Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Toxic by Avylinn Winter

When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.

Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.

Seven months later, Adam’s effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isn’t ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabriel’s world.

Despite Adam’s attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adam’s photography teacher—a man who treasures what Gabriel does not.

They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence, emotional abuse and dubious consent.

Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Pride Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 Triggering Stars. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, it will be up to you to judge whether or not you are capable of reading. It's an accurate portrayal, you need to know that before going in.

Avylinn Winter is a new-to-me author.

I'm not entirely sure how to review Toxic. Mostly due to the subject matter being too close for comfort. I spent a great deal of the book being thrust into the past, not that that was necessarily a bad thing per se. I could completely empathize with Adam during 90% of the pages. There was just too much mirroring with my past, similar situations dealing with a childhood best friend turned partner, turned abuser.

Gabriel was Adam's protector growing up, his next door neighbor. When they went to college together, they roomed together, until Adam told Gabriel his true feelings. After being tossed out, cut to six months later, where Adam is trying to make amends and get his friend back.

What was a relationship built on safety and security turned toxic.

Toxic was written with compassion, accuracy, and the classic trajectory of an abusive relationship.

Gabriel's gaslighting, possessive behavior being seen as love, the 'I'm sorry' attention afterward, the isolation from all those who would notice a difference... even how the abuser begins to hate their victim because their victim was weak enough to change into the creature they created...

The feelings of guilt and shame the victim feels – but worst of all, the feeling as if you're betraying your abuser's trust and love by getting help, by leaving, by moving on. Surely you should do something to get them help. Then another set of guilt and shame settles due to judgement cast by people not in your shoes. Why didn't you leave sooner? Why didn't you get help immediately? It's layers upon layers of emotional damage, especially during the healing process, and those feelings never truly cease to exist.

Followed by hope, by opening your eyes, by realizing you're never going to be the same person again, and things that would have never bothered you have you phasing out for a few moments in time at random. It's written on the very fabric of what makes you who you are. Your mind and emotions don't operate on the same wavelength they did prior to the abuse. The feeling of safety and security never truly returns.

But one day, you'll realize you're not a victim but a survivor.

I apologize that I can't leave a true review of the book because it hit too close to home.

Just in reality, Toxic was an arc – a progression from normalcy, to victim, to survivor.

Raised in one of the cold corners of the world, Avylinn spends her days either wrapped up in a blanket or basking in the precious sunlight. When she can’t choose herself, she’s holed up in an office working with climate research that has little to do with the worlds and characters she creates in her vivid dreams.

Always the emotional one, she has found her outlet in writing, voicing thoughts, emotions and fears through her characters that feel very much alive to her. And, what began as a hobby soon took more and more time in her life until she realized that she had left her old life behind and entered a new one where her emotions turned into a super power—ready to launch at her poor readers.

She recharges with the help of coffee, cinnamon buns, popcorn and occasionally a healthier alternative.

Connect with Avylinn

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) by Avylinn Winter to read and review.

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