{Review/Giveaway} TEAR YOU APART [A Fairy Tale] by Sarah Cross

The first book about the world of Beau Rivage,
(You don't need to read in order!)
is on sale for


as an ebook! 

What a great deal!!!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    VIV STOOD IN FRONT OF the mirror, painstakingly sabotaging her appearance. She needed to look presentable, but not attractive. Plain enough not to upstage her stepmother, neat enough not to embarrass her dad at the party.
    She ran her fingers through her shoulder-length black hair instead of brushing it, until she was satisfied that it looked sort of tame, sort of wild. She put on a shapeless white dress that was only slightly more flattering than a hospital gown--then turned to make sure it looked like a sack from every angle. As a bonus, she had red scratches on her arms from getting nicked by thorns in the woods--that had to detract from her so-called beauty.
    She looked younger than seventeen: petite and waifish. Her lips were the color of a cherry Popsicle. Her skin was ghost-pale, and when she stared into her own eyes, she felt like she was staring into two dark holes.
    "So, Mirror," she said, gazing warily at her reflection, "What's the verdict?"
    The glass rippled slightly, considering; and then its oily voice filled her ears:
    "Fairer than she is. Like a forest nymph...beautiful."
Viv swore and started over. 

(pgs. 1-2, US ARC edition)

I've previously reviewed the first novel set in Beau Rivage, KILL ME SOFTLY. (You can read these out of order! There will be spoilers about a secret that makes KMS more mysterious because there are appearances from multiple characters, but TEAR YOU APART stands completely on its own. There aren't any spoilers below, so feel free to keep reading!)

I've also reviewed the FREE online novella about Beau Rivage, AFTER THE BALL. The main characters from this one made a fun cameo!

Author Sarah Cross has also created some fun guest posts for Fairy Tale Fortnight and Splash into Summer that you can read now: The Fairy Tale Princess You Don't Want to Be, White as Snow, Red as Blood, Perfect for a Retelling (This one is about TEAR YOU APART!), Edible Mermaids: Ningyo and Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga

I've been so excited about the release of TEAR YOU APART. It's definitely been one of my most anticipated titles of 2015. I adored KILL ME SOFTLY and constantly get on Twitter to bug the lovely Sarah Cross about more Beau Rivage stories. ^.~ The world of Beau Rivage is so fascinating because of how ingrained fairy tales are in society and the way they've fused to daily life. There are heroes, villains, critters, objects, etc. In Beau Rivage, you'll never go to trial for murder if you were "cursed" or "destined" to kill someone based on the märchen mark/tattoo that defines everyone. Stepmothers and stepsisters are resigned to being killed or facing permanent afflictions such as pecked-out eyes or missing toes if the heroine of their tale wins. And the heroes, of course, always anticipate living Happily Ever After. But what if Happily Ever After isn't what someone wants?

In KILL ME SOFTLY, Mira comes to Beau Rivage and we see the world as a newcomer; in TEAR YOU APART, Viv has grown up knowing about the curse and her destiny, and has always hated it. When she was younger, she loved her stepmother and had no clue that her stepmother, in fact, was only pretending and wanted to one day kill her. Viv is also in love with Henley, and has been all her life. About a year ago, a fairy cursed Henley to be the Huntsman and, unfortunately, Viv has always born the märchen mark of Snow White. Viv and Henley have always been on-again, off-again, and when the curse plays out, she doesn't know whether he'll save her or kill her. Henley would never want to see her be happy with anyone else, and often goes into jealous rages when she flirts. So he might choose to keep her heart--literally--rather than let a prince have her. When Viv is issued an invitation to the exclusive underground club where the Twelve Dancing Princesses go each night, she finds her Prince and discovers a way to escape her curse. But can Viv let go of what little time she has left with Henley before embracing her destiny, even to save her own life?

I love the way multiple tales twist together in TEAR YOU APART. There are three at the forefront, and they all work together so well and form a cohesive story that feels like it couldn't be told any other way. We also get to briefly meet many residents of Beau Rivage and hear about their curses, and there are an extensive range of stories in various stages of being played out. In some ways, I'd love to live in Beau Rivage, just because I'd be living in a fairy tale, but in truth? Beau Rivage is scary. I wouldn't want to be a villain, and I also wouldn't want to be a princess fearing the day I might die rather than survive my tale. Beau Rivage is a dark, dangerous world, and more of its mysteries unfurl in Cross' second offering.

One of my favorite things about these novels is Cross' writing style. There's something so elegant and beautiful, yet also dangerous and grim, about the way she weaves words together.

