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Primas of Power #1

You Had Me at Hola

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2020)
Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. 

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. 

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

 

387 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 4, 2020

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About the author

Alexis Daria writes stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. You Had Me at Hola, the first book in her Primas of Power series, is a national bestseller. Alexis is a lifelong New Yorker who loves Broadway musicals and pizza.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,791 reviews
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews109k followers
August 28, 2020
Things I liked: the all Latinx cast and crew, the emphasis for representation in Hollywood, and the progressive way that they handled the production of the show with an intimacy coordinator and talks of consent. The coordinator’s role was interesting to learn about and I would have liked more spotlight on the crew members since it seemed like a great production. This book focuses primarily (or only) on the two actors though, and I was disappointed to find a severe lack of chemistry between the two leads. Despite them being experienced telenovela stars, they both acted so awkward around each other and had very vanilla dialogue. I didn’t find the love interest to be attractive at all because he acted so lukewarm and unnecessarily standoffish. Both characters behaved like it was their first time ever working with an attractive person, despite their years of experience in the industry. The majority of their conflict and angst is both of them thinking they can’t date each other because they have to care about their career - this makes zero sense because co-stars date all the time and publicists often spin this to get PR. It makes no sense why they would act like the world is over if people thought they were a couple, considering this happens to every actor that plays a couple on a show AND they are supposed to be experienced. Their emotional immaturity in dealing with conflicts, despite the man nearly being 40 and the protagonist constantly talking about being an independent strong woman, culminated into a dramatic breaking point in the 3rd act of the book that was ridiculous, unnecessary, and annoyingly almost jeopardized the full Latinx production crew that we’re supposed to be proud of seeing get put together.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
Read
August 7, 2020
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
More addictive than if it was a real Netflix show!
I'm not usually a fan of books about famous people, but this was an exception as we focus on the main characters actually doing their jobs rather than just being ~famous~. I loved that both characters were unabashedly ambitious and took their work seriously. Though the show they were filming was pretty cheesy and definitely cliche at times, I could forgive that due to the wonderful behind-the-scenes tension (the kissing choreography killed me).
The ending somehow dragged while also wrapping up a little bit too quickly? But I still highly enjoyed my time with Jasmine and Ashton! I am for sure going to dive into Alexis Daria's backlist ASAP.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,480 reviews29.7k followers
January 5, 2022
i liked this a lot more than i thought i would! i was worried the whole premise would be dramatic and over-the-top in the cheesy way soap operas are, but it wasnt. this is surprisingly adorable!

i had fun following jasmine and ashton both on and off set. they definitely have a lot of chemistry, so it was super easy to see how they started to fall for each other in and out of character.

i also liked the emphasis on family throughout the book. obviously actors have a much different life being in the public eye, but it wasnt difficult to relate to jasmine and ashton as they both tried to sort out their private lives when it came to their families and relationships.

overall, super cute and i would watch a telenovela starring these two MCs any day!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,070 reviews38.2k followers
September 25, 2021
Welcome to the glamorous world of telenovelas! As a great fan of adapted telenovelas “Jane the Virgin”, “Ugly Betty”, I was so excited to get my hands on this book.

Two rising stars of LatinX community are excited to work on brand new show: Carmen in Charge. It will help both of them for polishing their careers and finding better places for them in the movie industry.

We’re introduced: hot blooded, fiery, genuine, entertaining, straightforward, friendly, social Jasmine: who recently moved to NY for her new gig, having hard time to prove her family she is good at her work and wish they show more respect to her career, broken hearted by her ending relationship and humiliated by her ex-douchebag boyfriend who is also notorious bad boy/rock star declared to the public he dumped her via tabloid magazines. (Yes: her situation is worse Than Jen Anniston who is miraculously being pregnant for 10 years according to the tabloids and had secret marriages at least 15 times with Brad Pitt!)

So she needs a clean state, fresh start, concentrating on her career. But it seems like it is impossible task when you have so freaking charming co-star and sharing so many intimate, hot kissing scenes with him. Yes, she starts falling fast and she needs to stop but does she really want to stop?

And what about Ashton? He is not young any more. He needs to focus on his career to realize his Hollywood dreams and getting better leading roles. His privacy is so important and nothing should attract the press’ blood thirsty attention to ruin his big secret. He has a 8 year old son lives in Puerto Rico and his one and only priority is being a good father and giving his son a happy life he deserved so he has no time for romance, especially flirting with co-stars but why Jasmine is way too much sexy and attractive. How will he resist her charm? There is too much at stake! But he cannot help himself to spend more time with her. And they’re just working on their lines and they’re sharing some secret kisses for the sake of their project. Right?

