Cover Image: You Had Me at Hola

You Had Me at Hola

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Member Reviews

I loved this book. The show within a story, mixed with two leads getting to know each other was fabulous. As was the twist on the secret baby trope. The story was funny, heartfelt and sexy and I loved all the aspects of culture and family. Also, we need to get Carmen in Charge on the air, stat!

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This is a romance novel about two Latinx actors on a show, who fall for reach other. This was a super easy read and I really appreciated the author stressing sexual consent on set.

I'm interested to see what other stuff Alexis Daria puts out.

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Jasmine has the title role in an upcoming streaming show, and she’s determined it will change her life. When she meets Ashton, her co-star, a challenging yet amazing romance begins. I enjoyed the storyline, plot, and characters. I did feel that the use of the f-word seemed out of place and unnecessary, but it wasn’t used too often.

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Perfect distraction from the ugliness that is all around these days. I appreciated the Latinx representation. I'm generally not a huge romance reader but this might be the type of cute reads I need in my life these days.

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I loved this and have recommended it to many people already. I really appreciated that the obstacle keeping the protagonists from their HEA felt realistic rather than manufactured. I really enjoyed the inclusion of scenes from the telenovela within the novel, and the focus on BIPOC actors and creators.

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I enjoyed this modern romance. The telenovela tie-in made it unique. The characters were interesting as were the relationship development.

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I enjoyed this so much!! I always get really intrigued by books, especially romances, about famous people, but then I often feel disappointed when I actually read them. The way it was portrayed here was just so delightful though! It had a great balance between the glamour of the TV world and portraying the characters as real people with real problems and real feelings. Especially Ashton was a very loveable main character, he was amazing.

One thing I'm disappointed by is how much of the plot hinged on Ashton not telling Jasmine something personal for very valid reasons. I honestly don't think she had a right to get this angry about it, and I would have liked to see it resolved sooner.

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I sometimes struggle with contemporary M/F romance, but I was excited to finally dig into an Alexis Daria book. I mean, a Latinx romance with a telenovela feel? I had to try it. However, though the book was a good read overall, I had mixed emotions about the story and it took me *forever* to finish.

I enjoyed the plot of the story, even if it felt a bit slow with some pacing issues. I was genuinely interested in each of the MCs and their own journeys through their careers. I liked that they had wildly different paths and experiences in the entertainment industry, and even though I know next to nothing about that world, I was interested in what they were going through.

Personally, I found the male MC, Ashton, to be too closed off. I had a much harder time connecting to him, and I found him to be not vulnerable enough, even within his own head. I thought the romance felt a bit... strained? It didn't quite feel natural to me. In fact, I found the romance of their character that they were playing to be more organic. I also thought that the Ashton withheld too much information from the female MC, Jasmine, even when they were in a tentative relationship, for me to have much sympathy for him.

I was interested in the plotline more than the romance, to be honest. I loved the Jasmine and I'm still not convinced that Ashton is quite right for her. The drama was a bit much at the end, and I left the story not being in love with the relationship and how everything went down.

I liked the story, but I didn't love it. Contemporary romance is hard for me, folks, but I'd read another Alexis Daria book in a heartbeat.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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I'm late to the party on this, but I'm so glad I'm here! This was a fantastic romance filled with heart and heat. I want Jasmine and her cousins to be my best friends. Great read!

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I loved this romance, set behind the scenes on the set of a telenovela! It filled the hole left after the end of Jane the Virgin (but with more of an R rating.) I would love to see more from Daria set in this world.

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Soap opera favorite Jasmine Rodriguez is reeling from a breakup from her much more famous boyfriend (via tabloid!) and about to take the next step in her career: spearheading an ambitious Latinx remake for the number one streaming service in the country. There's just one problem: her co-star, Ashton, won't give her the time of day.

Jasmine tried not to take it personally, but taking things personally was one of her greatest skills.

Absolute perfection.

Seriously. This book was just delightful. I loved Jasmine. I loved her cousins and friends and her dedication to her looks (so people took her seriously) and to her craft. I loved her passion and drive.

And while I was lukewarm over Ashton (totally understandable why he was the way he was—what a horrifying experience) I I absolutely adored his father and Yadriel. The kid was delightful

Now I want to watch all the telenovela shows in the world, and I really wish Carmen in Charge was a real series.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

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This book was so good I am not sure I have the words to properly explain it. Beautifully written and engaging from page 1, Daria tells the story of two actors who fall in love. Jasmine previously worked in Soaps and gets a job on a telenovela for a streaming service. Her co-star, Ashton, is a notoriously private actor from Spanish speaking telenovelas and he is getting his first big English speaking part. As they fall in love, we get to meet their loving families and get to know them better.

