Erryn reviews ‘Rescued (Rescued Hearts Series Book 1)’ by Felice Stevens. This book was released by the author on September 5, 2016 and is 380 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Charlie David and released on March 14, 2017. The audiobook is 9 hrs and 1 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for honest reviews.
Why I read this book:
[Erryn]. Anything by Felice is at the top of my list. Oh, and the dogs, of course.
Ryder Daniels is all too familiar with rejection. His parents cut off contact because he’s gay and his boyfriend left him, choosing drugs over love. Aside from his rescued pit bull, his only joy is hanging out with his younger brother. Then his mother does the unthinkable and forbids them from seeing each other, leaving Ryder devastated and alone. His friends urge him to date, but Ryder would rather throw himself into working at the dog rescue and figuring out a way to see his brother again.
When Jason Mallory’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to get married, he shocks everyone by breaking up with her instead. He believes he’s too busy for a relationship now that the construction company he started with his brother is taking off. When he discovers a group of abandoned pit bulls and calls the local dog rescue group to pick them up, an uncomfortable encounter with Ryder causes Jason to question feelings he’s hidden deep inside for years.
Jason and Ryder build a friendship – until an unexpected kiss sparks the attraction they’ve been fighting. Jason gives Ryder unconditional love and helps him reconnect with his brother, while Ryder shows Jason the passion he’s always missed in relationships. Together, they must battle through their family differences and ugly prejudices. Only then can they prove that once you find the right person to love, there’s no turning back.
I am a huge Felice Stevens fan and I really enjoyed this book. There was, however, one scene I found disturbing.
One of the characters gets dead drunk and the other character puts him to bed and falls asleep next to him. When the sober character wakes up, he’s lying on top of the drunk guy who is clearly not completely sober. Sober guy starts humping drunk guy. Drunk guy tries to push sober guy off and sober guy keep grinding.
Okay, I was uncomfortable—and I grew up reading bodice rippers. Long before the #MeToo movement, I was a firm believer in consent. If you don’t get a clear ‘yes’ from a sober person, it’s not consent. Boring, right? Does that preclude pushing someone against a wall and kissing them passionately? Well, I’m not a prude. But if someone isn’t sober and/or they are pushing you away, you STOP. On top of that, drunk guy had bruises in the morning. Consent + bruises = HAWT. No consent + bruises = bad. If this had been a man grinding against a groggy and hungover woman, would this have been acceptable or would readers be uncomfortable and/or concerned? Okay, rant over.
I enjoyed this book.
I mean, two great guys, socially-conscious characters, family drama, and dogs? What’s not to love?
Oh, and dogs. Lots of dogs. You had me at dogs.
Ryder Daniels is a man who has been through a rough time. A bad relationship, rejection from his family when he came out, leaving the family law firm…he’s had his share of knocks. Rescuing his pit bull Pearl put him in touch with Emily and Connor, who run a pit bull rescue group. Pit bulls are a unique breed, very divisive even among dog lovers. They can be a tough breed to deal with and socializing them can be difficult, but Jason Mallory takes on the emaciated and sick puppy he found on a property he is rehabilitating.
Jason and his brother Liam have a start-up construction business and they are spending a lot of their time and effort building that business. Jason’s girlfriend Chloe demands a ring, and he walks away, easily putting their three years together in the past. Chloe is the stereotypical vapid airhead, concerned only about partying and getting married. Her one-dimensionality might have been irritating, but Emily, and later Julie, are strong female characters. I especially like Emily’s no-nonsense, take-charge manner. Oh, and Laurel and Hardy are a hoot.
The main conflict in this book is Jason trying to figure out if he’s straight, bi-sexual, or gay.
There is often an obsession in society with labels, as if they really matter. Yes, in general, they can help classify someone, but aside from who they prefer to date and/or have sex with, are they critical? Jason falls in love with Ryder. They meet, they spend time together, they become friends, and eventually it becomes more. It is society’s and familial reaction as well as Jason’s own securities that give him an excuse (in his mind), to mistreat Ryder.
That Ryder always assumes the worst doesn’t help. In some situations, i.e. dealing with bureaucrats, volunteers, and legal professionals, Ryder shines. With his mother and his ex-boyfriend Matt? Not so much. I loved how hard he worked to maintain a relationship with his much-younger brother Landon. Families are complicated.
Fortunately, this is a romance, so there’s a happy ending with a great epilogue.
And, of course, let’s not forget Ryder’s dog, Pearl, and Jason’s puppy, Trooper. Early in the book, Ryder muses that he’s not sure who rescued who. When I rescued my puppy, Ally, lots of people told me what a good thing I was doing. But she has brought laughter and colour to my life. Truly, I am the lucky one. So are Ryder and Jason.
I have to mention Charlie David, a favourite of mine. He handled this narration wonderfully, bringing the characters to life, injecting a bit of Brooklyn into the book.
8/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.