Cover Image: You Had Me at Hola

You Had Me at Hola

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After being trashed all over tabloids for a messy breakup, up-and-coming actress Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is ecstatic to start over on a new soap opera. She’ll be acting opposite Ashton Suárez, seasoned telenovela actor and major cutie--albeit, a slightly cold cutie. But Jasmine has concocted Leading Lady Rules to keep her career on track: leading ladies do not end up on tabloid covers, they don’t need a man to be happy, and they definitely don’t date their new costars. As Jasmine and Ashton settle into their new roles, the heat between them is undeniable, but is it worth Jasmine breaking her new rules? While she tries to answer that question, she might find out that Ashton has some rules of his own--all to guard a very big secret.

You Had Me at Hola is a fun rom-com set in the world of telenovelas. It follows Jasmine and Ashton, two actors trying to keep things professional on set while they really just want to tear each other’s clothes off. Fans of workplace romances will love this tension as the two rehearse together and pretend the attraction isn’t there. I loved that Jasmine and Ashton were completely different characters with shared experiences: Jasmine is a young Puerto Rican & Filipinx woman still trying to build up her career, while Ashton is a Puerto Rican man nearing forty (what he notes is considered “old” in television) and is trying to transition from one area of television to the next. This novel touches perfectly on aging and finding sexiness whether you’re in your twenties, your thirties, your forties, or beyond. 

Jasmine was a strong, fierce lady who still struggles with self-doubt, vulnerability, and worrying that she isn’t enough. I found her so relatable, and I loved how passionate she was about her career. You Had Me at Hola deals with gendered and cultured expectations in the television industry, and I loved how the narrative explored how both Jasmine and Ashton navigate this. I also loved that there were excerpts of the television show they’re acting in, “Carmen in Charge,” throughout the book. This was such a fun addition that really pulled the reader into Jasmine and Ashton’s world, and created a new level to the story. Jasmine is not a fluent Spanish speaker, and she often feels like she’s not Latinx enough because of this and worries that this will impact her career in bilingual roles. This novel asserts that she is enough and that her imperfect Spanish does not make her any less Latinx. 

Ashton is also a complex character who deals with self-doubt and vulnerability in a unique way. He’s guarding a secret, and without giving away too much, I’ll simply say that You Had Me at Hola deals heavily with family and how far we’re willing to go to protect the ones we love. Ashton also struggles with PTSD from an incident in his past, and I think it’s very important to see complex themes around mental health dealt with in a romance novel. 

While it may sound like it’s full of heavy themes, at its core, You Had Me at Hola a sweet, contemporary romance. The chemistry and heat between Ashton and Jasmine is palpable. It definitely has some steamy scenes and I love that consent and safe sex is treated as an important part of each of these scenes. It was also refreshing to see non-penetrative sexual experiences treated as valid and satisfying. This romance novel is perfect for fans of workplace romances like Sarah Smith’s Faker or steamy contemporary romance like The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It’s also perfect for fans of soap operas & telenovelas, as well as readers who like Mia Sosa, Aisha Rai, and Tessa Bailey. This was my first Alexis Daria read, but it definitely won’t be my last.
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This was an enjoyable romance novel and a fun look at the world of telenovelas.  It was neat to switch between the storyline of the show Jasmine and Ashton are filming and the relationship they are beginning off-screen.  The characters were really likable and all of the cultural details really added to the story.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC!
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Okay, you guys... I am convinced that “You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria is going to be the next favorite rom-com on Bookstagram after the Beach Read craze. This book was everything I expected it to be and more, and I can’t wait for everyone to read this!