The most interesting thing about the book of is you read two romantic stories at the same time and I have to admit at some parts: I enjoyed telenovela’s plot more than the angsty and emotional love story of Jasmine and Ashton’s so I looked forward to read the script parts about Victor and Carmen: divorced couple, learning from their past mistakes and coming clean about their resentments, secrets , the intimate feelings they still have for each other.

I never see Ashton’s son as a big obstacle for their relationship and the angst part between them were a little unrealistic. They may talk with each other like normal adults.
But the passion and chemistry between them are strengths of the story. I also enjoyed girl power parts between cousins and Ashton’s family, even his 8 year old son acted more mature to his relationship than him. I loved those genuine, lovely characters.
It was entertaining, soft, sweet reading. I got some points because our hero earned so many slapping points from me. So I’m giving 3.5 stars and eventually I’m rounding them up to 4!

P.S: This book’s cover earns 5 stars! Look at this amazing illustration!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Avon/Harper Collins Publishers for sharing this entertaining and feel-good ARC in exchange my honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
July 30, 2020
4.5 stars. This was an absolute DELIGHT. Jasmine and Ashton had SO. MUCH. chemistry and this book ended up being WAY steamier than I expected it to be (in the best way!!!). My only real complaint about this one is that the scenes that we got of the actual show were a bit cheesy, but the rest of the book was a 10/10 in my book and I am SO GLAD that I finally read something by Alexis Daria. I am 100% going to be working my way through her extensive backlist after how much I enjoyed this. So good!!!!

TW: stalking (in the past)
Profile Image for Warda.
1,093 reviews17.4k followers
September 4, 2020
“Vulnerability is exhausting.”

I think I should start watching Jane the Virgin again.

This was so damn entertaining and as lovable as that glorious cover.

All I can think now that I’ve read this is that I want to read more books that explore Latinx stories, especially within the romance genre. It was rich in culture, boisterous, loud. I mean, you’ve seen that cover.

I adored the scenes we got when they were filming the episodes and how that almost reflected the characters. Not directly, but there were emotional parallels there for sure and I just couldn’t get enough.

We got to know the characters really well. I instantly fell for them. And the more we got to know them, the harder I fell.

I wish we had more. I think that’s very minor complaint. I wish we had moments with Jasmine and her parents who didn’t really understand her and got to explore how she couldn’t really be herself around them. I think that arc would’ve been exciting to read about - for me, that is.
And seen more exposure when it came to Ashton as a father and both these characters dealing with their mental health.

But other than that, Alexis Daria, please keep writing.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
July 31, 2020
This was a cute read, but it was a pretty average romance for me. I love stories that follow actors behind the scenes and I love the fact that they are working on a telenovela. It reminded me a lot of Jane the Virgin because of that and that made me happy. The audiobook was fun to listen to. The ending felt like it started to drag on quite a bit for me though and the male lead started to drive me a little nuts 😅

But other than that I enjoyed this one!
Profile Image for emma.
1,786 reviews43k followers
February 27, 2021
Have you ever read a book that you know you didn't give a fair shot, because you were in a bad enough mood that you could have read the greatest story ever told and still not liked it, but also simultaneously known that even if you had read that book when life itself was nothing but sunshine and rainbows and every day was a new delight you still wouldn't have liked it?

Does that make sense at all? Because that's this book, for me.

When I read this, I had just spilled a glass of water on my laptop, my child, the love of my life, and been informed it would have cost NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS to fix. I spent the day in a malaise of TikTok and reflecting on my own suffering. Eventually I read my library ebook copy of this on my phone, instead of on my then dead computer, as nature intended.

So I probably wouldn't have liked this even if it made me laugh and cry and shake my head in disbelief at its sheer magnificence.

But I didn't do any of that, so.

This just didn't work for me. I didn't feel CHARM. Or CHEMISTRY. Or ROMANCE of any kind, in this story of ROMANCE. I thought the characters were assholes (especially our male lead, who for no reason at all says the most heinous things I've ever encountered to our female lead, and also our female lead, who just rolls over and takes it) or cartoonish to the point of bordering on stereotype (hello, all of our background characters).

The idea of this was nice, to me, but the execution was boring and unwieldy and disappointing.

Bleh.

Bottom line: Hard to know which was more upsetting - reading this, or the conditions of my life while I was doing so!

