I know I joke about it frequently but this time I’m being very serious as I ACTUALLY DO NEED HELP!
I need to be stopped.
When I say that I have been rereading this book over and over since I finished, I do not exaggerate. Some would call it unhealthy, I call it being obsessed and needing ~serotonin~ in my life.
Mariana Zapata is just a godsend and I LITERALLY ADORE HER SO MUCH.
Now let’s dive into my sanity breakdown.
Title: From Lukov with Love
Series: [unofficial] Santos Sisters #2
Author: Mariana Zapata
Page count: 542
Date published: 1 February 2018
Genre: Adult contemporary romance
If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.
After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.
But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.
Including Ivan Lukov.
STAR RATING: (4.5 out of 5 stars)
Hello, future ‘obsessed with this book’ Ruby has had to come back to this review because I have zero self-control and as stately previously: I AM OBSESSED.
Literally, when I was reading this book, it felt more like a 3.5-star rating. Then I settled on 4 stars after I’d read a couple of more reviews. Because of all the rereading, I’ve bumped it up to 4.5 but really in my head, it’s a 5 because I literally cannot stop going back to it and it means a lot to me.
Could I get any sappier? I guess we’ll see.
Also, this is technically a very late review. I read it back in December and I didn’t have as much to say, so I hadn’t planned on a review. Now I reread this on a daily basis so, of course, I need to scream at all of you about this book whoops.
Firstly, I super loved the figure skating element of the story. I basically don’t know anything about that sport but I had so much fun reading about it. It just made the whole story WORK. Of the MZ books I’ve read so far, my favourites have to be the ones involving athletes. But I just particularly loved this pairs skating-dynamic as it is genius. We love to see it! Jasmine could step on me and I’d let her. Also quite loved that there was feminist commentary thrown in here.
Speaking of MZ’s other works, I’ve noticed certain writing patterns which I also just LOVE. Idk how many times I’ll say genius in this post but I do think that she is a genius. One of my favourites is how there are certain lines that almost foreshadow what is going to happen later in the book. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it but once you read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. But our narrator will say something along the lines of “I didn’t know it then but…” and like,,, HAVE YOU EVER?!? Has anyone else noticed that? She also does this thing where she writes something but ends it by saying something like “it might not even have happened at all” which of course it did and I LOVE THAT.
I also just, in general, think that Mariana Zapata has a great writing style. Her books are obviously long so I won’t say her style is quick, but it’s easy to read and also so clever. Ugh, all the praise. I also literally ADORE the dialogue. Jasmine has a potty mouth and hello 1000% relate lmao. Plus, we got some great banter and A++++ insults in this book. It’s a great time amirite.
I thought the plot was really great, though it was slow at the beginning and perhaps a bit unbelievable. I do think it eventually worked in the end. I recommend reading Dear Aaron first, which I don’t think is as good, I still really enjoyed it, but it gives you a bit of backstory since it follows Jasmine’s older sister, Ruby. Psssttt I definitely want Mariana to write more about the Santos family *wink wink*
With that, I’ll lead into characters because WOWEEE. I think of MZ’s books, this one has the largest set of characters (from what I’ve read). Jasmine has A LOT of siblings which is #relatable. And I loved literally all of them. Great sibling banter between them and that’s always a great time. Though the book obviously revolves around Jasmine and Ivan, all of the side characters are really well fleshed out.
I’ve also now briefly touched on Jasmine and Ivan but let’s scream some more. They just,,, *insert heart eyes*
I could leave it at that really.
But no. Jasmine is a ball of feist. People find her rude and hard to work with.
Except one. Love to see it. We love Jasmine in this household. And there’s Ivan. An angel. Though he shouldn’t know we said that. But Ivan is also the best. I could gush for hours so I’ll stop now.
I love them both a lot and that is all.
I guess lastly there’s only one last thing to comment on and IT’S THE ROMANCE.
AND I AM JUST SO OBSESSED WITH THEM I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. They’re just so perfect, it’s not even funny. Like um, we have slow-burn, best friend’s brother, childhood crush (maybe?) AND enemies to friends to lovers. Did I mention perfect?
The development is PERFECTION. The nicknames. The slow build-up to a friendship. The care. The way they’re just both each other’s PERSON. Would jump in front of a bus for them, no jokes. They just work so well together eeepp. ALL THE FEELS <3<3<3<3
I actually use them as self-care now or when I’m feeling sad. Serotonin and all, you know?
Also, just so you’re aware, I do not mind the sex scenes. I’ve seen complaints about MZ sex scenes but for me personally, I think they’re fine and I don’t cringe at them as I do at many others.
