Monday, 24 January 2011

Review – Love Means…No Fear © Andrew Grey

Love Means…No Fear

Series: Farm 5

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinners Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

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

 

“Do you know if anyone called my work?” Raine didn’t even try to open his eyes. He was comfortable, and that was all he could ask for right now.

“I did. Your boss stopped in while you were out of it. He seemed upset and asked me to call him if anything happened. He seemed like a really nice guy. In fact, a number of people have stopped by, but the hospital wouldn’t let them in. It seems you’re still quite the social butterfly.”

“Mr. Abernathy stopped in? That’s nice.” The medication seemed to be taking over again, and Raine didn’t fight it. At least when he was asleep, nothing hurt. Opening his eyes again, Raine found another man sitting next to Geoff, the two of them talking softly.

“I’m Officer Clark with Chicago PD.” The huge man stood up, and Raine knew that if he’d been feeling better, he’d be all over the man who was just his type: tall, dark, and yummy. “I have just a few questions for you.”

Raine nodded slowly. “I’ll try to help.”

“Good.” He opened his notebook and began writing. “Did you see the man who hurt you?”

“Yeah.” Raine closed his eyes again, and a picture of the man’s face filled his mind. “I thought he was going to kill me.” Raine shuddered and was rewarded by a stab of pain in his chest and side. “He had a knife, and I figured he was going to stab me any time. He knelt near me, so I got a good look at him. I think someone else coming by saved my life.” His thoughts weren’t terribly coherent, but he was trying.

“We got fingerprints from the scene. If I were to bring by some pictures later, do you think you could identify him?”

“I’ll try.” Raine felt his eyes getting heavy again. “They kept saying all kinds of things. Calling me faggot and stuff.”

“Sir, do you believe this was a hate crime?” the officer asked softly.

Raine kept his eyes closed, it felt better. “Yeah, it definitely was, and I’ll testify that it was. They were looking for a fag to teach a lesson to.”

“How many were there?”

“I’m not sure, but there was more than one. That’s for sure. They kept calling me names as I was kicked and hit.” Raine felt tears well in his eyes. “I really thought I was going to die.”

“I know, and we’re going to do our best to catch these guys.” Office Clark closed his notebook. “I’m going to let you rest, but I’ll be back in a few days when you’re feeling better, and hopefully I’ll have some news for you.” He walked toward the door. “Do you have someone to stay with you when you get out of the hospital? You really shouldn’t be alone after something like this.”

Raine was about to answer when Geoff spoke up. “When he gets out, he’s coming to stay with me for a while.” Geoff followed the police officer out of the room, giving him what sounded like additional information, and Raine  let his eyes close again. Geoff would take care of him; he could let everything else go.

© Andrew Grey

 

My Thought

I finally found the time to catch up with one of Andrew Grey latest releases LOVE MEANS..NO FEAR recently. I have been following this series since book one and all the characters feel like old friends and so I know to find the cosiest spot to sink into before I open the pages of any of these books.

When I read the blurb of the book  I really wasn’t sure what to think because Raine, who I meet in book one was not one who I would think of being pair up with an innocent and unworldly Amish boy – but this is Grey’s world and so far I have enjoyed all his paring so I delved in.

The story starts with Raine in a setting where he is comfortable – his job, a setting where he is still amazed that he is in, has working in a place where you love what you do and is accepted wholeheartedly for your sexual orientation is not something that alot of gay men can say they have.

Within a few pages Raine’s happiness and joy at what should be a day of fun and laughter at a gay pride celebration turns to horror when he is violently attacked.  When his closest and dearest friend Geoff turns up to take care of him he is relieved and goes one step further and goes home with Geoff to his farm for some much needed R&R and time to heal.

The main bits of this story actually starts once Raine arrives on the farm and this is where I feel like I start zoning out of this story.

Raine is not the only new arrival at the farm, there is also Jonah. Jonah just happens to be the brother of Geoff’s partner Eli, and he on his one year break from the Amish community, where he has been feeling trapped in for sometime now – but not knowing anything different he is at a crossroad in his life and literally have no idea what to do.

Raine and Jonah provide the main angst of the story with misunderstanding, insecurities and just general cuteness…

What I liked

I am pleased that Raine was getting a story- while I had some niggle with the overall production itself, I really liked Raine from the moment I met him in book one and I am glad he got his HEA.

When I read book one in this series I remember thinking Grey was really respectful to the Amish society and I am glad to see that he has highlighted the positive and the negative of the Amish way in LOVE MEANS..NO FEAR . I saw people who were happy with the life they had, I saw people who had common sense as well as people who were a pain in the arse – it was a nice balance to see as the two people whose life we are exposes to from the Amish community was not happy there at all.

Niggles

I just couldn’t connect with Jonah at all, while he was sweet and he was in a situation that you cannot help but feel for him – I just thought him too plain of a character. Greys characters for me generally bring bring something special to each and every book – Jonah felt forced and paper thin in terms of personality and character.

The speed of the connection between the two main protags did not work for me at all.. I can deal with insta-love, but both these men have issues and baggage a plenty and i wished Grey had given them a chance to learn more about each other before hooking them up.

The personality changes that Raine and Jonah went through within a few scenes was too quick, too drastic and just felt unrealistic. Jonah, a naive and untried young man seem to want something that he has been taught from birth as being wrong, while Raine who has always been the life and soul of the party suddenly becomes the voice of reason and the one holding back. 

There was a mystery of sort surrounding Raines attack, but that never really held any tension and as such the people who pass through the book to support this plotline were just cute and made for sweet reading a little bit of side humour.

In some respect Raine’s and Jonah’s relationship was almost a mirror image of Geoff and Eli’s path to happiness – the leaving, the missing and the compromise… and I was a little annoyed by this.

Bottom-line

There is something about Andrew Grey’s style that makes me rush out and buy his books on release day  and for the most part I am always left with a smile and in a happy place after reading one of his books.

With each Love Means book the characters are the driving force behind each story for me, With this fifth instalment the charm is fading and I was really pushed to connect with either the story or any of the characters and the book just feels like it's piggy backing on bits and pieces from the previous four books.

To be honest I am quite pleased that the author only has one more story planned for this series as the ranch is getting mightily crowded now.

Fan’s of the series – it’s a nice catch up book, all the old favourite makes an appearance and just as myself you will enjoy Raine and Jonah rather sweet courting scenes. New readers, with five books published and only one more to go – get stuck in especially if you like just an all round sweet read..   

1 Speak To Me:

Eyre on 24 January 2011 at 23:48 said...

Great review! I enjoyed this one, but I do agree that the speed of the relationship was a bit fast. I do appreciate how respectful Grey is to the Amish. Like any group, there are going to be both good and bad. I read another book by a different author that was very negative toward them, and it really bothered me.