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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.

Pre-order Date: 21st March 2017
Available exclusively from Pride Publishing: 4th April 2017
General Release Date: 2nd May 2017

233 pages, ebook

First published May 2, 2017

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About the author

Avylinn Winter

6 books73 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,268 followers
May 3, 2017

When I got the opportunity to read an advance copy of Toxic, I was giddy with excitement.
What I didn't anticipate was how difficult a read it would be.

Two things:

It ought to have been longer, perhaps even written as a duet simply because the story needed a deeper, more meaningful, resolution.

2. Due to the difficult subject matter, I would classify this under general fiction, not romance.

Basically, Avylinn wrote a heartbreaking yet frustrating book; much of which was about emotional and physical abuse. Adam has been in love- since forever- with, Gabriel, a childhood friend. By some coincidence, they ended up as roommates at the same college.

When Adam finally takes the initiative to reveal his feelings, Gabriel flips. To read how this friendship devolved into a tragic mess, was difficult. To see Adam remain in the abusive relationship was heartbreaking.

Look, I have never been in an abusive relationship but I've had friends who, for years, thought that by staying with an abuser they could magically cure them. Additionally, most feel that THEY are to blame.

This pattern of abuse-repent-apologise is a vicious cycle, one that can get the victim dead. This is how Adam justified his continued stay with Gabriel, thinking there won't be a next time; thinking I only have to do/be better; thinking Gabriel must truly love him, after all, he always felt remorseful after each episode.

In the midst of this, he develops a working friendship with, Cameron, his Arts professor. Could Cameron have deeper feelings for Adam? Would Adam ever leave the toxic relationship to save himself? Should he survive, can he ever trust again?

The journey from victim to survivor was written with such brutal honesty, no chaser. Avylinn continues to push boundaries with each book, weaving difficult real life issues into stories that will evoke a myriad of emotions. I was completely immersed.

I deducted one star because the ending was too neatly done which made it less authentic but overall, a fabulous, thought-provoking, read.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,074 reviews608 followers
June 30, 2019
3 Stars

I liked book 1 much more than this! I didn’t like Adam because he couldn’t see through Gabriel’s abusing behavior and it took too long to see it. And it lacked the emotion I’d felt in book 1, or maybe it was me who couldn’t feel it! The single POV didn’t help either. Told in single POV, 1st person, it’s the second installment in the "Treacherous Chemistry" series but it can be read as a standalone. Overall, it didn’t live up to my expectations but I hope you enjoy it more than me!
Profile Image for Karla.
1,044 reviews226 followers
May 1, 2017
4.5 stars!

Miss Winters has done it again! another book that has captivated me with her effortless writing. I love how she brings out the rawness and realness of her characters especially with this book that was definitely not easy to read.

I'm usually the fluffy and romantic kinda reader it's basically what I love and even though I was warned it would be a hard book to read I knew I had to read Adams story. He was introduced in "volatile" book 1 in the (treacherous chemistry series). Adam has been in love with his best friend Gabriel. He recently confessed to him that his gay and things didn't go well between them.


In this book "toxic" Adam starts a romantic relationship with Gabriel, and it seems like his dream is coming true, but what starts as a fairy tale becomes a nightmare for him. This book deals with physical and mental abuse. I found myself going through so many emotions, frustration, anger, helplessness and heartache for Adam. He was such a sweet guy he was so in love and believed that things would get better, in till they didn't.


This book is about his journey, his self discovery, about loving yourself and how there's NEVER an excuse for someone who proclaims to love you to hurt you in anyway. It took him a lot of abuse and heartache but he found his way, but not with out the help of his great friends. Especially Cameron, who was so patient and loving and supporting. There was a moment where Cameron shared a past experience with Adam that had me teary eyed and I just wanted to hug him, both of them actually.


See Adam started as a victim, he might of thought he was broken but he wasn't he fought his way and came out a survivor. I'm so glad he open his heart again and was able to experience true love the kinda of love he truly deserved.

P.S. My favorite couple Chris and Dante made a cameo in this book, so happy.❤

**I received ARC in exchange for honest review**
Profile Image for True Loveislovereview.
2,239 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2017
Tainted Love

Deep sigh....because this is toxic...very...
Slowly very slowly Gabriel infiltrate through Adam his pores in his veins almost unnoted if you weren't aware of the fact that Gabriel wasn't very nice in Volatile.....

So unhealthy....so unhealthy I wanted to crawl in this book to let Adam see all the signs....
But Adam is blindly in love with Gabriel for ages....

First Gabriel throws Adam out when he reveals his feelings for him.
Then he let him suck him.
Then he want them to be a secret
Then he manipulates
Then he use force
Then there is a mess an awful mess.

Adam studies and want to be a photographer His teacher Cameron is helping him. They have a soft spot for each other. Only he isn't allowed to feel and look.
Adam withdraws from all social life, from his roommate, his family, his friends and from Cameron. Adam lost so many parts of.....himself.
Gabriel is taking over everything, as Adam has no say in it.

Then, thank God for friends, there is an intervention. His friends 'kidnap' him in the early morning.
Cameron, Chris and Dante tried everything to help him and Adam didn't let them.....caught in his own web of lies...Now he has to....
There are many feelings which heavily presses upon him. Shame is a great issue, failure also, guilt.....and there is grief... for what could have been.
He longed and feared love and comfort at the same time. He has is hard. He is hurt inside and outside.
It's time to go back home, Adam wants to face Gabriel on his own......
When he steps into Gabriel's room Gabriel locks the door.....

A harsh and at the same time an amazing read. The way it is written is vivacious, heavy, captivating and honest. The theme is heavy as lead and I think this author did a good job, the way it was put down. The flow was constant and consistent.

An absolute mustread for the ones who can overlook the whole theme and who are not afraid of confrontations.

A great affirmation: "None of it was my fault.”

Kindly received a copy from Pride Publisher for a honest review
This review is published on Divine Magazine
Profile Image for Erica Chilson.
Author 36 books432 followers
April 28, 2017
I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads

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. & 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.
Profile Image for Avylinn Winter.
Author 6 books73 followers
April 29, 2017
Toxic is the second novel in the Treacherous Chemistry series, following characters introduced in Volatile. However, it can be read as a stand-alone. It's a story about love, but also about the dangers of loving what you shouldn't.

 photo toxicgoodreads_zpsxcd2jls8.jpg

I wrote this story as an attempt to understand why we sometimes fail to recognize what's bad for us, but most of all I wrote it for Adam, and all the Adams out there across the world. I wanted to give him strength, resilience and hope in a situation far too many has to navigate.

Toxic is by no means a light read, and it would be unfair of me to label it as such. I've been known to play with readers' emotions, and Toxic is no exception. And, although it is a story about love, some will likely say this novel contains elements of general fiction. However, as long as you know what you're up against, Toxic will hopefully give you something to remember and something to ponder.

You will get to meet Dante and Chris again, but also make a new acquaintance in Cameron. If nothing else, these three will undoubtedly make you smile when you most need it. I promise.

There is one other thing...

Adam never gets closure. He’s forced to live the rest of his life asking Why did this happen?
This is real. Many survivors out there have to live without that kind of understanding or knowledge—they live with the questions every day. In the same way, I don’t give you the luxury of an answer.

It was deliberate.

Toxic has been posted on Wattpad as a draft, which is the reason you see ratings before the release date. It collected over a million reads on the site before I took it down for publication, which gave me some confidence that Adam's story was worth telling despite the toll it took on me.

I hope you'll let sweet Adam tell you his story because it's an important one.

General release 2nd of May 2017.
Profile Image for Stephanie   GooglyEyes.
1,163 reviews32 followers
April 25, 2017
I can understand how this was a very difficult book to write. It was also pretty hard to read. Not because it was bad writing or anything, but the subject matter itself is a tough issue and so very heartbreaking. I thought Avylinn did a great job with Adam. Being inside his head and seeing what would make him keep going back to Gabriel. I personally wouldn't, but that's just me.

Adam and Gabriel have been friends for some time. Close as close can be. They shared secrets and Gabriel only opened up to Adam. Sneaking out of the house to get away from his parents, Gabriel spent a lot of time at Adam's house.
So, it would be easy for Adam to fall for his best friend. Only Gabriel's reception of it at first, didn't really bode well for Adam.

I kind of wish we got to know what the decline of Gabriel's attitude was towards Adam. Adam always asked but there was never any definites. Was it just a cowardly thing to do? Was he mad that he was gay and couldn't come out so he took it out on Adam? There's just so many possibilities. Adam was so confused, because he had never seen that in Gabriel when they were just friends. Though it seems like his family may have saw something they didn't like in Gabriel. Adam may be start struck though, since Gabriel saved him from being bullied the rest of hos high school days.

Anyways, we go through all the mental termoil with Adam while he is going through such a confusing time. First he's so elated that Gabriel still loves him and wants him back, and not only as a friend. But he's also confused why the first time is a little rough. Gabriel is so hot and cold all the time and it's throwing Adams world into one confusing cyclone of emotions. So much so that he can see the signs but because he loves him as a BFF and a BF, he feels that he can help him. Everyone around him can see what's good and right for Adam, they just don't know how to get Adam to see it as well. They get so desperate that they end up taking matters into there own hands.

I really felt bad for Adam. His stomach and mind are so twisted by the situation that he doesn't know which way is up anymore. After his friends intervention, he decides to try one last time for answers, against his better judgement, and it may have almost been his last time.

Reading about abuse is really such a hard thing to stomach. If you can't handle it, then definitely do not read this book. I do think Avylinn did a good job with touching the subject, but not going too far into detail. It was more of what happens to you mentally than physically in this type of situation.

I am giving this book a 4.25 heart-bleeding stars, because I was completely engrossed in Adams story and Avylinn 's writing in general, but I can't say I'd ever have the guts to go through it again.
Profile Image for VVivacious.
873 reviews36 followers
May 4, 2017
A ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Review. This review can also be found here.

Adam has been best friends with Gabriel since they were children but all of that changes when Adam tells Gabriel about his true feelings for him. In a second the loving friendship he shared with Gabriel is shattered and he finds himself thrown out of the room they shared.

Adam finds himself unable to let go of his first love and he tries to reconcile with Gabriel for the sake of their friendship but things turn out different than what Adam expected… for better or for worse…

As Adam and Gabriel try to build a new relationship, Adam discovers a whole new side to Gabriel, the side that leaves him battered and bruised. Unable to see a way out of his relationship with Gabriel, Adam pushes everyone away… but one person fights harder than the rest. Will Cameron be able to rescue Adam from this toxic relationship or will Adam burn all bridges in his despair?

I didn’t like this at all. I was expecting good things from this book especially given the introduction to Adam we got in Volatile and also given how much I loved Volatile. I was ready to be crushed and thrown about by a flurry of emotions given the subject matter instead I got a book that had me totally indifferent towards it.

The first chapter gave me goose bumps. It is pretty well written and gives a nice introduction to the premise of this book but from the moment the second chapter began the interest I had accrued after reading the first chapter was quickly lost. Overall this book didn’t leave an impression on me for various reasons.

Firstly we know Adam gets beaten around by Gabriel but the author fails to explicitly mention it. A lot of the times the scenes of the actual violence are written as if you are meant to see the scene through an indecipherable haze which in one way was good because this book would probably have been hard to read if it was a bit too explicit but on the other hand I found myself cut off from Adam because I couldn’t fully understand what he was going through.

Secondly, Gabriel is just not a strong enough character to be able to carry this story forward. I feel like this is where the book truly fails because no matter the writing if you trying to write a two dimensional, the-world-is-black-and-white kind of a character you are going to fail. And yes just because he is good sometimes and viciously violent at others doesn’t make him a well-fleshed out character or even a three dimensional character. Gabriel really reminds me of a cartoon goon. I mean I wanted to know what was going on his mind, how did he think, did he have a thing for power or was he lost himself. It feels like the author deliberately skips out on giving any background to Gabriel lest he appear even a little bit human. I mean what did his parents think of Adam given they had been friends for so long, did he have siblings and was he in denial about his sexuality, anything. If I had to tell you the truth the first book does a better characterization of Gabriel then the entirety of this book.

Thirdly, Cameron is a creep. I don’t know how anyone can find Cameron’s actions towards Adam endearing. I found myself uncomfortable at a lot of times when it came to Cameron. In fact at some times during the book Gabriel seemed like a better option if it was an either or contest. I only liked Cameron a little bit towards the end but the ending is quite well written, it managed to alleviate a little bit of the frustration that this book caused but not enough to redeem his character or this book. Cameron tops the list of reasons why this book didn’t work for me.

Fourthly, Chris. Chris is someone I loved in Volatile but he was just so irritating when it came to Adam in this book. The relationship that Adam and Chris shared which is one of the many highlights of Volatile and the reason I was so excited about reading this book is pretty much destroyed in this book. I felt like there was so much judgement in their relationship now given how it started out with both of them giving the other unconditional support.

Fifthly, Gabriel and Adam make no sense. I didn’t understand how Adam could continue in this relationship. He didn’t love Gabriel. He knew their relationship was all wrong. He actually likes another guy. He lies to Gabriel about spending time with said guy. I mean their relationship was all wrong from the beginning. Even if you take out the DV, I didn’t get what was in their relationship that made Adam stay and that is the reason this book utterly fails it was unable to rationalise as victims are prone to do, the relationship the victim shares with the assailant. Adam seems to be fully aware Gabriel is in the wrong and he doesn’t love Gabriel and he isn’t dependent on Gabriel in any way and most importantly he knows he needs help which begs the question why does he stay in this relationship. There is a bit of rationalisation that Adam tries to do on Gabriel’s behalf but that is much later in the story and most importantly it is fuelled by the desire to save a friend not a lover. Also the worst part is that the author had much to pull from, given Adam and Gabriel’s long history of being friends and Gabriel being Adam’s saviour but there is no effort to incorporate this part of their lives in the book but it would have made sense to use this as Adam’s tether but it isn’t. As far as this book is concerned nothing tethers Adam to Gabriel making their relationship a farce and given the wooden quality of Gabriel it is very hard to draw emotions for this story.

This book quite literally ruined the Bahamas for me because that is the worst part of this book. The ending kind of salvages the disaster this book was turning out to be but not by much.

Cover Art by Posh Gosh. I liked the cover.
Profile Image for Ben Willis.
32 reviews6 followers
May 19, 2017
Hard story to read as I am sure it was a hard story to write. I can say it does give a very aspect of what a tortured man would feel. The author did a great job with this story. And I know many had problems with the age, but I can tell you first hand, it happens at any age.
Profile Image for booklover.
1,494 reviews6 followers
April 7, 2017
Yet again, WOW!
In them we get Adam's story.
We know from book 1, Volatile, that he was sharing a room with Chris after confessing his feelings to Gabriel, his best friend for years and room mate.
Adam's story is NOTHING like book at all, and as the title says, TOXIC is definitely what Gabriel is!
The things he puts Adam through and does are awful BUT this is where the author was clever, she didn't have to get overly descriptive with what happens to Adam. Yes, we saw some of what happened, which wasn't right, fair or nice, but I do feel she hid some of it too.
Then we have Cameron....He can see that something's wrong with Adam, so can Chris, yet Adam does what I suppose many abuse sufferers do, he makes excuses for the things which are happening to him.
This really was a brilliantly written story and it showed both physical AND mental abuse.
I want to say it was a beautiful story, and In a way it was but due to the suffering Adam goes through, it was also an ugly one too.
Absolutely AMAZING! LOVED IT!!
Profile Image for Derreck.
250 reviews12 followers
April 19, 2017
Avylinn, you have done it again!

Adam Webb had a voice that felt like it was needed to be heard. So it was awesome to be able to finally hear it!

I also love how easily Miss Winter has that easy flow with her words. She goes straight to the point instead of boring anyone with endless/pointless paragraphs and sentences. I kind of envy that.

Adam isn't a person I would classify as a victim or weak per se. Though it would be easy for someone who never had to be put through the kind of abuse Adam had to go through. Abuse doesn't just happen physically. It can happen mentally and still be equally as damaging. Sure there were a few red flags raised right from the get-go, but love can be blind you know? It's never that easy.

Adam and Gabe started off as friends. Then as life inevitably changes, so did their friendship for a few years. Then one day when Adam was getting bullied in junior high, Gabe pops back into his life and saves the day. So how in the world did things end up going so horribly wrong? I feel ya Adam!

Oh man, you can feel the toxicity levels with the relationship Adam ended up in. It was a major strain on all those around him (friends and family). There were times where I felt uncomfortable, which enhanced the reading experience in my opinion. It made it feel more real. Sure it could have been worse, but then it was like Cameron showed up at the right time.

Ah, Cameron you sweet guy you! You have brought light into such a dark place Adam found himself in. I'm so glad you were there for Adam when he needed someone the most. Now generally I try to avoid posting spoilers but when it comes to these books by Avy, its impossible not to. I can't stop gushing about it!

For instance, the image of Cameron carrying a hurt Adam in arms. What a hero! That image will forever remain in my heart. Though I see it happening in slow motion. Cue something romantic and epic please!

How can anyone not like Cameron? He felt like a solid anchor, not just to a reader but to Adam as well. It just took Adam a little while to realize it.

There was also a real sense of healing in the last half of this book. Maybe only the abused (be it in the past or currently) would understand.

I've honestly greatly enjoyed this book. I kinda flew through it in under 24 hours.

Although the question remains, and MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!

Gabe might be in jail now, but is it justified enough? What truly went wrong with Gabe? Perhaps this is just one of those things we have to simply accept? Oh and can Joachim get a book next? Lastly does anyone else here get the feeling Avylinn Winter is super crafty with the stories she comes up with?

P.S. Any readers of Volatile should know there will be a bit of Chris and Dante cameos.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,611 reviews16 followers
May 28, 2017
Toxic by Avylinn Winter is the second book in the Treacherous Chemistry series. This is my first time reading this series and I was not lost at all. This is one amazing story. I truly could not put this one down, and wanted more when it ended. Powerfully written. This story really connected with me the reader. I loved the well rounded characters and the story arc over all.
What do you do when the person you love is being abused? How do you make them see it?
Adam comes from a loving family. His family cares a great deal for him. His current boyfriend used to save him from the class bullies growing up. Adam hero worships him. He cannot see all the little things his current boyfriend does that belittle, and abuse him. He thinks it is all his fault. He works so hard to be careful around his boyfriend. All of his friends hate his bully of a boyfriend. But Adam doesn't see it.
Cameron is Adam's photography teacher. When Adam wants to be his assistant Cameron is all for it . Adam is a good student and he could use a helper. Cameron is nice and easy going. When he starts to see how abused Adam is, he tries very hard to save him. Along the way he falls for the quiet, shy man who sees so much.
I loved Cameron. He is strong enough to take on a bully and win, but smart enough to know Adam has to choose him. He will save Adam even if Adam doesn't choose him.
Over all this is a very good description of what domestic abuse is like. This could be a trigger for some so be sure you know this when you go to read this book. However I found it beautifully and tastefully done. I loved the powerful emotions and angst in this book. I think anyone who wants to meet Prince Charming and see him save the day would love this one. I know I did, and I cannot wait to read more from this touching series in the future.

Five Shooting Stars and Stardust Award
65 reviews14 followers
May 28, 2017
I hope this book helps someone in a toxic relationship. We have to admit that there are emotional vampires out there posing as 'friends'
April 9, 2017
A painful, yet hopeful saga of a love, abuse, betrayal and finally learning to break free...
Avylinn Winter creates worlds and characters you can’t help but love. If you want your heart to be broken, then slowly mend. If you want to shed bittersweet tears when it ends... please do read this story.

Second in the Treacherous Chemistry Series, you meet Adam from ‘Volatile’ again in ‘Toxic’, the sweet boy who blushed easily, treasured his friendships, and the one Chris leaned on when everything was falling apart in his world without Dante…

This time, we live what feels like a lifetime with the once carefree Adam, who, in the course of just a few months loses himself in a relationship that does nothing but take. A kind, fragile, eager to love heart is captured by someone who can only give pain. It almost feels like he decides to wear a blindfold the moment he first decides it was his fault, that maybe it was okay. There’s hope in the form of Cameron, ‘brighter than the sun’ and you’ll have to read the story to know him better.
I’ll be honest, I had read the story on wattpad as it came to life. I lived Adam’s journey, chapter by chapter. I had loved Adam then, I loved him even more this time around.

To read it again, with some slight changes didn’t really change how I felt… sad, angry, my insides screaming, knowing how real Adam was. Hopeful that love will conquer all, even the monsters inside someone, hoping for change, for love… hoping we can be saviors and heroes. The reasons he stays, and the courage he needs to break free echoes of so many stories untold, so many screams muffled in fear of another strike… it’s sad but true. And fair warning, reading Toxic is unlike reading other MxM romances, it’s coming face to face stark realities of life, may be a step towards understanding the reasons, a story that might encourage someone to break free as well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vanessa Glau.
Author 1 book1 follower
May 29, 2017
As the second part in the Treacherous Chemistry series, Toxic is just as cozy and hopeful as its predecessor Volatile – but also a lot darker and more intense. Its main theme of domestic violence and sexual abuse is portrayed in such a realistic way that it has been dubbed a difficult read by many and trigger warnings were added.

The story starts with Adam, a university student trying to make up with his best friend Gabriel after confessing his attraction to him and getting kicked out of their shared room. When Adam comes to apologize, Gabriel is unexpectedly sweet and even returns his affection. They become partners, but Adam cannot tell anyone because Gabriel is not ready to come out of the closet. From that we go through ups and downs with Adam, alternating between light and dark scenes. As the protagonist, he is kind and hopeful to a fault which makes him extremely relatable – don’t we all want to believe in our best selves? Adam extends that belief to Gabriel, failing to see that his friend and partner never actually lives up to it. Gabriel is depicted as a violent football player, someone who lets his fists speak for him and can only express his anger in all the wrong ways. Avylinn has done well in creating a despicable character – I almost felt sick several times while reading certain scenes. Finally, photography teacher Cameron sees that Adam is troubled and afraid and tries to help without crossing any lines. As the third key character, he often provides the needed relief from bleak scenes with Gabriel and even inspires certain feelings in Adam that he tries to suppress for the sake of his boyfriend.

Again, the story moves almost like a pendulum, bouncing back and forth between conflict and relief. A bit of conventional romance can be found between Adam and Cameron, yet the most prominent aspect is Adam trying to be together with Gabriel and getting hurt in the process. This back and forth feels surprisingly organic which is what makes Avylinn’s stories so compelling: they are a lot like real life in that way. Not only the violence, but also the depression Adam is struggling with – I could really relate with the latter during his vacation on the Bahamas, where he ends up feeling numb and cornered most of the time despite the presence of his friends.

