At The Stroke of Midnight
ALL THE STARS!!!!
I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn I love a good fairytale retelling. While most of the stories I've brought you are Beauty and the Beast, I do love when I find a good rebranding of other fairy tales/Disney princesses. It's fun and I enjoy a clever retelling of a familiar story.
Today, let me introduce you to a new version of Cinderella. Tara Sevic is a fairly new to me author with witty and amusing characters and a plethora of men to make me swoon.
At The Stroke of Midnight is book one of her modern day fairytale/Disney princess retellings, The Naughty Princess Club. This trio (so far) of books brings us to Fairytale Lane and three women embarking on a new business venture to make it rain.
Here's what it's about:
Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he's run off with all their money…and the babysitter.
Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they're mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.
But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy's happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.
This book is so much fun! Sevic is magic with her words and wit.
Things I Loved
This book is centered so much around empowering female friendship I was jumping for joy! At Cindy's lowest point, these other two zany women come crashing into her life and decide to stay. They listen to her cry her eyes out over her scum-bag ex-husband, they help create the Naughty Princess Club full force, they push her to break out of her pristinely, ordered world. They are there for her. Through the ups and downs, they are sticking to her like glue whether she likes is or not. AND IT IS AMAZING!
In fact, the first 35% of the book is mainly interactions between Cindy, Ariel, and Belle. There are a few crazy, random-happenstances between Cindy and PJ, but their story doesn't really get going until that 35% mark.
I LOVE IT!!
I love books where the women in the story have such a strong support network among their friends! It's beautiful! It's wonderful! It's amazing!!! Female friendship should be shouted from the roof-tops! It isn't encouraged nearly enough!
And what are romance books but stories about life and relationships. Romantic relationships do not happen in a bubble. Our friends influence us. We gush and swoon and laugh over our romantic relationships. Friends should be more prominently featured in romance books!
The male lead in this book was also just...*fans self. Swoons.* PJ Charming is our tall, blue-eyed, and handsome main man. There are a lot of things to swoon over this guy, he's a genuiley caring man, he decided to run his club so women like his mother would be alright, and he's a goofball, when it comes down to it. But I think the thing that really got me was when he began to really understand Cindy and her motivations. And at that moment in the book, my ovaries exploded!
Let me back up a smidge. There comes a point in Cindy's post-divorce, oh-shit-my-life-is-falling-apart life in which she realizes Brian (sleaze husband) never really saw her, never really listened to her, never took her seriously. It is a huge moment for her in reclaiming who she really is. So, when PJ acknowledges that her idea to start the Naughty Princess Club isn't just a bored housewife's passing fancy, it is a big beautiful moment!
There is so much amazing life reclaiming, beautiful friendship moments in this book!
Let me also take a moment to applaud this version of Cinderella. Sevic ties in elements on the Cinderella story, lost shoe and evil stepmother included, while putting everything in a modern-day setting. I loved that she set up the next two books by making Ariel and Belle active parts of this story. But what I ultimately loved most of all in this version is that Cindy saves herself. PJ was just along for the ride. Yes, he helps her, encourages her, and becomes a major part of her life, but Cindy's "freedom" is of her own doing.
The Things I Didn't Love
Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.
What Else You Should Know
YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!
The romance is hot, the story is fun, and the writing is a thing of humorous beauty.
Sevic has two other books in this series (so far, I don't know if she plans on doing any more). At The Stroke of Midnight is followed by Belle's story, In Bed With The Beast, and Ariel's story, Kiss The Girl, being released in September 2018. I obviously one-clicked fast as lighting on Belle's story, which is equally delightful. If these women were your best friends, Cindy would bail you out of jail, Belle would be there to give you a hug and a muffin, and Ariel would be there right along with you, bringing the knife to the fight.
Read these books and revel in the amazing. They do not disappoint.
“Fourteen? Jesus, no wonder we, as a gender, are so fucked up. It's been stuffed down our throats since we were born that it's completely normal to find the man of your dreams when you're a child, and you're pretty much a freak of nature and an old maid if you haven't found him by the time you're seventeen.”
“I see you. I hear you. And I'm sorry,” he [PJ] whispers.
“Sorry! Shit. I was trying to be all cool and rip these fuckers [panties] off you, but Jesus Christ what are they made out of, steel?” He mutters in annoyance, looking down at us.
I'm attracted to his confidence in me. I'm attracted to the way he challenges me and pushes me to be the person I want to be.
“You couldn't find my clit with a flashlight and Google Maps!”