BXTCHES Gotta Warn: I’ve had my hands on this hot little number for some time now and I’m feeling a bit twatish for just now getting around to reviewing it. Not that I really have a worthy excuse but, first it was The Bachelor and as much as Arie makes me cringe, I’m still devoted. . .and then the Olympics happened and for two straight weeks, I was all about the snow. In fact, I found myself getting angry at my parents (may they rest in piece) for never putting me in any winter sports, even though we live deep in the heart of Texas, but still, maybe I could’ve been a halfpipe superstar. Ahhh, dreams. Which leads me to the here and now. I wanted to do this book justice, so I gave it a good ole re-read and found that I loved it just as much the second time around. I kinda feel like Tara doesn’t really need a whole lot of warning. . .once she hooks you, you’re gone and the only answer you look for is “When is the next one coming out?”. Well BXTCHES, the answer to that age old question is now. And just in case you’re interested in any of Tara’s inspiration for At The Stroke of Midnight, check out her Pinterest board here.
At The Stroke of Midnight will be told entirely through Cindy’s POV.
Cindy is about to enter the mid-life crisis stage of adulthood way before she’s even made it to mid-life. She was living what she thought was a pretty perfect, albeit somewhat Stepford, existence. She had the great family and the big house and if there ever was a show that featured The Very Active Housewives of Fairytale Lane, she would’ve been the star. But all that came crashing down when, what she thought was a great husband, ran off with the babysitter, leaving Cindy and her daughter with nothing. Doing what she thinks is the right thing, she finds herself defending her asshole ex to the neighborhood gossips, until Ariel enters the picture and forces Cindy to start facing reality and to also remove the giant stick she has shoved up her ass.
All three of our princesses are facing their own kind of desperate situation. Cindy’s husband left her without any means to financially support her and her daughter. Ariel, who has a love for all things antique, finds herself having to pay her now gay ex, alimony and Belle just wants to be able to save the town’s library. Desperate times call for desperate measures and desperate measures leads to the ladies dressing up as their namesakes, but in a way that’ll have grown men throwing money at them to do so. Ahhh, dreams.
Of course, there’s more to how they get from point A to point B. Or in this case going from the president of the PTA to welcoming Cindy to the main stage. There’s a Halloween party with weird vegan cupcakes and a birthday party where they’re supposed to be hot princess strippers but they don’t know they’re supposed to be hot princess strippers and instead show up dressed as if they were actually walking in the Main Street Parade at Disney World. But all is good, because without these mishaps, Cindy would’ve never laid her pretty blue eyes on PJ Charming, the owner of Charming’s, the local strip club and with his help, although reluctant, Cindy begins to bust out of that Stepford shell she’s built up over the years. A dream is a wish your heart makes for sure. Let’s take a moment of silence to imagine how different our adult lives would be if Tara was the one feeding us our Disney stories. Ahh, dreams.
PJ won’t be able to take full credit for Cindy finding her inner (and outer) stripper and I mean that metaphorically as well as literally. A lot of that credit goes to her two side BXTCHES. And that is the beauty of this story. Now, I’m about to get a bit serious on you, just bear with me. Maybe it was never Tara’s intentions, but she was able to tap into a pretty sobering topic. We may not all have the asshole husband or snotty neighbors, but I think too many times we allow the identifiers “mom” and “wife” to dominate our lives and forget about the woman that was there long before we were given other titles and that’s what At the Stroke taps into, just in a way that allows us to sit back and laugh at it, instead of wallowing in it. Maybe it’s time to let those inner strippers out and the freak flags fly, our husbands would surely approve.
I’m starting to wonder how many voices Tara has in her head at any given moment, because the cast of characters that she conjures up amaze me each and every time. It actually makes me jealous that I don’t have someone like Ariel floating around in my subconscious, but envy is a seven deadly, so amazing it is. We do get our intros to the other naughty princesses and I can tell you with absolute certainty, that as much as you will love the princess featured in At The Stroke of Midnight, waiting for Belle and Ariel’s story is going to be like waiting for Christmas and if Cosmo were to ever come out with a ‘What Naughty Princess Are You’ quiz, Good Golly Miss Molly, I hope I get to be Ariel. Every character in this book added something to the telling of this story, even down to the evil as fuck in-laws and chances are you will love them all. . .sans the evil as fuck in-laws and you probably won’t feel any love lost for the ex either, but the rest will have you falling hard. I think I read somewhere that Anastasia (the daughter) was modeled after Tara’s kiddo and now that I have enjoyed this book twice, I’m not sure if I feel for her or admire her that much more, because having your own offspring be able to challenge you in the smartassness department may piss you off, but it does spark a certain amount of pride.
There are two separate relationships happening in this book. The obvious one between Cindy and PJ, which has it’s own part in bringing out a different side of Cindy. And I am all about PJ. The lap dances alone have me rethinking my own seduction skills, but that relationship plays second fiddle to the one between Cindy, Ariel, and Belle. You’re gonna love Cindy, but when we first meet her, she’s kind of a bitch. That is until Ariel and Belle almost force their way in. It’s three personalities that don’t exactly fit together, but there is something in each of them that the others need and I suspect as we move further into this series, it’s gonna be the girls that bring out the best in each other and the guys are just gonna be lucky enough to tag along for the ride.
Maybe you’re someone who has yet to discover Tara’s wildly funny and a little bit dirty imagination and if that’s the case, At The Stroke is a good place to start. However, if you are that person, then I highly suggest you jump on board this crazy train and start at the very beginning with the Chocolate Lovers Series. You will not be disappointed and you’ll probably be able to add a few more colorful phrases/insults to your vocab. So, it’s a win all the way around.
There are a handful of authors that I will one-click blindly and Tara Sivec is one of them. In my opinion, she writes the best kind of romantic comedy. It’s the kind that sounds crazy when you try to explain it to anyone else, so you just wind up with a “you just have to read it” explanation. It’s the kind that blocks out the snoring husband and forever wanting a snack kids. It’s the kind that has you justifying just one more chapter. But the best part. . .it’s the kind that has you laughing out loud and allows you the escape that all of us WOMEN deserve.