Tonic by Staci Hart Release Day Blitz + Sarah's Review!

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.



Tonic is Staci Hart's latest standalone. It's a spin-off of her Bad Habits series. A few characters interconnect, but it won't hurt to read it by itself. 

Annika Belusov is a first generation Russian-American. She's married to her job and would do anything for her family. She's goal-oriented and has no time for relationships. Once she meets Joel Anderson, that all changes

Joel is the owner of the Tonic tattoo shop in New York City. He's been in the business for nearly two decades. He was burned by his ex-wife and has locked his heart from relationships. After he meets Annika, he'll do whatever it takes to get and keep her in his life. 

Tonic kind of fell flat for me. This is the fifth book of Staci Hart's that I've read and it just didn't hit me like the others. I didn't find much in the way of romantic comedy as I did as an angst-filled romance. As a tattoo collector, I was over the moon to learn about Joel's story. I love the tattoo shop scene and lifestyle. As someone who knows many shop owners, it's very uncommon for an artist to call their tattoo machine a "gun." Some artists even find it derogatory. Call me a snob, but that bothered me. 

I'm not discounting Staci's writing and I'm probably the unpopular reviewer of the bunch since it's not super favorable. It just wasn't a hit for me. I'm sure I'll keep reading Staci's work because she does keep it fresh and fun, but Tonic just didn't do it for me.

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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