There is a thing that happens that I didn’t love. It never quite made sense to me. But because I loved almost everything else about the book, I am willing to forgive it. I heard there are more books that will be about Jasmine’s cousins and I look forward to it.

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The two actors rom-com trope isn’t a new one but the way Alexis Daria spins it, it definitely felt new. A soap star and a telenovela star coming together for a big break Netflix-style Latinx heavy show was the perfect setting for a successful romance book.

The story’s various focuses on family, work, safe spaces, talent, fame, and expression, combined into a wonderful mix. The author really strived to show a healthy and ideal environment while also highlighting mental stressors and toxic thoughts as believable plot conflicts.

I loved both of the main characters. Jasmine, thought-wise, is probably my complete opposite but it was so nice to read a character that craved love so much. Often, this is portrayed as “needy” or “desperate” but the author managed to write her so well and explore this personality in a way that I haven’t seen before.

And Ashton as a leading man was perfect. Just damaged enough, also in a believable way (no spoilers), sweet and delightfully nervous. Together, the leads, and their desire to create bigger and better things for their careers and self, worked so well. Plus there were some spicy chemistry that definitely got a lot of page time.

Couple criticisms...
The diversity of characters and situations was great, but at times it felt like there was a checklist the author was going through. Something would pop up for only a a paragraph or two and then disappear. It would have felt more organic if there had been repetition and naturally woven throughout the book.

Also, it got a little too self-reflective in the last 20% for me. Character shifts, constantly talking or inner-monologuing like they’re in therapy sessions, just takes me out of it.

Overall, though, this was a fun, flirty, and sexy read. Really enjoyed it!

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I truly enjoyed the way that Latinx culture is celebrated in this book, as well as the glimpse into the world of acting (and tabloids), as well as the exploration of family dynamics. I enjoyed both Jasmine and Ashton as characters (though they both got on my nerves at various points, but that's what makes them realistic). While I did enjoy whenever they were on page together (and the steamy bits were quite good), I also don't think the reason for their mutual attraction is explained or explored enough. And while the chapters that featured Carmen (the show that they are filming) are fun, they also felt a little jarring and out of place; it was hard to tell if I was supposed to be reading it as a script (complete with the characters' motivations and inner monologues - so not really script-like), or as if I was watching the show (which would also make the details that were included a bit odd). Every time we came to a Carmen chapter, it just took me out of the main story, even though I could sort of see the parallels between it and the main plot, but it always took me a minute to orientate myself between the shifts. I do look forward to reading more from Alexis Daria and I think I'll go back and read her dancing series. To be honest though, I think my favorite part of the book (besides the fire hot steamy bits), is this FANTASTIC cover!

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Ratings (out of of 5):
Cinematics: 💥💥💥💥
Forced Proximity: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
The Abuelas: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Fresh off of a humiliating breakup that lands her on the front page of every tabloid, heartbroken soap opera star, Jasmine Lin, drafts a Leading Lady Plan. Rule #1 - a leading lady doesn’t need a man to be happy. She’s to play the lead in a new bilingual rom-com, opposite the devilishly handsome but famously aloof Ashton Suarez. Ashton’s last telenovela character was killed off and he worries that his career died with him. He’s got a secret and a plan and Jasmine is the key and biggest risk to both. Their chemistry is off the charts and they make magic on screen. But what happens when all that chemistry starts to make off-camera lines blurry?

I FLEW through this book, friends. Jasmine and Ashton leapt off the page and it’s stuffed to the brim with interesting supporting characters who were fully realized and made me care about them. The structure is perfect, layering scenes from the show in with their daily lives to show the development of the relationship. Loved that.

Daria weaves Spanish and English throughout the text with a deft hand. Spanish dialogue is not translated word-for-word into English but is indicated through context to stunning. Did I have to Google once or twice? Yup. Did I mind? Not one bit. The beauty of both Spanish as a language and the Latinx culture function as characters in this book as much as any people and I was HERE FOR IT.

It’s a swoon-worthy whirlwind of not-quite-but-almost-instalove but feels real at the same time. They love and they laugh and they fight and they make up and it all makes for a love story that is both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.

If you like sexy contemporary romance with fairly low angst that is vibrant, diverse, and brimming with culture, you won’t want to miss this. I loved it and would 100% tune in if It got filmed for real. (Please, please, please 🙏)

Kiss and Tell:
The sex scenes in this book are hot hot hot and yet vanilla enough to not scare off our more timid readers. Sexual tension builds until it leads to kissing, hand play, oral, and p&v sex. Our lovers are as considerate as they are sexy.

