Review: Acting Up by John Inman

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.

John Inman writes in many flavors, comedy, romance, horror, drama, mystery, and he can own any of those genres. Acting Up is an addition to his RomCom flavor menu and I do so love this menu. It was a perfect escape into some fun and romance.

While Acting Up may not be the most realistic of story arcs, it is what I want reality to be and real realism is not what I’m there for when I’m reading a FluffInmantastic tale. That’s a word now, just FYI.

Malcolm Fox is a struggling actor with passable talent that he has no delusions of grandeur about. He loves it though and so he soldiers on. He and his roommate, Beth plod along in menial jobs in order to pursue their passions, they‘re young and full of snark making their banter fun to read. Malcolm is described as, and admittedly is, kinda self-absorbed, but he owns and it and he’s not a bad guy by any means.

Sure, Malcolm is pretty much all about Malcolm, but he’s never really had a reason not to be and he’s no more so than most at that age. He’s on a slow road to self-discovery and that’s what Acting Up is all about. Malcolm has never been in love so he just rolls with whom and what feels good. His world gets thrown out of whack when Beth’s hunky country boy brother, Cory, moves in with them in San Diego from his small hometown in Missouri.

Cory is made of muscles, innocence and a sweetness that Malcolm just can’t deny. He assumes Cory is straight (Cory moved to SD after breaking up with his girlfriend, so it makes sense that Malcolm would make that assumption) but all is not what it seems on that front and honestly reading about Cory and his coming out was ideal. I loved the dynamics between the two of them from the moment they met until the final page.

Cory was on his journey coming out, and while Malcolm was out and proud, he still had a journey of his own to figure out who he was as Grown-Up/Not-Selfish Malcolm. They were on two different life adventures, but their paths crossed at just the right time, making all the perfect RomCom moments happen deliciously.

Inman makes the absolute best secondary cast and they always play an integral role, especially so in his FluffInmantastic offerings. Beth, Malcolm’s roommate and Cory’s sister is awesome but even better is Malcolm’s mom. Any description I give is not going to do her justice, but suffice it to say, she’s not an oatmeal cookie mom, she’s a gin and tonic mom, I love her.

Acting Up is the antithesis book you need to have queued up after you’ve read something heavy and angsty or when real life just gets too real, that’s what I saved it for and it worked beautifully.

For more information and to get your copy of Acting Up, head over to Dreamspinner Press.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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