to Outlander fans and those who have read Outlander. The story of Jamie and Claire grows, has its ups and downs, and invites anyone in at a glance.

A Court of Mist and Fury: Sarah J. Maas

17927395

Book Information:

Published: May 3, 2016 by Bloomsbury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 640

Amazon: $11.39

Barnes and Noble: $11.44


*Note: This is the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses. The plot contains spoilers so please beware! I have a review for A Court of Thorns and Roses so please read at your own risk! 🙂


OH MY GOD SARAH J. MAAS HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!! My heart aches and all I can think of is this book. This book soars so high on my book favorites that it is at the top. There are so many feelings that I felt while reading this. It is sizzling, heartbreaking, tender, and just fantastic.

This novel follows Feyre as she deals with the consequences of saving Tamlin’s people. She must learn to deal with her High Fae traits as well as juggle her human heart. Feyre has not forgotten the deal she made with the mysterious and dark Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. She must try to weave her way through the pain, politics, and romance as evil stands just over her shoulder.

What really sold me on this novel was the character growth. When we leave off ACOTAR Feyre is broken and hurting. ACOMAF takes off a few months after what has happend Under the Mountain. Feyre is hurting and isn’t coping well with what had happened. We have a shell of the girl she used to be. Everything was ripped away from her and it isn’t helping that her love is tying her down and doing nothing to save her. Throughout the book she grows into her new self and becomes stronger. She once needed Tamlin to protect her, but no longer. She can protect herself.

I’m going to put myself out there now and say that I DISLIKE TAMLIN!! Yes shouty capitals are being used. What the *bleep* is wrong with him?!? I found myself aggravated with him and not understanding his actions until the very end, and even then my mouth dropped to the floor. You help the ones that you love, you don’t hold them down and make them fend for themselves. All I saw was a cold ruler in him, not the man who he was in ACOTAR. I adored Tam in the first book but these new developments had me wide eyed.

Rhysand on the other hand IS MY LOVE. I love him so so so so so so much. I don’t see a love triangle going to happen because in real life people grow and change. Feyre has grown and changed as well as Rhysand. I loved seeing the softer side to Rhys and how Feyre deals with everything involving him.

I think that’s where some people will dislike the novel. People who adore Tamlin might be disappointed where things are heading but I am living for this!! I liked Tam in the first book but after the events in book two my thoughts are changed. I’m a big fan of Rhys. I liked him in book one and I’m loving/living for him in book two.

There were lots of new characters introduced in this story that I have fallen in love with! Maas writes characters and makes their backgrounds so interesting that you cannot help but wonder more about them.

The end isn’t a cliffhanger but it still has me crying because I can’t wait another year!! Oh Sarah why? WHY???

Favorite Quote:

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”

This book was given 5/5 star rating on Goodreads.

A Court of Thorns and Roses: Sarah J. Maas

77493_original
Book Information:

Published: May 5, 1015 by Bloomsbury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count: 416

Amazon: $11.61

Barnes and Noble: $11.66


This book blew my socks off! The sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, comes out 5/3!

I read this book when it first came out almost a year ago. Yikes, time is flying by! This was actually the first Sarah J. Maas book that I read and I thank god that I picked this up and gave into the hype.

This book was breathtaking, romantic, sizzling (heck yeah) and overall stunning. Here we have a fast paced novel that had me crying, laughing, and rooting for characters like I never have before.

Sarah J. Maas cultivates characters like no other author. I have never felt so deeply for characters like I have hers. They are raw and real.

In this novel readers follow Feyre, a human huntress who makes a grave mistake and kills a large wolf. To pay for her mistake she is taken by a mysterious beast like creature drags her to an unknown land as retribution for her actions. As time goes on her feelings toward the main male character, Tamlin start to change and form into something she has never felt before. She must cope with those as well as the danger that is always lurking behind her.

When I said this book blew my socks off I meant it! I fell head over heels in love with Tam and Feyre. They were just unlike any other pairing I had read about. Here you have this strong female clashing with this strong male and BAM they collide in more ways than one!

