Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt just released and it is GORGEOUS. In honor of Tiffany’s amazing words, I bring you my review of her last book, Break Me Like a Promise, plus three classic stories I would love to see revamped as part of the Once Upon a Crime Family series in honor of the fact that the series takes themes from classic stories. Get a peek inside why Break Me Like a Promise was my favorite book of 2016 through my 5-star review below!
Book Rewind is a meme where we review a backlist title to distinguish reviewed books that are not a new release. We noticed we tend to review almost all new or newly released books and wanted to have a feature to spotlight some older books that we either just read or are just reviewing because we never got around to it, or possibly didn’t blog back then! This meme will be posted on Thursdays as a ‘Throwback Thursday’ kind of deal.
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Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, Re-telling
Publication: June 7th, 2016; Bloomsbury
No one is unbreakable.
All Magnolia Vickers has ever wanted was to follow father’s path as head of the Family Business. But new legislation is poised to destroy the Family’s operations in the black-market organ trade and Maggie’s recent behavior has wrecked the business-savvy reputation she’s worked her whole life to build.
She’s given an ultimatum: shape up or step aside.
Then Maggie messes up: she downloads a virus onto her father’s computer, and must sneak it off-estate for repair. When Alex, a tech whiz, uncovers the type of information on the machine, he offers Maggie a choice: her Family can give him a kidney, or he’ll irreparably scramble the data. Maggie agrees, but has no intention of keeping her promise or ever seeing him again. That night Alex shows up at her Family estate with copies of confidential Family files and a shocking revelation—the kidney is for him.
The Vickers aren’t willing to let Alex out of their sight, so he moves onto their estate and Maggie is assigned to be his keeper. A task she resents and he enjoys making as challenging as possible. But procuring black market organs is becoming increasingly difficult, and as Alex’s health declines, she’s surprised to find herself falling for him.
Like it or not, Maggie must accept that if she wants to save Alex’s life and carve out a place in the new legalized organ business, she’s going to have to fight for both.
Three Classic Stories I’d Want to See Revamped to be Part of the World of the Once Upon a Crime Family Series:
1. Charlotte’s Web – Two very different entities becoming friends and helping each other out, even at the cost of yourself.
2. Hansel & Gretel – Imaging exploring the concept of greed in the organ trading business.
3. The Little Mermaid – Our current organ donation system is based on selflessness so to explore that within the confines of The Little Mermaid would make sense!
Inspired by the fairytale, The Frog Prince, Break Me Like a Promise is sure to shoot to the top of your favorite list in 2016. Within the first 5% of the book, I was utterly and completely sucked in and just could not put it down. I went to a music festival…Didn’t matter, I was reading. It’s THAT good.
Break Me is the second in the Once Upon a Crime Family series but it is not your typical sequel. While the world is the same as Hold Me Like a Breath, we see new and returning characters set after the events of the first book. You do not need to have read Hold Me to understand what’s happening in Break Me. In fact, Schmidt does an excellent job of outlining the important elements without feeling tedious. Indeed, this is a sequel that keeps fans and new readers engaged till the end.
We open the book to find Maggie, a strong girl who’s gone through the tragedy of losing the love of her life, Carter, in a space where she needs to process her loss. She’s definitely not over it and her grief is very real. The way she describes their relationship will make you feel all of the things she does, the good, bad, and ugly. Without being pun-y, this book will break you.
Enter Alex, the computer tech who is the perfect complement for Maggie. One caveat, he’s deathly ill and in need of a kidney transplant. Did I mention that Maggie’s family is in the black market organ trade? Oh, they are, and even that feels ok because while the implications of the Business being illegal are there, it’s hard to argue that everyone deserves access to lifesaving measures. Alex is not above blackmail to get what he wants and manages to finagle himself a kidney. Maggie’s father, who leads the Family and the Business, is not thrilled that Maggie let their secret out and wants to teach her the softer side of the Business, which she will some day take over. She ends up tasked with keeping Alex contained while they search for a donor.
While all this is going on, the Families are working on legalizing the organ trade business, which compromises Alex’s chance of getting a kidney. Maggie is not thrilled with being sidelined from this work while also being forced to spend her days with Alex while she’s trying to grieve. As with all fairytales, there are lessons learned and the inevitable HEA, though I won’t spill on what that really means.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t absolutely love this book. The cover itself conveys so much about the story from the computer chip to the destroyed, bloody flower. Being in a crime Family is not all rainbows; there’s a certain risk and none of that is shielded in the book. There’s a lot of moral questioning that will have you thinking. But not too much thinking, because remember, we are on a deadline to get Alex a kidney here. I loved Maggie through all parts of her process, from the can’t-get-out-of-bed to the denial parts to the place where she eventually moves through it. The romance is believable and there are FEELS allllllll over this book. Schmidt’s writing is strong and engaging; it never misses a beat. There’s never a slow or dull moment in the book. If you look closely, you can see the elements of The Frog Prince but this is not a simple retelling; more-so that the themes and personality elements are closer to the original.