REVIEW: A Risk Worth Taking by Zana Bell
“Any red-blooded American male would be all over Cressa Curtis. She’s gorgeous, she’s wild and clearly she’s open for a no-strings-attached adventure. But Adam Walker’s been there, done that. And now he wants more for himself. Even with his history, Adam still believes in love and family and marriage and the whole white picket fence—hardly what Cressa is offering.
Besides, everything about the crazy Kiwi spells danger and distraction—two things Adam can’t afford to risk with his sights set on medical school. He’s only in New Zealand for a month. Surely he can resist Cressa’s advances that long….”
Dear Ms. Bell,
I enjoyed your other book, “Tempting the Negotiator,” and have been waiting to see what you’d write about next. “A Risk Worth Taking” starts where that book left off, and peripherally continues the series first in New Zealand and then in Texas. But where that book was focused and centered, this one veered all over the place, plotwise, and ended up not working so well for me.
There is a lot going on here. A lot, a lot, a lot. Adam has his issues with his failed first marriage, the loss of his daughter in his life then – at the last minute – getting Stella back into his life, his feelings of inferiority, being a bastard, not knowing his father’s name or anything about him, his other brother being in jail, his mother as an alcoholic and how he feels about not tripping up her recovery, studying for the MCAT and, oh yes, his relationship with Cressa.
Cressa has her issues with marriage in general, her aborted first attempt at it, motherhood, the loss of her child – and this part is really papered over until the very end – her feelings about wanting to be footloose and fancy free, the relationship with her family – good but tempestuous at times, her jobs and – almost forgot – her growing love for Adam. You also include a tiny bit from Adam’s mother’s point of view. I can only hope that perhaps she’ll end up being a future heroine of her own novel or else this was totally wasted.
The bit about Adam finding out anything regarding his father is swept under the rug. There’s a touch about him reconnecting with his daughter then that’s gone. Cressa has one realization scene of losing her child then we get told about how she sobbed on the phone with others but there’s just not enough room for all this angst, and emotion and past events finally catching up with them. As for Alicia – sorry but I don’t get the feeling that this woman is an alcoholic. I also didn’t truly get that Adam burns to be a surgeon. I’m told this but I don’t see it that much. He could be studying for any major college entrance type exam.
Sweet baby Jesus these characters have a lot of edges and depths but enough is enough. Half of these issues would have done just fine and made a wonderful book but all of it together ends up like a huge group therapy session that’s totally out of control. The book just isn’t long enough to contain it all and get me to feel that justice has been done to it all.
Yet parts of this story remind me of what I liked about the first book. There is lots of stuff about NZ – how cold it is in winter, how the bay looks, the local flora and fauna – but I feel you worked it into the storyline well. It doesn’t come off as a travelogue or like a pamphlet from the Chamber of Commerce. The book definitely takes place here and doesn’t read like a generic location. The phosphorescence on the island under the crushed shells is especially cool. I also enjoyed the bits about Cressa seeing the US and Texas for the first time. Yeah, it is big. And humid around Houston.
With few issues for all around I think I would have really enjoyed this book but no sooner did something get introduced then something else would come along and push it out of the way, rinse and repeat. The resolution of the HEA took almost to the last page. I mean, smoking down to the wire with no resolution of the conflict between them being resolved in sight. There are unresolved things here which I’m guessing are to be continued in further books? But it leaves a sense of too little time spent on them in this book and a rushed tying up of some loose strings and a too quick HEA. C-