Hi friends! Today I have a review of the extremely sweet “Love & Other Disasters” by Anita Kelly, which is out now!
A digital ARC of “Love & Other Disasters” was provided to me by Forever Publishing via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out the official synopsis of the book, my review, and a bit about the author!
The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)
Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.
After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.
As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.
“Love & Other Disasters” was such a joy to read. I can’t even express how achingly sweet, sexy, funny, and cute this book was!!
I was hesitant when I initially started this book because: the first page is essentially a love letter to onions. If there is anything I can’t relate to, it’s being an onion stan. I know, I know. Onions are basically what makes the food world go round. The flavor. The smell of them cooking. They’re in almost every entree ever. Well, I hate them. The flavor is completely fine and welcome, but the texture. I CAN’T. If I get served a dish with onions that aren’t big enough to pick out, it’s game over. If I accidentally EAT one?? I truly wish I loved onions as much as Dahlia does. Truly. But for as long as I can remember, and no matter how many times I retry them, onions have always been my nemesis. So when Dahlia went on and on about how great they were? Could. Not. Relate.
Thankfully, the love letter to onions didn’t last long and we quickly jump into the story, which is one I loved so, so much. “Love & Other Disasters” was the first book I read with a non-binary main character and I’m glad it was London who took my hand pulled me along for this journey.
Personally, I don’t remember a time if I ever questioned why people would want they/them pronouns. I’m sure when I initially learned what non-binary meant, it was probably confusing to me, but I know I’ve never denied anyone the respect of referring to them how they want. But while I’ve always respected that, I’ve never personally known anyone who is non-binary or read a story where there was a main character who is non-binary. “Love & Other Disasters” and London opened my eyes to a lot of what non-binary people go through and the feelings they experience. London will forever have a special place in my heart because of this.
Speaking of London, who I adore, they start off as the grump in our grumpy/sunshine trope and honestly, I was obsessed with them from moment one. Their reactions to Dahlia were priceless and though they start off as the grump, we quickly get to know London and why they may come off that way. Trust me, they aren’t unbearable for any extended period of time, which is something that can make the grumpy/sunshine trope sometimes alienable–when the grump is that way just a bit too long.
As for Dahlia, I’m also obsessed with her. It’s very easy to like her, as she’s the sunshine in our grumpy/sunshine trope, but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies with her, which I appreciate. She’s recently divorced and dealing with guilt from that, and has anxiety about trying to figure out where her life is headed. I love what Dahlia brings out in London and what London brings out in her. They really are one of my favorite book couples I’ve read in a long time.
There is honestly so much I love about “Love & Other Disasters”–the representation, Chef’s Special, London and Dahlia’s shenanigans, the spice–but I really think the backbone of it is London and Dahlia. I loved reading each of their perspectives and following their love story. This book is close to perfect and I need everyone to read it.
★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
About The Author
Originally from a small town in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, Anita Kelly now lives in the Pacific Northwest with their family. A teen librarian by day, they write romance that celebrates queer love in all its infinite possibilities. Whenever not reading or writing, they’re drinking too much tea, taking pictures, and dreaming of their next walk in the woods. They hope you get to pet a dog today.