by Staci Hart
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: October 13th 2016 by Promise Socks Publishing
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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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Joel and Shep Anderson are the owners of the tattoo shop Tonic. When presented with the opportunity to start a reality TV show surrounding Tonic, Shep is on board but Joel is against the idea. What gets Joel to agree is when the producers tell him they will just produce the shop from his ex-wife’s husband. Joel isn’t prepared for Annika, the girl who’s heart is made of ice. He can’t wait to break down her defenses. But Annika’s job comes first, no matter if it ruins her chances with Joel.
I wanted to take her apart, find out what made her tick. I didn’t know why, exactly.
I was surprised by this! I usually like or don’t like this author’s books (no in-between) but I had a good feeling for Tonic and the feeling was right! I loved Annika so much. Being a producer for reality TV requires not taking crap from anyone. Over the years, she has learned to be professional at work which is why she’s a respectable woman. She’s also a devoted daughter, amazing sister, and a very adorable aunt.
When Joel and Annika meet, you just know they will argue immediately and will not get alone, mostly on Annika’s part. Their relationship starts to grow and they start getting attached. These two would banter back and forth. I was definitely eating it up. The chemistry is off the charts with this one! I did think there wasn’t much depth when it came to their relationship, which was somewhat of a deal breaker for me. Despite the lack of depth, the few moments that weren’t all explosive were so unbelievably sweet and swoon-worthy!
“I hate you, and I want you, and I hate that I want you. But I do.”
The reality show setting was done incredibly well and it gave lots of insight as to what goes down behind the scenes in this type of show. Being done in a tattoo shop was very interesting. I really liked all the tattoo talk and all the process. Also, I found out the most difficult tattoo to be done! It’s actually a simple thing but one wrong move and it could be ruined. I didn’t know this so it was great that the author added it to the story.
A few times I found myself drowsing off because it would be slow, slightly dragging, and repetitive. Other than that and the lack of depth in the romance, the rest was really good. The supporting characters were great! I wish they had more dialogue in the story. I think it would have added more to it, especially on the humor side. The support of family is big on this one, which I appreciated. Annika’s family is so close and supportive of her and her job. Plus, they give great advice! I wouldn’t mind spending time with this jovial family.
Overall, Tonic is quite an enjoyable story with a great setting that I loved. If you’re into Alpha males who are sweet and girls who slowly start to shed their cold and tough exterior, you will adore this one.
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