Monday, May 18, 2015

Title: Hold Me Like a Breath
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Once Upon a Crime Family, book #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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 think that Tiffany Schmidt's previous works are completely underrated. They're cute and enjoyable reads, and her The Princess and the Pea retelling is no different. It did get a little insta-lovey there for a minute, but it evened out and it had me rooting for the fragile girl who wasn't nearly as delicate as she seemed.

I do think that maybe I set my expectations for this book a bit too high. It's completely fabulous and unique as a retelling, but it almost felt like two separate books in one. Granted, that has a lot to do with a plot twist that IS rather divisive in nature, but Penelope was like two different people because of it. But it wasn't that fact that was off-putting but rather how easily she seemed to adjust to the change in her life.

Penelope's existence was already rather difficult, having to be extra cautious because every point of contact, every touch, could result in a bruise or worse. But when she finds herself on her own for the first time, she's only mildly disoriented at first, and it doesn't take her long to acclimate to her new place in the world. And she doesn't take very good care of herself either, which bothered me more than it should have.

When no one comes to her rescue, she sets out to make the most of her situation herself. Her knight in shining armor isn't coming for her, and before long, she meets a new guy. I admit that I shipped Penelope and Garrett at first. Friends to more romances are some of my favorites. And I didn't want to like Char, especially after their instant connection and the doe eyes and what-not, but he grew on me. I still didn't think that Penelope should be so trusting of someone who was obviously keeping secrets, but I had a feeling about Char, and I was spot-on.

I was actually pretty spot-on about much of the story, which is to say that it was more than a tad predictable. Still, that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. I think my biggest gripe is that while Penelope proved she was stronger than everyone gave her credit for, she remained rather weak in character, becoming a bumbling idiot over a boy. I didn't mind the romance, but it just played too big a part in Penelope's story for my liking. Penelope wasn't used to so much human contact, though, so I can see why it was so important to her after everything she'd been through.

I love how the author made this fairy tale modern and still kept it familiar, and I love her note on why she wrote the story. I don't usually, but I actually read the author's note first because of the dedication, and it made me care that much more about the story I was going into. Penelope's plight is a sad, limiting one, but Schmidt weaves her tale in a way that isn't so much depressing as it is empowering. Toward the end, I did feel that Penelope had that inner strength...I just wish she'd showcased it a little more during the story.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Tiffany Schmidt lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. She's not at all superstitious... at least that's what she tells herself every Friday the thirteenth.

SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015.

Find Tiffany:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


  1. Sometimes, predictable story lines are good. It means you'll be comforted with the familiar. But we'll see how this goes for me. I'm curious!

  2. A thriller that was predictable?! Major oops, huh? To be honest, not one of my friends have liked the book so far. I really do hope to read the book soon but no one's liking it :'(

    Rhea @ Rhea's Neon Journal

  3. I absolutely and completely agree with your thoughts. I thought Penelope was much stronger than everyone gives her credit for but she still melted in front of a guy and was intentionally obtuse when it came to a pretty face. But I did love the fairy tale aspects of the story and ended up liking it. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  4. Woah, wait this is a Princess and the Pea retelling?! I DIDN'T KNOW THAT. I've heard basically bleh and meh things about it (and I haven't read from this author before) but I totally want to try it because: RETELLING.


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