By Alexis Daria
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.
My Thoughts: A romance book with Latino characters in the form of a telenovela? Sign me up! I grew up with my mom watching telenovelas; yes, they are over dramatic but I can't help be gravitated to them since they are part of my growth. Plus, I heard many great things about this book so I could not wait to get my hands on it. And yes, once I got a copy, I immediately started reading it. Was it amazing as I was hoping it to be? No, but it was still a good book.
Plot: The story centered around Jasmine and Ashton as they tried to make it big in a new show on a streaming service, Screen Flix. The story jumped back and forth between Jasmine and Ashton's budding relationship with their show's personas. Both story lines were enjoyable, but I did not see why the author focused so much in giving details about every episode they filmed. What bothered me was how it was told like a novel instead of a script. The inner monologue of the show's characters is something that is rarely portrayed on screen, only something you read in books. I would have liked it if the author focused more in the actual story instead of adding the fillers.
Characters: I have mix feelings about the main characters; the minor ones were great. First, Jasmine was trying to be a "bad ass" leading lady but she was failing miserably. If she were still in her early 20s, I would completely understand why she acted the way she did. But she was 30; her reaction towards finding out Ashton's secrets was a little too much for me. Yes, it's supposed to be like a telenovela but I did not feel it to be realistic. Now Ashton, ay!!!! He was even more dramatic than Jasmine! For a man nearing his 40s, he sure acted immature. I get that he may have had some PTSD but boy, grow up! You can't blame others for your dumb mistakes. The characters I fully enjoyed reading were Jasmine's cousins. They reminded me of some of my friends and relatives. They made the story more entertaining.
Romance: What can I say about the romance? It did have passion; was it reasonable? No, but it did have its good parts. Despite their flaws, I did find myself rooting for Jasmine and Ashton. They had great chemistry, they just needed to learn how to better communicate and not be so touchy about things. The first love scene was steamy! I had to set my book down to take a breather! The following love scenes were still pretty good but they did not compare to the first time they got together. I would have enjoyed their growing relationship if it wasn't for their lack of communication and the way they created unnecessary problems for themselves.
In conclusion, this was not the book I was hoping for but I still liked reading it. I loved the fact that it was Latino centered, because you don't see that as much in the romance book world. I also enjoyed the minor characters and some of the love scenes. However, I was not too keen on Jasmine and Ashton's characterization. They needed some growing up to do. I rate it: