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ARC Review: Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

Love & Other Disasters

Publishing Date: January 18, 2022


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.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely LOVED this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I don’t generally read contemporary romance, but I saw ‘queer and nonbinary’ and took a chance, and I’m SO glad I did.

The representation in this book was SO SO good. As a queer, nonbinary person myself, so much of what London said and was rang true. And I loved queer disaster Dahlia so much for her warm acceptance of them. They were just so good together and (almost) everyone in the book was surprisingly cool with respecting them and their pronouns.

I also loved how well-written this was. I was totally invested in this fictional cooking show and I don’t even watch real life cooking shows. Dahlia’s and London’s love of cooking came through so well, I could almost taste the dishes they were creating.

I was also totally invested in their relationship. And the writing was just so beautiful and there were so many passages that just viscerally struck true. I loved the discussion of Dahlia’s divorce, and the way she was trying to reinvent herself in LA, and when London realized that exuberant Dahlia was just… sad.

Gah I just loved it so much.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

It would be September soon, and Dahlia was glad. It would be easier, somehow, she thought, to be sad in the fall.

A flurry of expletives ran around London’s mind like foul-mouthed bunnies on speed.

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