Title: All Alone in a Sea of Romance
Author: B.G. Thomas
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (316 pages)
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by jeayci
Review Summary: I didn’t really enjoy it but can see how others would, especially if you enjoy soap operas.
Blurb: I’m Jude Parks, writer of gay romances. Even though I’m good at what I do, the irony is that I haven’t exactly been lucky in love. My friend Jeannie says it’s because I settle for Mr. Right Now instead of holding out for Mr. Forever. I say I’d rather regret what I have done than what I haven’t.
I only came to Romantic Voyages, the biggest romance convention in the country, for business. Yet in no time I got mixed up with a gorgeous cover model, weeping artists, drag queens, and crazy housewives—and became the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Well, they say any press is good press.
Maybe I should’ve stayed home. But then I never would’ve met Tommy Smith, the craziest, most outrageous, silly, sexy man I’ve ever known—a man who makes me wonder if it may be worth holding out for Mr. Forever. A man who might turn my rotten luck around. But only if we survive the weekend and I clear my name….
Review: I thought this story had a lot of promise, and I wanted to love it, but it didn’t quite work for me. The reasons it didn’t work for me may not be issues for other readers, or may even be positives.
I liked Tommy a lot, but although we’re often told that Jude finds Tommy (surprisingly) sexy, and it’s clearly important to him that Tommy not think he’s a slut, I just didn’t feel the chemistry. I felt chemistry with Dino, and thought they just needed to spend some time getting to know each other for real magic to happen. So even though the blurb mentioned Tommy, I sort of forgot that and thought Dino would be the love interest.
When I realized it would be Tommy instead, my enthusiasm waned but I soldiered on and trusted that I’d warm up to the idea. I found Tommy and Jude both “real” enough people, with good and bad qualities. I loved that they weren’t typical romance heroes. And I could definitely see them becoming great friends. But lasting lovers? By the end of the book I had warmed up to the idea a bit, but I still wasn’t totally convinced.
Tommy turned out to be my favorite character, I loved him as the “best friend” and wanted to see him find a man and HEA of his own. Except for the little detail that he supposedly just had, with Jude. And I still missed Dino because I thought he and Jude had real potential. So the romantic pairings just never quite worked for me. Actually, it might have worked best for me if Jude had been left out entirely and Tommy and Dino ended up together.
I’m also not a fan of breaking the fourth wall, so the detailed descriptions and real names at the conference – like Amy Lane and her knitting – made me uncomfortable. It seemed like one of the many blog posts I’ve read talking about the GRL experience, but with an added twist like I was reading a newbie author’s fantasy of making it big. Maybe that’s a testament to what well-written fiction it is, but making me cringe and squirm with embarrassment does not make for the most enjoyable reading experience.
I also had lots of little proofreading niggles, like the “isle” in the grocery store. That sent me off on a mental tangent, as it always does, imagining palm trees and fruity umbrella drinks at the market. Totally trivial, but distracting from the story.
So while this book didn’t work for me, I can see how it could work for people who like Tommy as Jude’s love interest. I also think anyone who loved Eighties soap operas might love this, because although I only watched them one long-ago summer, it rather reminded me of them.