Sharon’s review Take The Lead by Alexis Daria

Posted February 14, 2023 by Sharon in Mainstream, Reviews, Sharon/Slick / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sharon’s review Take The Lead by Alexis DariaTake the Lead by Alexis Daria
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on February 14, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Own Voices, Fiction / Romance / Multicultural & Interracial, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 352
Format: ARC, eBook, Paperback
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4.5 Stars

From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.

Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.

As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?

Take The Lead was thoroughly entertaining, completely engrossing, and a simply wonderful romance between two people who seemed so different, yet they complemented each other perfectly. ~ Sharon – Simply Love Books


**This book was previous released in 2018 so before you buy make sure you don’t already have it.  I honestly don’t know how I missed the initial release but I’m so glad I found it this time around.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I don’t watch much television and I have a huge disdain for reality television with the exception of Dancing with the Stars until about 4 years ago when IMHO it “jumped the shark” and if you don’t know that term Google it. However, the minute I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it and I am so glad I did despite being bleary eyed for staying up way too late to finish it. This story was complex with many layers and each one proved to be equally interesting and while at times I got frustrated with the characters for different reasons, I could also understand where they coming from and how incidents in their past caused them to react the way they did.  Take The Lead was thoroughly entertaining, completely engrossing, and a simply wonderful romance between two people who seemed so different, yet they complemented each other perfectly.

Our heroine Gina is a Puerto Rican dance pro who has been with the show for 5 years. She has never won the competition and is known for her wonderful choreography. She is the consummate professional refusing to play in to the producers tricks of “showmances” and sleeping with other crew members or the stars brought in for the show. She is a New York City native, the Bronx, and loves her hometown but resides in Los Angeles for the show with a childhood friend also a Latina. She is shocked to find out her “star” for this season is Stone, the star of a reality star about living “off grid” in Alaska.

Stone was opposed to doing the Dance Off but his family needs the money to pay off his mother’s medical bills and hopefully make a dent in his student loans. Yes, you read that right, Stone’s family’s show Living Wild is a bit of smoke and mirrors and not all it’s made out to be (big surprise a reality show that isn’t all that real). Stone hate the limelight, he hates lying and he’s bad at it, and he fears he’ll say something that will cause his family’s sole source of income to come tumbling down. He isn’t a big talker, think strong, silent type and you’ve got Stone.

From the first meeting between Gina and Stone I could feel the fire between them. Stone was protective of Gina but also he felt calm around her and that continued throughout this book. Gina was bubbly and fun and Stone was reserved mainly because he worried about saying to doing something wrong. I loved watching Stone’s tough exterior being to crumble as this book went on, it was subtle and because he came from a reality show background he understood the absolute audacity the producers sometimes asked of them yet at times he was also blindsided by them. I appreciated that this author showed a big man like Stone (he’s 6’7”) be sexually harassed by another contestant and he wasn’t shy about letting on that he didn’t like it or appreciate it. As the show progresses and Stone as the underdog keeps going forward we really begin to see a difference in him and the chemistry between Stone and Gina boils over into more which creates an even bigger problem. Gina wants it kept on the down low which bothers Stone but he goes along with it because they both know that when the show is over they go back to leading very different lives.

I felt this author did a great job of showing the ins and outs of reality television and how hard it can be on the people who participate in them. I loved the varied cast of the show and how competition brings out the worst in some people. I didn’t care for the drama towards the end that in all honesty made Gina look like an irrational shrew, I was happy with the outcome.

Take The Lead featured a wonderful cast of characters, a full and rich plot, and a slow burn romance that sizzled; I not only loved this book but I highly recommend it.

4.5 Stars

About Alexis Daria

Alexis Daria writes stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. You Had Me at Hola, the first book in her Primas of Power series, is a national bestseller. Alexis is a lifelong New Yorker who loves Broadway musicals and pizza.

Posted February 14, 2023 by Sharon in Mainstream, Reviews, Sharon/Slick / 0 Comments