Friday, September 8, 2017

Blog Tour: Survivor by T.M. Smith (Review + Giveaway)

Title: Survivor
Author: T.M. Smith
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Taylor Langford’s world is torn apart when he is only thirteen years old—his parents killed, leaving him alone and orphaned. With no living relatives, he’d certainly be another statistic if not for the intervention of the policeman who found Taylor in the crawl space where his mother hid him that fateful night. Despite the tragedy and resulting anguish in his life, Taylor knows how lucky he is.

Frank Moore is a rookie with the Dallas Police Department when he and his partner answer a call in Devonshire, one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. They think the young boy in various pictures throughout the home has been kidnapped until they find him, shaken but alive. Officer Moore recognizes the pain in the kid’s eyes, having lost his own mother to cancer when he was just a boy. He steps in, making sure Taylor is placed with a loving foster family. Over the years, Frank becomes a permanent fixture in Taylor’s life.

A decade later, the case remains unsolved and the once gangly, uncertain teenager is now a college graduate who knows exactly what he wants. He’s coming home to the man that helped mold and shape his life, the man he’s loved for as long as he can remember, Frank Moore. But Taylor isn’t the only person returning to Dallas, and while Frank is distracted by his own conflicting feelings and the new bond growing between the two, the past creeps up on them, determined to finish what was started ten years earlier.

A note from the author…

I hope you enjoy Frank and Taylor’s story. It’s been a long road to get them settled, but I’m happy with where this story has taken them. When I started this book, the intent was to write a stand-alone story, but that has changed. Characters continually evolve throughout the writing process, and there are several characters in the book that want to tell their story. I’ve grown especially fond of Rory and I can’t wait to write his book, which will take us back to when he first joined the Bureau, and continue on to his happy ever after.

Please be advised: This is a May/December romance, and as in life, there are sexual situations that take place prior to the main characters finding their way to one another. This is not gratuitous; it is meant to show character growth and self-realization. There is absolutely no cheating.

4 Stars

The unbreakable bond between Taylor and Frank starts when Frank and his partner, Caleb, responded to a disturbance call at Taylor's home, where they discover Taylor's parents have been murdered. Frank finds Taylor, just 13 at the time, hidden in the crawl space of the attic.

The murders are gruesome, but over the next ten years, Taylor and his foster parents become part of Frank's extended family and with their support and plenty of counseling, Taylor slowly heals. But all the summers spent together have changed the way Frank and Taylor see one another, and while Frank isn't quite comfortable with their ten year age gap, at 23, Taylor knows what he wants and he goes after it.

I have to say, I was really excited about this story, it was a completely different type of story then I've read from this author in the past and while I loved the mystery portion, the romance portion wasn't my favorite.

Something was off with the romance. It felt like the transition wasn't smooth enough and although Taylor is the younger of the two, he had to be in charge and dominate and assert his authority. Like he had to prove himself as an adult to Frank. He was also too possessive almost to the point of being obsessively creepy.

The mystery portion of the story was pretty terrific. It was intriguing and had some twists and turns that I never saw coming, although it was left kind of open ended, but there were some great secondary characters that I'd love to get to know better, so I'm hoping the author will give us some of their stories and turn this into a series, hopefully continuing the investigation.

The story was enjoyable and it was paced well. I loved getting a little peek at how Taylor and Frank spent some of their time, both together and alone, over the ten year span of the story. Frank and Taylor had good chemistry, and there is no denying Ms. Smith can write a scorching hot sex scene, but I just think Taylor's character needed to be dialed back a bit. He was too aggressive and extreme.

Still, this was an enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages. Recommendable!

*copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

4 Stars!

Taylor is the sole survivor of a gruesome crime where his parents were brutally killed when he was thirteen-years-old. After Frank, then a rookie policeman, found him in a crawl space in the attic of his house, he takes it upon himself to make sure Taylor would be alright and helps put him in a good foster home and stays in Taylor's life for the next ten years.

As Taylor grows up, so does his feelings for Frank, until he decides it's time to show Frank that they belong together. However, the past has a way of coming back and so does Taylor's parents' killer.

I loved Frank, he was so supportive and sweet, making sure Taylor had as good a life as it was possible considering what he lived through. I liked Taylor a lot, too. There were a few instances in which his possessiveness took a slightly creepy tone, though. While I love May/December romances, I felt this one was a bit lacking. I don't know if it was the fact that Taylor was the dominant partner and Frank just followed along, but there was something that felt off about it. That's not to say that they didn't have chemistry, because they did and it's undeniable Ms. Smith writes very hot sex scenes, although I would've liked if the scenes with others that weren't Taylor or Frank would've have been faded to black.

The whole deal with the stranger/killer was very well done, in my opinion. I loved following the reopening of the cold case and seeing how it all played out.

Overall, this was a good, solid read. A departure from what this author has us used to, for sure, but no less entertaining or intriguing. I really hope T.M. Smith will write more in this universe in the future. Recommendable!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Enticing Journey Book Promotions for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

This story starts out with a killer viciously murdering Taylor's parents and only leaving him alive because he can't be found. Luckily for Taylor, police officer Frank is able to find the hiding spot and rescue Taylor. Frank takes an interest in the 13-year-old and finds him a foster family, and Frank and his partner become an important part of their lives. This book then takes a journey through every year of Taylor's life as he grows into adulthood, seeing the friendship between Taylor and Frank. Until finally, more than halfway through, Taylor graduated with his Master's Degree and is ready to tell Frank how he feels and what he wants. For his part, Frank has taken notice of the adult Taylor but tries not to, until Taylor makes it clear what he wants. Frank has been Taylor's savior, mentor, confidant, friend, and now lover.
I liked Taylor and was very impressed with how he handled his feelings for Frank. He knew how he felt, but he lived his life, dated, got his degree and even talked it over with him adoptive mom before going to Frank. There were no immature games or playing hard to get and I really appreciated Taylor's maturity. Even though I struggled with his age sometimes, I thought that showed great maturity and made it easier to see these two MC's get together. The story does include Taylor having sex with someone other than Frank on page, but I didn't have any issues with it. Frank and Taylor were not together, and I think it's important that Taylor has that experimentation before committing, especially since he's still young when he and Frank do get together. Frank seemed like a nice guy and conscientious police officer but for me, this story was really about Taylor. 

Some issues that nagged at me through the story: In the beginning of this story, and subsequent flashbacks, Taylor seemed much younger than 13 at his parents' deaths. His behavior, the way his mom talks to him, his reactions to the police were hard for me to reconcile that he was 13 but I tried. In the latter part of the book where the MC's were together, there were flashbacks to the time when Taylor was a child, but it was included in the book so the flashback was just a repetition of something the reader had already read. Though others probably thought nothing about it, it pulled me from the story to reread a part of the story again. 

The mystery of the killer of Taylor's parents was only a small part of the storyline, but was well done and definitely unexpected. This book is a very slow build up to the romance, but I thought, for the most part, it was an enjoyable journey. As much as I would have liked to spend less time on Taylor's growing up years, I also see the importance and relevance of all that history. 

Rating: 4 stars

A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or ticking away on her next novel.  
Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people, Love is Love!


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