Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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.
Acting Up by John Inman has been a hard book to review. I love John Inman. I find his books hilarious, his characters by turns gut wrenchingly funny, full of self doubt, sometimes followed by the pain of their pasts or present, nerdy, shy, verbose, hormone driven, dog loving….characters that I could always connect with and love. Then came Malcolm.
Connecting with Malcolm took some doing, especially as the book’s in his pov. For about the first 25 to maybe even 30 percent I really struggled to like Malcolm. So snarky as to be self involved, he had just one too many traits that he threatened to derail his his own story. Even Cory showing up didn’t exactly help. Not immediately. Which was probably a good thing. It wouldn’t have felt believable. Malcolm had some thinking and growing to do. So did Cory. And right when you wanted to pack this story in, a funny thing happened, the characters turned themselves and it around.
Just prior to Cory making a confession, Malcolm had started to realize that his feelings were changing and therefore, his behavior should follow. And instead of a snarky hard to read story, Acting Up becomes a wonderful, sweet contemporary romance it really could have been/was all along. This includes Malcolm’s hilarious mother who always is there for surprisingly good advice (along with her latest beau) and Cory’s sis and Malcolm’s roommate. As John Inman swings us into the end of the story, he wraps up the romance with a finale that leaves us all smiling. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get it all started.
So I don’t know what to tell you. I loved 3/4th of this book and thought that made up for the beginning. But some of you might not be able to get through that 25 percent. That decision I will leave up to you.
Cover art by Reese Dante is wonderful and a perfect representation of the characters.
ebook, 200 pages
Published December 23rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleActing Up
ISBN 1634773551 (ISBN13: 9781634773553)