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Chemistry Lessons #5

Experimental Marine Biology

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“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 confidant. 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. Despite the distance and their wildly divergent career paths, they’ve managed to stay friends.

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.

Pretty soon, the “just friends” thing goes out the window, and they find themselves giving friends with benefits a shot.

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 wrecked her oldest friendship?

242 pages, ebook

First published June 15, 2020

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About the author

Susannah Nix

37 books1,654 followers
Susannah Nix is a RITA® Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of rom-coms and contemporary romances who lives in Texas with her husband. On the rare occasions she's not writing, she can be found reading, knitting, lifting weights, drinking wine, or obsessively watching Ted Lasso on repeat to stave off existential angst.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 205 reviews
Profile Image for Hilly 🎐.
709 reviews1,324 followers
August 4, 2021
This book played with my feelings. The synopsis led me to believe it was going to be a romcom that would speak to my heart and melt it at the same time. What did I get? Another romance where the main character is obsessed with the guy’s hotness and sexiness only *big sigh*
I can understand the instalust, they’ve been friends for a long time and they can skip a couple of steps, but to describe the way the guy looks 80% of the time they’re together? You can only describe it so many times before it gets repetitive and annoying. The feelings are there but they’re also buried under buckets of lust, and that’s not how you make me fall for the story or the characters. Though, Dylan was cute and his personality was probably the only redeemable quality of this book. The half star is for him.

Brooke was constantly thinking about how much more money Dylan made than her and I was like ???? Are you serious? There’s a sentence where she says that he paid for the meal because after all he made more money than her and that’s fair. Wow, I’m so impressed.
Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Brooke’s haha.

The book is founded on excuses Brooke digs up to not date Dylan. Honestly, they made no sense to me. Like, she doesn’t want to date him because she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship... girl, you’re both lusting for each other and if you don’t do anything about it that’s going to be what ruins the friendship. If the book had made a better job of showing the feelings Brooke had for Dylan instead of almost only showing the lust, that would have worked. Also, they don’t even see each other or speak to each other that often apparently? In the very first chapter Brooke says they haven’t talked in years, so what difference would it make if you stopped talking for good?

There were some other subplots thrown into the mix but they were so out of place and didn’t get a conclusion. There were introduced and then gone and you’d never hear about them again. I really dislike the fact that cancer is thrown in to add to the drama. No, thank you.
A few of the stylistic choices also left me baffled. I laughed at how ridiculous some of those sentences sounded.

I’m very disappointed. I loved the idea of a marine biologist falling in love with an underwear model but this just wasn’t what I wanted. I had to skim the last 40% and the ending for sure didn’t change my opinion. It’s a huge meh from me. Pass.
Profile Image for Susannah Nix.
Author 37 books1,654 followers
Want to read
June 15, 2020

The wait is over!!!! Experimental Marine Biology is AVAILABLE NOW in ebook and paperback at all book retailers.

Who's excited to to meet Brooke and Dylan? I just love this childhood friends to friends w/ benefits story. I love that it features a brainy marine biology PhD student and a sweet-as-apple-pie underwear model. I love their lifelong opposites attract friendship that turns into something much more. Basically, I just really loved writing this book a whole lot, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Plus, if you're a fan of the other Chemistry Lessons books, you're in for a special treat, because a LOT of previous characters show up in this one to celebrate Penny and Caleb's wedding!

Amazon: https://geni.us/amznEMB
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Profile Image for Danielle's.
Author 1 book142 followers
May 27, 2020
Friends to lovers. The Marine biologists (student) and the model.

Brooke and Dylan have been friends for a long time. Now Brookes working towards her PhD in California and Dylan’s living it up in New York. Business has brought Dylan to California and he’s more than happy to see Brooke. When a little flirting and a lot of chemistry appears to be happening between them, it makes Brooke question why this never dated when they where younger.

Experimental Marine Biology is a sweet story with a deeper under tone. Brooke isn’t in touch with her family much but Dylan brings news she never expected. Dylans story shows the less glamorous side to modelling.

5 out of 5. A fun story with gross (interesting) Whale facts and a friends to lovers story.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♛Vanessa♛ Fangirl Faction.
871 reviews619 followers
June 15, 2020
Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader Copy at no cost from the publisher/author. All opinions in my review are my own.

This was such a feel-good book. This friends-to-lovers opposites-attract story was just what I was in the mood for.

I zipped through these pages at lightning speed. I couldn't get enough of this couple. The writing was delightful. It was easy to read and captured my attention. I love the way that the story was plotted out. Some parts were a little predictable but I still enjoyed them.

Brooke and Dylan were characters that I grew to like almost immediately. From the moment they graced the pages of this book I was smitten with them. They were so likable and relatable, even with their grand professions that I don't know a lick about. I really liked the depth that the characters had and the growth that the characters experience in the story. The secondary characters were delightful as well and made me want to go back and read the other books in this series.

