Review: Tonic by Staci Hart

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When one’s fellow Goodreaders rate a book an average of 4.04 stars, one tends to buy the said book, in spite of personal gut feelings that said, “You’ve read one of that authors books before, and it wasn’t that great. WTH are you doing?!”

Lesson learned: listen to your guts, check your previous reviews for the same author’s other books, and save yourself some money and heartache.

Staci Hart’s newest release “Tonic” was, for me, a disappointment, particularly after I’ve read all the glowing reviews. I knew it was about a fictional American reality show featuring a tattoo shop, its owners, and its artists – first off, I hate American reality shows. HATE. THEM. Can’t stand them. Second, Ms. Hart’s primary characters annoyed me. Just plained pissed me off. Heroine Annika Belousov was the ultimate martyr. Born to Russian immigrants, she undertook the task of nagging her parents to, basically, Netflix and chill in their old age (they had her when they were in their late forties), while she becomes their sole breadwinner. She also sees herself as her cousin Roxy’s responsible caretaker; Roxy happens to be a single working mom. Not to say that Roxy is irresponsible, but Annika is just that controlling and sees herself as her family’s Messiah.

Hero Joel Anderson isn’t any better. He’s a divorced & cynical tattoo artist and shop owner. Twelve years older than his heroine, he basically harasses Annika ever since their first meeting. Nonetheless, Annika can’t help thinking of him.

Wait, hold on. I just barfed up a little.

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It doesn’t help that cousin Roxy kept probing and poking at Annika to get her to admit that she likes, nay, loves Joel. Like: for realz, girls? Control your vaginas. Jeezus.

To top it off, Joel is a wishy, washy tool. And, Annika lies to him. But ultimately, she sacrifices her livelihood, because…. Drumroll, please…….. she loves him.

“Tonic” is chockfull of cliches, cliches, and more cliches. The bad boy sexily 1 startattooed and entrepreneur hero, who’s really just insecure and broken by love inside. The strong, equally sexy, and pretty damned blonde ice queen heroine, who’s really a masochist. Ugh.

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