Tonic by Staci Hart
Price: $2.99 (Kindle Edition); Free (with Kindle Unlimited subscription)
Review: I came across this book while searching through Amazon’s list of new ebook releases and I knew, as soon as I finished the synopsis, that I would love it.
I wasn’t planning on writing a review about it, but after I completed the book, I decided to go ahead and do it. I mean, I enjoyed it, so why not help spread the word about another good novel.
Plus, the story involves a tatted, bad boy, who loves hard and I know how much we ladies love to read about those.
A the beginning of Tonic we meet executive producer, Annika Belousov, and tattooist and business owner, Joel Anderson.
Joel’s tattoo shop has just singed on to do a reality tv show and Annika is getting the opportunity to produce their show. Right from the beginning, we notice that there’s a connection between the two, but Annika tries to fight it off because of her job. She knows that she wouldn’t be able to fully commit to her job if she became attached to Joel.
Now, before we get anymore into the review, I just want to make sure that we all know that majority of what we see on reality tv is staged. The drama, crazy situations and even some of the dialogue is more than likely scripted or manipulated in some way by the show’s producers, editors and directors, so you can probably guess why Annika didn’t want to get involved with Joel.
But, even though Annika started off on the right foot, she eventually gave into she and Joel’s desires and, of course, it didn’t end well.
Now, I might sound a little insensitive when I say this, but I didn’t feel too bad for either of them when the s**t hit the fan because I knew what would eventually end up driving them apart. Did he expect her to throw away her career, especially after he’d given her permission to do what was needed to get the job done and did Annika really think that he would continue to be with her after she’d used his ultimate trigger to create drama for the show? I mean, come on. We all knew that there was a slim chance of that happening.
However, with all that being said, I still enjoyed the novel. I liked watching their story play out and I loved the ending. It was very sweet how everything came full circle.
In terms of the main characters, I liked them both.
I liked how Ms. Hart showed how multi-faceted women are and with Annika’s character, specifically, she showed that women can be career focused and have a home life as well. Society has taught us that a woman can either be all about her career or all about her home, but that’s no longer the case. You can have both, you, and whomever your significant other is, just have to work at it. It may not be easy, but it’s doable and I felt that Joel and Annika were a prime example of that.
But, in addition to that, Annika was a great character. She was very sweet to her family and people that she knew, but, in the workplace, she was known as the “Ice Queen” because she was a little cold and standoffish, but I can get that. When you’re trying to make a name for yourself in a male dominated industry, you have to cut off the emotion and be strategic because they’re always going try to prove that you’re, either, less than, not qualified and/or simply just don’t belong. Women have to constantly be on their A game and it’s harder to do that when you’re letting your emotions get the best of you.
Joel, on the other hand, wasn’t as intense, but he was a beautiful contradiction. You have this tough, buff, tatted guy who you would assume would be trying to avoid love, but he knew, just after a few interactions with Annika, that he wouldn’t be able to let her go and I loved that. I love reading novels where the “tough guy” falls in love because, for some reason, it just seems to have more of an impact on me than reading about the “good guy” falling in love.
Their romance was so explosive! They definitely had tons of chemistry and, even though they were complete opposites, they fit perfectly. To me, their romance was the driving force of this whole novel. It’s what kept me engaged.
There were quite a few supporting characters in this novel, but I’m only going to talk about a couple. First up, is Annika’s cousin and roommate, Roxy. I loved Roxy. She was very supportive of Annika and she knew how to set her cousin straight. Her daughter, Kira, was adorable and also a great addition to the novel. However, I was curious as to why Roxy refused to reveal Kira’s father’s identity. That was strange, but Ms. Hart might be saving those details for another novel, so I’m not complaining.
Annika’s boss, Laney, was another character that we read about and, at first, I didn’t like her. I thought that she was deliberately manipulating and using Annika. Plus, she was so cut and dry about what was right and wrong and I just couldn’t relate to her, but after completing the book, I can see where she was coming from. She was trying to warn Annika that getting attached to Joel was a bad thing.
She knew that Annika would ultimately be put in a situation that would, not only negatively affect she and Joel, but everyone else that was involved in the show. In my eyes, Laney was a product of her career. She’d been doing it for so long that she doesn’t get emotionally attached and I know that sounds cold, but in a career like hers, it’s seen as a positive. No one wants to be put in the same situation that Annika was put it.
And the last character is Joel’s brother, Shep. Very nice character and he was the only one that really knew Joel. They’d been through a lot together and I liked seeing two biological brothers sticking by one another’s side.
Overall, this was an amazing novel and I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Hart’s work. Definitely pick this one up and let me know how you liked it.