----------------
pre-review

currently, the nicest thing i can think to say about this book is that i read it very quickly.

review to come / 2ish stars

----------------
currently-reading updates

help i spilled a glass of water on my laptop 3 days ago and i don’t know how to use this site on mobile. also i’m reading this

(update: i'm on a laptop now. i never figured it out)
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
578 reviews5,585 followers
August 20, 2020
You Had Me at Hola was such a treat to read and was the perfect story to break me out of this reading funk that I’ve been since the beginning of 2020.

What makes a truly great romance are strong character dynamics and palpable chemistry between the two love interests. Ashton is an adorably awkward character who tries his hardest not to let Jasmine past the walls erected around his heart, and then we have Jasmine, eager to ignore the press shadowing her every move after a bad breakup and to make it big as a Leading Lady. Together, as they slowly grow closer while being on set, they can’t deny the electricity that courses between them.

Not only do we get a wonderful, romance blossoming behind the scenes of this show but we also explore the variance of Latinx identity. Ashton is a Puerto Rican actor eager to make it big in Hollywood rather than being stuck playing love interests in telenovelas while Jasmine is a Puerto Rican-Filipina who isn’t completely fluent in Spanish but has to speak the language in this bilingual show.

Words can’t describe how much this meant to me as a bilingual who is too afraid to speak Spanish in front of non-family members because my grammar isn’t completely perfect and I don’t know how to conjugate as quickly as I’d like to.

I saw so much of myself in Jasmine, in her language, her family dynamics, and the way she seeks out validation through others’ love. Jasmine is both a powerful protagonist and a vulnerable one, and I’m forever grateful to dive into her world because it made me feel less alone as a Latina.

You Had Me at Hola is a vibrant celebration of Latinx identity in the backdrop of Hollywood without relying too heavily on the influence of the paparazzi like other Hollywood stories do. Mixing together dual perspectives from both Ashton and Jasmine who live such different lives but come together to form a healthy, loving relationship while also showcasing scenes from the show itself, You Had Me at Hola is a fantastic contemporary with a fiery romance that left me smiling long after I finished it.

SEE MY FULL REVIEWS AT STORIESFORCOFFEE.COM
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,016 reviews12.8k followers
July 18, 2020
2.5 stars. I don't know if my expectations for this one were just too high, but a lot of things about this book just didn't work for me.

The first thing I struggled with was the writing. The writing felt very clunky to me and I feel like the author spent a lot of time telling us things instead of showing, which really took me out of the story. Some of the dialogue was clunky and unnatural, too, and I really couldn't get connected with either of the characters. Then, the storyline would switch between Jasmine and Ashton's romance and scenes of the show they were filming together. I really didn't care about the romance in the show and didn't like getting a bunch of chapters of those scenes. These more took me out of the story and made it even harder for me to care about Jasmine and Ashton's relationship.

Another reason why I couldn't really connect with the characters is because of how they were presented. Jasmine was obsessed with how the tabloids looked at her and Ashton was obsessed with the tabloids discovering his son and something happening to his son because of his fame. These two people willingly chose their careers as actors and were pursuing fame, yet they were both actively trying to stay out of the limelight. It just didn't really make sense to me.

Then, the conflict that drove the couple apart near the end was very frustrating to me. I did not like Jasmine's reaction and I was still frustrated with Ashton for sheltering his son so much. I understood he was affected by what had happened in the past, but it was still over the top and not at all fair to his family what he was doing. I just found it very hard to feel for these characters or connect with the writing. While I was super excited for this book, it was just a miss for me.
Profile Image for Heather.
370 reviews16.8k followers
June 19, 2020
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!
Profile Image for ale ‧ ₊˚୨୧ ₊˚.
373 reviews1,630 followers
January 14, 2023
"Crushes were fleeting. Family teasing was forever."


This was... hot.

This was a fun, sexy and quick read.

I really liked the tv show chapters, they were really funny and I truly felt that I was watching a telenovela. I felt like I was 10 years again and me and my mom were watching telenovelas in our living room while I was trying to do my homework.

I loved the diversity of the characters, the representation and how real and lovely they felt. As a queer latina, my heart feels really happy and complete with this book.

And oh gods, don't get me started on the Spanish. Me, someone who's first language is Spanish... Amazing. I really enjoyed the Spanish dialogues and above all, the insults. Ashton calling himself "pendejo" and "cabrón" was something funny and I was like "yeah, you are, but I love you". Amigoooo, las veces que quise golpearte, abrazarte y besarte son incontables.

The characters were complex, and also easy to relate to them. They were amazing, funny, charming and real.

