Tanked is gorgeous. I had high expectations after I devoured the first two books in the series in 2 days, and I was still unprepared for Tanked. It is full of longing. The sex is plentiful, hot, and evolves as Angel and Deanna’s relationship evolves. The attention to detail is excellent. There are little hummingbird silhouettes in the breaks, and yes, they are meaningful.
The third book in Mia Hopkins’ Eastside Brewery series, is set smack in the pandemic. The loneliness, isolation, and economic hardship are integral, but I felt validated more than traumatized by the setting.
Angel, the youngest Rosas brother, and Deanna (formerly Eddie’s caseworker) are the stars of Tanked and they tell the story in a dual POV. Other than some flashbacks, Angel has not been seen in the series. He was sent to live with his maternal grandmother and uncle after their mother and young sister died. Away from the neighborhood, he avoided joining the East Side Hollenbeck gang, but away from his family, with his father gone and his brothers in prison, he experienced abuse and homelessness. When Tanked begins in earnest, Angel is working for (not with) his brothers at Eastside Brewery and sleeping on the couch at Sal and Vanessa’s house while they all try to stay afloat in the pandemic. The brewery is barely getting by and may not survive. Deanna is also overwhelmed at work, trying to do more for clients with even less than the little she had before.
They start off as a stress relieving good time, except that Angel is always finding ways to take care of Deanna. The way they see and support each other was swoon inducing. Honestly, I reread the first “I love you” scene a few times before I was ready to move on.
The Eastside Brewery series is about roots – familial, cultural, and community – and second chances. The Rosas have grown and deepened their roots, building their families and their business in the community that is important to them. Without making the series “a very special episode,” Hopkins contrasts the growth and strength of the Rosas family with the shallow roots of the gangs, and the culture erasing “revival” of gentrification.
Tanked has so much heart and was a delight to read. I stayed up too late, I read while I was supposed to be doing other things. I could not put it down.
CW: pandemic, off page past deaths from Covid-19, past domestic violence, diet talk and body shaming by a family member, implied colorism, post-partum depression.
I received this advance reader copy from Little Stone Press and NetGalley. My opinions are my own.