by Emma Hart
The Holly Wood Files #5
If I thought Holly Woods was crazy before, I was wrong. Devin is finally married. Nonna's on the wedding warpath. Drake might be getting ideas. His mom just dropped a bombshell, and Bek is caught between a hot as hell FBI agent and my super-sweet little brother. And I still don't have the shoe closet Drake promised me when he moved in six months ago. At least there's one positive: the old, abandoned Holly Woods Theater is about to reopen, and there's nothing like a theater opening to bring people together... And make crazy grandmothers forget proposal agendas. Until that theater comes with a dead body. A very, very, very dead body. Chaos is coming to town. Everything I've ever known about Holly Woods might just be about to change.
They say that change is good, right? It's boring to eat the same foods over and over. It's staid to vacation at the same place every year. It's confining to wear the same clothes every day. Change can be good for a series as well, just as long as the author retains that which makes the books so special. I like the Holly Wood Files series for it's brash and sass. I like Noelle's fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants craziness. In other books, I might find her behavior annoying, but the author balances her with Drake in such a way, that I find Noelle's actions are mostly endearing. Because of these things, this book is surprising. It lacks the antics that I find amusing. I feel like I waited the whole book for something to happen.
"Yet it all seems...dull."At at times, so did this book. This story focuses more on Noelle being mindful of her risk-taking and more considerate of Drake's feelings about engaging in behavior that puts her life on the line. She acts more mature. Normally, I applaud that kind of character growth, but I'm wondering if Ms. Hart dialed it back too far.
I appreciate the increased focus on the relationship between the hero and heroine. I love getting more of Drake. We get to know him better, taking a deeper dive into his character. Dealing with a family tragedy with his father, Drake confronts some of his own deep seated insecurities. Noelle gets to step up and this time, be the emotional support for Drake. It is a nice development.
Most of Noelle's crazy family and friends make a brief appearance again, but I keenly feel their absence. Nonna is Nonna and she is in rare form, but her brothers do not have much presence in this book and I wish their stories could be developed further. The same can be said about her best friend, Bek, and the other employees in her detective agency.
"If I have to be crazy, then, bella, I wanna be crazy with you."
Though a nice read, it is missing that special spark that characterizes the earlier books. Perhaps, we can get just a dash of more crazy in future books.