Cover Image: You Had Me at Hola

You Had Me at Hola

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Member Reviews

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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This was such a sweet, sexy, and well-written contemporary romance! The secret child plot is one that I don't usually love, but it was done in a unique way here and made a lot of sense to the character and his issues, so it worked for me. Ashton and Jasmine were both compelling characters with authentic voices and emotions, and I found myself caring so much about them finding love and happiness together and in themselves! I really loved the story-within-a-story feel from the TV show scenes and the perfect parallels to the actors' real lives. This is the first book by Daria that I've read, and it made me want to check out all of her others ASAP. Will highly recommend this to romance fans!
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Absolutely adorable. Jasmine and Ashton are both delightfully ill-equipped for just how much they like one another, and it doesn't help that their romance ends up playing out on the set of an American Telenovela. The book was funny, sweet, and sexy.
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Fantastic modern love story. Humorous and sexy. Quick, fun, hot read. It was great to read a love story that focused on a racially diverse community. Loved the focus on family.
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Gah I adored this book so much. It was my first time reading about telnova's and I am addicted. This was steamy, fun and so romantic. I need all alexis daria's book asap! OBSESSED!
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I'm so glad I was approved for You Had Me At Hola because let me just say I LOVED this one. I went into this novel with no expectations, just that the title was cute and the cover was beautiful. Jasmine was such a great character. Very strong but also allowed herself to be vulnerable and genuine. She exudes girl power and I loved it. Ashton - I went back and forth with him. He was a little too dramatic but that's okay, I ended up liking him a lot. I also enjoyed their awkwardness that began their relationship and then eventually leads into a lot of steaminess.  I also thought that the scenes where they're behind the set, shooting the show was super fun. I will say that I'm not that into romances so if you love romance novels, definitely read this one. I'm off to go check out whatever else Alexis Daria has written! 

Thanks so much to Netgalley and to the publisher for the advanced copy!
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Everything about this book was glorious, least of which was the diversity and inclusion, ever so casual AS IT SHOULD BE. This book was a melting pot without screaming "LOOK AT ME, I FEATURE DIVERSE CHARACTERS FOR CLOUT" and I'm living for it. 

The romance was *chef's kiss*. I loved the awkwardness and the build up, and I enjoyed the peak at the MCs as their telenovela counterparts. I loved everything about this book and now I'm going to hunt down Ms. Daria's backlist and soak in everything.
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Jasmine is a successful actress who is just trying to break into the major spotlight.  When she's paired on a telenovela with actor Ashton, who wants nothing more than to keep his head down and avoid the spotlight at all costs, she becomes hesitant.  She feels a connection with him, and as costars and love interests, they need to have rapport with each other.  Ashton avoids her at all costs and does not socialize with the cast outside of work.  Although, he may have good reason... Will Jasmine be able to break through his walls and get her to open up to her? 
Delightfully romantic and skillfully written, Daria's tale will have readers enchanted from the beginning to end.
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I got so swept up in this story! I really loved that we got to understand the characters and their motivations before they got involved, and it did not feel like insta-love at all. I'm recommending this to everyone!
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Trigger warning: PTSD, experiences with racism.

Thump thump. Thump thump. Shatter.

That’s the sound of my heart on repeat while reading this book. If that doesn’t happen to you too than you’re canceled.

You Had Me At Hola is one of the most feminist romances I’ve read in a long time. It sets the stage for the future. It shows us that inclusivity means having a diverse cast of people with different genders, ethnicities and race.

The authors makes an emphasis on pronouns, on consent, and on community. Nonbinary and Trans Latinx characters. There are Queer people and it’s just a thing. They are normal. No one is writing stupid essays on trans people.

My favorite aspect of this novel is the way it emphasizes a conversation that has to be dealt with in romances through the means of a tv show. The producers ask Ashton if there’s anything he does not consent to in the scenes with Jasmine. I’ve read so many romances where the consent is not treated as normal for all the characters. The one that disturbs me most is the Duke and I by Julia Quinn, where the heroine rapes the hero. This genre needs to have a talk about normalizing consent. I love that this book continues that conversation in regards to all genders.

The conversations on diasporic differences make this book so layered. Ashton is puertorriqueno, born on the island, and Jasmine is 2nd generation Puerto Rican and Filipina. The tv show encouraged the cast and crew to put up their flags to show the range of nationalities, genders, and identities in the production to highlight their diverse Latinx community.

