Spoiler Free Review: Take The Lead by Alexis Daria

Title: Take The Lead

Author: Alexis Daria

Pub. Date: Re-Published on February 14th 2023

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format: eARC + audiobook

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 368/11 hours + 10 minutes


☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆

Gina Morales has BIG dreams when she hops on a seaplane to Alaska to meet her partner in the next season of The Dance Off. In the four season of being a contestant on the show, she has yet to make it to the finals. She’s hoping to get paired with an Olympian who is agile and can easily learn the choreography. Who she meets when they dock in Alaska is not what she expected. Tall Rugged Outdoorsman Stone Nielson signed up as a contestant for The Dance Off to help out his family but a dancer he is not. He does however have some experience with reality tv since his parents and siblings are known for their show based on outdoor living in the Alaska wilds. When these two meet and realize just how big the differences are in the lives they’re living, they question whether this can workout. To the shows producers, their differences are exactly what makes them the ideal dance couple to have a “Showmance.” A storyline to fee the public and get them invested in Gina and Stones on screen chemistry is a tried and tru way to boost up the ratings. Neither one wants to fake a romance but they both have a lot to lose if they don’t. For Gina, it’s her last shot at fame and really jump starting her career. It’s the reason why she left the Bronx and moved to L.A and she doesn’t want to throw in the towel just yet. For Stone who is hiding a family secret, this show can grant him the money he needs to help them. This may not be his comfort zone but he’s up for the challenge.

This was a tandem read between my eGalley copy and audiobook which may be the reason why I didn’t rate it a bit higher. It took me a bit to get into the narrators style but I’d say two hours in is when elements of the show started taking off and I started to get into the story. It’s fast paced with what can be called instalove but considering the whole setting is this episodic dance show, we get to see Gina and Stone’s romance develop along the way. This wouldn’t typically work for me but that’s because I’m just a slow burn girlie, I actually felt the instalove worked in this story because of its dance show theme. Alexis Daria did her thing with scene and dance descriptions that brought excitement to the page. The competition aspects were woven in perfectly and because some of the dances practiced/performed are sensual, our couple had a ton of close proximity moments where it was just 🔥🔥🔥

As a fellow Latinx woman I loved seeing Gina address the stigma attached to many Latinx women. How in the entertainment industry, Latinx women are often seen as spicy, feisty and seductive. Taking care of her image and maintaining her professionalism is something she takes seriously because of these stigmas. This is definitely a romance but first and foremost we get a strong goal oriented Latina who knows herself and what will make her happiest is this career she’s nurtured. Stone is also very true to his roots and Alaska is his home, we see him getting real with himself and redefining his wants/needs. I loved these two together, they’re polar opposites yet their differences compliment each other so well. If you love dancing, choreography, and high stakes competition with a big dose of close proximity/steamy scenes then pick this one up! 


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Spoiler Free RAVE Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

 54860443Title: One Last Stop

Author: Casey McQuiston

Pub. Date: June 1st 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eGalley

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 544 pages



🖤eGalley provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review, all quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release🖤

The 411..

I will preface this review with first asking that you read this book when it hits the shelves next Tuesday June 1st! That it just so happens to be the very first day of Pride month makes this pure PERFECTION! This is a SUPER SEXY, Queer, time-slip Contemporary Romance filled with all the found family feels and New York City History. Specifically the history of the Queer community and the challenges they faced as well as the many strides made leading up to present day. We meet twenty-three year old August who is quite cynical and doesn’t believe in much. She’s spent most of her life assisting her mom in trying to crack a missing persons case and decides it’s time for a change. Moving into a New York City apartment with three other queer roommates and working the night shift at a 24 hour pancake diner fast track August on becoming a true New Yorker. Always on the go. The chances of meeting the same girl on the Q train every day at the same exact time seem almost too good to be true. Yet there Jane is, on the exact morning that August is having a bad start to her day offering her a red scarf to help cover up a coffee stain. Jane, a Chinese Lesbian wearing a leather jacket with 70’s pins. She’s cool and laid back yet charming, sexy and mysterious AF! August CANNOT get her off her mind and thus begins her every morning routine ensuring she gets on the same car train at the exact hour of their first meet. This is NOT for the feint of heart Book Lovers! *turns mini desk fan on* 


I’ve been waiting to find a 6 star read this year and it being days away from June, I was breaking a sweat thinking it just wasn’t going to happen. This book changed that and I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t expecting it to. Although I enjoyed McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue I didn’t exactly claim it as a favorite in 2019. One Last Stop however, was the EXACT level of romance, steam, and comedy that I crave whenever I pop into the Contemporary genre. This was also a love letter to NYC, the city I was born and raised in and was able to visualize while riding the Q train with these characters. I’ll also never tire of the found family trope because it’s one that I can relate to personally with my own group of life long queer besties. The side characters were also center stage and I loved this so much! they were each so deeply fleshed out and just what August needed as a welcoming committee to the city of NY. She’s a Bisexual 23 year old paving her own way in life and that can be quite scary to do alone…except she doesn’t have to do it alone. She has Niko, the Trans Psychic Latino who read her aura and pretty much decided she had a home with them from the minute they met. Myla, a queer electrical engineer/artist who has habit of inventing weird in-home games that often take a turn for the worse. Wes, a queer Jewish tattoo artist who is in love with their neighbor but can’t muster up the courage to act on it. We get it all in this book! NYC, one hot steamy romance, time jumps to the 70’s, pancake goodness and drag queens my luvs! I can go on for days but part of the fun is getting to know these characters and falling in love with each and every one of them. I’m ready for whatever McQuiston writes next! ❤

P.S. for those thinking of giving the audiobook a go, I’d highly recommend it! the narrator was on point and I have a referral link to Librofm if you find that you’re interested <3’s!


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