Release Day Review by Rafa: Acting Up, by John Inman

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Acting Up, by John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 23, 2016

Rating 3.5 out of 5 Stars


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.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Show Biz (Struggling Actors)

I nearly DNFed this book somewhere in the first chapter.

Our hero Malcom was rude, shallow, crass and oh, naturally, thought he was hilarious. That the book was written in the first person just magnified his horrible personality and ramped up the cringe factor for me, particularly when he broke down the fourth wall and addressed the reader directly.

But enter handsome, straight Cory, stage left, with his beefy good looks and all-around Mr. Nice Guy personality and suddenly Malcom got a whole lot more tolerable. Nice, even. And shockingly, it wasn’t even thanks to Cory’s magic dick. Well, not at first, anyway.

We’ve all kinda been there. When you’re on your best behavior because you really like someone and you don’t want them to see your bad side (even if it’s your only known side)? Or maybe your crush is easily the nicest person you’ve ever met in your entire life and it starts to rub off on you? Well, that’s pretty much what happens to Malcolm.

Speaking of rubbing off, poor Malcolm suffers in the worst way for over half the book (think of it as atoning for his past sins) which made it all the sweeter (not to mention hotter than hell) when he and (tadaa!) not-so-straight Cory finally come together. Ha, see what I did there, I said come together.

The book paints the characters in a sort of farcical light and the shenanigans that the roommates get up to are both ridiculous and hilarious. Viv, Malcolm’s hoot of a mom was a favorite of mine, with her dramatic fortune telling and relentless love life. The light tone of the book did help smooth over a few plot points that were much too convenient , such as the reason Cory moved out West, as well as (mild spoilers ahead) his getting bit by the acting bug despite seeing firsthand its lack of glamor or opportunity.

Despite its questionable start and even more questionable hero, Acting Up turned out to be unexpectedly sweet and enjoyable, and okay maybe a teeeeeeny bit funny. If you can get through the first chapter or so, you just might be pleasantly surprised.


John has been writing fiction for as long as he can remember. Born on a small farm in Indiana, he now resides in San Diego, California where he spends his time gardening, pampering his pets, hiking and biking the trails and canyons of San Diego, and of course, writing. He and his partner share a passion for theater, books, film, and the continuing fight for marriage equality. If you would like to know more about John, check out his website at… or follow him on Facebook at

You can purchase Acting Up at:
Dreamspinner Press

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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