Dana reviews Hollywood Bound (Gin & Jazz Book 1) by Morticia Knight (Published by Totally Bound Publishing, November 1, 2013, 192 pages) A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
This week each reviewer chose a different genre for review. I chose historical, and Hollywood Bound was a book I wanted to review for a while. It was a perfect opportunity, and the 1920’s seem like an interesting time to me.
Blurb: The 1920’s are filled with gin, jazz, and the promise of easy money. When the young and innocent Jack heads to Hollywood with his best friend and lover – he believes that everything will be magical for them. They just need to stick together, no matter what.
The celluloid kingdom demands a hefty price from all who want a piece of the dream. Sacrifices must be made if you want to be a part of the glitz and glamour. Flappers, screen idols and the men behind the star-making machine all conspire to interfere with Jack’s happiness. Along the way, many of Hollywood’s players discover that unfortunately, sometimes dreams do come true.
Hollywood Bound by Morticia Knight
Book one in the Gin & Jazz series
Jack and Nick seek fortune and adventure in the silent film era of Hollywood. But their newly-expressed love is threatened by the heady allure of fame, gin and easy money.
Sweet and innocent nineteen year-old Jack has loved the older and more street wise Nick from almost the first time he met him. Nick has taken care of him ever since Jack arrived in New York after he was beaten and thrown out of the boy’s orphanage for messing around with one of the guys there. They share a passion for silent films and have dreams of heading west to make their fortunes building sets for the studios. If only Nick felt the same passion for Jack, and wasn’t already engaged to a gal back in Philly.
Nick’s temper sometimes gets the best of him, but that’s only because he worries about Jack — Nick is all the poor kid has. But he’s also terrified about the way he’s been feeling towards Jack lately. They’re the kinds of feelings he should be having for his fiancé—Penelope—and never for a man. His only goal is to get them both to Hollywood, where he’s sure they’ll be rolling in the dough in no time, and where everything will all work out the way it should.
Hollywood isn’t exactly what they’d thought it would be. There are plenty of gin joints, jazz, money, parties and sex—but everything comes with a hefty price. Everyone they meet—from Trixie Fox, the ditzy up and coming starlet, to Bernie, the foreman who gets them their first studio job—seems to have a hidden agenda. Can the newfound love between Jack and Nick survive the tawdry mess that makes up the glitz and glamour of the celluloid kingdom, or will their own secrets tear them apart forever?
Morticia Knight did a fantastic job setting the scene for this book. I felt like I was transported to the roaring 20’s with the speakeasies and flappers. I had a vivid picture of what it was like being a laborer in New York and the things one might do to break into the motion picture industry in California during that time. She loaded the story with 20’s slang so that it felt believable. I’m not extremely familiar with that time but it felt very realistic to me.
I’ve reviewed a few historical m/m romances for this site but they have been set in Victorian England. While the early 1900’s is closer to the present, it is still a good deal different than today. Gay men might not be imprisoned for their pursuits of the same sex, but it is still not something that can be flaunted as Jack and Nick find out. Jack is a pretty innocent character at the beginning of this story even though he was kicked out of an orphanage at a young age for having feelings for one of the other boys. When he arrives in New York with the little money the priests gave him, he meets Nick who is there to work with his uncle. Nick has convinced himself he was straight even though he has no real desire for his fiancee or any other woman for that matter.
Jack’s naivety makes Nick very protective of him, and Jack has no problem leaning on Nick for support. Nick knows Jack is gay because Jack wouldn’t think to hide it, but he makes no move to be with him. He has a very clear picture about what being a man is and his feelings for Jack aren’t it. The two can’t resist each other for long, though, and Nick’s protective streak lends itself well to be Jack’s dominant. It is not a full-on bdsm relationship. No safewords or contracts, but they do take on dom and sub roles and enjoy it.
The story moves on from the cold streets of New York to the warmer Hollywood lots in California. Nick is even more protective of Jack than before. I think it’s sweet, I can’t fault Nick for wanting to shield Jack any more than I would blame Jack for basking in that protection. Unfortunately that means that Nick has to start lying about certain things. That wouldn’t be the worst thing someone could do, but Nick’s frustrations sometimes have their way of coming down on Jack and that makes me somewhat dislike Nick for points of the story. When Jack finds himself becoming interested in starring in films instead of just working on the sets, more tension is added and their relationship becomes very unstable. One wrong move can and will prevent the two men from their happy ever after ending.
Warning – There is a cliffhanger ending on this book with no hea or hfn but it is just book one of a series and the rest of the books are all released so there isn’t any waiting if you need to find out what will happen for Jack and Nick next. Despite my small grievances with Nick, I really love these boys together. After all they have been through in this book, I am definitely rooting for them. I will be reading the rest real soon. I think if you like a story where the happy ending is hard won and you like to experience a different time, you will definitely enjoy this book. I recommend it.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys a good saucy tale, with MM and MMF pairings. Since she loves several genres, you may find your heroes in a contemporary, historical, paranormal or sci-fi setting. One of her passions is bringing people’s fantasies to life on the page, because life is too short for even one boring moment. Her stories are volcanic in heat, deep in emotion, and sprinkled with doses of humor. When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. The Pacific Northwest is the ideal spot to enjoy both hiking and beachcombing. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern coast of Oregon, where the constant rain and fog remind her of visits to her family in England and Scotland when she was a child. She is currently working on a new historical MM series, as well as a steampunk horror and sci-fi ménage.