Tonic by Staci Hart

Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.

Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.

Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.

Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.

The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.

Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.

ellie's $0.02:

Goddamn.  Ms. Quirkybird can write a damn good book.   In a way, I kind of hate Staci for worming her way into my black heart and making me love her and her books so much.  Tonic is one of those books that I hated it ending.  No, not THE ending, just that the book ever ended.  I wanted more of these characters.  So.  Much.  More.

One of the best parts of this book is the characters.  Preliminary election results showed some dislike for Annika.  Personally?  I think she literally stole the fucking reality show she was producing.  Pun intended.  Don't get me wrong.  Joel is all hot and alpha and tattooed and bearded and yum.  But Annika was a bitch.  A feisty ice queen.  But not really.  And to watch this character change and develop and discover... wow oh wow.

...and let's not forget supporting characters.  Laney.  I can't even go there with you right now.

Regardless of my analyzing of each characters, let's get to the real point.  This was my first Hart read.  And I heart it.  She stole my heart.  Get it?  I'm so punny in this review.  ANYWAY.   My socks and panties were knocked right off with the entertainment value this brought in my life.  The plot was fun and different, I'm always a fan of tattoo books and love to see what authors can come up with surrounding hot tattoo artists.  I was pretty impressed with this story line.   Some tears.  Some laughter.  Some anger.  Some hot fucking.  Some crazy ass bitch characters.  This one is sticking in my brain for awhile. Yeah.  I like dis shit.

But.  Really?  A fucking pussy funeral??

I don't know where Staci has been all my life.  But she's stuck with me now.  Or I'm stuck with her.  Who knows.  We live like minutes apart, so this could be dangerous for all parties involved.  If you haven't discovered this author yet, trust me... it's time.  I was way overdue.  Don't be like me.

"But in the end, a copy of an original is never as good. Like a fax, distorted by perception, made grainy by misinterpretation."

ellie's reviewsellie