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Life, Law & Libros

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt eARC (2.5 stars)

Hold Me Like a Breath has lots of teenage angst, insta-love, and a sort-of love triangle--three things I severely dislike. Why then the 2.5 rating? It was a quick read, and I never felt like I was forcing myself to continue. Despite the content issues, I still kind of enjoyed it. That said, I really hope the next book in the series has a different MC and delves more into the crime aspects of the world.

This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon a Crime Family #1
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published on May 19, 2015
Published by Bloomsbury
Final Rating: 2.5 stars
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

I picked up Hold Me Like a Breath because the synopsis mentioned crime families. Penelope's story turned out to be more a coming-of-age and romance tale with limited direct criminal dealings, but, provided your expectations are adjusted accordingly, it's still a decent read.

Penny, who was inspired by "The Princess and the Pea," is kind of a reverse Rogue ("X-Men"). Others can hurt her with a touch due to a disease that often leaves her bruised, bleeding and scared. As such, her family has kept her in a gilded cage, safe from the world. A character with these issues could make for a long, dragging emo fest, but the author maintains quick pacing and a flow of writing that propels you through the story from start to finish.

My main complaints with the story involve the romance(s). It doesn't feel like a love triangle exactly (partly because I saw several "big reveals" coming from miles away), but Penny gushes over one guy for the first half of the book, and then gets a bad case of insta-love for another right after the intermission. I know a lot of readers will enjoy the romance, but considering all the events that had transpired, it seemed too fast and too easy. It was like a Disney princess scenario: sheltered girl meets handsome guy, falls instantly in love, and there you have it. (Also, it starts with one extremely convenient meeting that strains the bounds of credulity.)

My only other big complaint is that we don't see much of the big brother. I thought he was a wonderful character, and I wish he'd had more screen time.

I finished the book quickly. It pulled me along and, while at the end I wished Penny had explored more of her independence independently, I can still recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast, fun coming-of-age anthem about finding who you are and following your dreams. As long as you don't mind the romance. There's a lot of that. ;)


  1. This one has been on my TBR for a while - I am glad that you enjoyed this one for the most part
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. It had all the right elements to be a complete fail, but wasn't. Have to give the author props for that! ;)

  2. This is a great review. I just read this book too and felt very similarly. I didn't hate the first romance, but I felt no chemistry there, you know? Then we got to the second one and it was just SO ABSURD. It was one of the most ridiculous cases of insta-love I'd ever read X_X

    It sucks because I thought this book had a lot of potential and I loved the general story. It just failed in its execution!

    1. Thank you, Ashley! I think we can all agree that was some seriously ridiculous insta-love. But yes, another instance of great concept, lacking execution. I'm really hoping the next book picks a different MC and either has less romance or does a better job with it.

  3. Oh boy, yes. I'm actually really thankful that you felt the same because I felt like the black sheep when I saw others' reviews. I hated the romance, and I never mentioned it in my review, but I really wish we saw the brother more too. The insta-love...I wanted to vomit. Great review!

    (Also, I'll be emailing asap. I can't believe I forgot to reply!)

    1. Thank you! I've seen at least two other people who had similar feelings about the romance, so I don't think you're a black sheep at all. :)

  4. Wow, I'm seriously shocked you rated this one so high! I definitely get what you mean about a fast and easy read just working sometimes, but I think I shall be skipping this one ;-)

    1. I know, right! But yes, skipping is probably a good idea. I didn't come out of it feeling grouchy, but it's not something I would recommend to my normal reader self either, if that makes sense. ;)