For the first time in a fucking while I’ve been gifted with a romance in a genre overwhelmed with white love interests being the aspiration. I want more romances where both the characters know each other’s cultures. I want more romances that don’t make white love interests the ultimate goal. Sweet bi-lingual softness. The language of their culture and experiences. This filled that gap that I’ve been wanting from the genre. So in love with each other they forget they’ve switched to another language. That. I need that.

I need an entire shelf worthy of books like this.

The set up: 2 Soap Opera/Telenovela stars fall in love. He spills coffee on her shirt, ending in a disasterously bad outfit on Jasmine’s first day. The chapters switch between them.

Jasmine and Ashton have a slow burn, godly tier ranked chemistry type of romance. Every smile she makes makes him flutter and swoon. Absolutely floored me when he said supporting Jasmine had quickly become his thing. Offensively good.

This book continues to stab my heart. I love it when he speaks Spanish to her. All that intimate crap gets me.

The fear he has for his son is developed from an attack on his son. Ashton developed PTSD after someone threatened his son in their own home. I will say that as someone with PTSD, there wasn’t much detail as there should have been.

I also want to talk about healthy relationships and understanding the difference between growth and someone repeatedly being unworthy of their partner’s love. Ashton internalizes and acknowledges when he’s being an asshole. His asshole meter never goes too far and when he does something Ashton acknowledges what he’s done. He does not repeat it. He tells us he has no right to ask her any emotional labor on his behalf. That is growth. I think we need to stop getting into the habit of not recognizing character growth, especially towards Latinx and men of color, when it comes to a good apology. I want good apologies in romance but we’ve gotten so used to the authors going past the line of forgiveness. Apologies to me are important. I grew up with a father that would apologize to me countless times every week. Apologies should mean something when someone actually does the work.

I would even argue that romances where the hero doesn’t at least do one mistake is not allowing for healthy relationships to develop. There’s a difference between emotional abuse and something that still can be forgiven. I feel like we’ve forgotten this because so much of romance’s history has been borderline toxic and abusive tendencies.

Give me more kind men in m/f romances that are nuanced and grow and work from their mistakes. More men dancing with the heroine’s grandmother. More ambitious heroines. This book should be a damn blueprint.
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Loooooved this book. On top of being a great and much-needed representation of Puerto Rican love in romance, it also had this great postmodern layer: Jasmine and Ashton fall in love on the set of a romantic soap, so we see their characters fall in love in the most soapy way possible, while seeing the much more awkward reality of the two of them getting together. It plays with the difference between what we love about romance novels, romcoms, and telenovelas and what real life romance looks and feels like.
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I was so excited for this book that I pitched a roundup of romances by Latinx authors so I could read it before pub date—and it was damn worth it. 

First, I LOVE when heroines have A Plan. It means you can expect lots of mistakes and laughs en route to their HEA. And Jasmine has A Plan, her Leading Lady Plan to be precise. Watching it unravel—and her grow as it does—was deeply satisfying and so personally touching. I sobbed through the last chapter.

Second, this book was bound to be my catnip. Enemies-to-lovers, a plot reminiscent of Jane the Virgin, and a book set in my beloved city by an author who lives here and loves it as much as I? YES. What I didn't expect was to see so much of myself on the page (seriously: most of my notes are "yes!:" "Same" and "Attacked."). Hence: the ugly tears. 

Third, Ashton. A guarded soul with some unresolved trauma. I loved the added depth that his storyline gave him and damn does he know how to grovel.

Fourth, I imagine this will be divisive, but I adored how the perspectives switched between the characters as themselves and the characters in character. How being in character strengthened and supported them, and allowed them to explore different aspects of themselves. It was so creative and so fun.

Fifth, I truly believe romance writers are culture makers—and that making happens in the details. It's little things like using an androgynous name for a character in a powerful position or casually mentioning someone's pronoun button that make you think, reflect, and grow as you read. We can't be what we can't see and for many womxn, romance is what we see. I so appreciate when authors incorporate such real world details as a normal part of the plot. People being themselves and being accepted and loved just as they are.

Lastly, I loved how the book explored the role of intimacy, from the use of the consultant on set to the script. It was a unique addition and as a sex educator, I appreciated seeing positive representation on the page.

Go preorder this one now. 

