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Lenore

I'm a hopeful cynic.

Galley Proof - Eric Arvin **This review contains major spoilers.**By way of a prologue, I would like to say that this is my first book by Eric Arvin and I truly find the man has potential for greatness. He can be funny and witty and emotional; and he can write. Which is not a given for many published authors. So I will keep an eye out for Eric Arvin's other work.My issue with this book though was that it seemed to want to say and achieve too much, ending up being all over the place. And it was like it was written by two different people: the first half by Noel Coward and the second half by Paulo Coelho. Also, it felt like it wanted to be a movie directed by Blake Edwards and with the theme music composed by Henry Mancini but had to make do with Nora Ephron and a soundrack of non original pop hits.My pick? My theme song for the first half of the book would be Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds. It describes Logan Brandish's situation pretty accurately. With his mildly successful career as a romantic writer and his neat, predictable, monotonous life, his clean cut, boy-scout of a boyfriend, Curtis (who loves cardboard boxes and that's pretty much all that excites him), and the quiet, completely unexciting, small town of Adbury where he lives in a big Victorian house with his bestie, Janey, who has this thing for Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons. (By the way, I didn't get if the Mormons and the Witnesses were there to help Janey release her pent-up sexual energy or for some other, more profound, reason.)But one fine day humdrum Logan, who's also suffering from a bad case of writer's block, meets cover-model handsome and funny and riproarious Brock Kimble, his new editor, who's also determined to make his next book hit first place on Amazon's Gay & Lesbian bestseller list. Brock is so different from anyone Logan's ever met and he rocks Logan's world. They chat on line and they exchange emails and funny videos and they have coffee at cosy little romantic cafes and they even chase an unruly umbrella in Logan's garden during a rainstorm. They soon end up having mind-blowing sex and thank Heavens Logan had the sagaciousness to break up with Curtis before that happened. Or was it Curtis that broke up with him first to chase his cardboard dream around the world? Who cares. What matters is that the more time Logan spends with Brock the deeper he realizes his emotions are for the man. But Brock isn't the relationship type or, rather, he can't commit to a relationship right now so they part ways. Now, not only Logan has to nurse his semi-broken heart but he also gets assigned to a new editor, Miss Frances Barlow, who's the polar opposite of Brock. She's older and she's stern (and she could be Linda Hunt's twin sister or Imelda Staunton's double in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and she seems to hate both him and his work. Which takes us to the second part of the book. I got two theme songs for this one: You've Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman and Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin.When even Logan's old arthritic neighbour, Grace, (who kinda jumps from the roof of her house just for the adrenaline rush) unceremoniously tells him he's boring and urges him to do something about it or else he'll end up like Miss Barlow the self-professed spinster, Logan decides to step out of his comfort zone and seize the day like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. So he takes a trip to Europe. That's where he meets Lady Vera and Miss Cassie Bloom, who are friends of his ex porn star friend Cliff and who could easily have lived in The Birdcage before hijacking the second part of Galley Proof. So. They all head to Rome, where they paint the town red on a daily basis and where Logan meets Marco (straight out of the movie Il Postino) and Roberto, the romantic bouncer (who also enjoys to be spanked from time to time), his new playmates who fill his international void, both alternately and at once.There's also this very famous and very popular and rich but in reality very lonely author, Bradley Homlick (who kinda reminded me of Elliot Gould in Ocean's Eleven.) Bradley lives in this 17th century mansion somewhere near Rome, with the added plus of a nearby beach. Logan knows him from the Internets and he visits him to ask for advice about that book he's still struggling to write. But, alas, not only does he leave the place none the wiser but he also stumbles upon Curtis (yes, the ex-boyfriend), frolicking on the beach with a couple of guys who enjoy groping his bubbly, thong-clad ass. And then Logan (with some help from Curtis) has an epiphany and he realizes life is too precious to spend it doing things you don't like and decides he doesn't want to write that book after all and that he'll save himself for Brock but he doesn't want to go back to Adbury and have to put Janey's fires out. So he invites Janey and his scatterbrain mother over instead. And guess who Janey brings along. Exactamundo: Brock.Then they have this huge party at Logan's place, and everybody's there, even the evil Frances, who guess what, doesn't hate Logan after all. And they all live happily ever after. Dreamspinner Press kindly provided me with an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review