Cover Image: Love & Other Disasters

Love & Other Disasters

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Member Reviews

Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by NetGalley, Hachette Audio, and Forever in exchange for an honest review.

Loved the representation, but overall LOVE & OTHER DISASTERS was like a recipe that looked like it would be amazing, but ended up not tasting like you expected it to. I'm sure there will be readers that love it, in the end it just wasn't the book for me.

So there was both too much focus... and not enough focus on the cooking competition, Chef’s Special, in this book. For a book centered around a competition where the winner receives $100,000... it just didn't feel like the stakes were that high, that there was no real pressure. Maybe it's because I watch practically all the cooking competition shows, that I expected more from that plot line. 

I really liked London and wish we had been given more of their story, Dahlia was ok, but would have preferred the narrative being driven by London better. The side characters were mostly two-dimensional and only partially developed. For a novel centered on a cooking competition, it didn't really feel like there were any other competitors. Those other contestants could have added a level of depth to the narrative.

While it was an awkwardly adorable meet-cute, there was something... scripted about their relationship. The romance novel third act breakup was unsurprising, as was the resolution. Again, it felt too choreographed. Like instead of sitting back and enjoying the beauty of the dance, all you can see is the dancer sounding out the count as they hit their steps. I didn't hate this book, and I did finish it, but I found it easy to set aside for other things. Lindsey Dorcus does a decent job with the audiobook narration.
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Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly was a super cute romcom, I really enjoyed listening to the ALC of this book. The Narration by Lindsey Dorcus was great and she really brought the story to life.

I will without a doubt be seeking out Anita Kelly’s work in the future.

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for so kindly gifting me the audiobook to listen to and review.
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I'm a big fan of rom coms and this was a really cute story.  I enjoyed the characters and the setting and I'm looking forward to reading more from the author.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Hachette Audio and Forever for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

I enjoyed rereading this one via audio so much. The narrator truly added to the story and it was just as enjoyable the second time around as the first. Load and Dahlia are spectacular and I can't wait for more from this author
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𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘧𝘶𝘭!

What a unique and charming story, it was fun, sweet, sexy and so enjoyable. I love cooking shows and listening to this story was a treat. A fantastic debut.

Thank you Hachette Audio and NetGalley for this ALC.

Love & Other Disasters by @Anita Kelly released January 18, 2022.

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦: 𝘍𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘈𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘍𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘙𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦, 𝘓𝘎𝘉𝘛𝘘, 𝘙𝘰𝘮-𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘴.

https://www.instagram.com/booksandcoffeemx/
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I’ve raved about Anita Kelly’s first two books and have been really anticipating her debut with Forever. And I loved everything about this book from beginning to end.

Dahlia and London are competitors on a cooking show and one of the things I loved so much is that there is no antagonism between them at all. Just encouragement and laughter and love of the craft. I felt like the author rolled up multiple reality cooking shows together to create one that worked in this world. (I love reality cooking competitions so I was the exact right audience for this.) The meet-cute is the literal start of the book when Dahlia is upset that London doesn’t wish her luck before the competition begins and then Dahlia has a humiliating incident on camera immediately afterward.

But the humiliating incident and the meet-cute is handled so well on-page that I didn’t get second-hand embarrassment at all. Dahlia wallows for maybe a second, laughs it off, and then proceeds to make friends on the show. It felt like actual adult behavior, and so many times in books adults tend toward juvenile behavior so this felt very refreshing.

I don’t know if I liked Dahlia or London more? On one hand, we have Dahlia, who is just so sunshiny but fiercely protective of those she loves but is having a quarter life crisis about who she is and what she should do with her life. And then, on the other hand, we have London, who knows who they are and just wants other people to let them be who they are – and because of that can be a bit grumpy. Both characters are completely fleshed out and beautifully nuanced. I felt like I understood them and their families, which I think is a hard task to accomplish.

