Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Boyfriend of the Week: Gabe from Toxic (Ruin #2) by Rachel Van Dyken with Review

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This week my book boyfriend is Gabe from Toxic by Rachel Van Dyken.  He's dark and he's light.  He's wounded and jaded, yet beautiful.  He's a puzzle, one that will captivate you while being solved.  (And of course we can't forget that he's hot, tattooed, and screams bad boy).

Toxic (Ruin #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Published:  March 4, 2014

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?

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Audible

Audiobook Review:  Toxic is book two in the Ruin Series by Rachel Van Dyken and it is Gabe's story.  We originally met Gabe in Ruin, and he was one of those guys that just steals your heart. I couldn't wait to read more of his story and find out what was really underneath all those tattoos and piercings, both inside and out.  Gabe has secrets.....really big secrets, secrets and pain which are more than anyone should have to bear.  His one escape is something he's not partaken of in years.....Until now.  With everything that happened with Wes, he's trying to change.  The girls, alcohol, drugs - none of it eases his pain anymore, not even temporarily.  Yet, he can never forget what has happened.  Guilt ridden, he has hidden his identity for love, and has gone above and beyond trying to make amends for what he believes was his fault, yet nothing is enough.  Nothing will make things the way they used to be.  He's resigned himself to what he believes is his destiny in life, but he's running out of time, his lies threatening to catch up with him.  Then he meets Saylor, a kindred spirit, someone who he wants, someone who stirs something in him that he didn't think was possible again, and someone he believes he can't have, and this makes things even worse.  Torn between what he perceives as right and wrong, what he should do and what he wants to do, Gabe has some tough issues to face, and some really tough decisions to make, but in end will he choose duty or love, truth or lies, or can they all miraculously meet somewhere in the middle.  

Gabe is the hot bad boy type that I am always drawn to.  Dark, tattooed, pierced, mysterious, aloof, and can be charming when he wants to be.  There is so much more to him that meets the eye.  His life is complex, and there are so many facets and sides to everything that he has tried to balance, yet it's becoming too much and the scales are ready to tip, something he isn't sure how to deal with.  Then Saylor comes into his life.  She's everything he wants, yet she represents everything he can't have, which makes him angry.  Torn between desire and anger, he isn't nice to her.  In fact he's a jerk, and a big one.  One minute he's hot, then one minute he's cold.  Saylor doesn't understand it.  He makes her angry, yet she's drawn to him.  She's not had an easy life, so she tries to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Meanwhile, Wes is there, being Wes, the awesome guy that he is - helping with advice and so much more.  Kiersten and Lisa are also part of the story, and then we also get to meet someone new in this story.  

Gabe's story is heartbreaking, yet beautiful.  I loved him, and at times got really angry with him, especially for the way he treated Saylor sometimes, but of course he redeems himself 100% by the end of the story.  I liked Saylor's character also.  While she had her feisty side, she also was loving, caring, and wanted to do anything she could to help Gabe, despite the lies and the pain he caused her.  I don't think I have it in me to do the things she does to support him, yet it was just what he needed.  The story itself captivated me from beginning to end, and the romance is beautifully done, especially all things considered.  I don't want to say more than that because I don't want to spoil it, but you will understand what I mean when you read the book.  

I loved Toxic, and I loved the ending and seeing where Rachel Van Dyken took the characters in this series.  If you are a contemporary romance fan, then the Ruin series is one of those you won't want to miss and I highly recommend reading it.    
Audiobook Narrators:  Anthony Haden SalernoHolly Fielding
The audiobook was great.  I loved both the narrators.


“Everyone wears masks. They come in all different shapes and sizes. The only problem with trying one on - is that it fits. How easily we fall into the trap that we don't have to be who we really are. How easily we convince ourselves that we need to cover up what we were born to be. It's a tragedy - that fear keeps us from our destiny. It's hell - when the person you were created to be - is covered up by some cheap imposter.” 

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

“I’m falling for you too. I haven’t fallen. Falling. As in still falling, still in the air, still trying to get used to the idea that I’ve just nose dived off a cliff with every intention of making sure the landing doesn’t break my fall.”
“And if it does?”
“Then at least I still jumped.” 

“Just because we aren't crying on the outside doesn't mean we aren't completely wrecked on the inside” 

“One day..." Gabe whispered. "When my heart is mine again. When I'm not sharing it.........I'll give you everything."
"Gabe," I said, sighing. "Right now? I'm perfectly happy with the pieces. No matter how broken they may be.” 

“The danger is never in loving someone — but losing your identity in the process.” 

“The truth really does set you free — but what they don’t tell you is the process hurts like hell.” 

“I love you. If you remember nothing else for the rest of your life, if you fall and hit your head and can’t remember my name, if you get so sick you’re unrecognizable, if you hate me, if you’re on your deathbed and can’t manage to even lift a finger — remember this. I. Love. You. Always. Forever. Eternally. Is that kind of love something you can handle, Saylor?” 

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street
Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.
When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and
plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir
Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing
journey at




  1. Wonderful review Ellen, I can see why you picked him this week. :)


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