From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata | Review

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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.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Review | From Lukov with Love

by Mariana Zapata 

I LOVE LOVE LOVED IT. Make way, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and KultiFrom Lukov with Love is joining you in my 're-read all over and over and over again' pile. This book had Mariana Zapata's signature slow burn that I can't get enough, characters I can't help but absolutely love, and fantastic banter that made me laugh out loud, all the while set in a sport world I don't usually encounter in romance novels (If you know more figure skating/pair skating romances, please recommend them to me!). Plus, Ivan and Jasmine are my favorite MZ hero and heroine. 

Jasmine Santos has been in the figure and pair skating world for as long as she can remember, but at twenty-six and without a partner after he left her in the dust, she might have to hang up her skates. Talented as she is, she hasn't won a gold medal since her junior years, and with people she has attitude problems, it isn't exactly easy to find a new partner. 

But when world champion and darling of the skating world Ivan Lukov and his coach asks her to become his partner, Jasmine knows this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Only thing is she can't stand Ivan, and the feeling is mutual. Despite Jasmine being Ivan's sister's best friend, the two have been at each other's throats since they were teenagers, and the animosity stayed with them even as they grew up.

If they want to make their partnership work, they'll have to try to get along, or at least not try to kill each other while they're training. Outside the rink is fair game. But a partnership like theirs needs a strong foundation of trust in each other, and they don't trust each other at all. 

I laughed so much at Ivan and Jasmine's antics. These two did not hold back at all. They can't spend time together without throwing insults at each other that the people around them don't know whether to be frustrated or entertained. There were times my chest ached and I wanted to kick Ivan where it hurts because some of the things he said were pretty sore points for Jasmine, and honestly for me, too. Jasmine's not innocent either. But all in all, it's pretty innocent; it's become a routine for them to do it that their words do not have as much heat as it sounds. 

Okay, let me start with my dear Vanya. I'm pretty sure Ivan Lukov is my favorite MZ hero. He's different than the rest of the author's heroes. He's cocky but not to the point of being conceited, charming, and more outgoing than the previous heroes. He's affectionate and teasing, and has more to him than meets the eye. He's a celebrated athlete, but you can't begrudge him for his fame and success because you know well he worked hard for it. That's what makes him perfect for Jasmine. He understands her pains and struggles as an athlete, and knows better than anyone of the sacrifices they have to give to be where they are. And he's funny as hell!

Jasmine, unlike her shy and reticent older sister Ruby (heroine of Dear Aaron), is outspoken and does not hold back to tell others what she's thinking. She's confident in who she is as a person and will never pretend to be something she's not just to please others, and you know what, that's what I admired about her the most. Because of that, people often mistake it for being mean and unapproachable. 

"You are who you are in life, and you either live that time trying to bend yourself to make other people happy, or... you don't."

I have a similar outlook on life as Jasmine, and it hit me in the feels when I learned more about her. She's 100% focused on her career, and because of that, she's lost time she should have been spending with her family and everyone she loves. She seems emotionally detached, but truly she's kind-hearted.
If you've read DA, Jas was a teenager then and honestly, to me, she seemed selfish or conceited. She's grown since then after finally realizing how much her family has sacrificed for her to reach her dreams, and she's making a conscious effort to make it up to them. But as I've said, Jasmine isn't a touchy-feely person, and she's still trying to figure out how to make it up to her family all the while trying to understand her real goal in her career and her frustrations. It's one of her biggest struggles here, and we get to see how she overcomes that. I loved watching this part of her, the growth Jasmine has to go through in From Lukov with Love. 
I loved the Santos family dynamic! Jasmine and her mom, Jas and her brothers and sisters (plus their significant others and children), it was such a treat to read about them! You can see it in her family why Jasmine is the way she is. They're not outwardly affectionate towards each other in a conventional sense, but the strong love is obvious. They tease and hurl insults at each other but will threaten bodily harm on people who they think would hurt their brood. Special mention to James who's the best! It was so funny when he and Jas bickered. The family dynamic felt authentic, even her strained relationship with her father. And as a Filipino, I have to confirm that some of the parents (luckily not mine) tend to think the same as Jasmine's father who believes that a college degree and a nine-to-five office job is better than anything else. 

While this book is full of funny antics, it has its fair share of angst, too. But other than that, there are a lot of feels! When the two decides to become friends, it's obvious how compatible they were, and then when they started caring for each other??? AHHHH. Feels! I love it when guys are affectionate and sweet and thoughtful and ahhh. I can't. 

From Lukov with Love is a standalone so people don't need to read Dear Aaron to appreciate it, but I still recommend reading DA first since it was set a few years prior to Lukov. But if you've read Dear Aaron already and loved them, you'll see a little bit more of #Ruron here!

Fans of Kulti and enemies to lovers romance will love From Lukov with Love! It will make you laugh, tear up, and fall in love, not just with Ivan and Jasmine, but with figure and pair skating, as well.

Enemies to Lovers, Best Friend's Brother, Sports—Pair Skating
POV: First Person, Female POV
Standalone: Yes

Fan Art

*Images used in this graphic are not mine. Credits to their rightful owners

About Mariana Zapata

Mariana Zapata began writing love stories soon after she learned how to spell. She probably shouldn't admit that she started sneaking romance novels from her aunt's bookshelves way before she was old enough to even understand what it meant when a man flipped up a woman's skirt. (Don't tell her mom.) She is a New York Times and USA Today Best Seller, and reached #7 on Amazon's Author Ranking in 2016. Her book The Wall of Winnipeg and Me was a #1 Amazon Overall Best Seller, and was chosen as a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award nominee and also included on Amazon's Best Books of 2016 for Romance. Wait for It reached #2 on the Amazon Overall Best Seller list and stayed in the top 100 for six weeks; it was chosen as a 2017 Goodreads Choice Award nominee in the Romance category. Dear Aaron was a top 10 Amazon Overall Best Seller and stayed in the top 100 for six weeks.

Mariana is a native Texan living in a small town in Colorado with her husband and two beloved (and emotionally manipulative) Great Danes, Dorian and Kaiser. When she's not pretending to write, she's reading. You can usually find her burning somewhat edible experiments in the kitchen or cracking jokes at the expense of her family members.

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4 responses to “From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata | Review

  1. Beware Of The Reader

    Fabulous reveiw and mood board! I need to read this one but I’m waiting for the hardcover or paperback 😉

  2. Ahhhh, I’ve never read any of this author’s books but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them, especially with her regular addition of Filipino characters. Is she Filipino?

    And that fanart is gorgeousssss! Lovely review, Nissa!

    • She’s half-Filipino (as is the sister, the heroine of Dear Aaron), but since her parents are divorced, they don’t live with the father who’s Filipino. Her relationship with her dad is complicated. And thank you so much, Blessie! <3

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