Even though I’ve never watched GBBO, I am loving all these cooking and baking romances. I know, I know, I will have to watch the GBBO soon. But I have just been soaking up all the measurement, oven failures, and competition drama. So when I saw Love & Other Disasters, another cooking romance featuring a nonbinary lead, I knew I had to review it. Keep reading for my full thoughts on Love & Other Disasters in this book review.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Love & Other Disasters is a character driven romance about vulnerabilities, love, and second chances. Dahlia’s character, a recently divorced heroine was absolutely fantastic to see. I can’t remember the last divorced heroine I’ve read about in a romance, and I now need more. The way she has to figure out not only her burgeoning queer feelings, but also who she is without her past relationship, was tender and emotional. As someone who got out of a long relationship, it brought back memories of wondering what’s your favorite food, and who are you without the lens of someone else.
At the same time, London immediately stole my heart. Their passion for cooking meets their family’s transphobia broke my heart, but London put it back together. Both of these characters, their banter, and their chemistry, entranced me. It’s clear from the beginning not only about their electric pull to each other, but the ways they’re able to perceive each other. How a person can see us in the space of a second. Perceive all the cracks, the too bright smiles, and the hidden hurts.
Love & Other Disasters will make your mouth water, your heart swoon, and laughter will bubble forth. It’s a story about wondering if our edges are loveable to anyone else. If we will always be stuck with our jagged pieces. It’s a testament to being loved as yourself, of working through your own fears, and of diving in consequences be damned. Love & Other Disasters is full of heart and is perfect for romance readers and those who love cooking shows. Both London and Dahlia stole pieces of my heart in their quests to figure out what’s real and what’s fake and to define who they want to be.
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