I want to shout from the rooftop that Dahlia is solidly childfree. This is *extremely* important to me personally as it is so hard to find in romance novels. There’s a point when London says to her that it’s okay to grow up and change your mind about these things – at one point Dahlia wanted children and now she doesn’t – *and this is okay*. This was SO refreshing to hear! Of course it’s okay to change your mind, but to have that said to Dahlia was really powerful to hear. London is the first openly nonbinary contestant on the cooking show and this storyline is just so great. That they do have supportive friends and family members felt really important to me; this wasn’t an isolated queer person with no family behind them and I loved that for London. Their whole journey, both on the show and off, was really powerful and I hope that we get more characters like London in romance across the genre.

On top of all of that goodness is the actual romance, which is cute and sweet but HOT as hell. Seriously, some of their sex scenes had me looking around making sure no one else was listening to the audiobook with me because I was blushing lol. I highly recommend this book and look forward to whatever else Anita Kelly writes.

Grade: A+
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This story was overall a different read for me, but very refreshing. I was immediately hooked with the “behind the scenes” of a reality cooking show as I’m a huge fan of reality TV! I enjoyed the representation of queer & non-binary characters and the development and growth of each character. I do wish we got a little more of the show aspect as the story progressed and how the show resonated more with the audience. However, overall an enjoyable listen! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced listener copy!
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Source: NetGalley; advance audio copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review



I'll describe Love & Other Disasters in one word: PRECIOUS. It's a memorable experience when a book starts off so well and carries that momentum through to the end. I was wowed from the get go and couldn't help but smile every time I listened to it.

Dahlia and London meet on their first day of taping the cooking show, Chef's Special. They're both wracked by nerves that come from being on live tv, the jitters from competition and also all the personal stuff that lingers in the back of their minds. Each has come to the cooking show with a clear agenda - win the competition and show the naysayers that they can make a success of themselves. Dahlia has the kind of personality that easily makes friends. Everyone is instantly at ease with her. She's one of my favorite characters because she's forthright and speaks with absolute sincerity which I find to be an admirable trait. London is equally straightforward and has learned over the years that they don't want to deal with bull. Coming on to Chef's Special took guts because they're announcing to the world that they're nonbinary while back at home, their father has yet to accept them. Dahlia somehow endears herself to London and the instant connection and acceptance surprises them.

Listening to London's journey educated me about how one can question their sexuality and struggle to find a space that accommodates their sense of self. That London was able to do that and have so much support behind them was heartwarming. That it isn't always sunshine, roses and acceptance, as demonstrated by her strained relationship with her father, is heartbreaking. Dahlia's journey has also taken her in a different direction. Married at a young age, happy until she realized that she no longer wanted the same things as her husband, she made the bold move to divorce and then to pick up the pieces and remake her life. Both of them have much to prove to themselves and anyone else who has ever doubted them.

While Dahlia and London's relationship takes off with the cooking show as a backdrop, what happens away from the show is equally interesting. I lived for the little details they'd pick up about each other, the inevitable closeness that brought them together as friends and then even more. I loved some of the high jinx they'd get into like when they crashed a wedding, and I was floored by their raw, vulnerable moments like when Dahlia admitted her insecurities aloud after getting drunk at said wedding. That moment seriously got me in the gut and also broke my heart. I felt the weight of that and it's so incredible to come across a writer's words that so uniquely and perfectly captures what feels like a universal sentiment. 

I was pleased to see the nonbinary, queer and trans rep, and I was glad to read a story that wrote from those perspectives. London does have to deal with a fellow contestant's hostility towards their presence, but they don't give that person much energy, and Kelly doesn't make that a central issue in the story, either. Instead she devotes time to London's relationship with their father. London gives energy to the relationships that matter, but will set boundaries and is prepared to walk away from a toxic situation if it risks their well-being. 

I don't know how else to express what a gem Love & Other Disasters is. It took me a long while to even write this review because I didn't feel I could effectively say how much I liked this book. I strongly recommend listening to the audiobook, if you can. The narrator, Lindsey Dorcus, made Dahlia and London's personalities come to life so vividly. It's a wonderful thing to feel a book has enriched and expanded your perspective of life and I can say that Love & Other Disasters has definitely done that for me!

