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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.
Penny is kind of a hard protagonist to like at times because she gets whiny and a does a lot of Poor Pitiful Me-ing--yet, can't you understand why? I felt sorry for myself when I found out they were getting rid of my favorite sandwich at a restaurant recently, so when Penny, who already has a condition where basically no one can touch her, has more bad stuff happen to her and she feels sorry for herself about it, who could blame her? I think there's so much more to be said for how she grows from her problems and how she's willing to risk herself for the people she cares about than the time she spends wallowing.
I think the romance is what's going to throw some people off, however. There's a love triangle, though Penny seems to realize the differences in her feelings very quickly, and the meat of the romance happens very quickly. I, though, as someone who isn't especially bothered by love triangles, was pretty enchanted by our real love interest. I loved how the book is almost split into these very concentrated times, and the time with the love interest (no names--spoilers!) is so charming, sweet, and idealistic that it does a good job fulfilling the fairy tale motif going on throughout the book. I loved that such a thing could happen in this dark and violent world, where the romance could sweep both Penny and me as a reader away into a little bubble of happiness, even if only for a little while at a time.
Hold Me Like a Breath has flaws, but I give so much more credence to a strong character arc and a story that's able to keep me reading, just like Penny's did.
Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles.
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And I talked too much. To strangers at crosswalks. To dog walkers. To nannies and parents. To the man standing between me and the trash can when I went to throw away a gum wrapper. To the person handing out flyers on a corner.
I knew I was supposed to be keeping my head down. I knew it. I understood it. I woke wet-eyed several times each night from nightmarish reminders.
Still, I couldn't stop myself from having conversations with everyone. Conversations that validated that I still existed; I was still here.
And the stairs, I thought about each one, about the strength it cost to lift my feet and find the next riser.
Then I was standing in front of the apartment door, the last barrier between me and everything I promised myself I could feel when I arrived.
"I'm never going to find him," Garrett repeated. "But I can't--I can't remember to stop looking."
I stood up, planning to walk away and give him privacy, but he let go of Mother with one hand and held it out to me.
There were times my heart seized up with terror, times it sprinted from nerves. Then there were those times it seemed to climb upward and block my throat. The moments when I felt so much but couldn't say a single word. Probably because I was feeling too much, and would say far, far more than was acceptable about my feelings. Word with four letters. Sentences with three words. Emotions that couldn't be taken back at the end of a month, would change every day until he left, and cloak him with guilt as a parting gift.