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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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review 2015-05-27 08:52
Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin – Dance Off
Dance Off - Ariel Tachna,Nessa L. Warin

Reviewer: Barb

Genre: M/M Contemporary


What a wonderfully pleasant story! This book made me happy, putting me in a good mood and keeping me there throughout the story. Better than a trip to the spa, I found it enjoyable and relaxing and just plain fun to read.


Based loosely on the popular reality TV dance show, this story centers around the competitors in the show, “Dance Off”. Each star is dancing for a charity, getting one thousand dollars for each week they remain on the show, with the top two slots getting fifteen and twenty thousand dollars, respectively. The format of the story and the realistic characterization of the contestants had this reviewer rooting for favorite celebrities right along with the story’s viewing audience.


The authors did a wonderful job fleshing out all of the characters, both MCs and secondary. I hated Eugene, the uptight talk show host, but really enjoyed getting to know Kevan, the rap musician, Deborah, the former Olympic skater, Christine, a former Congresswoman, Freddie, the older and overweight jazz musician, and Amber, a former Miss America. We even got to know the various pro dancers who partnered with the stars, and had insider views of what goes on behind the scenes, both on the show and in their personal lives. The judges were so realistic that I was able to easily picture what they looked like, giving them the faces of other reality TV judges who have been popular in the past and I’m sure were the models in the authors’ imaginations. Most of all, of course, I loved Olivier, the closeted rugby player originally from France, and JC, aka Javier or Javi, a US Olympic gold medal swimmer and his very large and personable Hispanic family, most frequently represented by Mama and Abuela.


Olivier and JC are each athletic and mentally tough enough to be focused, yet each finds it difficult to retrain their muscles into the required dance moves for the show. The authors made their practice sessions and performances come alive with a realism that surprised me. I truly felt like I was there as they struggled to learn their routines. I was also there as they beat around the bush trying to determine if their interest in each other was reciprocated. JC was out and proud as a bisexual man, but Olivier was out only to his closest friends and family members, fearing repercussions from his teammates and/or other teams he’d be playing in the league so he preferred to tread lightly. When the two finally read the signals right and got together, they decided to keep it quiet, fearing that homophobic Eugene would not only cause trouble on the set, but might announce it on his national talk show.


As the season progresses, so do the issues, and when Eugene finally gets voted off, the men share their romance with their housemates. They are warmly accepted and assured of their privacy. As the weeks go forward and they survive elimination rounds each wants to win for his charity, but is very supportive of the other, and once they declare their love for each other they make tentative plans to try to stay together as a couple after the event ends.


It’s somewhat difficult to explain exactly what I most liked about this book. There was never any major angst or confrontations or shocking accusations or other drama. It was simply a beautifully told love story about two young men who join a dance competition to support charities that they felt very strongly about and end up finding the love of their life. Olivier was dancing for Doctors Without Borders and JC was dancing for The Trevor Project. Kudos to the authors for not only highlighting each of the twelve charities in the story, but also for including contact information for each charity at the end of the book.

On the negative side, I was a bit disappointed that some of the opportunities for conflict weren’t pursued. Olivier certainly had a lot at risk if he was outed before he was ready, but the authors didn’t pursue that approach. On the one hand, the story didn’t suffer for not having that kind of drama and tragedy, but on the other, it would have added some spice and been more exciting if there had been some conflict.


The authors certainly did their research for this one and, coupled with the way they made each character and dance scene come alive, I truly felt like I was watching the competition. I’d highly recommend this one to all lovers of M/M romance, especially to those who like an angst-free story. I can’t wait to read more from these two authors.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/review-ariel-tachna-nessa-l-warin-dance-off
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review 2014-03-26 23:48
Lions and Tigers and...
The Dance Off (Harlequin Kiss Series #45) - Ally Blake

Why are the heroes of romance novels always roaring? Are they lions?


The sex scenes in this book were refreshing because they didn't use the language that has become typical for romance novel sexytimes. But then there was roaring and I was confused. The hero and heroine were not at the zoo.

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review 2014-03-07 00:00
Dance Your Ass Off: Chronicles of a Part Time Stripper
Dance Your Ass Off: Chronicles of a Part Time Stripper - Ciara Spanx,Angie Zambrano A Really Well Done Slice Of A Stripper’s Life!
This is an exceptionally well written glimpse into the life and mind of an exotic dancer. The author does a very good job of capturing your interest and holding it. I am now heavily invested in the protagonist’s life and will definitely be looking for a sequel.
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