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review 2018-08-05 18:48
Dance With Me by Alexis Daria - My Thoughts
Dance with Me: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

This was pretty much a fun and sexy read that I enjoyed for the most part.  I had a couple of issues, but I believe that they're on me for the most part.

Natasha is the Latina heroine, extraordinary dancer and choreographer who has a huge problem with confidence in her herself and her talents thanks to her upbringing by a shitty mom who never supported her in her dreams.  I had a problem with this character in that I just wanted to sit her down so often and just TALK to her. She spent far too much time in her own head and actually needed a mom-type figure to shake some sense into her - I felt.  And that was the problem.  I had a rough time identifying with her, something that always makes a romance better for me.  If only Natasha would TALK to someone.  She never even talked frankly and honestly with her best friend (the heroine of Book 1).  I guess I never was able to bond with her.  And you know... it's kinda shallow of me, I think, but Natasha for a Puerto Rican girl?  Especially when there are a bunch of other characters, including the hero's family that are Russian?  Stupid, I know, but it twigged me every time.

The hero I could get a lot better handle on, probably because he's most likely based on my fave dancer from Dancing With The Stars.  *LOL*  I understood where his insecurities and stupidities were coming from and I spent a lot less time being exasperated with him than with Natasha.  Although maybe that's from years of dealing with men who have a terrible time opening up about honest feelings and emotions on my part.  There were times I wanted to throw things at him though.  Very exasperating at times.  *LOL*

The first half of the book is very, very sexy.  Almost to the point where I was ready to believe that's all Natasha was there for - but it's a romance, so I knew better.  The second half, where we start to learn more about both characters and they begin to open up - a bit - to each other was much more satisfying for me. I did like Natasha and Dimitri's dialogue - a lot.  It was very natural, very earthy at times and very believable. 

All in all, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first one. I think if I'd felt more of a connection with Natasha I'd have been happier, but it was still satisfying for the romance reader part of my brain.  :)   Also, I think painting the show as a sort of villain so often might be a mistake. 

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text 2018-05-25 21:47
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria $1.99
Take the Lead: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He's handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.

 

Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.

 

When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.

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text 2018-05-24 21:45
Dance With Me by Alexis Daria $1.99!
Dance with Me: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

Natasha Díaz is having a day. She’s trying to prove she can make it as a professional dancer, but she’s overworked, out of cash, and her roommate has just moved out. When she comes home to find a hole in her ceiling and her bedroom flooded, she’s desperate enough to crash with the one guy she can’t quit. She accepts his offer with one condition: no sleeping together while she’s living with him.

 

Dimitri Kovalenko has never lived with a woman before. But when Tasha’s in need of a place to stay, he suggests she move in without a second thought. He accepts her condition, hoping she won’t stick to it. They’re good together, both in the ballroom and the bedroom. Since their first dance, she’s never been far from his thoughts. Sure, she’s a pro and he’s one of her show’s judges, but they’re not currently filming, so no one needs to know.

 

Living in close quarters shows Dimitri a side of Natasha he’s never seen before, and he likes it. A lot. Too bad she’s doing everything in her power to keep him at arm’s length. When an injury forces Natasha to take it easy or risk her ability to dance, it’s his chance to show her that the rules have changed, and she can trust him with her heart.

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review 2018-01-19 01:25
Dance With Me
Dance with Me: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

This is Natasha's story.  Natasha was Gina's best friend and rommate in the first book (Take the Lead).  After an unexpected disaster, Natasha finds herself homeless.  Her on and off lover for 3 years, Dimitri, offered her his spare bedroom.  

So, having enjoyed the first book, I wanted to read this one too.  A word of advice:  Just skip this one.  I had Issues.  Big, Major Issues.

Natasha makes it known that she doesn't want to be lovers while she is living with Dimitri.  Dimitri finds ways to constantly and consistently push her line.  What made this worse (for me), was Dimitri's position of power.  Not only is Natasha dependent on him for a roof over her head, he is also a judge on the dancing show she is on.  When Natasha is injured, he makes it so she is almost completely dependent on him.  Fuck No.

Then there is Natasha.  She is envious and jealous of Gina.  Get over it.  Please.  She didn't make the best decisions (being broke and then going out for dinner at an expensive restaurant with her friends for example).  She does mature a little by the end and I did find I didn't want to slap some sense into her as much.

