Hold Me Like a Breath
Series: Once Upon a Crime Family #1
Genre: Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Thriller, YA
Publication date: May 19, 2015
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.
-A copy was provided by Bloomsbury for review-
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.
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