All in all, Toxic has all the things Avylinn is good at writing, but is also more intense and in a way more impressive than Volatile which makes it a fascinating and fresh reading experience for every fan! 5/5 stars go to a novel that is dark, but also beautiful and never truly without hope.
Profile Image for namelessreads.
17 reviews
June 10, 2017
i don't know where to start with this one. First if all, Avylinn did an amazing job AGAIN! Not that I expected something else, everything she writes just seems to turn out amazing. This boom hit ALL the feelings. It started out so hopefull and suddenly it had my heart in a tight iron fist that seemed to get tighter from page to page. Throughout the book there were moments that gave a real hope to a brither future for the main character just to come crashing down like a burning meteor. It was so sad and emotional but in the end it just made me so happy. It gave me the strengh to believe that no matter how dark your life currently is, there is alway a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you fail to see it most ofthe time. There is always something caring for you and you are never at fault for someone abusing you. This is not just a great book, it is a realistic and hopefull book. I love you Avy.
With all my heart,
15 reviews1 follower
December 14, 2016
This book was probably my favourite in the Treacherous Chemistry series (although I still love my baby Joachim <3), mainly because it made me want to scream and punch something and then cry afterwards. Adam is almost relatable and the audience can easily sympathise with him, but at the same time we desperately want him to wake up and see sense. Of course, how can you effortlessly conquer love when it's already conquered you...?
Profile Image for Ada.
139 reviews21 followers
August 8, 2017
Copy and pasted from Katerina. This is exactly how I feel about this story. She puts it perfectly. "[In principle, this book deals with the difficult problem of domestic violence.
The subject matter is a really good choice. The violence described is bad, but not dissuasive.
But I have more and more problems with the credibility of the plot and the characters that carry it.
The main characters are about twenty years old and college students.
Adam is a victim of domestic violence in this environment by his boyfriend. Gabriel, the so called boyfriend, is the one who does violence to Adam.
The equation is inconsistent.
The main characters are too young. Too young for the problems found in long-term abusive relationships. Even if they had a best friend relationship over several years before. The old friendship was not abusive.
After Adam outed himself to Gabriel and the youth friendship was broken, half a year passes. And then a new relationship to Gabriel was established. The pathology in this new friendship develops from one day to the next. Why? This is only possible when Gabriel is suffering from a psychosis. I haven't finished the book. Perhaps there is an explanation for his behavior.
In the majority of cases of domestic violence, the role of the victim is to be found in an unfortunate, violent, neglected development during childhood and adolescence. This is not the case with Adam. He grew up guarded and had normal social contacts. An unhappy love doesn't lead to a regression that makes you suddenly accept to become a punching bag. Even if he loved Gabriel all his life.
The acceptance on Adam's side is not understandable. And Gabriel's development also puzzles me.

Don't get me wrong here. Abuse can occur in any age. It is about the main characters in this book. They don't act according to their age. It is written they are students. I suppose they're around the twenty or so. However, they act like elderly people. And what is described there, what happens pathological in their interaction, can be found in long-term abusive partnerships. Adams victim role would have been believable for me if he had been in any dependency on Gabriel. If Gabriel had had a pressure means at hand.
As it is described, I get my impression. It is not about what is possible in the real life. It is about this book and the implementation of the topic. And there are inconsistencies for me.

Selecting photography as the major subject was appropriate for the plot. Although I can't believe Adam will be really a photographer. I didn't feel it. I must admit that I have just read another book in which the love of photography was much more palpable.

Then there is the problem with this teacher. Even if Cameron doesn't see himself as a teacher (more the photographer and artist), Adam is and remains his student. I don't know how things are going later. Who ended up finishing his job or his study. This simply makes me a bellyache. I think the relationship with this teacher in this situation is dangerous.

I am inconsolable. Really.

Unfortunately, this book doesn't work for me. I can't concentrate on the story because I constantly think about legal and psychological aspects in real life".
Profile Image for Cary.
103 reviews12 followers
April 23, 2017
I read this when it was available on Wattpad. I liked it but it wasn't super amazing. Not sure if much has changed since the Wattpad version.

I sort of wanted an explanation about where the abuse was coming from. Gabriel wasn't abusive when they were friends (even very protective) but suddenly became abusive when they became lovers. That was kind of weird to me how the treatment suddenly changed. I thought it had something to do with the struggle of being in the closet. But it was not explained at all. Not sure if it was deliberate because the author wanted to write another book about the character. Maybe it was also because the book was entirely from Adam's POV.