There's still the beautiful shape to the world of Beau Rivage that I loved so much in KILL ME SOFTLY present again in TEAR YOU APART:

   Wicked stepsisters were forcing their feet into shoes that didn't fit. Villains were angsting; spurned princes plotted revenge. Princesses shook sand out of their bikinis; Match Girls starved in alleys. Wolves spied on girls in red hoodies, and hunters sharpened their knives. That was Beau Rivage: grime and glitter, magic tucked into shadows and hidden in plain sight.

(pg. 6, US ARC edition)

 As well as short lines that also have a way of making an impact:

   In Beau Rivage, fairy-tale curses were punishments, rites of passage bestowed by fairies who'd long ago decided that mixed blood was reason enough for a curse.

(pg. 10, US ARC edition)


   He was afraid his voice would come out broken if he said anything. Even a simple "I'm okay" would snap in his throat.

(pg. 105, US ARC edition)

Here's the introductory excerpt from KILL ME SOFTLY that first endeared me to Cross' writing:

   Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage. The clock struck midnight, and presents gave way to magic.
   Curses bloomed.
   Girls bit into sharp apples instead of birthday cake, choked on the ruby-and-white slivers, and collapsed into enchanted sleep.  Unconscious beneath cobweb canopies, frozen in coffins of glass, they waited for their princes to come.  Or they tricked ogres, traded their voices for love, danced until their glass slippers cracked.
   A prince would awaken, roused by the promise of true love, and find he had a witch to destroy.  A heart to steal.  To tear from the rib cage, where it was cushioned by bloody velvet, and deliver it to the queen who demanded the princess's death.
   Girls became victims and heroines.
   Boys became lovers and murderers.
   And sometimes...they became both.
(pg. 7, US e-book edition)

I'm also a fan of the way Cross uses elements from the various tales without having the story become a tale. Viv is Snow White, and there are many iconic items from the tales included, even ones not as well known (Since they weren't portrayed in the Disney film). There are also elements not included or altered, but it's okay, because it's still ultimately the story of Snow White. I wasn't sure how I wanted everything to play out: Did I want Viv to fall in love and get a Happily Ever After with her Prince? Did I somehow want things to work out with her first love, Henley, despite their destructive relationship? At times, I flip-flopped! When all of the tales started twisting together, I knew what I wanted to see...and I was wrong again! I love the way Cross kept surprising readers and keeping them involved.

Combined with the beautiful writing that brings Beau Rivage to life and captured me so completely in KILL ME SOFTLY, the brand-new companion novel TEAR YOU APART holds its own and becomes a new Must-Read for fairy tale lovers everywhere.

Stop back next week for another chance to win as I both review brand-new novella TWIN ROSES and share an excerpt from the tale! 


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15 ( kissing; innuendo; mention of sex; nothing explicit shown  )
Language: PG ( sexual innuendo )
Violence: PG13 ( The regular violence/death that comes from fairy tale curses; nothing explicit )
Other:  ( allusions to a previous Snow White kept drugging and sleeping because her Princely husband prefers his girls that way )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Not my favorite cover. It's better than the cover for KILL ME SOFTLY because it doesn't have blood on the cover, but the caramel sauce coating the apple is supposed to emulate blood, so...

I wouldn't pick up this series if I saw it at the store without knowing much about it, and I would be missing out on something wonderful.

I do like that the curly leaves and thorns were brought back from the KILL ME SOFTLY cover, which ties the two together and adds a pretty, fairy tale-esque touch to the cover. Hard and soft, innocent and corrupt, side by side. It's well-suited to the story!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Sarah Cross
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Egmont USA
Received: For Review

An edgy fairy tale retelling of Snow White set in the world of KILL ME SOFTLY for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrficing the love that might kill her?

Author Sarah Cross

Sarah Cross is the author of the fairy tale novels KILL ME SOFTLY and TEAR YOU APART, the superhero novel DULL BOY, and the Wolverine comic "The Adamantium Diaries." She loves fairy tales, lowbrow art, secret identities and silence.


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  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I would want the apple for snow white. :)

  2. Oh lord, I have no IDEA what I'd want... All seems a bit risky to me. ;)
    I just came across this on goodreads a few days ago - I don't know HOW I didn't realize there was a second book, but the cover is just perfect!

  3. This is a book that I would really like to get to. I did not read your review because I prefer not to before reading the book. I would like to read the first book before I get around to this one. Thanks for the giveaway. I just recently finished Sold for Endless Rue and I loved it.

  4. I frakking LOVED Kill me Softly and cannot wait to read this one and the two novellas (which, I don't have an ereader, so it may be difficult).
    As far as marchen marks, definitely not Somnolent. Maybe a Kind Girl? Or a Beauty, although my capacity of redemption and forgiveness is not endless. Anything in the Honor-Bound family would probably be the safest choice...


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