After a humiliating public breakup that ended up all over the tabloids, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is thrilled to be flying back home to NY where she can have a fresh start. In NY, she will be starring as the leading role in a new romantic comedy television series called “Carmen In Charge” alongside Ashton Suarez, an incredibly attractive, well-known telenovela star. Both Jasmine and Ashton are looking forward to “Carmen In Charge” being the show they need to launch their careers, and are committed to making this show and their on-screen chemistry irresistible. After a mortifying first encounter with one another, Jasmine and Ashton agree that running their lines together in between filming would help them feel more comfortable with one another.  However, the off-screen attraction between Jasmine and Ashton is undeniable and their private rehearsals turn into a steamy romance behind the scenes. While this helps improve their on-screen performance together, they soon find themselves under the media spotlight which threatens to expose Ashton’s most private secret and destroy Jasmine’s newly repaired image.

First off, the intense chemistry between Ashton and Jasmine is completely swoon-worthy and steamy and I could not get enough of their love story. Alexis Daria did an amazing job with the character development of Jasmine and Ashton throughout the book. Their characters were real, relatable and hard not to fall in love with. Jasmine and Ashton are both incredibly strong characters that overcome a lot of personal struggles with self doubt, trust, communication and love. I loved that the story was written from both of their point of views in such a way that allowed me to feel completely immersed in their worlds.

Second, I enjoyed the glimpse into the glamorous and dramatic world of telenovelas and latinx culture. I liked how the story was written where some chapters were about Ashton and Jasmine’s off-camera love story, and other chapters were episodes from the telenovela show that they were filming together, “Carmen In Charge.” 

If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, witty and STEAMY rom-com (and if you were a fan of Beach Read!), I highly recommend checking out You Had Me at Hola, releasing on August 4th. Thank you so much @netgalley and @HarperCollins for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review 💛
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This was a steamy romance that left me wanting a sequel.  Alexis Daria, can we get a series or what??
Full review: nodistancebooks.com

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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A sweet, utterly predictable love story. Jasmine has a super-close relationship with two of her cousins that is heartening. Ashton has a son he loves to death, which is sweet. It is interesting how meta the novel is about normalizing Latinx characters, and it’s definitely a good thing, but I wouldn’t mind not hearing the term Latinx anymore. That’s not the author’s fault, but it kept coming up and got on my nerves. Finally, it was great that they both had abuelas still alive that they adored.
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You Had Me at Hola is one of my most anticipated summer reads and let me tell you it does not disappoint! From the very beginning I fell in love with Jasmine and Ashton and immediately felt the chemistry.  I really enjoyed the "behind the scenes" look at filming a Netflix style show which was a neat addition.  I felt that is was the perfect combination of steamy, fun and tackled real issues.  I highly recommend this novel and I cannot wait to read more from this author!
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So this was cute and as a fan of the silliness some soap operas and telenovelas that this pretty much hit the mark. I wish I could have had more of the set from the Show Carmen in charge in the book because the main focus was on the couple Ashton & Jasmine. I also would have liked to have seen more of the cast and the interactions but I guess that wouldn’t have made this a romance novel eh? It did follow that same formula that all romance books follow on the couple getting flirting lots of sex then falling for each other. I also would have liked more of the silliness of telenovelas in this book like where was Ashton’s evil twin brother? I’m kidding that wasn’t in the book but it would have been great. So fans of Soaps, Telenovelas and Jane the virgin please read and have a fun time!
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I’ve never really been a fan of soap operas or telenovelas, but I LOVE a good romantic story! You Had Me at Hola has a beautiful cover that immediately grabbed my attention, and so I figured I’d give it a shot.
	Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is ready to go from being a soap opera star to a leading lady, Ashton Suarez is trying to move beyond telenovelas and make it in Hollywood.  While she has landed herself on the cover of tabloids after a messy breakup, he’s keeping his personal life under the radar so no one finds out his secret.  Their lives are unexpectedly connected when they end up costars on a telenovela remake, Carmen in Charge.
	Like any good romance this book has love, sex, drama, and misunderstandings.  I love the way the relationship between the characters evolves in both their personal lives and their on-screen personas.  The chemistry on set makes them want to get to know each other better off-screen, where their own personal baggage can get in the way of their relationship.  The fact that this was an #OwnVoices romance, filled with LatinX culture, made this even better for me.  I could totally see this book being adapted to film!
	I loved the bits of Spanish interspersed in the characters’ conversations, but every once in a while there was something I just couldn’t figure out based on context.  I was happy to be reading this as an ebook so that I could take advantage of the translate feature and figure out what I was missing.
	This book is a perfect beach read - full of rom-com drama and laughs!
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This my first DNF of the year.  The writing of the novela inside of the novel came off a bit jumbled.  Their love story was cliche and honestly didn't make sense.
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I really didn't fall in love with this book. It was entertaining enough but nothing to swoon over.