Jasmine and Ashton, and now Yadiel, Michelle and Ava, own my heart.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,792 reviews69k followers
February 11, 2022
Read it. Don't listen to it.

description

I thought the actual story was cute. There were problems with it but nothing when compared with the terrible reading of this book.
And the weird thing is that the narrator has a beautiful voice. When she spoke for the characters each voice was distinct and lovely. Literally everything you could hope for in a voice actor!

description

EXCEPT.
When she would read the regular narration parts of the story. And then she suddenly turned into William Shatner!

description

There were odd pauses in the middle of sentences as though each comma was a full-stop period. The last words in those sentences had weird breaks in them, too. I don't even know if I can explain it right...
Ok. Just as an example (not an actual quote!) instead of saying, "She left the room, went outside, and put on a sweater.", she would say, "She left the room (stop) went outside (stop) and put on a swea-ter."
Would that not drive you nuts? It drove me nuts.
And every sentence (<--no, I am NOT exaggerating) ended in this breathy DUN! DUN! DUNNNN!
Like it was some big reveal that just happened, instead of the character just excusing themself to go to the bathroom.
By the end of the 1st chapter, if I had had another book available, I would have deleted this thing from my phone.

description

But I didn't. And by the time I got home I was kind of invested in the story, so I just gritted my teeth and tried to let it go.

Alright. The story? It was interesting. I loved the telenovela stuff. I mean, those wacky soaps are soooo over the top good. I remember when I was younger, I used to get sucked into them as I scrolled through channels even though I didn't speak a lick of Spanish.
How could I not?!

description

The gist is that the two main actors on an Americanized telenovela fall in love for real while filming for a Netflixish streaming service. They've got insecurities, baggage, and one of them even has a secret love child.
But while the backdrop is cool and the bones of the plot is juicy, the characters themselves aren't anything to write home about. Jasmine is...nice. She falls in love with every guy who pays attention to her and just wants someone to love. I was not all that impressed with her.
Ashton, in a ridiculous effort to keep his family safe, is secretive and closed off. He dreams of being a huge Hollywood star, but he somehow forgot that you don't get to duck interviews and have a completely private life when you're a celebrity. Can anyone be that stupid?
So. I wasn't all that impressed with him, either.
Now, having said that, I certainly didn't hate them. I was rooting for them to get their happily ever after.
Just...sooner rather than later because I couldn't take much more of that narrator.

description

Seraphine Valentine - Narrator
Profile Image for Kevin (Irish Reader).
273 reviews3,926 followers
December 5, 2020
Steamier than I expected it to be!

I really enjoyed this book and read it within 24 hours, I loved it that much. This book has the story within a story trope, which I really love. I loved the characters, particularly Jasmine, I felt I could relate to her and how she was actively trying to achieve her goals. Ashton, the main male character, was also very developed for me, as he had so many layers and walls around him and it made him seem very real. The romance between the two was also great and I loved how it began, as it’s something you hear happen so often in the media.

The main thing I really loved was the discussion, on the importance, of representation in Hollywood and how the characters were advocating for that themselves and through the show they were creating.

Only reason this book wasn’t a 5 star read for me, is because I felt the romance was accelerated near the end. I think it could have been paced out a little better and not so rushed. Overall, very enjoyable read and I would highly recommend! I also did a reading vlog review of this book on my YouTube channel. You can check the video out to hear more of my thoughts: https://youtu.be/nX0RNKw_sNM

TW/CW: Stalking
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
1,989 reviews9,754 followers
August 5, 2020
3.5 STARS

If you’re a fan of the show Jane the Virgin, you’re gonna want to try You Had Me at Hola! There’s Latinx rep, telenovelas, actor main characters, and a ton of on- and off-screen steam. It was my first book from Alexis Daria and I really liked her writing. I loved the telenovela aspect and that we actually get to read the script (which is a dramatic second chance romance I was super into) and see how the actor characters play it out. While I did have my issues with parts of the book, I still would recommend it if you’re looking for a romance with great Latinx characters who are making their way into Hollywood.

Soap opera actress Jasmine Lin Rodriguez has just landed the lead role on a Latinx romantic comedy show, to be streamed on a Netflix lookalike, so you know it’s a big deal. She’s paired up with a famous telenovela star in his own right, Ashton Suárez. They get off on a bumpy start after he accidentally spills coffee on her during their first meeting, and try as they might to create some chemistry between them while filming, something seems to be missing. So they agree to work on their lines behind the scenes, and that’s when things really heat up.