Another also, I wanted to add (if you didn’t know) that Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow-burn. But not only that, she does it in the best and in my favourite way. Like this is THE only way I want to read romance. Hello yes, I am here to WAIT UNTIL THE END BECAUSE THE PAYOFF IS SO MUCH BETTER!
Mainly using this as an excuse to talk about my favourite scenes oops.
Though, I would like to also mention my very minor dislike of this book. Which is that I would have liked a bit of clarification/resolution from Ivan about certain ways he treated Jasmine. Like WHY he made up the “one year only” plan. I mean I kind of know why, but I would also have liked them to have an honest discussion. Literally so minor though and I don’t care all that much.
Moving on, here’s a short
not list of all of my favourite scenes in bullet point format:
- The first press interview where they keep kicking each other under the table
- Ivan literally inviting himself to dinner
- Ivan literally inviting himself to baby-sit
- Ivan literally watching Jasmine in adoration while she’s holding the baby
- THE FINAL CLARIFICATION AT THE PHOTOSHOOT
- The hot chocolate omg
- “LITTLE HEDGEHOG” HELLO NOBODY TOUCH ME
- Ivan’s stupid “Meatball” nickname
- JUST THE ENTIRE TAKING CARE OF JASMINE WHEN SHE’S SICK CHAPTER OMG I COULD DIE
- The “some people think I’m the best line” lmao dude SHUT UP AND STOP FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS
- Outside the restaurant
- That kiss
- Lmao Jasmine getting mad at Paul
- THE BRACELET
- AND THE BESTEST EVER AKA AFTER THEIR SHORT PROGRAMME AKA PERFECTION
- The epilogue *insert x10 heart eyes*
**minor spoilers ahead**
“My mom said I had serious trust issues, but honestly, the more people I met, the more I didn’t want to meet more.”
“I wanted you to be my partner for years, dumbass. When Karina had told me you were thinking about switching to pairs, I had thought you would say something to me, even in passing as a joke. I thought you would say you were going to kick my ass, and I had planned on talking to you over it. But you never did. The next thing I knew, you had a partner. Some dipshit that wasn’t half as good as you.”
We both know you love me.” I wanted to deny it. I really did. Mostly because I hated the fact that he sounded so smug. But we both knew I’d be lying. Maybe I’d never said the words, but he knew. Like he’d known about my learning disability but never said anything. Like he knew chocolate was my weakness and fed it to me when I needed it most.”
“Dumbass, I mouthed before I could stop myself and be better. Meatball, he mouthed back.”
“I typed out a reply, because knowing them, if I didn’t, the next time I looked at my phone, I’d have an endless column of JASMINE on there until they heard from me.
That didn’t mean my response had to be what they wanted.
Me: Who is Ivan Lukov?”
“Was it so wrong to love something you’d dedicated your life to that you wanted the best? No one ever became good at something without repeatedly working at it.”
“I want to know because you never told me, but what do you have against Mary McDonald?” he asked. “I want to know why we hate her.”
Why we hate her. Ivan. Fucking Ivan.”
“What is Ivan’s favorite color?” I glanced at Ivan and made a face. “Black,” I answered, but mouthed like your heart. He rolled his eyes.”
“What is Jasmine’s favorite?” she asked. He glanced at me at the same time the woman looked away, “Red.” Then added like the blood of the children you eat. I was not going to laugh. I was not going to laugh.”
“Years from then, I’d look back on that moment and see how well they played me. How well Ivan knew me after so long. Because I walked right into that shit. My pride led me there. “Of course I can do it.”
“I could have been the bigger person, but fuck it, I was five foot three and I wasn’t built to be that person ever.”
“These fucking tears just purging themselves from me. His affection, his words, his belief were just… too much. They were too everything.
And I was so greedy, I needed them. I needed them like I needed to breath.”
“You suck, Meatball,” he called out a second before I knew the music was about to start. But I love you, his lips formed.”
“I love you so much I spend all day with you, and it still isn’t enough for me,” he kept going. I stopped breathing. “I love you so much, if I can’t skate with you, I don’t want to skate with anyone else.” Holy. Fuck. “I love you so fucking much, Jasmine, that if I broke my ankle during a program, I would get up and finish it for you, to get you what you’ve always wanted.”
“Because I’m okay with you having ten other people be your favorite. But you’re always going to be my favorite person.”
Romances can bow down before this book tbh. Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend <3<3<3
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? DID YOU LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I DID? WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SCENE? HAVE YOU EVER READ A MARIANA ZAPATA BOOK BEFORE? WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE? WHICH DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MOST? I’D LOVE TO KNOW!