Author: Mariana Zapata
Title: "From Lukov with love"
Main character: Jasmine
I did not plan to read this book as fast or as soon as I did :) I got it as soon as it came out, because I own all other Mariana's books... although so far I read only one... well, with this one that number have gone up to two ;) anyway... ;) I love her writing style, so buying her other novels wasn't even a question... :) so I bought this one, but had a whole other plan of reading... but then... this one... it's about figure skaters you guys... :) I loved that sport when I was younger... I watched it in the middle of the night if there was a live transmission of world championships and such... but I've never read a book with main characters who do it :) by the way, if you have any other recommendations like this, definitely let me know :) but back to this book :) *sighs* my brain is all over the place today ;) so even though I was suppose to read something else... my mind kept coming back to this one... and it took me like one day to decide to dive into it... I figured that I can just check it out, read a few chapters and just see if it's something I will enjoy at that moment... yeah... I devoured this book practically in one day... and it's quite long :) I just couldn't put it down :) so let me tell you more about the overall plot of the story and our main character and then I will get into all the reasons why I adored it so much :)
The main character of the story is Jasmine... I mean, yes, we also have Ivan and their hate-to-love-with-a-weird-friendship-inbetween sort of romance ;) but in my opinion this is a story about Jasmine... about her accepting who she really is, what she's ready to sacrifice to accomplish her dreams, coming to terms with her past choices and just growing as a person... so let me tell you more about her :) Jasmine is a figure skater... she trained basically her whole life, first as a solo performer, and then in pairs... she had success as a junior, but never quite accomplished her dreams as a senior... or once she switched to pairs... I understand why some people may have problems with her... why in some reviews I read you could see people describing her as obnoxious, annoying... but I would use adjectives like stubborn, strong-willed, determined... she's not a kind of person who will stand down from a fight... I loved her for all of that... :) she's a survivor... every time life knocks her down, she gets right back up... now, about a year after her last partner left her, she's working part time and still training on her own... that is until she gets a most unexpected proposition... Ivan Lukov, a guy she hates, her friends brother... an owner of many gold trophies... a guy she hates... he and his coach want her to be his new partner for one year... yeah... that's quite a shocker for her... but it is a chance for her to achieve her dreams... maybe her last one... so after consideration and establishing some rules she decides to agree... the whole book takes place over the span of that year, with an absolutely wonderful epilogue at the very end with the most amazing glimpse into the future :) so now that we have some basic informations out of the way, let me tell you about all the reasons why I loved this story so much :) and the main one is...
Jasmine :) again, I understand why some people might not like her, but I really connected with her... and not because we are very similar, although there were times when I definitely could relate to her and the way she was acting... ;) not always the best thing ;) don't get me wrong, she wasn't perfect... far from it, but... she really struck a chord deep within my heart and I was a goner ;) even though she definitely did some super irritating things a few times within the pages of this novel... but each of her flaws and mistakes made her more real, more human in my eyes... I can't count all the times when I wanted to shake some sense into her and the next moment I just wanted to hug her :) like I mentioned before, for me this is a story about Jasmine... about how she changes and grows as a person within that year... how she learns new things about herself... *sighs happily* I loved her character development... and of course we can't forget about Ivan... he was... a big mystery at the beginning of the story... mainly because he speaks very little, and since the whole story is told from the perspective of Jasmine, we have to wait to get to know more about him... but it's definitely worth it :) because we discover, along with Jasmine, that the person he shows to the world... the champion figure skater, is just a small part of him... I adored discovering every little new thing about him... showing us how much more complex he is than what I originally thought... not to mention his relationship with Jasmine... since they have a history of fights between them, it's hard to imagine how them skating together can be sucessful... but they are both goal oriented and determined to make it work... over time and once they slowly start to get to know each other more, they turn into unexpected friends... very peculiar friends I have to add, but friends nonetheless :) and since Mariana can be called Queen of Slow Burn Romances for very good reasons, it's not until very late within the story when their relationship turns romantic :) I was more than ok with that, because it gave us the opportunity to be a part of their whole journey... :) *sighs dreamily* and I loved every part of it :) another absoltely fantastic and complex part of this story was Jasmine's family... apparently one of her sisters was the heroine of Mariana's other book, but I haven't read it yet :) all her stories can be read as total standalones so don't worry if you haven't read any of her other novels :) they are a very... interesting bunch :) I think my personal favourite was her mom... for many reasons :) but I don't really want to get into too many details, so you can make up your own opinions while reading the story :) the writing style was once more phenomenal... even though the book is not short, it felt like I was flying through it... reading chapter after chapter, because I could not put it down... Mariana made me fell completely in love with Jasmine, even though she wasn't an easy character... this whole book made my laugh, tear up, sigh in frustration, made all sorts of aaaawwww noises because of some totally adorable scenes... it was a perfect mix of everything I love in books, and I highly recommend you guys to give it a try :)