Jasmine and Ashton’s romance was sweet. I liked the fact that the hero is the one who is awkward and a bit shy when it comes to the romance. Ashton has his reasons for being very wary and closed off from relationships. He doesn’t want to be in the limelight because of a secret he’s keeping that he wants to be kept hidden. Unfortunately, I think Ashton took this a bit too far for too long. I got frustrated with how hot and cold he was with Jasmine and wasn’t a fan of the way he didn’t understand that his pursuit of Hollywood came with the cost of his privacy. He sadly took too long for my taste to realize he had something good with the heroine.

Luckily, Jasmine wasn’t as frustrating for me. I loved her character! I enjoyed her ambition and how much she loved being a lead role on a Latinx rom-com. I adored her relationship with her family and close cousins – the female friendship in this book was lovely and family plays a huge and important part to both Jasmine and Ashton’s lives. And one of my favorite aspects of this book was actually the show, Carmen in Charge! I’ll admit, at times I was more invested in the show’s romance than the off-screen romance. It’s a second chance romance with a ton of angst and I 100% would not mind if it turned into a real book or show. I do wish I could’ve loved You Had Me at Hola more but I would still highly recommend it if you want some fantastic Latinx characters!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
1,999 reviews15.7k followers
October 10, 2020
Steamy. Sassy. Sweet. Alexis Daria this was SO fun! Sizzling chemistry. Spicy banter. Quick... where is the fire extinguisher because this book is on FIRE! Cheesy, I know, but so is some of the fun Telenovela dialogue in this book... So I couldn’t help myself. Jasmine and Ashton meat on the set of a Telenovela being produced by the hottest newest streaming company. Jasmine is excited for this new role, but she is still dealing with the aftermath of her recent very public break up. Ashton is hoping this is the role that will propel him to the next level he’s got big dreams, but he also has a secret to hide. Jasmine and Ashton have instant chemistry, but neither of them are in a place in their lives for a serious relationship. After all... leading ladies don’t fall for their costars.

This was such an engaging electric story with some definite heat. Jasmine was such a fabulous character I just adored her. I also loved her cousins Michelle and Ava and I am really hoping that they will also get their own stories. Loved Jasmine’s big Puerto Rican family and all the culture throughout the story. Ashton came across a little awkward to me in the beginning of the book, although he did grow on me by the end. What I did like about him was how devoted to his family he was. BUT even though Ashton wasn’t my flavor of Margarita he was definitely jasmine’s and the chemistry really worked between them. I do however wish the connection between them was a little deeper, but I’m sure that will come in time. The audiobook was narrated by Seraphine Valentine Who did an excellent job. She definitely spiced up the book with her wonderful narration, especially when it came to the Spanish words. Love this romcom and I’m excited to see what is next from Alexis Daria!

This book in emojis 📸 🎬 🔥 🐍 ☕️ 🎂 🍹 🍕

*** Big thank you to William Morrow and Harper Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for gloria ୨୧.
657 reviews866 followers
May 25, 2022
➥ 4.5 Stars *:・゚✧

how do i even begin to explain the excellency and hillarity of this book. and the adoration i have for it?

beginning with the characters, Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is a wonderful protagonist. she is hot (let me tell you), funny and sweet. i love her sm <33. not an unlikable fmc at all.

now, Ángel Luis...jesus christ. he is one of my favourite love interests ever. i'm so happy that i've found another author who i think genuinely does male perspectives so well. his character is so refreshing, always polite, respectful and sweet and, to me, he is a man written by a woman. ugh, he is just such a gentleman. he's also a single dad and i'm usually one who does not like children/pregnancy aspects in romance books but ohmygod Yadiel is the sweetest breadroll and Ángel's love for him was everything.

and the respresentation had my heart so full. everything was so seemlessly woven into the story and i couldn't have asked for more. moreover, the casual queer rep was beautiful. just comments like her uncle having a husband and the intimacy co-ordinator be married to her wife. we also had a mention of a trans character, in passing. there was also brief addressing of colorism in the community and mention of harmful latinx stereotypes <3. as a latina, my heart has never been more full.

and the romance? it was exceptional. Jasmine and Ángel had so much chemistry. from the beginning, they were both hot and had so much unaddressed tension. from there, their romance progressed and the sex scenes were done really well, and they were so, awfully romantic. they were so delicate, so tender. the small touches were everything and i had butterflies the whole time. and after? ...

