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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 9 star ratings
5 reviews
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4.8 out of 5
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    The cover caught my eye, the romance pulled me in

    Sweet romance, fun cover, I think this is a great summer read. I've been a fan of the author's since I read her Dance Off series. One of the things I loved about that series was its setting at a TV dance competition. In her new novel, Alexis turns her sights to a Latinx TV streaming drama being filmed with Latinx stars, Jasmine from an American soap opera background, Ashton from a telenovela background. Their experiences as actors are similar, and their career goals are similar, with both of them hoping that their roles on this new drama will take their careers to a higher level, and expose them to new fans. The setting and characters were refreshingly different from the usual romance and I was fascinated by the glimpses into the filming of the drama. There were some big differences in their outlooks, though, with Jasmine being almost too open in her personal life and too willing to take chances for love, while Ashton was completely closed off due to a previous bad incident with a stalker and to the big secret he was keeping. In addition to the main story, there was a story within a story going on as some chapters were written from the viewpoints of the fictional characters, Carmen and Victor, that Jasmine and Ashton were playing. This was an interesting dynamic because IRL, Jasmine and Ashton spent very little time together initially due to Ashton's guarded nature, but at the same time, their characters were spending lots of screen time together so in a way, they were getting to know each other through their fictional characters' story arcs. Initially, I felt like their real life romance came out of the blue, with no buildup, but then I realized that this was very much in keeping with what happens on a TV or movie set, and is one reason why so many actors end up having flings with their co-stars. I thought the author did a good job of portraying this dynamic. Overall, really liked this romance and I'll be looking forward to her next one. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    Rated 3.5 Stars

    You Had Me At Hola was an awesome read. It's cute, sexy and sweet. I liked that it was a romance within a romance and watching how both of those played out throughout the book. I enjoyed it but certain events took away from my overall enjoyment of it. However if the heroine 's cousins get their stories told I'd totally read it.
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    I WANT MORE!

    4.5 stars — In so many ways this was a typical romance — I could see the conflict coming from a mile away. But in other ways it was something altogether new and different — the challenges that each of our characters faced, their quirks, were wholly unique. And in the end, both aspects played out perfectly for me and I loved it! I feel like no author ever outright writes characters with the kinds of flaws that existed for Jasmine and Ashton — and as such I loved that. Jasmine was this lost middle child looking for love and attention from every guy she met. That’s not unusual, but when do you see that represented in a heroine? Those kinds of characteristics are looked down upon, and yet they’re entirely valid. And through Jasmine we see how much it can mess a person up, even if at the core the person is a kind-hearted good person. She’s smart, savvy, determined…but not without her scars from her family. And I loved that in general her family was actually a good family, they just had their flaws as well. It’s not always black and white, good and evil. Sometimes families can hurt even when they don’t have bad intentions. In fact, that’s the norm. I just loved the way that was presented. And I appreciated seeing Jasmine struggle with it, struggle with her self-worth, struggle with finding balance in her life, learn to love herself and be content just as she is, without exterior validation. And so it made me cheer when she did semi-accomplish that. She was not without her stumbles. It does make for a strange bedfellow to a romance novel — because you want her to get there, but you also want them to get together. And I thought Ms. Daria balanced that well. Ashton, on the other hand, was filled with so much fear and anxiety. I loved how vulnerable and real that made him. So often we get these toxic ideas of masculinity in our heroes, and Ashton was presented just as he was — sexy and sweet, but with a lot of weight on his shoulders. I also loved that we got to see this guy who loved being a Dad, even as he struggled with balancing that part of his life as well. So often we see women struggling to balance career and family, and we got to see the other side of that with Ashton. He made some huge bumbles in this story, but I still felt for him. And even through Jasmine’s eyes, we were reminded of how long he’s lived with these secrets, and how much it has affected his life…she helped me be more forgiving, if that makes sense. And they were fire together. I loved seeing them unable to resist the pull, even though neither of them was looking for a romance — quite the opposite! They had great chemistry, and I just wanted them to find their way together so badly. There were a lot of elements of…forward thinking? in this story — some side characters that added to the diversity (a brief appearance of a non-binary individual, a fellow actor who was trans). And my favourite was wholeheartedly the addition of the intimacy coordinator, Vera! I loved seeing that process play out, and how it really helped the actors. I think normalizing that is fantastic, and it was exciting to see its addition. I also loved seeing how much having this mainstream latinx show affected our characters — how to see themselves represented in normal lives and romances instead of as stereotypes really got to them. I loved seeing all the different flavours of latinx through the characters as well — and exploring some of the issues that they deal with (colour issues with Ashton, lack of bilingualism with Jasmine). It was basically this adorable romance that I would have loved no matter what, sprinkled with a beautiful mix of issues that I’m not used to seeing represented. I want more. As a side note: there were a lot of Spanish phrases in this story — sometimes they would be translated through reaction thoughts in our characters heads (like “I can’t believe he’s telling me to <blah>”), and sometimes not at all, but you can muddle through
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    Drama and heat - lots of fun!

    This was a highly anticipated read for me and I loved it! I had never read Alexis Daria’s work before but I will definitely be seeking out her backlist. Jasmine and Ashton’s messy meet cute was memorable, and their chemistry undeniable. I love books that consistently include details about the heroine’s career goals and day-to-day work. This book has it in spades for our heroine as well as our hero, as both are Latinx actors trying to make it big in Hollywood. The media attention is a source of tension for both characters due to different concerns, and it’s handled superbly. The story-within-a-story of their ScreenFlix show Carmen in Charge was a perfect means for us to see how Jasmine and Ashton felt about each other as they interacted more and more, on and off the set. I ate up the progression of episodes from the show, and the transitions really worked for me. I was torn wanting to stay with Jasmine and Ashton, and then wanting to see more of Carmen and Victor! Such a fun ride. Jasmine is not fluent in Spanish and Ashton helps her practice. This is fertile ground to start a relationship! I also appreciated how multi-dimensional the family members were throughout the story. Often such supporting characters are introduced and then forgotten or ignored, but it is clear that family provides a foundation for both Jasmine and Ashton and they never leave that behind. I really appreciated the heat in this book! Memorable sex scenes, including lube and some non-penetrative sex, were at just the right level and frequency to match the smoking hot attraction between our beautiful leads, on and off camera. This book was sweet, sassy, a little dramatic, and gave great commentary on the importance of OwnVoices representation in media. If you love a celebration of culture and identity in your romance, I definitely recommend this book!
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    3.5 STARS

    YAAAAAAS! As a Latina (Puerto Rican) woman myself, I instantly gravitate towards this and I’m so happy to get my grubby little hands on it. It was a cute, fun read and even though the instant love vibes made me cringe more than I liked to admit, I actually enjoyed this. The plot, the storyline, the unfolding drama that didn’t seem to stop with the constant misunderstandings, our leading actors and their sizzling romance made this an instant page turner plus the cover is absolutely gorgeous. The only cons I would point out was the instant love (for obviously reasons) and the flow of the story. The POV between the lead characters and the TV characters didn’t transition as smoothly as it should have with the constant back and forth. Despite that, I had a decent reading experience with Alexis Daria’s latest release.
9

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