Love Means…No Fear (Farm #4)

Title: Love Means… No Fear (Farm #4)
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M contemporary
Length: 210 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review
It was nice to revisit some well loved characters but I wasn’t engaged by the romantic pairing.

BLURB

Raine Baumer is living the party life in Chicago, indulging in short relationships with little emotional commitment. But after he’s severely injured in a gay bashing, close friend Geoff arrives to take him to the country to recuperate. There Geoff and his partner Eli treat him like part of the family, and Raine meets Jonah, Eli’s brother, who is exploring life in the world outside his Amish community.

Jonah and Raine’s mutual attraction draws them together, but they may not have a chance to explore it. Jonah’s father is making ultimatums, and the police believe that the attack on Raine may not have been as random as it initially appeared. Raine and Jonah will have to face what they fear most in order to have any chance at a life together.

THE REVIEW

This fifth book in the Love Means… series moves its focus onto Geoff’s friend Raine, who happily lives the wild life in Chicago. When he is attacked during a gay pride parade, Geoff brings Raine to the farm to recover. Here Raine meets Jonah, Eli’s brother who is visiting during his year away from the Amish Community. It isn’t long before the pair form an attachment, but trouble is on the horizon in the form of Raine’s attacker who seems to be tracking him.

I’ve enjoyed the Love Means… series a great deal, especially the first three books, and as a result I’d been looking forward to Raine’s story. I’d liked Raine in the past books. He’s a city boy through and through who loves living the high life and not being tied down so I liked the idea of him finding his true love.

The story begins well as we see Raine out and about with his friends during the pride event. The excitement and colour of the parade was interesting to read and Raine’s friendships with the older gay men were nicely shown. The attack on Raine was realistic without being too gratuitous. In fact the whole recovery and the aftermath of the attack on Raine was sympathetically handled and one of the better parts of the book. I felt very sorry for Raine and understood how traumatised he was by the event, and yet also determined that it didn’t ruin his life.

Things started to go downhill a little for me. once Raine gets to the farm. Some of this is because I found Jonah to be a very bland character. When we first meet Jonah, he comes across as a man who wants to please his family, but also needs to see the outside world away from the community. Jonah is at first distressed to find that his brother is a “sodomite” and I hoped for a story in which Jonah struggles with the teachings of the Community when faced with the obvious love that Geoff and Eli have for each other. I was disappointed to find that everything was resolved very quickly and within a few days Jonah has come to realise he is gay too and fallen in love with Raine. This was all so sudden, it felt forced and unrealistic. Jonah and Raine then spend the rest of the book being overly sweet and loving towards each other, thus removing any romantic or emotional tension in the relationship. Jonah’s character is defined by his innocence and sweet nature and if you love characters like this then you will be very pleased with him. I just found him a little dull. Raine too has a complete personality change from the previous books and within a day of meeting Jonah has cast off his (in my opinion, more interesting and fun) high life loving personality in favour of settling down with Jonah.

I know that easily resolved tension and sweet and tender loving is a trademark of Andrew Grey’s writing, and it honestly hasn’t bothered me with the previous books in the series. This book just pushed my ‘too sweet’ button and I lost interest in the couple and their story. Having said that, if you like books like this and are looking for a very sweet romance with lovely characters then this book will be for you.

It will be interesting to see whether Andrew Grey has any more books planned for the series. There was one character who was introduced in this book who may possibly be on hand for another hero, but I personally think that maybe the series has run its course. They are becoming remarkably similar in story right down to the ‘will they stay together or separate?’ plot, the forced separation towards the end, and the theme of the farm being a safe haven for gay men. Mind you, this may be what the fans of the series want, which is fair enough. But, I’m digressing now!

Overall, the quality of writing and the description of life on the farm were all very good, as was the interesting and dramatic opening. I liked revisiting the characters of Eli and Geoff and it was particularly nice to see Eli playing the protective older brother role. However, as the story continued the sweet romance coupled with bland characterisation meant that my attention wandered. Fans of the series, and of the tension free romance that characterises many of Andrew Grey’s books, will probably love it.

19 comments

  • Jenre, your review mirrors my feelings about this book almost to a t. I loved the other books in this series but this one did so not work for me.

    Jonah’s character didn’t make any sense to me and he was bland, as you said. Raine was a pale copy of his earlier self and those two together didn’t have much chemistry.
    The mystery tied to the gay bashing was a bit confusing and just served as an outside source of tension between the protags. I would have prefered to read more about the protags’ internal conflicts, Raine’s healing and Jonah’s journey to himself. But that kinda fell short, imo.

    Generally this story couldn’t create the typical “farm atmosphere” for me. The homey feeling was missing and since I couldn’t feel the chemistry in the romance I didn’t suffer from “sugar overload”. I like the sweet and tender thing but here I felt as if I was told it was like that but couldn’t feel it. If that makes sense.

