ARC Review: Take the Lead – Alexis Daria

Gina and Stone pose on the dance floor.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 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.

I received an ARC of Take the Lead from NetGalley. If you’ve followed some of my blog posts or my Twitter, then you’ll know that I am a huge fan of books with dance themes. When I saw this on NetGalley, I knew that I had to request it! I also really love the dancing sub-theme of people learning to dance!

This book is #ownvoices for Latinx representation.

The book is divided into two perspectives, Gina’s and Stone’s. This allows the reader to see the progression of each person’s feelings without making these feelings obvious to their respective love interest. This is something that I wish more romance novels would do.

Gina is Puerto Rican American, which plays a big role in her relationship as well as in her career choices. In my opinion, the book portrays how people of different ethnicities are treated differently by the same employer, which I think is something more people should know about.

I loved the passages where Gina defined what dancing meant to her and where she described the different types of dancing. Honestly, reading about how much dancing means to other dancers means so much to me. It’s so relatable. It was fascinating to read about the reasoning behind the construction of Gina’s choreographies.

The pacing is quite leisurely in the first half of the book, which gives the reader time to immerse themselves into the dancing competition world and allows them to get to know some types of dances at a slow pace. It picks up around the middle, however I found that it became too fast-paced. This coupled with the larger focus on the development of the relationship, which also started at the middle of the book, meant that the reader was only given snippets of the dance competition, which I wasn’t a fan of.

One part that bothered me, was how Gina kept emphasising how huge Stone’s penis was. It just really made me feel uncomfortable because it seemed like such an important factor for her. I wonder how she would have felt if it hadn’t been quite as humongous as it was. Another passage that I didn’t like is that there was an emphasis on the man always having to be the leader in dancing, which I personally don’t agree with.

The word “ninja” is used to described the stagehands. The text also states that everyone can everyone can relate to the desire of their basic instincts, which is aceantagonistic.

Take the Lead is a adorable, slow romance with lots of humour in it. I enjoyed it a lot and couldn’t stop reading the book. If you enjoy romance with a lot of sex in them and_or novels about dancing, give this book a try!

Trigger warnings: ableism (called out and not called out), aceantagonism (not called out).


4 stars

Have you read Take the Lead? Do you enjoy reading about dancing?


5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Take the Lead – Alexis Daria

  1. This definitely sounds like one I’d like. I’m not much of a dancer myself, but shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars are one of my guilty pleasures, so I enjoy novels with a lot of dancing.


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