You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

A contemporary romance that reminded me of all the hopes I had for Jerry McGuire brought to fruition. I loved the emphasis on family and wanted only the best things for both of these characters. As long as they ended up together!


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. from Harper Collins.


Romance books are the hardest for me to discuss in writing. In person, I could wander through a bookstore or library with a friend, grab the book off the shelf and squeal, “I loved this one!” No real explanation is needed in person and, with the addition of this cute cover, it might be enough to seal the deal.

To recommend the same story in writing though, romance stories require more detail. Sadly, when I take a romance apart for discussion purposes it becomes less and less appealing in my mind and, half way through the post, I abandon it. I read them to escape and romance books provide a unique escape from reality. But when I try to tell everyone, suddenly the escape feels a little….silly.

rAfter all, it is simple isn’t it? At the beginning of every romance there are two people you want to end up together. Something comes in their way and you watch to see how they will overcome the obstacles. Because, unless it is romance a la Nicholas Sparks, they always overcome the obstacle. What makes a romance book work for me is a simple enough formula – two people worthy of love, a believable obstacle, and a resolution of that obstacle that feels true to the characters. This simple formula though, is incredibly difficult to deliver. Especially now that we are finally seeing female characters in romance stories as wanting more than just winning the dude.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria not only followed the formula successfully, but also gave depth to the characters and the story. I wanted Jasmine and Ashton to end up together and grow as people, overcoming both the things that might keep them apart as well as clear their own personal hurdles. In addition, the story had a cast of characters I loved – I am a sucker for a good supporting cast. From Jasmine’s Primas of Power to Ashton’s family, to the actual supporting actors on their television show, I wanted them all to be happy.

My complaints are limited. My favorite part of a romance is the build-up and the longing and this story could have delayed and extended that for a while. The sex scenes then could have waited a bit – this is a tricky thing for me as I am happy reading a book that completely avoid those scenes while many other readers feel they are required. And, like so many romances, the book pulls everything together at the end quickly into a neat little bow. But that is one of the reasons I read them! I want need that happy ending.

If we were in a bookstore together I would absolutely pull this book off a shelf and squeal, “This was so so good!”

Tell me, please! How do you recommend romances without ruining your own enjoyment?


10 thoughts on “You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Add yours

  1. I read a lot of great romances this year, but I rarely review them, because it does sort of ruin them a little, and I’d probably have a hard time talking about the sex scenes. This one happily exceeded my expectations. For me, it’s all about building good characters who have believable problems. My favorites this year were by Talia Hibbert, Evie Dunmore and Jasmine Guillory.


  2. I thought this was a great review! I really appreciated your enthusiasm. I’ve been surprised by how much I can find to talk about in a romance – there’s the character development, relationship development, consent issues, whether or not the banter and the sex scenes work for me, etc. Although I definitely read romance for the escapism, I don’t think they lack for interesting topics to discuss in a review. I’m new enough to the genre that I sometimes worry I lack experience to write about these books well though and the ones I have no problems with do often feel a bit same-y.


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