He pulled the bedsheet over her legs, then bent and kissed her lips, long and sweet. "Jasmine. Me voy." When she nodded, he cupped her face and kissed her again. "Dulces sueños, querida"


the spanish? did i mention the spanish? my first language is spanish although i've learned english well since i live in an english-speaking country. but ohmygod, Ángel speaking in spanish really does it for me. it's so intimate ughh.

and one last thing. this book did have the miscommunication trope, but this is the first time it hasn't bothered me one bit, and i daresay i enjoyed it. the whole book is driven by the conflict of Ángel being a single dad (love him sm) so this conflict should be expected. the conflict also did not last very long and i think it was solved perfectly.

i cannot fathom why this book has less than 4 stars, i take the low ratings personally. i cannot fucking wait to read A Lot Like Adiós!! <333

take care my loves
Profile Image for ↠Ameerah↞.
204 reviews141 followers
September 3, 2020
This really did not work for me. I have given it 2 stars based on the rep and book cover alone but I'm leaning more towards 1 star.

I really struggled through the first half. The writing was choppy and disjointed and the dialogue felt unnatural and awkward. I felt completely detached from the story and characters and just didn't really care about them. I didn't find their romance believable nor their chemistry, they went from barely interacting in the first half of the book to having sex every day??? In the entire story they probably had 3 meaningful conversations if that.

The 'Carmen in Charge' chapters were just boring and used as filler without adding anything substantial to the story- even though characters seemed to interact more on their show than they did off set. 🙃 The secret that came out had me rolling my eyes and I felt the big drama was just boring. 🙈

I wasn't a fan of Ashton and his behaviour towards the end just cemented my dislike of him. Deal with your shit like an adult geez!

The second half of the book was definitely better than the first but overall the book was a big disappointment for me unfortunately.

I think I need a little break from romance.
Profile Image for aarya.
1,152 reviews
June 14, 2021
Bookstagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDo1trMAs...

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDpdqHvAE...

Content Notes:

Love, love, love. You Had Me at Hola is phenomenal, romantic, and sexy as hell. Easily a candidate for one of my favorite reads of 2020 so far.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lily Herman.
543 reviews555 followers
July 11, 2020
Ummm, sound the alarm, because I'm issuing a CUTE ASS ROMANCE ALERT.

Alexis Daria brought it with You Had Me at Hola. She gave us diversity with intention, she gave us sex-positive romance scenes, and she gave characters who had real heart. Some of the dialogue was a little cheesy and events were a little much toward the end, but it all tracks with the fact that the whole story is based around a telenovela. In fact, it'd be weirder if Daria didn't turn the drama up to an 11.

And on a scale of one to steamy, this book is approaching "I think my head might've detached from my body and transcended dimensions only to explode" levels.

I'd say that the only true core issue I had was that the romance was a little awkward for the first third of the novel. Was it supposed to be enemies-to-lovers? Insta-love? Something else? I'm additionally apprehensive at any signs of a love story's stakes being based around very simple miscommunications. There were also some sections with quite a bit of telling instead of showing.

This one's around 3.5ish stars for me for those reasons (GOODREADS! HALF STARS PLEASE!). And I'm absolutely reading Alexis Daria's previous books and anything she writes in the future.
Profile Image for Cam (justabookeater).
141 reviews274 followers
July 14, 2020
I have to start this review with me screaming about how good it feels to read a romance about people who look, sound, and are like me. Nothing beats that feeling and, unfortunately, it doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.

This book reads like a labor of love. There is so much detail put into the setting and the characters and it's done so lovingly at times that it may seem a bit corny. Thing is, that's just how Boricua love is. It's loud, it's boisterous and it's warm to its core.

Reading Jasmine and Ashton's story was a delight. Two actors who are hoping to catch their big break on the big screen end up finding each other as well. Jasmine Lin, our Leading Lady, plays the role of Carmen in the debut series "Carmen in Charge" alongside telenovela star Ashton Suárez who plays Victor, Carmen's ex-husband. The coolest about this book has to be the way the narrative handled both Jasmine and Ashton's real-life relationship vs Carmen and Victor's tv relationship. We get to see both sides and you really find yourself rooting for both couples in the end! I thought it was super neat.

If you're looking for the kind of romance that features only the two main characters and little else then this one is not for you. There are a plethora of secondary characters in this one. Between the staff of Carmen in Charge, las Primas of Power, Ashton's family in Puerto Rico, and Jasmine's Nuyorican family; there are plenty of new faces to go around. They really are what moves the story. Jasmine and Ashton are both people who are very close to their families and it's such a big thing for Latinx families to maintain that closeness. It was refreshing and endearing to see family dynamics like my own family's. I have a hunch on who might be the next heroine of the story but I'm keeping my mouth shut so y'all can find out yourselves!

All in all, this was a fun read and it made my heart super homesick but happy at the same time.
Profile Image for Ari.
744 reviews173 followers
August 8, 2020
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Thank you NetGalley and Avon for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Leading Ladies are badass queens making jefa moves.