(I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are my own.)

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I'm having a hard time putting into words my experience with this book. Maybe it's because I found it to be so contradictory. It is at once too slow and too fast, believable and entirely unbelievable, diverse yet tokenized. I'll try to hit all these points one by one.

The beginning of this book is slow, like really slow. Like, one third of the book passes before the romantic leads so much as have an actual conversation. I think I picked up and put down this book dozens of times because I entirely lost interest. I guess this time was dedicated to building out the characters separately but I just didn't find it very compelling. On the flip side, once the characters did dive into a romantic relationship it was zero to one hundred. This isn't really a complaint, it was a lot of fun to read about the main characters as a couple. They share a lot of chemistry and the whirlwind made sense. We're all reading for the romance here, after all, aren't we? But I do remember being surprised to hear them voice love for each other rather than just attraction. Like, when did that happen?

I do feel like the author did an excellent job with the dialogue which was definitely believable. I didn't find the characters to be all that unique but honestly, I think that lended itself to their credibility as you can see realistic traits in them. What I mean when I say it was "unbelievable," rather, is that I felt like I could see the hand of the author all the time. This kind of goes into my third point a bit, but a good example of this was when the Latinx characters are talking about the importance of Latinx characters in media in a sort of didactic way. I appreciate the moral and agree on the importance of diverse representation 100% but it was just so meta that I felt like I could see right through the page to the author writing it. I don't always mind seeing an author in their work but in a romance novel I feel like it's all the more important that you be completely immersed.

I debated including this last bit as it's not really my bone to pick and why criticize the quality of representation when the quantity in the publishing world is pitiful. I decided to cover it because it impeded in my ability to enjoy the book. I thought a lot of the representation in this book was ace, the main characters especially, where their identity influenced their person in many complex ways. However I felt the minor characters occasionally came across as tokenized. There would be characters that would only appear in a single sentence that seemed to have a minority identity tacked on as an afterthought in ways that weren't helpful to the development of the character or even added to the confusion. To be very clear I don't think this was the author's intention at all! I think her heart is completely in the right place. As someone that did not always share these identities, if you are reading this review as someone who does, please feel free to let me know I'm totally off-base and that you appreciate this kind of representation.

This is a bit of a scattered review but I do want to say that though I didn't love this book it had its fun and escapist moments. If the other reviews are an indication this book is widely loved, so if you're looking for a cute summer-y contemporary romance, most likely you will enjoy it.

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This is a fun, fast-paced romance with well-fleshed-out and appealing characters, humor, and lots of tasty bits of dialogue and scenes.

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Ashton was not my favorite hero, he was just a little bit too inflexible for my taste, but Jasmine is definitely one of my favorite heroines and I loved her journey in this book. The lighter tone was definitely what I needed the past couple weeks. I’m hopeful there will be more books in this world as some of the supporting characters really stood out. A must read diverse romance.

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Jasmine Lin Rodriguez has a plan: post messy breakup made even messier by tabloids, she fully intends to start acting like a Leading Lady. She's going to put herself first, which means focusing on her career and not on men. When she finds herself starting to find Ashton Suarez, her on-screen love interest, endearing, she reminds herself that falling in love is not a part of her plan. But often times, the best laid plans can go awry.

I adored You Had Me at Hola. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading the alternating perspectives of not only Jasmine and Ashton, but the characters they play in Carmen in Charge via script snippets as well. With limited pages, the book manages to scratch the surface of the microaggressions, barriers, and stereotypes Latinx actors face in the film industry in a way that is organic and honest, and while the other cast members of Carmen don't get as much on page time as the leads, I really enjoyed the sense of camaraderie you can tell they shared while working on a project as groundbreaking as Carmen.

More than anything, I loved Jasmine as our leading lady. She's a romantic at heart with a lot of love to give and has to unpack why she longs for a steady relationship so much through the course of the book. Her growth, above all else, was my favorite part of the book. There were moments where I had my doubts about how Jasmine's story would wrap, but she ended up becoming a refreshingly relatable character that hit close to home.

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3.5 - Such a great diverse book.

I thought the characters were okay, just not fleshed out enough. The main character, Jasmine was great and I was really happy with how confident she was unabashedly. The male lead Ashton was a little immature and some of his fears were realistic. I'm glad that it showed him as insecure, since we don't get that a lot in fiction but I didn't really like reading his perspective all that much since he was whiny often.

The story was decent, just not paced well. I felt like the climax and resolution was too short. The climax wasn't thrilling or scary enough since it couldn't be fleshed out. The resolution was just a few pages and didn't feel fulfilling enough.

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