Thursday, October 13, 2016

Release Blitz & Review: Tonic - Staci Hart

Title: Tonic
Author: Staci Hart
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 13, 2016

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.

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5 Stars
Joel Anderson doesn't take things seriously unless he's angry. His tattoo shop runs smoothly, his life is easy, he takes what he wants, and things tend to go his way. That is, until Annika Belousov shows up with her fancy clothes and her cameras. Annika takes everything seriously, from her family to her love life, but especially her job as a reality TV producer that's going to share the inside scoop on Joel's shop. He wants to find the girl behind the tight bun and serious attitude. Joel fits none of the boxes Annika wants to check off in a man, but she soon finds he's more than tattoos and easy-going smirks, he's the man who could change everything in her carefully constructed life.

So, I have been dying from day one to get my hands on Tonic. I loved the blurb, fell head over heels in love with the cover, and as soon as I opened page one I was hooked. Trust me, there was a point where I was sure when I wouldn't get a chance to read it right away and I was prepared to just cancel everything and go into hiding to get my time with it. Reality TV, tattoo shop, hot man who gets what he wants and has a past that's changed him, and a strong female character? Everything I love in a book combined.

“That guy. That hairy fucking guy. That hairy fucking guy with those stupid fucking eyes that looked at me like he could see me naked.”

"She looked like a doll, a cold, beautiful doll that belonged on a shelf where no man should touch her."

Joel and Annika and their love story are unique from the very start; their meeting unusual, the circumstances not ideal, but there's a spark between them that can't be ignored. Joel is shaped by his past, though he denies there's anything wrong with that. He's brash, hairy, and attractive, and his POV is more than interesting. Annika is the ice queen, in fact I might have pictured Elsa in business suits the entire time. She's just as confused as she is confusing, the polar opposite to Joel's exuberant personality, but she's also attractive, smart, and something about her just pulls at Joel. I loved the changing POV, Staci Hart hit it out of the park. The characters are a mess, their emotions overflowing into the pages, and the reality TV show just blows the situation into giant proportions. These two were meant to be and I felt like that from the moment they met. Though the characters didn't experience insta-love, I certainly did. The push and pull between them brings out passion and anger, with the two joining together at the risk of everything. 

“She left me shaken. Shaken from pleasure, from emotion, from breathing her breath and touching her skin, she shook me to the core. She was an earthquake, and I was changed forever because of her.”

Their attraction takes over the pages, but weaved into the romance are their individual lives, just as important as the connection the two share. There's family, friendships, careers, and most importantly themselves. Both characters make significant changes and steady growth through out the novel. They experience loss, hurt, acceptance, forgiveness, and most of all love, something neither had ever planned on having. Staci Hart uses beautiful prose to detail the sacrifices people make in their lives for other's happiness, as well as learning how to welcome their own happiness in as well. I loved the tattoo aspects, especially as they were used as metaphors for the struggles each went through apart and together. 

"Transparent, translucent, like the ice that I was. Freezing him out would never work, not when he could see the fire in my heart."

Tonic was my perfect type of novel, meeting every item on my book checklist. I fell in love with every character, with the story Staci Hart wove across the pages, and with the emotions I felt with every word. It's a romance with just a bit of angst, some humor, and a whole cast of characters I'd love to see again. 
Author Bio

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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