    Anyway, what caught my attention more than the love story was Raine’s broken arm. *lol* That’s probably totally ridiculous but I’ve been wondering all the time since Raine arrived at the farm if he had a cast (he should) and wether he could do all the movements and things he did and when it came off. *shakes head* (who knows, maybe it was clarified somewhere and I missed it; but this is just a good example how the story couldn’t quite catch my interest.)

    I hope the next and supposedly last one – about Arie, Robbie’s friend – will be on par with the other installments.
    Just my very subjective two cents. 😉

    Reply
    • The next one is about Arie?? You know, I hated Arie at first, but by the end of that book he was one of my favorite characters in the whole series..

      Well, except for Eli, who I could just eat up (in a totally non-sexual way…sorta) 😉

      Reply
    • Do you know, Lilli, I’d completely forgotten about Raine’s broken arm! Yes, it’s written into the first scene of the book and then it never comes up again. I think I got distracted because the book shifts to Jonah’s POV and by the time we got back to Raine I’d forgotten about the arm! Well done for spotting that :).

      Reply
  • Hi Jenre,
    Another fan of the series here, but my favorite is still No Shame. I love Eli and Geoff (and was happy to see so much of them in this book) – unfortunately the Raine/Jonah pairing didn’t convince me in nearly the same way though – maybe because of the quick turn around Jonah did regarding finding out Eli was gay and then realizing he was too (My impressions were Eli knew he himself was gay when he left the community, Jonah did not know this about himself when he left). More time for Jonah to process it all, and for Raine to heal and recover from his beating, while the two of them nurtured their feelings for each other, would have gone a long way for me.

    What I did really like about the book is actually what others have mentioned – that it is “sweet” – sometimes that’s just what I feel like reading and Andrew Grey really writes so well about everybody on the farm pulling together and showing each other the love. Eli getting all protective of Jonah was kinda hot too! I also like the Michigan farm setting, the horses, the riding classes — probably because all of that is very familiar to me 😉

    I hope the author gives us more specific to Eli and Geoff again in the future (I’m hopeful, based on the ending of this one).

    Reply
    • Hi Dianne

      I know what you mean about sometimes wanting to read something that is sweet and is essentially just a lovely romance without too many complications. This book is perfect for that sort of reader.

      Personally, I’m not too keen on those types of books because I prefer a little spice and danger along with my romance 🙂 but I don’r begrudge anyone who wants it for themselves.

      I think you may be right that we see more of Geoff and Eli in the future. I’m not sure they’ll get their own book but will perhaps feature strongly in another couple’s book.

      Reply
  • Jen, I had the same issues with this book. There wasn’t enough conflict, everything seemed to be resolved too easily, it was a bit too sweet, and Jonah wasn’t that exciting of a character. This one was my least favorite of the series. I really loved the first three. That said, it was still a fine read, just not one of my favorites.

    Reply
  • I’ve only read the first two books which I enjoyed. This one sounds nice if a bit too sweet. I’m sure at some point I’ll read the rest of the series.

    Reply
  • I actually liked this a lot, almost as much as original Love Means… No Shame. At the same time I understand Jenre’s reaction because if the ending had been different, this would have been a wall banger for me. As for Raine, I bought his personality change since I’ve always felt he was more than a little bit in love with Eli.

    Reply
    • Hi Kaija

      I didn’t really think about the fact that Raine had a fondness for Eli. I suppose it makes a little more sense if that’s the case.

      Reply
  • Hmmm. Well, I tend to have a higher sugar tolerance than you (LOL) so we’ll see. I will definitely be reading it though, if nothingelse for the chance to revist Geoff and Eli.

    Reply
    • There was lots for fans of Geoff and Eli, especially with Raine being Geoff’s friend and Jonah being Eli’s brother.

      I shall wait for your review to see whether your sugar tolerance coped OK :).

      Reply
  • Ditto to everything Cole just said. I am/was hoping that Fear was a turnaround from Freedom but based on your review, Jenre, I don’t think it is. I already bought it so I’ll give it a whirl but this might be my last dance with the series.

    Reply
    • Hi Aisha

      You may like the book more than me. I think I was just disappointed that Raine didn’t live up to my expectations and that Jonah didn’t engage me as a character. It may be that you like both characters better than I did.

      I have to agree, though. I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out to get another book in the series, unless I hear good things about it first.

      Reply
  • I will still read this one, just because I love the series, but I’m a bit sad. I was hoping that this would be the comeback of the series.. I loved the first three books, but the last one, Love Means… Freedom, I really didn’t like it at all.

    Thanks for the review! It was nicely done 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Cole

      Thanks :).

      I actually liked the last book. Not as much as the first three, but still more than many people did.

      Um…I may be in the minority with this book cos I went over to Good Reads and lots of people really liked it over there. So you might like it more than I did too :).

      Reply
      • Well, I bought it the day it came out, so we’ll see 🙂

        Why can’t I remember who Raine is? It’s been a while since I read these books but still…

        Reply
        • Raine is Geoff’s friend from when he lived in Chicago. He appears right at the beginning of book 1 but also crops up from time to time in the other books.

          Reply

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