Well, this is certainly a combination of books for y’all. I read Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly in January and was supposed to post a review, but, um, I did not do so. So here we are in February and I’m finally sharing it with you! Along with Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher, which dropped on February 8th so you can get it now. I received ARCs of both of these books from the publisher via Netgalley and consumed neither book as a digital ARC. I grabbed Love & Other Disasters from BOTM and then purchased an audiobook of Not the Witch You Wed because I really am struggling a bit with digital reading. I’m a work in progress, y’all. Anyway, let’s dive into my thoughts, shall we?
Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
Love & Other Disasters was my first Anita Kelly, but certainly not my last. Kelly drops us right into the scene of this cooking competition show, which I appreciated because getting right to the promise of the premise delights me. We get this fantastic meet-disaster situation where Dahlia runs right into London and immediately starts word vomiting in a way that thankfully London and I both agreed was absolutely adorable. Of course, London is not got at conveying that they are immediately charmed by this woman with all of her gorgeous hair, but fortunately, we don’t linger for too long in this dislike of one another space.
What I loved about this book is that Dahlia’s messiness in the way that she’s moving through her divorce and realization that she doesn’t have the life that she wants felt so realistic and relatable. I think people who don’t like books where people in their late 20s or early 30s don’t have it all figured out may find this book frustrating, but for anyone who finds that incredibly relatable, here’s your siren call. It’s also fantastic that the physical copy of this book has a little image of an onion with the chapter headings because toward the end you may have thought I was chopping onions the way I was tearing up. This book tugged on my heartstrings in all of the best ways!
It was also incredibly wonderful to read a book with a nonbinary romantic interest lead. London has really taken an incredibly brave step, choosing to be out on this show, but I like that we also get to see the bravery required to trust Dahlia not to hurt them. There are different levels of trust and of living one’s truth and, although it’s not an experience I really have, I thought Kelly portrayed this evolving levels of trust and vulnerability so well. This is not to say that everything is 100% hunky dory and everyone involved in the show is perfect and gracious and accepting, because there is a person on the show who is less than kind about it. Not to mention the fact that not all the individual’s in London’s family are good about it. But I think overall, the book stays on the lighter end, though it is balanced out with angst enough that it caused the tears. Maybe I just can’t review books today. It’s hard to say.
Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher
I really enjoyed this Not the Witch You Wed and am very much looking forward to the next books in this series. It is not a perfect book, but it was a really fun one for me. So let’s talk about it.
Why I Liked This Book: The audiobook was well-narrated, it was engaging and held my attention, and I liked the sisters, found family, and bio family dynamics and how they were explored. I also mostly enjoyed the romance, although I could see how it might not be everyone’s favorite.
What I Mean when I Say “It’s Not a Perfect Book:” The world building is utterly baffling if you stop and think about it because if paranormals have been out in the open for years then how are there shows like The Vampire Diaries to watch? It just seems very strange. Some aspects of the romance felt like mayyyyyybe slightly underdeveloped. It’s a second chance romance, but the first chance aspect felt confusing to me, like I didn’t have a good grasp of what it looked like, which meant that the emotional impact was sort of compromised. However, second chance isn’t my favorite trope, so I didn’t necessarily mind that and chose to mostly think of it as a dislike to love relationship.
But if you like books where you get a lot of family dynamics of different kinds and you don’t mind sort of hand-waving world-building, then you may also enjoy this one!
Since both of these have been out for a bit, maybe more of you have read them already? If so, what did you think? If not, are they on your TBR? Let me know!