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Love & Other Disasters – Anita Kelly

Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! (I later purchased my own copy of the book.

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.

After seeing Love & Other Disasters all over the internet, I knew I had to give it a read. This is a debut novel that tells the story of the first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favourite cooking show falling for their clumsy competitor. It is sweet, entertaining and wholesome!

I enjoyed this book a lot and although it did not meet all my expectations it is definitely one that I will be recommending in future. The plot was fun, I loved the characters and it is most certainly made me excited to see what else Anita Kelly writes in the future.

London and Dahlia are wonderful and unique in their own ways. Dahlia had my heart straight away because of how honest she was about her feelings and what is going on in her life. She is flawed, extremely kind and adorable. She works incredibly hard at everything she does too, which was inspiring. I loved seeing how lost she seemed at the beginning of the book in comparison to who she was at the end of the book. Then, we have London who is amazing. Their storyline made me incredibly happy and hopefully for more nonbinary main characters in the future. I loved reading their journey of self-discovery and how we are shown that they aren’t perfect but they are real. We need more representation like that more books.

I have to make a quick mention of the side characters. Especially Barbara who I wanted to see so much more of. Each side character is developed excellently. Although, I would have loved to see more of the feud between London and Lizzie as I feel this was not developed enough.

This story take place mostly during a cooking reality show. I am obsessed with cooking shows on TV. Not just for the food but for the drama and the friendships as well. I was so excited to read about a book set on a cooking show but this is the section of the book that let me down. The cooking show may be a main section of the book but never seemed to be developed enough and it left me with quite a few questions. Still it was a fun part of the book and I loved reading about the food and the show drama.

Anita Kelly has written a wonderful book and it is an excellent debut. It was lovely to read about the characters and their life experiences. I have to mention that the sex scenes in this book are unique and show queer love in a way that I’ve never read before. It was extremely refreshing. I look forward to seeing what else Anita Kelly writes in the future.

Overall, Love & Other Disasters was a fun, refreshing and entertaining read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Even if it did not live up to all my expectations, I still thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience and will be recommending it a lot. Go and give this one a read!

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