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Take the Lead (Dance Off #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  158 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
The first book in a sizzling duology about dancers who find love from #OwnVoice's 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 pop
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Swerve
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Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the UK we call it Strictly Come Dancing, across the pond it’s Dancing With the Stars, but whatever name it goes by, if there’s glitter, sequins, fleckerls, foxtrots and fake tan involved I. AM. THERE. So a romance centralising around all this?


No stranger to reality TV, gorgeous 6’7 bearded Alaskan wilderness star, Stone Nielson is more at home chopping wood than shimmying his hips. But when he’s partnered with LA based pro dancer, Gina Morales on The Dance Off, it’s not long before she coaxe
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***4 Stars***

Loved this debut!

Puerto Rican professional dancer + Mountain man reality star + dance competition = One happy reader!! ♥ ♥

"You light me up. You helped me remember who I was before, and see clearly who I am now and who I want to be."

Gina and Stone were fantastic together. Both dealing with unwanted expectations and trying to break free from the molds the public put them in, they find comfort and so much more with each other.

Gina has dreams. She wants to dance, sing, and act. H
Maria Rose
If you’re a fan of Dancing with the Stars or other reality TV show dance competitions you are definitely going to want to pick up Take the Lead, a lively, energetic and sexy contemporary romance by début author Alexis Daria. And if you’ve never watched one of these competitions before, after reading this story you’ll likely want to add it to your viewing schedule. The plot is fresh and original, giving the reader almost a voyeuristic behind the scenes look at what makes or breaks the dancers on ...more
Xan West
A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I loved this! It was completely gripping; I stayed up way too late last night because I could not put it down.

I loved these characters so much, fell hard for them both, and particularly for Gina. I was rooting for them all the way, as a couple, as dance partners. I wanted them to get a happy ending. The obstacles and conflict felt so right, they unfolded in a beautiful way.

The heroine is Puerto Rican, and I
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowing, heart-wrenching, tear-jerker.
Okay, I exaggerate.
We're talking about a book on reality TV. Actually, its 2 reality TV shows. Where things are exaggerated, faked, blown totally out of proportion for the sake of ratings.

Gina, a born dancer waiting for her big break is in danger of losing her current shot to fame by not pandering to what the tv exec wanted by playing up the stereotypes. She especially do not need an attraction to someone who is going to be a partner whom the producer
Also on Romances Ever After.

Take the Lead follows Gina and Stone, two reality TV stars, as they compete with the other contenders in The Dance Off, a network-TV dance competition. Both have different reasons of joining; Gina is in it to finally win it, since it’s already her fifth season, and Stone sees the prize money as a chance to alleviate his family’s financial troubles. However, Gina realizes immediately after meeting Stone that they’re being set up for the show’s romance bait, something s
Liv (Stories For Coffee)
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-requested
I really enjoyed reading this novel because I love dance competitions, so this book really won me over. I also enjoyed the Puerto Rican culture that’s woven into the story since Gina is a Puerto Rican main character whose ethnicity and culture is very important to her. Her drive to break stereotypes placed on Latinas was like a breath of fresh air to me because I related so hard to her character and everything she stood for which was hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

Stone was also an ado
Anna Banana
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-heroines
4.5 stars

I've never watched Dancing with the Stars but after reading this book I have real admiration for the dancers on that show!

This book was so much fun! It's fun, fresh, and very steamy I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started to read. Add in the Latinx rep and I was sold on this from the get-go.

I loved Gina and Stone and I thought they had some really great chemistry. Stone is honestly so perfect I loved how much he cared for Gina and how he broke down her walls. I relate to Gina
Taryn (sunlitlibrary)
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-reads
Actual rating: 3.5

I think Take the Lead was a pretty addictive, solid debut. It has an awesome premise and pretty good relationship development, but could have been better with a little writing and pacing improvement. Nonetheless, Alexis Daria definitely has potential and so I'll definitely continue reading her books.

You can read my full review here.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Saly by: Coral
Thank you so much Coral for reviewing this book, if it wasn't for you I would not have read this. First of all a brilliant premise, a dance reality TV show. Second I loved the heroine, she was ambitious and passionate about dancing and didn't want to take shortcuts or do something that would compromise her image in front of her family even if it would ease her way. I liked that about her, even if I felt she was worrying way too much about it later.

I loved the hero too, he was a saint to give up
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Listen. Take the Lead by Alexis Daria is perfect. PER.FECT. I loved this book. I want to take this book out behind the high school and make out with it. This book was goddamn good that after I finished reading it, I spent the rest of the day watching Strictly Ballroom, the Step Up movies, and Magic Mike. This book made me want to sign up for dance lessons----and I am a white girl with NO rhythm! I clap on the wrong beat and my husband jokes I need a walking helmet! I’d sooner give up romance and ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I tend to stay away from reality tv in general and the same for reading and sub-genres in CR. The only reality TV I watch is Dancing With the Stars, so when I read the concept of this duology, I was hooked.

I'm happy to say that Take the Lead was quite an enjoyable read. Daria did a great job of building a relationship and great chemistry between Gina and the DELICIOUS Stone. I loved the behind the scenes details of training each week for the show, the creation of choreography and the politics o
Adele Buck
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly entertaining and engrossing debut, Take the Lead uses the structure of a television dance competition to show the love story between a professional dancer and a reluctant reality show star.

