book review

Experimental Marine Biology by Susannah Nix

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*Thank you to Wildfire Marketing for gifting me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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By Susannah Nix

Release Date: June 15

“Just friends” is all Brooke and Dylan have ever been. (Except for that one night in high school, but they don’t talk about that.) Growing up, he was her protector. Her confidante. The one guy she could always trust.

Now she’s a marine biologist working toward her PhD in California, and he’s an underwear model in New York. Dylan’s only in town for a few days, crashing on Brooke’s couch and repaying the favor by acting as her date to a friend’s wedding.

It was totally an accident she saw him naked.

After that, “just friends” goes out the window in favor of friends with benefits.

It’s all going great…until it isn’t.

​Dylan’s got a ticket back to New York at the end of the week, and Brooke may have accidentally broken his heart. Can they navigate these uncharted relationship waters? Or has she tanked her oldest friendship?

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This is a decent friends to lovers romance that I enjoyed but it was little too much tell and not enough show. Brooke is a refreshing character since we don’t often come across heroines who work in a STEM field. However, I was hoping the book would deal more with her job beyond the fact that she works with whales. There were a few interesting facts interspersed in the story but I just wanted there to be more.

One thing that confused me about this book was that it is marketed as a romantic comedy but so much of the story deals with very heavy topics. Dylan is very critical of himself and as a male model he also has disordered eating that he normalizes. The author does give a content warning for these as well as abortion. There is also a subplot of someone our H/h know having cancer which I know for me would have been very triggering a few years ago. There are some attempts at humor but for me it felt a little out of place to go from dealing with such serious topics to trying to be funny.

I really liked how supportive Dylan and Brooke are with each other and I appreciated how long they have been friends. I also feel like they way they handled their relationship turning into more than friendship was realistically done and they had a lot of cute moments. I also enjoyed the aspect of Brooke having to deal with her relationship phobia. It is pretty uncommon in romance books (at least the ones I have read) to see the heroine getting burnt out on relationships once the “fun” getting to know each other part has started to fade.

Overall, this is a cute romance that I think so many will enjoy even if it did leave me feeling like I wanted more. This is also the fifth book in the series and while the author says they can be read as standalone’s the plot of this one was pretty heavy with the past couples. I do own the first three books in this series though and I am intrigued to get those couple’s romances. Also, I really hope the next book in this series is Tara and Mathias because that is some serious enemies to lovers vibes happening.

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Meet Susannah Nix:

Susannah Nix is an award-winning author of contemporary romances featuring smart women and swoony men, including the Chemistry Lessons series of romcoms about women who work in STEM fields and the Starstruck series of movie star romances. 

Susannah resides in Texas with her husband, two ornery cats, and a flatulent pit bull. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, watching stupid amounts of television, and getting distracted by Tumblr. She is also a powerlifter who can deadlift as much as Captain America weighs.

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