~ Bel
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This was soooo good! I loved the cooking aspect and how each character was falling into who they are. I just was rooting for them the whole time and at points, it got steamy.
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Advanced copy of an audiobook and final finished copy gifted to me from Forever publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Am I physically finished with this book? No. But am I mentally finished with this book? Yes.

DNF at page 170

I am so sad I didn't love this more. I had really high hopes going into this book so when it put me in a massive reading slump I was really disappointed. Full review to come, but the writing was sub-par, the plot fell flat for me, and the chemistry was painfully forced.

I wish I could've finished this to give a full in-depth review, but if a book is making me so miserable that I don't want to read it and have to literally force myself to keep reading, it's time to put it down.

As always, I am BEYOND grateful to Forever publishing for sharing this story with me in a finished copy and advanced audiobook, this one just didn't work for me.
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Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly - 2/5⭐️

I listened to this on audio from an ARC audiobook from @netgalley .

This one wasn’t my favorite but I’ll start off with a few things I did like. I liked the representation in this story with a non-binary character. I’ve never read a story that had a non-binary character so I did enjoy that! 

I also love cooking shows so I loved the cooking competition setting. Also I did like the story enough to finish because I wanted to know who won.

I didn’t feel like I could connect with the characters very well. I also felt like the relationship was a little forced on both sides. Overall, its a cute story but not something I'd re-read or recommend to others.
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Dahlia Woodson and London Parker meet on the set of cooking competition show, Chef’s Special. Dahlia is a bit of a disaster and makes her national television debut by falling flat on her face. London is the show’s first openly nonbinary contestant, and after announcing their pronouns on TV to a national audience, they’re feeling a little cautious. After a less than friendly initial encounter, the pair give each other a chance, and sparks begin to fly.

This was so much fun! Love & Other Disasters was the first romance I’ve read with a non-binary main character, and I really hope that we see more of this representation in romances in the future. I can’t speak to the representation itself, but I loved London as a character, and loved that while gender identity is openly discussed in this narrative, there is so much more to the story here. Kelly’s main characters are complex with solid backstories, and the dynamics between Dahlia and London felt realistic to the characters and situation.  While I often struggle with the Sunshine in a Grumpy/Sunshine dynamic (and Dahlia was still a little too Sunshine for me), I so enjoyed the relationship between Dahlia and London.

Other things I loved: THIS COVER! The pining! The depiction of consent and boundary-setting during the steamy scenes, the backdrop of a cooking competition show, the family dynamics for both characters, discussion of finances, depiction of a divorced character

I read the majority of this on audio, and Lindsey Dorcus’ narration was flawless. I had trouble putting this down, and can’t wait to read more from @anitakellywrites in the future.

Big thanks to @readforeverpub and @hachetteaudio for advanced digital and audio copies to review.

Content warnings: misgendering (but never on the page), transphobia
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We need more books like this! A love interest that is non-binary and normalizing it. Although I am sick of books that center around cooking or baking, I just can't take it anymore. But the plot aside, this book was lovely.
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Rep: queer f x pansexual NB MCs, trans SC, lesbian SCs

TW: transphobia, queerphobic parent, divorce

I really really liked this!
The first two chapters were written in such a funny and gripping way, I wasn’t able to put it down.
Dahlia is such a sweetheart, a rumbling mess, I loved her a lot. She was hilarious with her nervous talking and her messy energy!
At the beginning of the book she just got divorced after years of marriage, both her and her husband wanting different things for their future.
She is very unsure of herself and her life right now and I loved how she finally got over herself in this.
Taking risks, trying out new things, finding out what she wants for herself. Talking openly about problems.

London was so cute, the way they fell in love with Dahlia so angrily at first, I couldn’t. A hilarious grumps, without trying to be hilarious at all.
They were so brave and strong, facing national TV and coming out in front of millions of people all on their own in a town full of strangers.


This story was so sweet and wholesome and also…very hot at times. 
For me personally the ending was a little rushed and cut off too much? I had questions! I would have loved to read a few more pages about what their life together now looked like.
All in all it had a very happy ending though and that’s exactly what I wanted for these two!

