Book Reviews

Not on My Bucket List by Tom Munroe at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Mature Lovers / May/December / Interracial / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 05-January-2019

Book Blurb

When Sam goes on a gay website looking for romance, he finds more than he bargained for. Rejecting all the usual requests for hook-ups, he searches for something more sincere. And he finds it in the most unexpected of places, as he is drawn to the profile of a man in a faraway place.

Amir, an Algerian descended from desert nomads, has posted a profile looking for the love of his life. Sam finds it amazing that a gay man born in the Algerian desert has the bravery to not only declare he is gay, but also to admit his dream is to find a husband to spend his life with.

While Sam doesn’t consider himself the marrying kind, he starts chatting with Amir, telling himself he just wants to learn about another culture. His friends laugh at him, saying this man just wants to use him to emigrate to the west and take him for his money. But he refuses to believe it, sensing a sincerity he has never seen with anyone else. The two begin a dialogue that moves to weekly Skype sessions, discussions of religion and world politics, assistance with life challenges and, finally, a declaration of love ... and an invitation.

Can these two men from vastly different worlds and cultures meet and find common ground for a romance? The challenges are great, and spending a life together seems like an impossible dream. While Sam’s friends continue to discourage him, he knows he cannot give up this man. Is Amir sincere, or is Sam being used?

There is only one way to find out if Amir is really sincere. And Sam knows what he has to do.

Book Review

This is a story about love against the odds, going against the tide, and finding happiness in the most unexpected places. Battling the issues of a long-distance, cross-cultural relationship is not easy, and the two main characters face more than one obstacle while still getting to know each other. Sam is an American and Amir is a Muslim living in a small village ten hours from Algiers, there are eighteen years between them, and very few of Sam’s friends are supportive – Amir can’t even tell his friends or family how much Sam means to him because being gay is illegal and taboo in Algeria. But once these two men have fallen in love and admit as much to each other, they are determined to win a fight that seems hopeless.

As Sam well knows when he goes on a gay website to try to find romance not just a hookup, the likelihood of him finding something more permanent than a fling is extremely low. When he finds Amir’s profile he is not even primarily interested in romance, but he does want to find out more about a man who lives in a very different part of the world, and whose culture and religion are not at all like what Sam is used to in the US. It turns out to be a journey of discovery. There is physical travel when Sam visits Algeria and later Morocco because the US will not even grant a tourist visa to Amir, but there are mental and emotional developments as well.

The different places Sam visits are very well described, and seeing them through his eyes as well as finding out about foreign foods and customs, was a lot of fun. Watching him and Amir build a relationship despite the distance turned out to be very rewarding, and the solutions they found may seem obvious (knowing the political climate right now), but there was never any certainty that any of their attempts to be together would be successful. The resulting suspense had me engaged throughout.

If you prefer your romances to be on the unlikely side, if watching lovers overcome obstacles of various kinds before they can be together is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read filled with discoveries, revelations, learning new things, and surprising experiences, then you will probably like this novella.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by JMS Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 48167 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-December-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link