Title: Battle Born (Robbie & Sam)
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 180 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 1.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Three years after running from Thornwood, Colorado, to join the Army, Daniel Messana is no closer to figuring out who he is or what he wants out of life. Now that he’s home, his constant companions are loneliness, PTSD, and guilt over the way he mistreated one of his brothers and abandoned the other.
Franklin Cooper, or Coop, enlisted at eighteen and loved every minute he spent in the Army—until an IED in Afghanistan took his sight. Now he’s home and, with his service dog by his side, ready to regain his independence. The trouble is no one will let him do anything for himself. He’s drowning beneath his family’s oppressive love, and his only respite is the time he’s allowed to spend at the on-base pizza place once a week. That’s where he meets Daniel, and those afternoons become even more special. But both men have a lot to work through before they can take the next step together.
A companion to the Robbie & Sam series
A quick, enjoyable read.
I enjoyed the redemptive tone of Daniel, Coop’s spirit, and the overall theme of independence – whether from the father and upbringing Daniel wanted to escape or the independence necessary for Coop to really live within his new circumstances.
I haven’t read the Robbie & Sam books, and while this stood on its own, there were enough threads that actually made me glad I hadn’t read the other stories: mainly because Daniel sounds like he was a truly awful character in the other books.
In Battle Born Daniel gets redemption, partly through growing up and shaking off the yoke of his father’s hatefulness, and partly through being a soldier and being exposed to more of the world.
Coop is struggling, though not really with the limitations of his sight, but because his parents are treating him as something delicate and easily broken. Coop is ready to move on, but he’s stuck in the same place, doing the same things, until Daniel comes along.
Their relationship moves at hyper speed. They move from lunch buddies to a life together all within a very, very short time span. While I wouldn’t characterize it completely as insta-love, it’s not far from it.
I really liked Daniel. I wouldn’t call it love, not yet. But I was close to it.
Somewhere in the last few weeks he’d become more than just a friend to have pizza with. He was now someone I wanted to have pizza with forever.
Yet, it works for the most part. The characters both want to move forward with their lives and, both being in their early twenties, want it now, not later.
I was a little disappointed that while Ricci uses dual points of view to give the reader access to both characters, I didn’t feel like she really used it to give the reader an in depth look into them.
I did really like how Daniel was encouraging and supportive of Coop without being overconfident or reckless about things, and I liked how Coop was ready to explore and grow and assert his independence.
My biggest complaint is how there were just a few little things that aren’t explained very well (or maybe I just missed them) like what Daniel was doing at the Exchange in his combat uniform in the first place (just shopping? A meeting?), or what breed of dog Oona is (she’s massive – over 100 pounds), or what happened to Daniel’s horse, Cleric, that traumatized him so much.
They are small things, but they drew me out of the story to wonder about – Oona and Cleric especially – time and time again.
However, with those small niggles aside, I did enjoy the story overall and finished it quickly.
It’s a sweet story, with little angst, and a nice HFN.