Jasmine and Ashton are romantics leads on a television show and when off screen, thanks to fear of bad press for dating a costar, they try to deny their attraction toward each other.  They can't fight their desire for each for too long.

The one thing I was impressed with was that both of them made stupid decisions regarding their relationship at the same time. Usually, only one person acts stupid at the third act.

The review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.
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You Had Me at Hola helped me get out of a funk. I kept starting books, reading a bit, then starting another one. I had a feeling when I started this book that it might be the one. It was! This book is what we need in the world right now. Representation of all sorts is seen. LGBTQ+ characters, a heroine with brown nipples, and Latinx culture are seen throughout. I like it. 

Both the heroine and hero are actors. They have been working hard. They want this project to blow up their careers. The heroine is getting over a break up and has goals to be a leading lady. I enjoyed her. She isn’t perfect. She’s growing. Love her relationship with her cousins. I am putting it out in the universe that we should get their books too. Family is also very important to the hero. He tends to worry about taking care of and providing for them instead of living. The heroine has him start to rethink that. I enjoyed his POV too. 

You Had Me at Hola was a good read. I enjoyed the characters and the story. I look forward to more books in this universe, fingers crossed. 


I voluntarily read an early copy.
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You Had Me at Hola features Jasmine Lin, a soap opera actress going through a very public breakup beginning her next project, Carmen in Charge. Jasmine is ready to become a leading lady, and that means focusing on her career and definitely not rebounding with her dashing costar, Ashton Suarez, a Puerto Rican telenovela star, despite their chemistry on and off set. Ashton also is having a hard time setting boundaries with Jasmine, despite having a  family secret he cannot let the tabloids discover. As the two stars get closer, they must decide what they're willing to risk for their careers, and what they're willing to risk for a shot at love. 

I am so grateful to have another romance novel to hand to patrons that features a Latinx cast. This will be easy to recommend to fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and fans of the television show Jane the Virgin. As a fan of soapy drama, I wanted there to be slightly more telenovela-level intrigue to the story, but overall I appreciated seeing Jasmine and Ashton's relationship develop along side their on-screen characters. I loved getting to know their families and rooting for their careers as well.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that we can join some of these characters as Carmen in Charge continues into it's second season!
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I really ended up loving this book.  I have to admit that I needed to look up a few Spanish phrases to get the context, but I learned some things.  Definitely recommend.
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This was a very sweet story and the characters were well developed. I loved the inclusion of all the spanish. It added something special to the story.
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This is the adorable, sexy, representative Latinx romance that I've been waiting for!!! Jasmine and Ashton are both so relatable and you can't help but cheer for them as their attraction deepens to real romance. This left me feeling warm and fuzzy. I would love to see this turned into a series with the side characters like Michelle and Ava getting their own stories. (And thank you for the epilogue where we find out who was the surprise at the end of season one of the tv show within the story -- you know that would have left me hanging!)
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I adored this book!  As a Latinx librarian and romance fan, this book really resonated with me.  