Also I really liked the narrator, great voice and pacing! I would have loved for them to get a little more sarcastic and sassy for Dahlia though. Definitely would listen to an audio by them again!
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If you know me, you know I love romances with cooking or baking as a major plot point and this one was no exception! Set on a reality cooking competition, you will immediately be rooting for Dahlia and London - both in and out of the kitchen! 

This was the first romcom that I’ve read with a non binary main character, and I feel like I learned so much from it! Read this one if you love: 
•Food Network 
•LBGTQIA+ representation 
•A touch of family drama 
•A bit of insta love/friends to lovers with forced proximity 
•Sweet and kind romance 
•Great steam 

🎧I read most of this on audio and the narration by Lindsey Dorcus was incredible! She gave both characters a unique voice and I will definitely be looking for more from her!
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Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly is a charming romance about two contestants on a competitive cooking show. The story follows Dahlia, a free-spirited, recently divorced woman from Maryland; and London, who is reserved, gender nonbinary, and from Nashville. They are very different, but a love of food has brought them to the show. The tone is lighthearted and some scenes truly had me laughing out loud. I loved how charming Dahlia and London were and their growing connection.  Lindsey Dorcus wonderfully narrates the audiobook. I really enjoyed her intonation and delivery. 

Thank you Forever/Hachette Audio for providing this ebook/audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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Queer romance + cooking competition = Love & Other Disasters 

London is the first nonbinary contestant on Chef’s Special, an amatour cooking competition. Dahlia is looking to break out of the monotony of her post-divorce life, where she lacks dreams of goals.

I adored these MCs. They were so cute, relatable, and fun. Dahlia is a bit chaotic; London is trying to cope with having their family respect their pronouns. Dahlia and London both experienced personal and professional growth as they continue through the competition.

This is such a flirty, fun romance; it’s definitely open-door. This was my first book with a nonbinary lead character and I love seeing that rep. 


Recommended if you like:
-cooking/cooking shows
-open door romance
-reality TV shows
-reading diverse reps
-dual POVs


Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Audio for an ALC of this book. Love & Other Disasters is out now.
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Looking for a queer, contemporary, HEA romance? Look no further! With L&oD you get:

f/nb queer romcom 
Reality cooking show vibes
„Red, White and Royal Blue“ meets „You Had Me At Hola“
Openly nonbinary main character (pronouns used a lot bc the book is written in 3rd person)
Divorcée (by her own will)
Forced proximity
Grumpy & sunshine
Banter, banter, banter 

London and Dahlia’s love story is cute, gentle, unconditional, steamy and mature. Following them on the set of a competitive cooking show was super fun. I liked how the book also shows some problematics these kinds of shows often bring. 

Mild spoiler: I lived for the interaction between Dahlia and her mother towards the end! 

I definitely want to read more of Anita Kelly’s books now. They’re here to stay! The pacing was chef’s kiss (pun intended) and the character’s felt super authentic.
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4.25 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Hachette Audio for an alc of this book.

London is the first openly nonbinary contestant on a cooking show and Dahlia is there to recover from the destruction of her marriage. And this is a romance, so they obviously fall in love.

This is such an adorable book! The characters are so lovable and I absolutely loved going on this journey with them! I love the setting of the cooking show and how everything pans out.

One complaint I have is that some parts felt like they were really skimmed over and didn't spend enough time on them. It felt a little like the pacing was just uneven in various places of the book.

I did really like this one though and it was an adorable romance! Also loved the audiobook narrators!

Content Warnings
Graphic: Sexual content and Transphobia
Moderate: Dysphoria, Homophobia, and Alcohol
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Love & Other Disasters is a wonderful, feel good romance about 2 contestants who meet on a cooking show.  Dahlia is recently divorced and looking for a fresh start, and is gifted at finding unique food combinations.  London is a non-binary chef trying to start a non-profit to help LBGTQIA2S+ youth. The food descriptions in this story were delicious and so were the characters and their budding attraction.  I think this is the first book I have read where one of the main points of view uses they/them pronouns and I found it empowering and educational, I have a lot to learn about gender identities and this was such a sweet way to become more familiar with them!

Lindsey Dorcus did a great job of narrating the audiobook, she really brought out the fun and romance in the story.
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