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was cute, and I enjoyed the telenovela inspiration. I would have loved more tension-building, but this was a fun beach read and perfect for summer.
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(I sent my review to Booklist, where it may be edited.)  Also - I hope there are stories about the cousins coming! :)

Soap opera Jasmine is reeling from a very public breakup splashed across tabloids as she moves to New York to begin starring in a new Latinx show for a top streaming service. She is happy to be close to her cousins, who remind her of her Leading Lady plan for her career, a plan that does not involve getting involved with co-stars. Ashton, a former telenovela star, is very private after a stalker broke into his young son’s bedroom years before. He is exhausted from flying to Puerto Rico to see his father and son on weekends. But he can’t resist his warm, vivacious co-star. Soon they are involved, but when information and a photo of his son during a visit to NYC is leaked, Ashton feels it was a mistake to be with Jasmine at all. Daria writes very intelligent, appealing characters and the scenes while they are shooting the show are delicious fun. Fans of Susan Elizabeth Philips may also enjoy the humor and chemistry of this one.-Amy Alessio
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Ok, on a superficial note, the cover of this is just gorgeous. Snaps to the art department!
Overall, I really enjoyed this one! This is the second Alexis Daria story I've read and the first full novel, and I am really impressed with her skill in letting her stories unfold in a truly satisfying way and how character driven they are. 
The characters really are the stand out here-- I was fully engaged by both of the leads, but also by all of the supporting cast (especially the families -- great family dynamics in this one), and I thought mirroring the h/h's internal conflict around believing in themselves in their careers and external conflicts around their family dynamics was  smart & made the book effective in driving home its thematic content. Also, the interstitial scenes from the TV show that Jasmine & Ashton are shooting were fun & I found myself equally invested in the Victor/Carmen story line! 
The drawback here is the "big secret" that we as the audience know about that Ashton is keeping from Jasmine. While I think the author did a lot of work to sell us on why this was a thing, it's going to be YMMV on if you buy it. For me, it didn't quite ring true and that's what kept me from just loving this one full heartedly. 
Still, if you're looking for a nice slow burn romance with interesting characters in a fun set up, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'm excited to read more from this author in the future!
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I'm a big fan of Alexis Daria's previous books, so I was excited to read You Had Me at Hola. (And the fact that it was about telenovelas was a super plus.) Jasmine has worked on soaps but is approaching a new level in her career after landing the lead in a Netflix-like TV series playing the titular character in Carmen in Charge. She's gone through a very public breakup and has photographers chasing her, but has decided to concentrate on her career. Meanwhile Ashton has just been cast opposite her as Carmen's ex-husband/current love interest. Ashton has worked on lots of telenovelas but sees this role as his entry into movies and doesn't want to do anything to hurt his career. Ashton is also dealing with a lot of past trauma from an encounter with a dangerous fan, and keeps his son hidden from the public (and his coworkers). I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved both Jasmine and Ashton, and their relationships with their respective families. I also liked seeing the behind the scenes filming of the show. (As a total aside, the show employs an intimacy coordinator to help film love scenes, which I hadn't heard of before. After finishing this book I then ran across an article in The Guardian about Normal People's intimacy coordinator and how she worked to make the two leads comfortable on set while filming sex scenes.) Daria is a great writer and I really fell into Jasmine and Ashton's world. I'm hoping that this becomes a series and that the next book features one of Jasmine's cousins.
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In this fun and flirty rom-com, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez has decided to learn how to be a Leading Lady. She has been cast as Carmen in the English-language telanovela Carmen in Charge, but really needs to figure out how to take charge in her own life. This includes not being on tabloid covers for bad reasons (especially for a disastrous public breakup with her ex), not needing a mad to be happy (especially her cheating ex) and definitely not sleeping with costars (especially her new sexy costar, Ashton Suarez). 
	But Ashton and Jasmine begin getting close through their on-air personas and, not to spoil too much, but some steamy sex scenes follow. Jasmine begins to think what they have could be real, but does Ashton feel the same way? Can he open up his life again or will fear and trauma from the past keep him away? 
	This latinx-centric book was a joy to read, especially the drama in both the main characters’ familias. While personally, I think the storyline of the Carmen in Charge telanovela within the book was more focused on Ashton’s character than Jasmine’s when it should have been the opposite, the overall story of You Had Me at Hola was focused on both characters and their development. Highly recommend this fun romance!
	I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of #YouHadMeatHola
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