What really intrigued me was the courts. The fae are one of my favorite mystical creatures, along with mermaids, and I take any chance I can to try and learn more about them. Seeing how Maas intertwined the various courts into the story was so fascinating to read and I would love to see and learn more in ACOMAF.

The development of the characters too is fascinating to read about. These are very 3D characters. They jump off the page and it is as though they are standing right next to you. I could feel myself being sucked into the book as I read the slow burning scenes as well as the quick action scenes. I found myself appreciating each of the characters and their flaws as the story went on and I believe that was because they really do jump off of the page.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was fantastic and I cannot wait until A Court of Mist and Fury releases! I consider Mass to be one of my favorite authors and I know that this book will destroy both my heart and soul and leave me breathless.

Favorite Quotes:

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

“Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

This book was given a 5/5 star rating on Goodreads.

The Summer Garden: Paullina Simons

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Book Information (for this edition):

Published: June 2011 by William Morrow

Author: Paullina Simons

Page Count: 742

Amazon: $10.61

Barnes and Noble: $10.61


*Note: I have reviewed the previous novels, The Bronze Horseman & Tatiana and Alexander on my blog. Please beware of spoilers since this is the last book and this review will give away plot ideas that have come from the first two novels!


*Spoiler Free Section*

The end has come! In this thrilling and heartbreaking conclusion to The Bronze Horseman trilogy, Paullina Simons takes readers for the ride of their life.

The Summer Garden continues Tatiana and Alexander’s tale and journey to live after the war is over and they are in America. While the war might be over for the soldiers the war within Tatiana and Alexander’s hearts are not. They are tested over and over as they try to find common ground and fix the disconnect that has come between them after years apart. With all these tests they must fight harder to stay above water and protect their son from the horrors that hide behind their closed eyes.

This book was a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad. The characters have changed so much over the course of the series that when we get to book three they are almost unrecognizable. The war has shaped the people that they once were and now they are hardened shells.

I cried so many times reading this that I kept the box of tissues next to me the entire time! It was gritty, real, and it showed that love has its ups and downs. There were parts that had my blood boiling and I had to put the book down. These will be discussed more in the spoiler section of my review so please beware!

I believe that this was a strong ending and it concluded the story perfectly. It hurts my heart to part with these characters but I know that Tatia and Shura will forever live inside my heart and soul.

The Summer Garden was such a touching way to end the trilogy and there won’t be a day where these characters aren’t thought about in my mind.


*Spolier Section*

What really had me heated and the reason why I had to put the book down was how unrecognizable Alexander was. Throughout the first 500 or so pages I disliked who he was. This was not the Shura we knew. This man yelled all the time, was cruel to his wife and son, did unspeakable things. I truly disliked this man. The war had changed him and he believed that his wife was the enemy.

What really solidified that thought was when Alexander cheats with Carmen! I CRIED ANGRY TEARS AND YELLED AT THE BOOK!!! I honestly was in the moment because I actually yelled “how could you do this to her???” at the book… an inanimate object. What can I say? This book had me going and I was heartbroken.

And when Tatiana finds out about the cheating and they have their argument what does Alexander do? He hits her! I had to set the book aside and take some deep breaths because this man was not our Alexander.

Tatia forgives Alexander and they finally are able to have another child. It was from here on out that the novel became better. I still didn’t prefer Alexander after everything that happened but he redeemed himself in the end.

Their son Anthony, bless his soul, truly takes on life. He doesn’t want to disappoint his family and he would do anything to live up to his father. I enjoyed how Simons made his life just as important as his parents.

At the end of the novel all their children come around as well as their grandchilden and it is the most touching epilogue I have ever read. That is where the story came full circle for me. It was touching and had elements of The Bronze Horseman woven within.


Favorite Quote:

“We’ll meet again in Lvov, my love and I…” Tatiana hums, eating her ice cream, in our Leningrad, in jasmine June, near Fontanka, the Neva, the Summer Garden, where we are forever young.”

This book was given a 4.5/5 star rating on Goodreads.