Acting Up (PIU’s Review)

Acting Up.Title: Acting Up
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 23rd Dec, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Page Count : 200
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

It’s not easy breaking into show biz. Especially when you aren’t exactly loaded with talent. But Malcolm Fox won’t let a little thing like that hold him back.

Actually, it isn’t the show-business part of his life that bothers him as much as the romantic part—or the lack thereof. At twenty-six, Malcolm has never been in love. He lives in San Diego with his roommate, Beth, another struggling actor, and each of them is just as unsuccessful as the other. While Malcolm toddles off to this audition and that, he ponders the lack of excitement in his life. The lack of purpose. The lack of a man.

Then Beth’s brother moves in.

Freshly imported from Missouri of all places, Cory Williams is a towering hunk of muscles and innocence, and Malcolm is gobsmacked by the sexiness of his new roomie from the start. When infatuation enters the picture, Malcolm knows he’s really in trouble. After all, Cory is straight!

At least, that’s the general consensus.

I liked this book and the characters but the plot not so much. There are various elements in this book which gives a great boost to the story but the plot sizzles and loses its shine after the big wait is over. This novel is a coming out story with lots of dry humor, sweet and subtle romance, friendly banter and quirky and upbeat characters.

Malcolm Fox is 26 and he is trying his best to break into the movie business along with his best friend and roommate, Beth. He knows that with the very questionable amount of talent he possesses, a big Hollywood break is not in his stars anytime soon. But his main concern is that he will never find love like a normal person. Malcolm’s crazy but wise mother is sure that romance is not too far away for him but he is skeptical about his mother’s crystal ball predictions. Then in walks Cory Williams in his life. The cowboy-hunk is Beth’s big brother and he needs a place to stay until he can find a job and stand on his own two feet. Malcolm is in instant lust but Cory is straight and Malcolm knows not to fall for his straight roommate. But as they spend every day together going about their show business misadventures, Malcolm finds himself falling for the big and gorgeous man more and more. Malcolm knows Cory can never be his but he is in for a BIG surprise as his object of desire may not be as straight as everyone thinks!!!

I loved being in Malcolm’s head. He is feisty, full of sarcasm and dry humor and a little selfish. He is a great guy to his best friend who shares his woes about their not too grand career or the lack of one thereof. Malcolm has never been in love and that’s his biggest concern rather than his painfully non-existent movie career. Cory is exactly what he needed to fall in love for the first time. The innocent and sweet Cory with his bull dog (and his boa-constrictor *shudders*) comes into his life like a breath of fresh air. But Cory being straight is not something that would have worked for Malcolm’s romantic plans. So he settles for being Cory’s best friend. Slowly but steadily Cory comes out of his shell and gives up his secret, which finally works wonders for Malcolm’s gigantic crush on the man.

As I said the writing and the character development is really nice. Malcolm will never bore you and when you put Cory, Beth and Malcolm’s crazy, psychic mother in the mix, the read becomes very engaging and fun. There is a big wait for Cory to spill his beans and the reveal is handled with enough feelings to make you sigh happily. There is just no plot twist or a solid story as such after the couple gets together. There is no angst in the romance and the lovebirds share their first “I Love You”s without any drama but I just felt that there was something missing at the end.

Overall, I had fun reading this story. The humor, crazy banter, romance and also the pets made me giggle and smile (not when Leonard, the boa-constrictor wiggles in Malcolm and Cory’s bed. That was horrifying!!!) I just wanted more from the plot to up my ratings.

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Review copy of Acting Up provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.