I grew up watching telenovelas. In a Hispanic household, they were a huge staple of weeknights in my younger days, and gathering around the TV to partake in the entertainment was just the thing to do. I remember bits and pieces of titles such as Maria La Del Barrio, Esmeralda, Pasión de Gavilanes, and La Mentira. These stories were often over the top, but also rather entertaining. To this day, I'm fond of Portuguese telenovelas—such as O Clone—even though it has been years since I've dedicated the time to watching them. But as soon as I caught a peek of the synopsis in You Had Me at Hola, I knew that reading it would be my chance to enjoy a little bit of that history.

This novel is one of those books that I consider a guilty pleasure, with which you can sit back, relax, and just spend a day enjoying without another care in the world.

The story splits its time between the real lives of telenovela and soap opera stars Ashton Suárez and Jasmine Lin. Jasmine is a rising star in soap operas with a rather messy recent breakup splashed all over the tabloids. And Ashton has made acting in telenovelas his bread and butter for years, while he supports his family in Puerto Rico—which he prefers and struggles to keep very private from his public image—and tries to make his current new project alongside Jasmine successful enough that it will hopefully give him the boost he needs to get to Hollywood.

First of all, author Alexis Daria did a fantastic job of portraying families of Hispanic roots. The close relationships that both leads have with their own, the small nitpicking fights that break out, and the fact that there are no such things as secrets because your business is shared throughout whether you like it or not (it's all in the name of familial love, don't you worry), is such a typical thing to experience in this environment. As a Cuban born and raised, I've had my share of these moments. You love them, you sometimes hate them, but in the end it's family and that's the closest thing that you keep to your heart. The representation was spot on.

Since Ashton and Jasmine first meet, and work together, because they're both actors in the remake of a Venezuelan telenovela, it stands to reason that parts of this story would take place on set while they film. What I did not expect—but was delighted by—was to actually be able to follow along with the script. It was very immersive to feel like I was behind the camera while Victor and Carmen—the two characters that Ashton and Jasmine portray—flourish in their own stories. And through them, our own novel's protagonists start to grow closer to each other. It was a great addition to the book, and made it that much more unique.

The romance that wraps around said protagonists was not without its own diverting moments. What starts off as a disastrous first meeting of spilled coffee and mumbling apologies, finishes in a sweet and warm connection and happily-ever-after for these two individuals. Ashton has his baggage, which is not easy for him to get rid of in order to let Jasmine in. And while Jasmine's own seems to weigh her down, she still has the type of disposition that doesn't allow her to turn her back on love. She's a very open and warm person, and inadvertently, she's what pulls Ashton out of his comfort zone and his shell, helping him learn to live again.

While I generally enjoyed these two—and the heat between them was absolutely undeniable—I will say that when things got a little rough near the end between them and secrets were revealed, what could have been solved with a calm conversation was tossed out the window and replaced with misunderstandings and misplaced blame. Granted, considering the indulgently diverting dramatics of telenovelas, it fit. And Ashton's show of trust toward Jasmine at the end came into effect smoothly because of this. But there was still a nagging little feeling that they didn't need to suffer quite as much as they did to reach that ending.

Paired with this, there were instances when characters would sit down to have a conversation, and rather than follow a dialogue, the author would just tell us what was said, what the reactions and resolutions were, and continue with the narrative. This was not the rule, and there's plenty of growth between the characters on their own, but these moments almost felt rushed. It was as if we, as the reader, were being hurried along to the rest of the novel.

These points aside, You Had Me at Hola does not disappoint. If you want to read a romance that will keep you glued to the pages from the beginning, will make you melt a few times, and will pack on the sexiness, this is the one for you.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
August 24, 2020
You Had Me at Hola is a fun, steamy, and sweet rom-com taking place on the set of a television show.

Jasmine Lin Rodriguez is a popular soap opera actress whose last relationship provided tremendous tabloid fodder. She’s about to star in a bilingual rom-com series, and she wants the public to pay attention to her performance, not her love life.

She and her cousins have put together a “Leading Lady Plan” for her to live by, which includes knowing she doesn’t need a man to make her happy and vowing not to mess around with her costars.

That last rule becomes more difficult to observe when a last-minute casting change puts hunky telenovela actor Ashton Suarez in the role of her leading man. But Ashton, who has secrets of his own, is also determined not to let anyone get close to him, especially his beautiful costar.

When their lack of connection off the set leads to a lack of connection on set (despite their obvious attraction to one another), Jasmine suggests that they start rehearsing together. But as they start letting their guard down, will their vulnerability be a good thing or a bad one? Will Jasmine be able to adhere to her Leading Lady Plan?

