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.


Addicted 2 Romance Review:

***ARC provided by Give Me Books ****

This book, Tonic is related to the previous series because Joel is the guy that Patrick lived with when he was on drugs and helped him get clean. In the previous book we saw how Patrick finally got together with Rose and we meet Joel who also employs Patrick at his tattoo parlor, Tonic.

Annika and Joel are two extremely different characters and a reality show brings them together. Typically I try and avoid reality tv romances. I don't watch them in real life so I also try and avoid in my romance book life.I will say that this one was very enjoyable at least the reality tv side. Joel, is the books hero. He is a lot older than Annika. In the book Annika says she was 9 to his 21 so its about a 12 year age gap.

Here is a little time history on Joel:
  • Age 19 he got married to Liz
  • At Age 21 his parents die and he opens Tonic with his good friend Hal
  • He says he was married to Liz for 5 hellish years so at 24 he gets divorced. They are split up for close to 15 years at the start of this book.
  • She then moves in with Hal (employee and friend) and they leave and open their own tatoo parlour
  • In this book Joel seems to be 38/39 and no age is mentioned for Annika but I was guessing based on all the hints that she 25ish.
The book is called, Tonic,  after Joel's tattoo shop. The reality show is Annika's baby and she has the cutest nickname for Joel, Hairy. Meanwhile she is this russian, icy blonde beauty. However they share three important things in common and thats really where the two start connecting.They both a deep love for their families. In Joe's case thats  not only his brother but his tattoo shop. Annika comes from a good family where she is close to her parents and cousins. The second is their love of reading and the third is their love of music.

Joel does the reality show to stick it to a rival tattoo shop run my his ex wife, Liz and Hal, an ex friend. And as you know with reality tv that will be exploited.While doing the show both Annika and Joel try and fight this very strong connection and I really enjoyed watching them try and control the flames.

On the whole I really loved Joel and Annika. Neither is what they show the world. Joel is like this tattooed badass but is inside a big, mushy, sweet guy. Annika is very icy,think icy blonde that looks very put together. But inside she is a bunch of goo too. Together I really enjoyed seeing them fall for each other and Joel helping Annika with the books for her parents.

My issue with this book was the big issue that caused Joel to react so badly and start hating Annika and say she betrayed him well I just did not understand. It was nothing Annika did or had any control over. She kept it to herself one night and she had sex with Joel and didn't tell him until the camera was rolling. But it is a reality show and she had absolutely no part in the whole thing except waiting til the next day to tell Joel and he totally knew something was coming. The people he should have been angry with was Hal and Liz and it had nothing to do with Annika. This goes from 80-95% of the book and I just did not understand it. I felt it was a total over reaction and I just didn't understand why he and everyone else made it that Annika had any part in this and the things he said to her and how everyone treated her, I totally would never have ever forgiven him and taken him back and definitely not beat herself up over her tiny part in this.

Even despite the issue above I really enjoyed the story and I loved Joel especially with Annika. There are several unique aspects to this story and one is Annika is Jewish/Russian and I love how they go a little into what her parents faced. This book is extremely HOT!!!! Lots of really hot sexual scenes which I totally loved.

Author Info:

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, even though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.
From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics.


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