Love & Other Disasters

Anita Kelly's skillful character work, gentle humor and insightful relationship development are center stage in Love & Other Disasters. This queer romance is set on a cooking competition show and features two characters in their 20s, both vying for $100,000 and the chance to prove themselves. Recently divorced Dahlia Woodson is in debt and in a rut, so she quits the job and town she doesn't love for a chance to pursue her culinary dreams. London Parker is the first nonbinary contestant on Chef's Special and while they love cooking, they're hoping to use the prize money to launch a nonprofit for LGBTQ+ kids in their hometown of Nashville.

Kelly deftly balances the romance and individual character arcs and gives readers enough time with the cooking show to up the tension without allowing it to overshadow the romance. Dahlia's energetic and emotionally free personality complements London's steadier countenance, and Kelly insightfully highlights the way Dahlia and London admire and value their differences. Though they never compromise their own efforts, they support each other personally and professionally, their friendship growing on pace with their romance. London's privileged upbringing leads them to have unfair expectations of Dahlia, and both of them are afraid of getting attached when they could be kicked off the show in just a few days.

Love & Other Disasters is by turns funny, sweet and hot, but Anita Kelly's emotional river runs deep--this romance will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page. --Suzanne Krohn, librarian and freelance reviewer

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