I received this book for free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon a Crime Family #1
Published by Bloomsbury on May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Thriller, YA
Buy on Amazon
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.
This is probably the first time in a long while since I’ve gotten this infuriated and angry and just fuming over a book. I chose to read this novel expecting great things (especially with such a title as romantic as that), but I ended up putting the book down at certain times and pacing around the room just to cool off the steam coming out of my ears. I was that seething.
(And I’m not the only one. I buddy read this with Aimee and we kept ranting about the book to each other.)
I don’t even know where to start with this thing. It had so many factors that could have given us an amazing story – underground family-syndicates that deal with black market organ transplants, a heroine who has an autoimmune disorder, assigned guardians and protectors who are a part of the Family – but all of these were taken for granted and flushed down the drain by the book’s seemingly unnecessary emphasis on the romance, which was the most rushed and cheesy and instalove-y romance that I’ve read yet.
First of all, let’s talk about the heroine, Penelope Landlow. She is a descendant of a family that has done countless organ transplants for those who can afford it (read: illegal). She is very frail and everyone is very careful with her because she bruises and bleeds easily due to her autoimmune disorder, a condition where her body keeps destroying her platelets count. I wouldn’t really have minded this tidbit and would normally have embraced it, but it felt like her condition was more of a cop-out in order not to explore the syndicate aspect of this book. Since we see the events unfold in her perspective, we keep getting brushed off whenever it comes to the business and ongoings in said family business, because such were“not good/right for her” or that “she shouldn’t bother herself with it”. The only time she was actually in a meeting that discussed the business, the heroine was fucking spacing out. When she came back to reality, the meeting was finished. FINISHED.
What the fuck???
Here I am, not already getting enough info about the politics and internal affairs of this goddamn business, and the remote chance that we do, the heroine conveniently spaces out. She’s already isolated from everything as it is! This goes on until the rest of the novel… where it consequently becomes a hundred pages of cheesy dialogue and feewings between the girl and a guy who she falls in love with at first sight… I mean, he saves her from falling in the streets and she later dreams about kissing him… take note: at this point, they still haven’t conversed with each other decently (at least not a conversation with her thinking straight), and they do not know each other’s names. So consider me flabbergasted when she later talks about how she dreamt about him while unconscious! (and I’m here, wondering, how the hell would someone know that if they were bloody unconscious?!).
I mean, get this: she later wakes up and finds this guy followed her to her apartment, and instead of, I don’t know, panicking that her location got found out so easily (since her life is in danger), she tells him this:
“And I thought rock-hard jaw lines only existed in romance novels.”
DO YOU SEE NOW WHY I HAD TO TAKE BREAKS WHILE READING THIS BOOK?! IT WAS FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP GOING AND NOT WANT TO STAB SOMETHING. I was actually scolded by my mother for continuously walking around the room muttering incoherent curses, but I assure you, I had to put the negative energy somewhere or else I was going to explode. The heroine and her lack of self-preservation just made me want to bang my hand on a granite wall.
And this continues for a loooong, looong time. A repetition of her going out with the dude, of them saying sweet nothings to each other, of them going to places and acting like an old married couple despite the fact they know zilch about each other, despite the fact they’ve only met a few days prior. I had to resort to skimming because it wasn’t just annoying, it was also so cheesy. I mean, she gets told she’s “the best thing in the whole city” and she thinks he’s the one “keeping her alive”. Take bloody note: they only met a few days ago.
And it really annoyed me how she made everything about her. Her brother is having a life? She doesn’t get happy and instead gets angry at him for “getting ahead of her”. She is hesitant to share about her life, and she notices this certain guy is hesitant to tell her about his life, and she has the bloody gall to feel offended at this. She lies about herself and someone else lies about themselves, and she jumps the gun and accuses him of being a liar. WHAT THE FUCK. JUST WHAT THE BLOODY HELL.
God, don’t ask me how I lasted this long. I don’t even know.