Well, you know what’s going to happen if you’ve read a rom-com or two, but You Had Me at Hola is really enjoyable. It was refreshing to read a book with Latinx characters, and a soap opera-esque show is the perfect setting for a story like this. It was also great to have the female protagonist really have the control in the story.

There is LOTS of steam in this one, so if that makes you uncomfortable you’ll need to do some serious page-flipping. But if you’re a rom-com fan, this is a fun one not to miss!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
1,003 reviews2,401 followers
April 28, 2020
I finished this in LESS THAN A DAY. I'm baaaaaack. You Had Me at Hola is one book you definitely have to pick up. It's the book of the year! Alexis Daria writes a magnificent romance that intesifies slowly with moments, communication and emotional support.

This title took my attention and heart quickly. Introducing Jasmine Lin Rodriguez, soap opera darling, who just got dumped publicly via a magazine. She's everywhere, her face on every single cover, but not in a good way. Her rockstar boyfriend cheated on her and never even told her before the pictures went directly to print. But now she has a new job; to act as the leading lady in a new show for a streaming service company, ScreenFlix. All is ready to start yet she is told that her love interest has been changed and the new actor portraying him is none other than telenovela star Ashton Suárez.

These two don't get on the best start. Ashton is awkward and shy around a new crew, new actors he isn't familiar with. So he comes off as being distant and like he doesn't want to share time with his costars. Yet he can't help be instantly attracted to Jasmine, his romantic interest in the show. But attraction is one thing, he can deal with that. He cannot even think about a relationship with her. Ashton has secrets, big secrets, and the media spotlight surrounding Jasmine which follows her everywhere is not for him.

This book is a hug to the Latinx community and its culture. The times I said "oh my god I do this," "my grandma totally tells me this when I visit" etc. is unreal. I identified so hard with the characters and the story in this novel and I think every Latinx reader will too. The food, the Spanish!!! So much Spanish and it's not italicized!!! Jasmine doesn't really know how to speak Spanish fluently while Ashton does and speaks it with his family. This book was a wonderful experience that completely filled me with joy and happiness.

I will now add if books has small moments between the main couple. So this one does have many of them. Before they even kiss or sleep together, these two can't stop touching either an elbow, her arm, her shirt, his pants. A natural touch, like they have been doing those forever. He puts a strand of her hair behind her ear.

I was provided an early copy by Avon for an honest review.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,831 reviews5,506 followers
September 17, 2020
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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Profile Image for Corina.
781 reviews2,091 followers
October 24, 2020
If you love soap operas you’ll have a blast with this book.

The author incorporates scenes from the telenovela (a second chance love story) which really showcases the vibe of a telenovela show – which I loved . Also it was like two romances in one.

There was steam, and lots of attraction and chemistry between the couple. BUT the beginning between them was bit awkward and slow. The love story between Jasmine and Ashton wasn’t sure what it wanted to be and that prevented me from really enjoying it. And it was very sweet and cute – not necessarily my kind of romance.

Of course there were other things I enjoyed about this romance, the banter, the Latinx representation, and the drama of a telenovela. It just wasn’t enough to make it an outstanding romance for me.

But on the other hand I feel that we need more romances like You Had Me at Hola, because of its diverse cast AND different topic. I often feel I’ve read it all, and there is nothing new in the romance world for me to explore.

Also the cover is just GORGEOUS!!!


___________________________________

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog
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Profile Image for Phuong ✯.
597 reviews4,389 followers
Shelved as 'abort-mission-get-tf-out-dnf'
August 1, 2020
DNF @ 5%

I couldn't get into the writing style and yes, I'm saying that with my whole chest having read only 5% of this book. But when you know, you know..

But I heard this book has a diverse cast of characters and portrays the latino culture pretty accurately. So if you're interested in that, you should give it a go. also the cover is prettyyy ✨
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 57 books7,655 followers
Read
October 9, 2020
Sweet and hot. A low-conflict romance with a very modern feel and a Latinx cast, about soap stars starting an on-set relationship, hampered by her low self-esteem and tabloid overexposure, and his anxiety about obsessive fans that's led into withdrawal and overprotectiveness. Extremely likeable cast and low-stress plot, super readable, really well written, *and* well edited too, which makes a refreshing change these days.
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
301 reviews13.9k followers
July 1, 2021
This. Book.

It is everything I wanted it to be, and so much more. I absolutely adored every page.

If you're even somewhat thinking about picking this one up- stop. Don't think anymore. Just do it. Get the book. Read it. Love it. Trust me, you will not regret it.
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