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 picked up this book partly because it was on KU and partly because I had read the author’s other book The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and really enjoyed it. This is an incredibly long romance book and normally I’m not a huge fan of romance books that are this long. There’s a nice length for romance books and it’s between 200 and 400 pages.
This book is about figure skating, which I love as well, as Jasmine is asked to be the new partner to Ivan Lukov, her best friend’s brother and a prize-winning ice skater. Only trouble is that they do not like each other. This is a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance novel.
This book centred around Jasmine’s point of view. Jasmine is a very sarcastic protagonist who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. She is on the cusp of forced retirement after her skating partner left her for someone else and spread rumours that she was difficult to work for. I really liked Jasmine because she was such an incredibly flawed, unapologetic character. She loves figure skating more than anything but more than anything she wants to win something, if only to have something to show for all the blood, sweat and tears she’d put into it. There was also the partial guilt about her mother spending all the money on her and her skating career and Jasmine having nothing to show for it. Jasmine’s flaws are obvious from the start but she is, to me, a very interesting character that you can’t help but root for. This was helped partially by the fact that we are in Jasmine’s head.
Unfortunately, Ivan didn’t get up quite so easily. I liked him well enough but he was a shadow of a character compared to Jasmine. I just didn’t connect with him as much as I did with her and this wasn’t helped by some parts of the relationship between him and Jasmine, rather the ending of the book. I did like his animal collection and how he got on with Jasmine’s family, but he was a bit more of a mystery than Jasmine.
Jasmine and Ivan have an antagonistic relationship with each other from the start of the book. It was the kind of antagonism that is slightly childish and quite funny at times, rather than one of them has seriously wronged the other. I was appreciative of this because it meant that I could really root for them to be a couple especially since I worked out Ivan didn’t do anything really horrible to Jasmine and vice versa. Their arguments with each other were fairly immature, never crossed the line and were enjoyable to read. In this book, the relationship was incredibly slow-burn, as they became friends and then romantic with each other.
However, this was part of what let the book down. It had such a wonderful slow-burn for the friendship, like 80% of the book, and I loved seeing how they got to trusting each other, not just on the ice but off it as well. But then the actual romance, which we saw no inkling of in the first 80% of the book, felt really rushed and like it was crammed into the last 15% (the final 5% being the epilogue). I also really wasn’t a fan of the epilogue which was a married-with-babies epilogue, rather than them winning one of the championships.
This book was slow-paced but easy to read. Although it was over 500 pages, it didn’t feel like it because I truly loved the slow-burn aspect of it. I just wish the romance had been slow-burn and not just the friendship (although I really liked that part). So I enjoyed it but not quite as much as I did her other book.