Tuesday, July 3, 2018

At The Stroke Of Midnight by Tara Sivec

At The Stroke Of Midnight by Tara Sivec
Release Date - February 27, 2018
Publisher Website - Swerve
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Meet the Naughty Princess Club: a brand new series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that introduces readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that ensue when three women start a new business to make it rain.

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. 
I have always loved reading retellings of classic fairytales. At The Stroke Of Midnight promised to not only be a fun twist on the Cinderella tale but combine it with romance and humour. This outrageous stoy managed to be as fun as it was empowering.

The writing style leans into the humour that is natural to the plot and setting of the book. It embraces the absurdity of the entire premise and does it well. The secret is that in among all the outlandishness there is also a lot of heart and great character moments. It is this blend that really works and captures the readers attention.

This book is filled with ladies supporting each other. They push each other outside of their comfort zone and ensures that they each see the potential within themselves. The friendship that exists between them is the most important relationship in the novel. It reminded me of  Sex and the City in the way that the guys were secondary. It felt true here. My only slight quibble about the friendship element is that the initial interaction between Cindy and Ariel is pretty antagonistic. The connection Ariel has to what is going on in Cindy's life is never fully dealt with. It's not that Cindy should blame Ariel for anything but I think some time should have been spent dealing with the bombshell that is dropped so that the friendship felt a little more natural. I wanted to see more of them bonding and dealing with their issues but recognize this book was set up for further installments that will hopefully continue to progress their friendship.

This book is quite sex positive and the message of taking charge of your sexuality and body is clearly evident. Cindy's journey of discovering her sexual side is interesting because she's coming from a marriage that was unfulfilling in many ways. It is someone discovering things outside of her usual experience and that felt different for the type of story being told within these pages.

The fairytale element that is heavily teased is represented throughout. We glimpse Cindy as someone who takes care of everything around the home. Belle loves books. Ariel is obsessed with her little treasures that she collects. It's all cute, and subtle enough to work. It's meant to be tongue in cheek and it fits with the narration style effortlessly.

Cindy's 'Prince Charming' is as swoon worthy as you would expect. A guy who has a heart of gold and can give as good as he gets when it comes to banter. He, like the Prince from the original tale, is not as developed as Cindy is but I feel like it works in this case. He's supposed to be a little bit of a mystery. We also get the added bonus of seeing the love interests for both Belle and Ariel in this one. I am most intrigued to see the Ariel/Eric dynamic play out because she is a firecracker and he seems to know exactly how to relate to her.

A crass, humourous look at three women whose friendship helps push each of them forward and makes their lives better. It's a story that blends sexy with a fun, lighthearted plot and plenty of laughs. If you're looking for something to round out your summer reading I recommend taking a look at this series. I think it will be a hit with plenty of readers (even those who are not fans of the Cinderella tale).

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