I did like the ending, though. The ending was promising. The ending made me see a Penelope that was more mature and more determined. However, even if this is so, that doesn’t invalidate the fact that reading this book was like watching Teletubbies on TV: unbearable and just so horribly painful. Hopefully you guys will like this more than I did, and if you did, don’t forget to tell me what you liked so I can go back and reminsce if I may have liked it somewhat, too. At this point, the negatives are just so glaringly obvious.
Did you find my review helpful? Consider liking it on Goodreads!
1 Cold Espresso
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Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction
Oh goodness. I am relieved I didn’t request this book! I was sort of regretting it when I saw how pretty it was but yuck. I’m not sure I would be able to finish. Just awful.
Lola @ reading by lamplight
I’m sorry you found this so irritating. I absolutely loved this book. I guess that’s why we all have different tastes!
Wow. If this wasn’t persuasive I don’t know what is. Awesome honest review!
Sorry to hear you didn’t like this one 🙁 The synopsis sounded really good but after reading your review I think I’m going to pass. Thanks for sharing!!
So sorry you didn’t like this book! I am going to move it to the back of my list!
Really good review, Faye 🙂 Needless to say, I won’t bother with this. Though I did just laughed my head off…
Eesh, and I just got accepted for it too. Maybe I ought to lower my hopes a bit. Great review.
HA I saw your review on Goodreads and I was like ‘this is going to be interesting!’
(The one sad cold expresso cup in the pic really cracks me up. 😛 )
It’s astounding how a book with such a fabulous premise could go so horribly wrong! Bleurgh.
Samantha @ Bookish Serendipity
I was so excited for this book! The concept is so promising and it sucks that you disliked it. The main character sounds VERY annoying. Better luck next time!
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
Wowza…Just goes to show you can’t judge a book by the cover or synopsis!
Oh wow. That’s sad but thanks for the honest review. Saves me time reading.
So, I write a book blog, LOVE books, but I don’t read book blogs. Like, pretty much ever. I don’t know why. Except, I liked one of your comments on another blog, hopped over to see what you write, and right as I said to myself, “Oh, a book blog, nevermind,” and started to click away, I saw this post. And then I had to read this post, because Nicholas Cage shook his head at me and said, “You’re seriously going to click away without even bothering to read a single post?? Look at me, I’m SO DISAPPOINTED!!” and I had to try. And now? Now I’m hooked.
Keionda Lei Lewis
Wow Faye! Sorry that you didn’t like it! I too have had this experience where I was super excited to read a book only to find out that it was cheesy, full of cliches, and I had to take a calming breath, do an eye roll, just to continue reading. Ugh.
So, I feel your pain there girl. 🙁
Madiha @ Symphony of Words
AAAA. Penny sounds not nice. Jeez, first the romance being bad, and now this? 🙁 This book sounded so promising…
Oh man that is so disappointing. I have the ARC for this one and I was really looking forward to it. But your review is not the first negative one I have seen. Sigh. Oh well. I’ll still read it (of course, since it is an ARC), but the insta love thing is just annoying. I hope your next read is better.
I won’t waste my time on reading it. I really enjoyed your review(if that helps) and loved the sparks flying!!! lol
Well thanks of being honest. There have been times where the book has gotten me angry. Too bad I had high hopes for this one.
I am so sorry to see the reviews for this one, because I was going to be all over this one. But… I can’t do the entire “This book is an excuse to write a romance” thing. It would be best if I just skipped this one.
Pili @ In Love With Handmade
Hmmmm, the nurse in me is now having some issues about her autoinmune condition… because it is something I have encountered as a nurse at my ward rather often, is it mentioned at all if she’s got treatment for it at all? Because there are plenty of treatments from cortisone to some oral chemotherapy to immunoglobulines, to surgery to remove the spleen… and if nothing is mentioned just that she can bruise and bleed easily… I am not reading it becuase it will bother me TO NO END!!
Ah, it’s such a shame that the romance had to go in and ruin the whole book! I know this is one that will bug me just as much so I am going to miss out on this one. Thanks for the warning! It does sound like it did have some potential though, which is why this disappoints me :/