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.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Tonic is the story of Joel Anderson, owner of Tonic Tattoo Shop. Joel’s brother Shep convinces Joel to do a reality show set in their shop as a way to boost business and focus on their art. On the first day of production, Joel meets Annika, the Executive Producer of the show. Annika is an uptight woman, the only child of Russian emigrants. Joel is the opposite of every guy she’s ever been with – hairy and covered in tattoos.
I detest reality television for one main reason – it’s not real. It’s scripted and producers try to find conflict and exploit it. This book did the same thing – used conflict to exploit the situation. While it’s factual, it doesn’t make it any less irritating.
Joel is awesome. He’s funny and laid back. He’s very protective of his staff. Annika was a little harder to like in the beginning, but she eventually grew on me. Her boss, Laney, was annoying and vindictive. I really liked her cousin Roxy and her cousin’s daughter, Kira, was adorable.
The story had a little “side story” involving Annika’s parents, and there was a some predictable drama caused by the show, but overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.