If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: Possess by Laura Marie Altom / @TastyBookTours @LauraMarieAltom

Title: Possess
Series: Shamed, Book 2
Author: Laura Marie Altom
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

Ella Patton and Liam Stone return in the breathtaking conclusion to the steamy, contentious love affair that began in Control.

Will you marry me? Those four little words should be a dream come true. But for Ella Patton, they’re the start of a waking nightmare. For despite the insatiable desire she feels for Liam Stone, marriage is out of the question—divorcing her abusive husband, Blaine, would be too dangerous to even contemplate. Besides, Ella couldn’t ask for anything more than the life she and Liam share: a scalding hot passion that’s totally outside the bounds of “I do.”

Liam has hit a brick wall. His fortune can’t buy Ella’s freedom from the oppressive monster the law recognizes as her husband. Blaine will take any opportunity to bring Ella back under his authority no doubt exacting a terrible revenge as punishment for nearly slipping away. But Liam has a force greater than money and influence on his side: Ella’s love. She sparks his most unstoppable determination—and ignites pleasures that no man should be able to possess.

Other books in this series

I'll start by recommending Control, Book 1 of this series, as a must read before beginning this one. I didn't read it but will now that I've read Book 2.

Liam and Ella/Julie's relationship is painfully complicated, and I wondered if their love was enough to survive the upheaval they experienced through most of this story. Her ex is an abusive, sadistic bastard who found great pleasure in the power he wielded over her. Liam is her knight in shining armor who desperately wants to give her what she has lacked in her marriage: pure, unconditional, selfless love.

Ella is a beautifully tormented soul. Beneath the battered and worn facade is a woman who comes into her own. I get the feeling that the strength she displayed in this story wasn't as obvious in the first book, but I might be wrong there. There was one shining moment that really defined how the years of abuse she'd endured had no place in her new life, and that she was allowed to be happy for the first time in a long time.

"Give yourself permission to enjoy every second of your engagement and the wedding and then, your life. You've earned your smile. Don't let anyone take it away--especially yourself."

The bad in one's life can have the power to make one blind to the happiness that they deserve. They feel like they haven't earned it, like their former life is reason enough to shun the goodness they come into. The mentality is understandable so I don't fault Ella her thinking at all. What makes it easier to accept is someone who puts their love for you into action, taking the time to build your confidence in yourself and your confidence in them and their love for you. Ella had that with Liam. He wasn't just her knight in shining armor come to save the day. He was the embodiment of what love was supposed to be, what it could be, what it would be, if she let him.

Did she? Yes. Best decision ever? Yes. She gained so much simply by choosing him, trusting him, loving him.

Liam was an interesting character. His love and devotion to Ella was unmistakable, but it sometimes edged too close to obsessive for me. Sometimes I questioned the validity of his love because his attitude toward Ella was very possessive. Most of the time, I was glad for it. It turned him from doting lover to fierce protector. Those moments when that side of him showed up made so happy he was on Ella's side, and proved how much he wanted and needed her. It also revealed that she wasn't just an obsession to him; she was his everything. His world revolved around her. She completed him, made him a better man.

I wasn't going to address him (because he isn't worthy of the airtime he already had) but Blaine. Sadistic, manipulative, obsessive in a very bad way, possessive in an equally bad way. There was nothing nice about this man. I'll put it this way. Ever meet someone who just creeps the shit out of you from that first "hello"? That's him. He had no soul, no conscience. Ella was a playground for his twisted needs, a body he delighted using for his own sick pleasures. He broke her long ago, stole what confidence she'd had when they first got together, abused her into submission because he felt he could.

But he got his comeuppance. His ending was too swift for my liking. After all he'd inflicted on Ella, I would've loved to see him suffer slowly. He deserved no less.

I enjoyed this book. The story is complex and multi-faceted, overwhelming and consuming. The synopsis doesn't do it justice as there really is so much more than meets the eye in this novel. It is pretty angsty for a non new adult book. It's also very, very dark. The light at the end of the tunnel seemed like a tiny, insignificant pinpoint for a vast majority of this story, like Liam and Ella were never going to reach it. They did though, and it was a heart-stopping, sigh-evoking moment when they stood in the full light of a future that was bright with promise.

Well-written and detailed with characters you aren't likely to forget, Possess was a terrific story that took me from the highs of undeniable love to the lows of human depravity to the richness and rightness of what life can be for characters desperately needing a happily ever after.

Laura Marie Altom is the author of more than forty books in three different genres. Now that her kids are in college, Altom spends her days writing and chasing after a menagerie of pets: a mini long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, a mutt named Sweet Pea, and Domino—a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. She’s happily married to her college sweetheart (go Hogs!), and when night falls, she steals a few romantic moments for herself with her own hunky cover stud.