At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec (2018)
Cynthia's husband ran off with their babysitter and all their money. When she meets two other women in the neighborhood who also have money problems, the three of them decide to start a stripping business, dressed as Disney princesses, of course. Although a little light on the retelling part of it, this was such a fun book! Cynthia was a great main character - she's spent years being the "perfect" wife and mother, and now that her ex is gone, she's realizing how much she changed herself in order to please him. I loved watching her come into her own and start doing all the things she denied herself for so long, although at times she came across as really naive. Her love interest is PJ, a local strip club owner who comes across pretty gruff at first but eventually shows he has a heart of gold underneath. Nothing too hard to think about here, just a low-drama, entertaining, funny romance! 4 stars
Cinders Like Glass by Clarissa Kae (2021)
Lady Ada Whitworth is just trying to make it to her next birthday, when she will be of age and free to leave the home of stepfamily. However, her stepbrother Lord Rochelle has been implicated in a plot to kill the queen. Now, the queen's protector, the Duke of Girard, is on the hunt for Rochelle when he crosses paths with Ada. He wonders if she is helping her brother, while simultaneously falling for her. This one was a mixed bag for me. I liked the spy aspect of it and Girard's hunt for traitors. As part of a series, you won't get all the answers in this book, though. I didn't think the characters were particularly well-drawn or consistent. Girard is known as the Dark Duke, yet he acts like a complete sap around Ada from the beginning. Ada, for her part, has a stutter and doesn't seem to have had much socialization in her life, yet she is able to deftly flirt and converse with the Duke. Lord Rochelle was an interesting character and he kept me guessing as to what his true intentions were. There was something about the writing that never made me feel completely immersed in the story and kind of kept me at arms' length, so that was a little disappointing. 3 stars
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