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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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review 2017-10-12 05:45
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria - My Thoughts
Take the Lead: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

Ballroom dancing, reality shows, a sexy, talented Latina dancer, a handsome, rugged, Alaskan outdoorsman, a secret or two... put them all together, shake 'em up and what do you get? A fun, sexy romance that owes everything to Dancing with the Stars.  :) 

Gina is a ballroom dancer, one of the best of the best.  She refuses to play the showmance games her producers propose with her new partner, Stone.  Drop dead, gorgeous, reality star Stone.  The only problem is, as they get to know each other, they start to like each other and of course there's no denying the sexy sparks that flare between them. 

Take the Lead is sexy and fun, especially for fans of Dancing with the Stars.  They'll recognise some familiar.... um... types, shall we say.  I got a special kick of out Kevin, the golden boy of the show who gets the best partners and seems to win more than his fair share of the competitions.  Oh, does THAT sound familiar!  *LOL*  There's also a J-Lo type secondary character.

Both of the lead characters have their flaws and their obstacles to overcome.  Gina doesn't want fall into the stereotypical characterisation of Latina women in entertainment, nor to present a questionable role model for her nieces.  Stone needs to protect his family with well-meaning lies.  Reality TV is a bitch.  *LOL* 

The development of the romance may seem a little rushed, but you know.. I kept thinking of Kym and Robert on DWTS and how we watched them fall in love on the show, so it all works for me. 

The sex was steamy and the banter fun.  Are you a fan of DWTS and a romance reader?  Read this book.  You'll have fun. 

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review 2017-10-06 20:44
Take the Lead
Take the Lead: A Dance Off Novel - Alexis Daria

I enjoy Dancing With the Stars, so when I saw this book, I had to read it. Gina is a professional dancer on "The Dance Off." She is paired with Stone. Stone is a reality star. He is known as the "quiet" one on his family's reality series. He has 3 sisters and 3 brothers and along with their parents live completely off-the-grid in Alaska. 
I enjoyed their interactions. I liked seeing Stone transform from very quiet, reserved to much less quiet and more outspoken in regards to his needs. The realization that he was unhappy and something needed to change. His needs have always come last, since he did whatever his family needed. I wanted him to stand up for himself. He does, in a way, but not in the way I would have wanted him too. Circumstances beyond his control helped much more than him having (getting) a backbone. 
I liked Gina's work ethic and her personality. She is driven and has goals. Her "daddy issues" played a huge role in some of her worries and decisions; she gave her absentee father way too much power I thought. Attention is paid to the "sexy" Latina stereotype and how Gina is very careful because of it. Gina happens to be Puerto Rican. I also thought this was poignant because of hurricane Maria and what is happening in Puerto Rico right now. 
I will admit to wondering who would be the one to compromise and how would a compromise would work. I thought their compromise worked well for them, it was on both sides, not just one. I did think the whole issue with Stone and his "off-the-grid" family's show was glossed over, forgotten, and resolved too quickly. It does make a point: how "real" is reality. I can say as someone who likes reality TV (Survivor! DWTS! The Bachelor/ette!) I do realize that they are scripted and edited. How much? That's up for debate. 
Good secondary characters (why did the vindictive bitch have to be a figure skater??!!). I was invested in the story.

eARC courtesy of St Martin's Press (Swerve Imprint) and NetGalley.
Published on Oct 3rd.

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