Not a fan of the Cameron-Adam relationship. I dunno. I just didn't feel like I wanted them to end up together. What I liked, however, was the character development, especially that this was written from Adam's perspective. I was able to see the genuine struggle of accepting the relationship for what it truly was (abusive) and how it was slowly destroying Adam and his other relationships.

Overall, I liked it, but there's definitely room for improvement.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carra.
1,679 reviews25 followers
May 10, 2017
There are stories that are lighthearted and sweet, low on the angst and high on the love. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re in for a rude awakening with Toxic (the title should have clued you in, right?). This story delves into topics that are upsetting and will be hard for some to read, so take the reader advisory seriously before you start the book. I’m not trying to steer anyone away—on the contrary, this book drives home a message that deserves to be heard and taken to heart. Just be ready to have your heart hurt before all is said and done, and know that Adam has plenty of support—if he can just realize it and take it.

Adam is such a kind, caring, sweet young man…and he so easily falls into the role of victim, becoming the classic, textbook case of one in this story. It tore me apart over and over, and I was yelling at him in my head as I became frustrated with him—he was worth so much more than what he was getting. I quickly came to despise the object of his affection…yes, despise. Gabriel was written to evoke that kind of response, and the author did that job to perfection. The way he seemed to abruptly change from his personality before Adam confessed his feelings to his abusive behavior afterward put questions in my mind, but not having personally experienced an abuse situation had me putting that aside for the purposes of this story.

Cameron, Adam’s teacher, is a wonderful man. The romance side of things between him and Adam is not something you see right away, in fact it took quite a while before anything truly began to develop. Much of the story is focused on Adam’s situation and how it develops, with the relationship between him and Adam being more secondary. The angst factor tops out the charts, and there are multiple scenes that were disturbing—and heartbreaking—to read before things start to look up.

Chris and Dante from Volatile (book 1 in the series) play excellent supporting roles, and it was nice to see them again here in Toxic. Their presence, as well as Cameron’s, brought hope, friendship and support to Adam when he most needed it. As painful as this story could be at times, these three are the bright spot for both the reader and Adam…even if Adam doesn’t want to give in to it at first.

If domestic violence and dubious consent are difficult topics for you, carefully consider before starting this book. Those who choose to read will be rewarded with a drama-filled story with a positive ending…though for me, I would have liked to see more of Adam and Cameron together as a couple. It didn’t feel like there was enough time to cement a relationship between them, so it almost felt like a happy-for-now ending and not a happily ever after, even with the epilogue.

Overall Toxic was a 4-star read for me. This story is definitely meant only for readers 18+ due to the difficult subject matter, adult language and M/M sexual content including rough handling and dubious consent.
Profile Image for Lustful Literature.
1,822 reviews325 followers
May 8, 2017

Jen's Review 4.5 Stars

I have to be really honest, Toxic was really difficult to get through. It definitely struck so many cords with me and I really had a hard time digesting the emotional rollercoaster Adam was on. I’m going to warn you all now that this book really deals with some dark and heavy issues. A vicious cycle that keeps getting played over and over. Adam’s journey is rough, twisted and honestly scary. There are some scenes that literally had my stomach in my throat where I could feel Adam’s anxiety, guilt, shame and fears. This author didn’t skip a beat on what it’s like for someone who’s in an abusive relationship.

This is a story that definitely brings us along a journey where a man learns that sometimes loving someone isn’t what is best for you. That sometimes the very person who claims to love you back is the very same person who can hurt you the most. A person where your entire life turns on it’s head so fast you didn’t really see it coming. Where you are so caught up in trying to keep the other person happy, trying to make sure that you keep the peace that you apologize for everything and anything regardless of how you really feel. If domestic violence is not something that you can stomach reading about then this book is not for you. Even though Adam eventually learns that he is worth more than what he’s gotten, this author definitely gives us first had account of how Adam’s dignity, confidence and his light slowly fades out. Thankfully there are a couple of heros in this story that are more persistent and are able to break through all of toxic.

As I said I found this story really hard to get through. The emotional baggage that Adam carries really hit home and at times this book felt too real. I had to walk away so many times and take breathers. For more than half the book I felt like I was looking through a window watching someone get stripped of the person they once were. This book was really well written and I really felt a personal connection to Adam. For that I have to give it the rating it deserves. I am glad that we got a HEA because I don’t think my heart could have taken it if we didn’t. The journey is long and rough but the ending was beautiful. I really wish we had seen more page time with Adam and Cameron as a couple. After all the heartache I really just wanted more time seeing Adam happy and in a good place.
Profile Image for Mari  Cardenas.
2,047 reviews23 followers
May 17, 2017
3.5-4 Stars

Toxic is book 2 in the Treacherous Chemistry series by Avylinn Winter, it can be read as a standalone, but Volatile was really good and Chris and Dante feature prominently in Toxic, so I suggest reading that one first.

