Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: Rachel Van Dyken's "Toxic (Ruin # 2)."

Review: Rachel Van Dyken's "Toxic (Ruin # 2)."


Amazon UK:    http://amzn.to/1fXcjFK
Amazon.com:   http://amzn.to/1lvNRz0

Synopsis:

Everyone has a secret...

Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He's been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him--obsess over him--driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice. 
But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever. 
Pretending isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn't just be his life at risk--but hers. 

Saylor doesn't hate men. 
Just Gabe. 
Only Gabe. 
He's a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn't afraid of flunking, she'd be long gone. She hates that she's attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he's attracted to her--and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn't form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn't who he says he is, and he's hiding something big. 

What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever--the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he's been craving for the past four years?

Everyone has a secret...What's yours?

Review: Surj Harvey

Another amazing, emotional and heart breaking read from Rachel Van Dyken that left me feeling like I needed therapy.... or wine.... or both? "Toxic" was Gabe's story and unfortunately it wasn't all hearts and flowers, or even rainbows and unicorns (OK so there may have been a mention of a purple pony). But instead what I read left me feeling saddened, crushed and even devastated. This  was definitely a thought provoking read if nothing else because it made me put myself in Gabe's shoes... what would I do if faced with the same dilemma? 

I wondered if there would ever come a day when Gabe would finally be free enough to be 
himself- the person he was born to be, not a mask number one or smile number two. 
I wondered if he even knew how lost he really was- or if he was happy making
 the maze his home, the mask his identity, his life a lie. 

Gabe had a secret. Four years ago, a tragic accident changed the course of his life and nothing would ever be the same again. Each day he lived with guilt for everything that had happened and it was like a ticking time bomb... tick... tick... tick... I knew the explosion would come and I knew it wouldn't be pretty... the past would eventually collide with the present and everything Gabe had worked so hard to hide would suddenly be exposed for the world to see... but who would the casualties be? 

Sometimes by holding onto what you love the most- 
you end up choking the very life from the thing you want to keep living. 

Gabe's secret was revealed to us (the readers) very early on but for me, that just made the whole book even more poignant. I got to experience first hand just how much regret this man felt and trust me, there wasn't a single page where I didn't feel his pain. The sacrifices he made, everything he gave up and continued to give up ... it was like he was still punishing himself and it was brutal. This wasn't the man I'd first met in "Ruin." The man I'd met back then was cocky, confident, funny and most definitely a ladies man. But it had all been a front ... a front for a man who was so broken inside I wondered whether it would ever be possible to fix him. 

"You won't use words to explain- part of me thinks you never have and never will. 
So, show me through the music, show me your story, Gabe." 

Despite getting off to a rocky start, the bond that was formed between Gabe and Saylor was just beautiful. Their connection was music and that's how they communicated with one another. Every emotion went through the keys of a piano and I felt every bit of it... and that first kiss just stole my breath away. I'm glad Rachel Van Dyken didn't throw this couple into an instant relationship ...yes there was chemistry but it wasn't until the second half of the book that I really got to feel the intensity of what they shared.,

“Baring your soul to someone is like purposefully stabbing yourself in the heart 
and waiting for the person you love to stop the bleeding – Wes M.”

Saylor's character was awe inspiring. She was just so selfless and giving despite her own life not being a bed of roses. She gave so much and never expected anything in return and what she did at the end of the book literally had me sobbing. Was there no end to this woman's kindness? 

Despite being secondary characters, Wes, Kiersten and Lisa still played major parts in "Toxic." Their friendship was unconditional and the love and support they offered their friends just blew me away. I'm really hoping that Lisa's story is next in "Shame (Ruin #3)." 

I absolutely loved this second book in the "Ruin Series." It was beautifully written and so full of emotion, it was difficult not to connect with the characters and feel every ounce of what they were going through. I will confess though, the beginning of the story did confuse me and I struggled to put some of the pieces together, re-reading parts just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. My advice... stick with it because everything did become clearer the further I got. 

"Toxic" was about atonement, sacrifice, friendship and unconditional love and on the whole, it was read with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. For me, it was a predictable story line and yes I guessed what lay ahead but that didn't make it any easier to read. I still felt like my heart had been ripped out and danced on but (believe it or not) in the most beautiful way. Once you get to the end, you'll understand why. 

“Had I known that any contact from this beautiful stranger would forever change me – 
would mark me for the rest of my life, wreck me from the inside out, completely break me 
down until I was nothing but a memory of who I used to be – I would still have made the same choice. Funny, how people always say they want second chances, yet had I been given one. 
I would have traveled down the same road. Every. Single. Time.”

This is definitely a book I would recommend and if you haven't read the first book in the series, I would whole heartedly recommend it. I rated "Toxic" 4.5 Hearts 


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