So to summarize, Dimitri's behavior was something that *most* people would not put up with in real life.  So, it shouldn't get a pass in a book boyfriend.  It's not romantic, it's abusive.  But read the first book:  it's good!    

 

eARC courtesy of St Marin's Press (Swerve) and NetGalley.
Released Dec 12th 2017

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review 2017-10-23 08:22
great book and great characters
Take the Lead: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

`Gina was going to the  Alaskan wilderness  in a seaplane and was scared to death. Gina was with one of her producers - Jordy -  and was meeting up with her celebrity partner for season four of The Dance Off. Once they landed Gina thought too much nature not enough civilization. Gina had grown up in NYC. - the Bronx.  Being a city girl Gina had a distrust of forest and animals. The producers would do everything they could to throw her off balance in the name of good tv.  Gina was entering her fifth season and this time around gina was determined to do whatever it took to reach the finals in the show. Then Gina saw her partner- Stone who was gorgeous and very muscled and realized they had been set up for a showmance for the season. Stone is on a reality show that has been on for a couple years now and knew tv producers didn’t care about convenience. .It would make for better behind the scene footage for this city girl to meet Stone here in the Wilderness in the madness. Stone hated himself for taking part  in the madness - a dance show f all things. Stone was glad that Gina didn’t know who he was Then he told Gina,  Stone and his family were in the fourth season of Living Wild.  He and the family live off the grid where they build their homes, hunt, and ;live off the land. The absolute last thing Stone wanted to do was dance but Stone had agreed for the money although he was not to mention it. His mom owed a lot of money for medical bills. He wanted to help his parents to be financially stable Out of his family Stone was the strong one the quiet one. The serious one. Stone had six siblings. Stone felt like this idea was a fool’s errand. Stone wanted to stay in Alaska and call the whole thing off nut that wasn’t an option s the contracts had already been signed. They only had  three weeks until their first dance performance.  Gina had been dancing since she was three. Gina’s career was her number one priority. Then a bear came crashing near them in the woods but Stone told Gina he would protect her and grabbed his gun. Then he shot the gun and carried Gina to the main living area and stayed with her until Gina was more herself. Then she was to leave again and they would meet up again in L A. Stone was attracted to Gina, she was sweet, sexy, and funny but they were from different worlds. Stone didn’t fit in L A  and her trip to Nielsen HQ  made it clear that she would never want to fit in hers. Also if Gina knew the supposed bear had been a P A crashing around in the underbrush just to get a reaction out of Gina, Gina would never forgive Stone. Donna was one of the producers who wanted Gina to act like her and Stone were sleeping together. But Gina refused. Donna told her if she didn’t make it to the finals this season  she wouldn’t be coming back next season. Stone wanted to impress Gina so he did some break dancing he had done when he was younger and it was filmed. Also after they left the studio after some publicity pictures he realized that he and Gina were a team and this was a competition. Also Gina was the only one invested in his success. Then Lore- another dancer who was a two time winner of Dance Off invited Gina and then Stone to go out that night to a salsa club as they all needed a break after last weeks rehearsals. Gina was on the verge of exploding from lust she was so attracted to Stone but wouldn’t give in. They all went to Club Picante and met at the VIP section in the back of the club. So far Stone had gotten contradictory glimpses of Gina- polished Gina in Alaska, playful but practical Gina in rehearsal,  and superstar Gina at the promo. Maybe tonight at the club  Stone would finally get to know the woman behind the dances, with all cameras gone. Gina’s roommate and good friend was Natasha/Tash - she was also on The Dance Off. Then Tash hissed to Gina “ You never drink during the season “. Gina said she knew and and she would be fine. Tash and Gina had grown up in the same neighborhood in the Bronx, and had moved to L A together as soon as they could.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved how it took a NYC woman and a man from Alaska and put them together suck opposites but were they really? I loved the description of Alaska and Stone’s love of it. I loved how Stone put his family first for so long. I loved how Stone tried to be protective of Gina. I loved Tash and Gina’s relationship. I loved how it showed how much work goes into a dance especially professional ballroom dances. for dance contests. I just love everything about this book the plot, the pace,and the romance. Most of all I loved Gina and Stone together. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I highly recommend.

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