From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata 3 Stars!
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.
I am always so excited when a new Mariana Zapata book comes out and this one with its deep dive into figure skating has arrived just in time of the Olympics.
We get a great deal of what we love about Zapata’s romances in this tale: slow burn, banter, excellence, friends to lovers (in this case after enemies).
Jasmine’s internal struggles to have a more balanced life as a professional athlete and the steady reveal of Ivan as a hero are wonderfully done as is the relationships with the larger cast.
We really see Jasmine fall in love though it seems our hero has been in love for a long time.
There are lots of great details from surprise pets, complex relationships with parents, a look at bullying that make this novel really good.
However, this is the kind of romance I read and think this was good but it could have been excellent.
I needed much more after the I love you. I needed to see Ivan talk openly about his feelings and where his head was at all these years because the book is told from Jasmine’s perspective.
There is a lot of talk about Jasmine’s body and think there needs to be a reckoning with the hero as body issues are so rampant in the sport. It felt false not to confront this aspect of the novel which is only skimmed here and hinted at there while the hero calls her Meatball. Now, the why of their “banter” is discussed but not at all to the complexity which would have made this a great book nor is the “one year only” aspect of the contact. These elements of the book felt sloppy. There is only one sex scene which I don’t mind but there is a moment in there where it hurts and she doesn’t tell him and then that again is the only erotic intimacy we get… so, yeah.
I have a mad craving for James’ and Jonathan’s romance (please!) Tali’s should get one as well. And I would love to see how Ben and and Jas’s mom feel in love. This would make a great novella collection.