I enjoyed the absolute hell out of this book. The main couple stood out as real and relatable against the artificiality of the reality show backdrop. The secondary characters were also charming and endearing. A review of a romance often references whether a reader was "rooting" for the main couple
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Pro dancer Gina Morales is on her way to Alaska to meet her celebrity partner for season 14 of the Dance Off. She wish for a winter Olympian but she's team up with Stone Nielson, star of Living Wild, a reality show about a big family living off-the-grid in Alaska. Gina and Stone both know the "reality" of the TV world. Gina is less than please to realize that they want to set them up as the "show-mance" of this season. She have a strong professional ethic about not sleeping with her partners and ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite eye rolling a little bit through the conflict near the end of the book, this was a really good debut novel. I also have questions about the hero turning into a male model, but I can't really rule anything out these days. This was fun. I'm going to read book two.
Marianne (Boricuan Bookworms)
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, kissy-books
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. My thoughts have not been influenced in any way.
This was a really fun contemporary romance. I've never watched a celebrity dance show, so I don't know how realistic that part was, but I really enjoyed the characters and the story. The author did a great job of connecting the reader with the characters before there were any steamy scenes, which you don't see enough of in contemporary romances. I look forward to the next book in this series.
Mariam Zenik
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Take the Lead is a fantastic romance that takes an ambitious heroine who has her eyes set on the win and a man forced by his circumstances to be the Quiet One. Together, Gina and Stone discover that they can have more than what they had eyes one. Happiness and success can coexist with a partner who’d uplift you (literally and figuratively) and support you. Sizzling romance aside, these two and the rest of the cast provide a beautiful picture of a piece of society that is rich with culture and lo ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria a leading five-star read. This book was so good, I was dancing round the room and having a jig at work, I have two left feet so it wasn’t pretty but I couldn’t help myself. If you have any inclination to dancing you need this book in your life, if you enjoy romance or reality TV you also need this book in your life. The writing was so well put together, I need to go see what else this author wrote and get reading.
The chemistry between the main character is so hot I
Lenore Kosinski
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

3.5 stars -- I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

There were a few things that stood out and made this a must request book for me, and it was those things that I enjoyed the most in this story.

First, I'm a sucker for a book about dancing.  I'm really not a very good dancer myself (though I still try, I have, like, ZERO grace), so I ALWAYS admire dancers of all types, from ballet to ballroom and beyo
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Soooooo this book danced its way into my heart (i couldn't help myself ok? lol) I have to thank twitter for cluing me into this wonderful book! It wasn't on my radar til recently and when i requested it on Netgalley I didn't think I'd get approved but yayyyy!

Listen I love reality TV. Granted, I haven't watched much Dancing With The Stars, was more an America's Best Dance Crew watcher buuut I love dance movies and I have seen some episodes of DWTS and this book felt sooo authentic in it's portray
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing


I want to start by saying that I loved this story. It was something I’d heard some buzz about and decided to read because of that. I was so happy that I did! Reality TV isn’t really something I enjoy, but this book really doesn’t require much investment into that, as the settings and characters are so richly developed.

Gina Morales is on her third season of The Dance Off as a professional dancer, and she’s got the t
Tina ( As Told By Tina )
This review was originally posted on As Told By TinaTake The Lead is Alexis Daria’s debut novel and a pretty good debut at that. Take the Lead is centered around Gina and Stone who are competing on a reality TV competition similar to Dancing with the Stars. This is the second book that I’ve read that has dealt with reality TV, the other one is Kissed by Reality by Carrie Aarons but that is more of a bachelor style book.

One of my favorite things about Take The Lead is that I felt like I was watc
Mel González
“Stay with me. Remember what I told you? Channel whatever’s happening in your head into the dance. Into me. Let me help you carry it.”

*ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review*

If you want an adorable, entertaining and cute romance book that will make you think but also will make you swoon, this is the book for you. I had such a good time reading this, it's very addicting from the first chapter and it actually discusses important topics like representation in media
Thank you Alexis Daria and St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Take the Lead. I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A book with a dancing competition tv show? Count me hooked. The description of the book got me intrigued pretty fast. And woah. It did not disappoint me. Actually I think this is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year so far.

From start till end I was fascinated with the whole reality show dynamic. And I was even more fascinated with the whole dan
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"City girl, this is way beyond country living,” he drawled. “This is living wild.”

Alexis Daria's Take the Lead has such an original storyline that I was salivating for this book like nobody's business. It meshes a Puerto Rican dancer, a gruff Alaskan survivalist, and a Dancing with the Stars like competition. How fun this book was!

Stone doesn't want to be on a dancing show, but because of his family he finds himself flying down to LA and hobnobbing with a different flavor of reality TV. But when
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received ARC via NetGalley

I loved this so much!! I am not a huge DWTS fan, but I do love the dancing world so this was a great fit. I really really enjoyed reading a book with a Latinx heroine. It happens so rarely. And Gina was written so well!! She was a person, informed by her heritage, not defined by it. She had a great personality and I understood her drive and her reluctance to go public with Stone. It made perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense that Stone wouldn't understand why it wo
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
This book is everything I always want dance movies to be, and while they always leave me a little disappointed, this book left me utterly satisfied and grinning like a fool. Perfect for fans of Step Up and Dancing with the Stars.

The premise is fun-a reality show Alaskan survivalists goes on a dancing with celebrities show and falls for his dance partner/choreographer. And then the writing took it to a whole other level of emotional depth that made it even easier for me to enjoy the fun setting.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you! The following is my honest opinion about the book:

I requested this book because I love Dancing With the Stars. I'm the type of fan that follows the dance-pro's I admire on Instagram and will read articles in magazines that feature them. I enjoy watching the behind-the-scenes footage/ the rehearsal antics and love finding out about how these pro's/celebrities are like when they aren't on the show.

This book is like a treat of epic proportions fo
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Other Books in the Series

Dance Off (2 books)
  • Dance with Me (Dance Off, #2)