This new romance by RITA award-winning writer, Alexis Daria is a sizzling hot and fun ode to soap operas.  Jasmine, a soap opera actor, and Ashton, a telenovela actor have just been cast on a popular streaming service TV show that promises to catapult each of them to break-out stardom.  Although they initially resist becoming romantically involved, they quickly give in to temptation and indulge in a torrid affair that means more to them than either wants to admit.  When the paparazzi exposes a shocking secret, Jasmine is forced to reevaluate the trust she put in Ashton, and Ashton is compelled to come to grips with his traumatic past that has long held him back from fully living his life and finding love.  

Firmly rooted in Latinx culture, this novel covers complex issues of language, colorism and identity while also managing to be an upbeat, entertaining and super-steamy read.  Recommended for fans of soap operas/telenovelas, diverse books, contemporary romance and anyone looking for a hot new book by a talented writer.
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This was fun! 

I liked but didn't love her first book. This one worked much better for me. I loved the telenovela TV set background. I really liked both characters, and thought they had great chemistry with each other. The secondary characters could have used some rounding out, but the book was pretty short, so there might not have been time. I would actually have liked this to be longer so it could be more fleshed out in general. 

The basic plot here is that Jasmine Lin and Ashton Suárez are going to be starring in a streaming show from Netflix analogue Screenflix, and this could bring telenovelas, and both of their names, to the attention of Hollywood. Ashton has been working to make it big since the beginning of his career as one of the most famous telenovela actors, and Jasmine is hurting from a very recent public breakup with a pop star. Ashton is famously private and press-shy. Neither one of them want to date a co-star, let alone fall in love with one, and neither one of them want to make the front pages. So of course they have ridiculous chemistry and are attracted to each other right away.

I appreciated this didn't go the insta-love route. They get to know each other, and Ashton gradually starts to let his walls down. And despite her explicit plans otherwise, Jasmine starts to fall for him. Their desires, and the press, inevitably come into play and provide a push of outside conflict. 

I love the way Latinx people and culture is portrayed here, very real and lived in, but not idealized or stereotyped. There are a huge variety of Latinx actors and other characters in the book, many of them of Puerto Rican heritage. We also get snippets of scenes from their TV show, Carmen in Charge, which is a remake of a telenovela reimagined for American audiences, much like Jane the Virgin. I had some quibbles with their conflict at the end, but they were all addressed before I finished the book, so they don't feel worth bringing up. My only remaining criticism is that especially at the beginning of the book, she relies on telling instead of showing quite a bit. The reason show don't tell is a writing mantra is that showing something directly engages the reader's emotions. Telling puts it at a remove, and I did feel at a remove for the first third or so of the novel, until things started happening in the plot. (view spoiler) Lots of other moments like that could have been fleshed out in a similar way and this book would have gone from fun and entertaining to *brain candy unputdownable yes*, which is how I most like my romance novels to feel. 

I'm still rounding up to four, though, because what was there was fun and I liked it more than three stars. Definitely worth checking this one out if you like romances.

[3.5 stars, rounding up]
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An absolute delight. 

You Had Me at Hola is both a sweet and sexy romance and its own love letter to the Latinx and specifically Puerto Rican communities. It's delicious to watch Jasmine and Ashton come together, sometimes against their own better judgment, because it feels like a romance between two full-fledged adults. 

Books set in the entertainment industry often over-glamorize celebrity, but You Had Me at Hola delves a bit into the dark side, including stalkery fans, antagonistic reporters and the general downside of having your life splashed across social media.

Between that gorgeous cover and the sweet romance at the heart of this one, it's a summer must read for sure. 

CW: MCs parent died from cancer
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This was a fun, cute, touching romance between two really sweet characters. The back and forth helped build up the tension and the chemistry between the two leads was red hot! I really enjoyed the diverse cast of characters, which, in addition to Latinx characters, also included gender-fluid and other LGBTQ+ characters, and a single parent dad, which is very rare! The writing was good and I really got swept up in the story.
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A steamy romance that's sure to delight fans of 'Jane the Virgin,' with a hero and heroine to root for, and very believable stakes and conflict. So immersive that I sat down to start the book and didn't look up again until after I'd finished it!
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