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From Lukov with Love Paperback – February 1, 2018
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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 heck!
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.
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.
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Best Friend's Brother, Sports—Pair Skating
POV: First Person, Female POV
I absolutely LOVED IT. I was never worried that my expectations would be too high because she's never disappointed me. Another hit out of the park. She is so amazing. WRITE MORE BOOKS PLEASE.
Jasmine was such a fun character - so strong and stubborn, but so vulnerable I just wanted to hug her.
I love love loved Jasmine's family so much. Their dynamic was just.. perfect. MZ writes families so freaking well - the way they talk to each other, the dysfunction, everything. That was just a fabulous family and I'd like to be adopted please
Ivan. Gah. I loved him. He was so different compared to the guys in her other books. Look, I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever thought of figure skating as... erm, manly? Or something I would find attractive? I changed my mind now.
I love a good enemies to lovers story and this one just gets that DOWN PAT. I love that they don't automatically get new personalities or love each other in 24 hours like some other enemies to lovers books. You actually get to see and understand the progression of their relationship.
Ivan and Jas... I just loved them together. I loved their past, the banter, how their friendship and relationship progressed. This book puts the SLOW in slow burn, but this is MZ so you should know what you're getting yourself into and BELIEVE ME Y'ALL, HE'S WORTH IT.
Mariana is the QUEEN of the slow burn - seriously, she even has it on tshirts and mugs and yes I own them both plus a tote bag, what of it?
The 'problem' with slow burn books like this is that you know they are gonna end up together but it takes a loooooooooooooooooooong time to get there and you just want to smoosh them together.
But I wasn't kidding about MZ being the Queen. She's got your back. She knows you want to smoosh them together. So there a plenty of little snippets and scenes in there that make you feel things and, I mean, is it hot in here or is it just me? You get the roller coaster of feelings of a new relationship and everything that builds up and it is SO MUCH YES.
There are plenty of other books out there that aren't slow in that department, and I love them too, but MZ books - and this one was no exception - just rock the slow burn and it is so, so, so worth it.
and then you get a beautiful epilogue! YASSS.
I am kicking myself I hadn't read Dear Aaron before this one - I was saving it because I didn't want to run out of MZ books but now obviously I need to go read it because Ruby and Aaron were adorable. And then re-read this one.
I won't lie, Winnipeg and Me will ALWAYS be my favourite from MZ. But I have loved every single book of hers I have read and I honestly despair at the thought of there not being 75 more books of hers to read. Please write more!
I BASICALLY JUST LOVED THE WHOLE BOOK OKAY. MUCH RECOMMEND.