Adam has been in love with his best friend Gabriel for what feels like forever, however, when he reveals his feelings to Gabriel, he throws him away from the room they shared. Trying to mend their relationship after a few months apart, Gabriel surprises Adam by kissing him and more and they start a relationship that needs to be kept secret since Gabriel isn’t ready (or willing) to come out of the closet. As time goes by, Gabriel insists on Adam spending most of his time with him to the point of hurting Adam when he interacts with others, until he effectively isolates Adam from his friends.

However, Adam’s friends and his teacher/boss, Cameron, notice what is going on and are determined to help Adam. The question is, will they get to him in time?

This is a difficult book to rate for me. I think the author did a great job with Adam and his relationship with Gabriel. I feel it was a realistic portrayal of someone who falls for the wrong guy and before they know it, they can’t get out of a bad relationship out of guilt or thinking they can actually change that man. I think the ending was too rushed, though, and I kind of felt like Adam was trading one dependent relationship for another, even if the new one was healthier. It just didn’t sit right with me that Cameron was both Adam’s boss and his professor, even if I’m unable to point the reason why because I’ve read other books with this theme and I’ve been fine with it. *shrugs*

Anyway, I recommend this book, but if you’re triggered by domestic violence and dubious consent, please proceed with caution. There are some scenes that are pretty graphic and they might be distressing for some.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***
290 reviews
September 2, 2017
This book is a difficult and frustrating read. The material is so heavy, and I'm not entirely convinced it was given the proper treatment. It was just hard to relate to/understand Adam's constant internal battle about his feelings for Gabriel. It felt just unrealistic, given their history. Or maybe it was such a departure to how he was introduced in the previous book. He seemed to push Chris to be bold, yet he struggled with it himself. And then the whole turmoil just wrapped up nice and neat like a 30 minute sitcom at the end.
Profile Image for Vanessa Ruiz.
Author 15 books34 followers
March 25, 2020
Abuse is never right and I’m so so happy Adam had people beside him to help him see that what he was going through wasn’t right, Gabriel got what he deserved. Stupid idiot.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sue bowdley.
1,440 reviews
May 1, 2017
It's very hard for me to read and review a book where a character called Gabriel is the bad guy...I have this thing that I love the name Gabriel and upto now he has been the good guy...but boy is this Gabriel bad....Bone deep bad...The way he treats Adam is appalling....Domestic Abuse is real and so hard to get away from....Why does Adam stay with Gabriel for so long?...Because he loves him...well he thinks he loves him. He must know that it can't work....That Gabriel is bad....but we all know that love is blind and we all hope that we can change that person, or blame ourselves..Yes I know how bad it can be....Adam was lucky in that he had his friends Chris and his boyfriend Dante...(I love those two guys)..and then there's Cameron, the hot sexy teacher....I'm still not mad on YA books but when they are written well they are very much worth reading x
Profile Image for Mel Bradley.
228 reviews9 followers
May 1, 2017
3.5 Toxic Stars
Trigger Warning: This story contains a significant amount of emotional and physical abuse, don’t gloss over that if those are triggers for you (skip this one).

Toxic was the perfect name for the main relationship in this story. This is the second book in the Treacherous Chemistry series and it was a very different book/read than the first book. In Toxic, the majority of the book is focused on the abusive and toxic relationship between Adam and Gabriel – or more accurately, the evolution of the relationship into a toxic one.

Overall, I enjoyed this story – but it felt at times all over the place. Perhaps it is because it is not a traditional contemporary romance story, missing those element – but instead, a documentation of emotional/physical abuse, and the awakening (sorta?) that Adam went through that leads to the romance at the very end. Obviously with the abuse, this was an extremely emotional read – and sometimes I wasn’t happy with my own emotions about it (come on Adam – SEE it this time), but it felt real to life, making it that much more difficult to go through.

However, as the story goes along, it’s about more than abuse. It’s about the power of friendship, of having supportive people around you – even if you think you’ve left them behind, and it’s about making a decision, even if it’s the hardest one you think you’ll ever make. My favorite parts of this book were when Cameron and Adam are together – every single moment, it felt like healing and growing and getting deeper.

Some themes throughout include: college student/professor dynamics; best friend turned homophobe turned abuser; and an awakening. This is a good read for anyone looking for a DEEP and emotional book, who is ready to tackle toxic relationships, see things through an interesting lens, and be rewarded at the end.

Review Copy of Toxic provided by Pride Publishing for an honest review.
Reviewed by Mel from Alpha Book Club
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