Book Review: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

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A crime family drama, loosely based on a classic fairy tale, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt is a seductive thriller about love, loss, and betrayal.

hold me like a breathPenelope 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’ve made no secret about the fact that I love, love, LOVE YA novels about crime families and the mob. Whether paired with a supernatural element or kept contemporary (like this one), I can’t get enough of these stories. So of course I dove right into Hold Me Like a Breath eagerly anticipating another favorite read, and was NOT disappointed.

Where do I begin?

Schmidt has written a captivating cast of characters — and as the story unfolds, she continues to increase the stakes, the drama, and the tension. It’s so fantastic to see a character like Penelope — burdened by a childhood illness, and told her whole life that she is weak and delicate and in need of protection — come into her own, and find her own kind of strength and power. Penelope’s character development is the true star of Hold Me Like a Breath. She is a strong, female character that shatters stereotypes about strong, female characters — and I love her for it.

Schmidt also keeps the twists coming. Even when I thought I knew where something was going, she surprised me and kept me on my toes. Hold Me Like a Breath is full of shocking surprises — even when you think you know the twist, you don’t. And I didn’t even realize it was based loosely on a fairy tale until the very end, when reading the author’s note. That just made me love the story even more!

Billed as the first in the Once Upon a Crime Family series, Hold Me Like a Breath still reads like a standalone novel — which is really the best of both worlds. I get a self-contained novel, with the promise of still more to come. I am so in.

Look for Hold Me Like a Breath in stores May 19th.

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