BOOK REVIEW – From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

BOOK REVIEW – From Lukov with Love by Mariana ZapataFrom Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


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.


My mom had always warned me that some people would always be eager to believe the worst. That was the unfortunate and shit truth. But I knew who I was and what I did. I couldn’t find it in me to regret it. At least most of the time. Maybe life would have been a lot easier if I’d had my sister’s sweetness or my mom’s personality, but I didn’t and I never would. 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.

THIS BOOK. *incoherent mumbling* INSTANT TOP FIVE FAVORITE ROMANCE OF ALL TIME YOU GUYS, NO JOKE. I feel like I should apologize in advance for the number of lengthy quotes that will be in this review but if we’re being honest, I had WAY more highlighted and these were the ones I felt like I couldn’t live without. If you don’t end up wanting to read this book solely based on the quotes themselves…..then you must not have a heart, lol. But really.

But I wanted to win. I wanted this. I’d always wanted it. I’d bled for it, cried for it, bruised for it, had broken bones, had concussions, pulled just about every muscle in my body, never made friends, never went to a single school anything, never loved anyone, ignored my family, all for this. For this love that was greater than just about everything and anything I had ever known. For this sport that had given me the confidence to know I could get up after every fall I’d ever take.

I don’t even know where to begin here. I feel like this entire review is just going to be word vomit and fangirling and I am entirely alright with that so without further ado, I’ll dive right in. 

This book is about Jasmine Santos. Jasmine is a figure skater with hardcore determination. When we first start the book she’s in a bit of a slump. Her partner of three years ditched her without saying anything and because of her smartass/hardass mouth, she’s inherited the stigma of being hard to work with. Enter Ivan Lukov. Long-time enemy of Jasmine, total babe, world-champion pairs skater, and brother of Jasmine’s only friend (other than her family). It turns out that this tool of a guy (lol he’s really not tho) and his trainer want Jasmine to be the new half of his pair’s team and she’s just desperate enough for a win to agree.

Was I dying? Was this what having you heart broken felt like? Because if it was, I was sure fucking glad I’d never fallen in love before because goddamn. My God.

This was my first book written by Zapata so I really didn’t know what to expect going in other than seeing that it had a good rating already. What I did not expect was to fall so deep in love with these characters and their story that I would be fully immersed for a solid two days.

I’ll start with Jasmine since this book is about her. Right off the bat I loved her. She is so tough and BA and her inner monologues seemed to be pretty similar to my own sometimes (I’m a bit of a potty mouth so if you don’t like strong language, parts of this book might not be fun). You can tell she is SO passionate about figure skating and about her family and all of the sacrifices that she has made/ they have made for her throughout the years. Sometimes she can almost be too stubborn but I never got sick of it. For me, she was too real, too honest to ever dislike. Watching her go through the transformation that she did from cover to cover was incredible. I was so happy for her by the end when she realized that if she was going to win, it was going to be because she finally, truly believed in herself. Ugh what great character development.

“Is that a French bulldog?” We were already on the road and heading toward the nearest major freeway when Ivan nodded, his eyes on the rearview mirror. 
“Yes. The diva in the back is Lacey. She’s in time-out. I should’ve left her at home, but she can’t be in the car with anyone else other than Russ, and today’s his day for a ride.”

WHICH BRINGS ME TO IVAN LUKOV. Guys. He is….so good. The verbal sparring that went on between him and Jasmine was HILARIOUS. Oh man I was dying so many times laughing because of the horrible crap they said to each other..and his nickname for her. Lol, sigh. Really though, I also loved watching his journey, or at least the journey of Jasmine (and us as readers through her perspective) actually discovering who Ivan was as a person. He seems like such a stuck up, pretty boy at first until more of Jasmine’s walls get broken down and we see glimpse of this other Ivan. One that takes care of people when they’re sick and has five rescue pets that he treats like children (omg that part made die it was so cute). He is basically everything and to top it all off, is also the reason that Jasmine is able to have faith in herself—because he has an unwavering faith in her. It’s beautiful.

And after a beat, then five, I said, “We’ll win.” 
His gaze went even more intense as he said, with no hesitation, “You’re goddamn right we will.” He pressed his mouth, so quick, so hard against me, I didn’t have a chance to react until he pulled back an inch and said, hoarsely, his fingers threading through the damp hair right above the nape of my neck, “I’ll drag you back on the ice if I have to, Jasmine. I swear on my life.” Something about his words made me shake on the inside. Maybe it was the conviction. Maybe it was the anger. The passion. The reality that he wasn’t leaving me any room to not do what he said. Mostly though, it was something else completely. I loved him. I loved this man so much that losing him was going to break my cold, dead heart into so many pieces I was just going to have to stick them in the same box I kept my dreams and carry it around with me forever.

My other favorite part of this book was the Santos family. I come from a really close family myself and always love to read about other families that have close and hilarious dynamics such as this one. They all loved each other so much and meant so much to one another. I just about sobbed when Jasmine and Ivan were talking about how every family member has a specific favorite white Jasmine love them all equally, the good and the bad parts. I’m having a daughter (my first baby) mid-April and while the thought of being a mom is kind of scary, I know as long as I do my best to make sure that she knows that she is always loved and supported like Jasmine’s mom did with all of her children, then I know that I’ll be doing something right.

This was my partner. This was more than my partner. He was my other half. And the only thing I could do to thank him for this gift he’d given me, this knowledge that he thought I was invincible, was to make sure we won. I’d give him the thing he had wanted me for in the first place. I’d give him my fucking all.

So here it is. I honestly could probably go on to fangirl about this for another few thousand words but I hope you don’t need more to convince you. ESPECIALLY SINCE THE OLYMPICS ARE COMING UP. It’s relevant and just a damn good book. I honestly can’t wait to reread it again someday.


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  1. Raven

    Wonderful Review, Arielle! I haven’t read any of Mariana Zapata’s books yet but I really want to read this book. It sounds pretty good! I’m so glad you loved it! I can’t wait to check it out for myself! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…V Games: Fresh From The Grave (The V Games Trilogy #2) By Caroline Peckham [Review]My Profile

    • Arielle

      Thanks Raven! My only note about this (and I’ve actually read all her books are like this) one is that it’s SUPER slow burn. Like they don’t get together until the VERY end buttttt the build up of their relationship was still worth it :). Hope you like it if you ever pick it up!

  2. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    Wow, those quotes really are awesome 🙂 and I’m not big on romance myself! Tell me, is this a clean read? Or at least mostly clean? xD I might consider it 🙂
    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks recently posted…What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Writing And Scheduling PostsMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Sex wise it’s definitely pretty clean! They don’t get together until the end and and there’s really only once scene but it’s not graphic at all. Swearing wise it’s pretty filthy lol

  3. AngelErin

    Why haven’t I heard of this one yet?? Well I am thrilled that you loved it and your review definitely made me put it on my to read list. It sounds fantastic!! 😀
    AngelErin recently posted…Mini Discussion Post- Authors I’ve Lost Interest InMy Profile

    • Arielle

      Yayyyy!! Always glad to spread the word on books I love. And I think it came out at the very beginning of February so still very new!

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