I was a little disappointed with the romance. At least, some aspects of it. It is true that Brooke and Dylan had some definite chemistry and you could tell that they had a deep connection from being friends for so long. The thing that really took away from that connection was the fade-to-black nature of the sex scenes. I don't know the reason why the author chose not to give us steamy scenes but I thought that it did the book a great disservice. It overshadowed the intimacy of their relationship for me. And if I'm being honest, it made me feel like I was reading a young adult novel. When it comes to the romance in a story, it's clear that clean romances are not for me.

Overall, this is a friends-to-lovers romance that really grabs your attention and gets you in the feels. These were characters that were easy to relate to and a story that easy to fall in love with. The wonderful writing made this book so enjoyable. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

More reviews on my blog: Novel Nerd Faction
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,204 followers
June 15, 2020
Another great installment in this series! Susannah Nix’s books are such easy, enjoyable reads. I breezed right through this one and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Brooke and Dylan. While there are a plethora of whale puns, thanks to Brooke’s work in marine biology, this is more serious in tone compared to the other books in the series so you should know that going in.

Fans of friends-to-lovers romances are certain to find a lot to love here. Brooke and Dylan have been best friends ever since her parents moved next door to his in Baton Rouge. Aside from the night they kissed at prom (which they never talk about!), they are fully in friend zone territory. I thought it was quite clear that Dylan has been pining for her all these years but Brooke was pretty hung up on her insecurities about the kind of woman that would fit in Dylan’s world as a model. But if you add some forced proximity to their chemistry, of course things are going to happen! I really loved seeing how well Dylan knew Brooke and what would freak her out and how to work around that. They were so good together, even if Brooke was insistent that it could only ever be a fling due to her belief that relationships aren’t for her.

The only aspect that didn’t work for me was the plot line around Brooke’s family. After she got pregnant as a teenager and had an abortion, her dad stopped talking to her and her mom essentially took her dad’s side, even if she somewhat kept the lines of communication open. For the life of me, I could not figure out why Brooke had anything to do with her mom, especially since she hasn’t gone back home in six years. It was not a supportive relationship and Brooke would have been well justified to cut them off completely. When Brooke found out through Dylan that her dad was diagnosed with cancer, I worried that this would be used to bring her back into her family’s orbit and I was right. I found the choices toward the end to be on the emotionally manipulative side . We also don’t have any evidence that he’s changed or that her mom will stop enabling him. Even if Brooke hasn’t fully forgiven her father, the plot doesn’t fully address the trauma of her father’s rejection and glosses over what needs to happen for there to be true reconciliation, if there should even be one at all.

It also felt too convenient that Dylan would be there, at least as quickly as he was. I would have preferred some other catalyst for Brooke to deal with her feelings and straighten things out for him. That said, I was delighted she finally got her act together and recognized she loved him.

Also: Murderface is a brilliant cat name and I loved every time that cat appeared on the page.

CW: heroine’s father has prostate cancer, , hero’s mother was emotionally abusive, diet culture/concern for disordered eating, past abortion, past underage drinking, ADHD (diagnosed as an adult)

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kellisa.
284 reviews79 followers
June 16, 2020
Susannah Nix has some of my favorite STEM heroine's. I haven't read all the books in this series but I really enjoyed all the previous ones that I've read. Applied Electromagnetism remains one of my FAVORITE forced proximity/"there's only one bed" romances, so I went into Experimental Marine Biology with really high hopes. After how much I loved the last book in this series, I was a bit disappointed that Experimental Marine Biology fell flat for me. I did enjoy it and I think its a great option if you're looking for a quick read.

Friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes and I was so excited it was in this book, and the heroine is a marine biologist! Hell yes! I always really enjoy seeing the other characters from the previous books and I loved seeing the couples in this one (and there's a wedding!) I had mixed feelings about Dylan being this hottie underwear model, while I loved that there's a content warning in the beginning it also made me expect that the disordered eating subplot would be more in depth? It felt very brief and I think that would have been a great way to discuss the problematic expectations models, male and female, have to deal with.

I loved the scenes with Brooke's cat Murderface and Dylan. I think Murderface was my favorite character! I kind of struggled with Brooke's family and her abortion. Her father and family was truly awful to her, and when she went back home it kind of felt like it was on her to forgive them and their behavior, even though they had not apologized or talked to her for years. I love when a heroine unapologetically makes a decision like that about their body and doesn't regret it, but I had mixed feelings about the scenes with her family.

Experimental Marine Biology was a three star read for me! While it wasn't my favorite from the books in this series that I've read, I still highly recommend the Chemistry series!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,435 reviews381 followers
June 15, 2020
Experimental Marine Biology

Find this review and more at kimberlyfaye reads.

Whale, whale, whale... Experimental Marine Biology, the latest installment in Susannah Nix's Chemistry Lessons series of standalone novels, was exactly what I need in my life. It's no secret my reading hasn't been super great as of late. The books I would normally enjoy can't seem to hold my interest. It often takes me days to finish the books I am enjoying because my focus is totally shot. There's just too much going on in the world for me to unplug and read the way I used to pre-COVID and everything else.

Thankfully none of that was a problem once I picked up Experimental Marine Biology. I swear, I literally could not/would not put this book down. It was a nearly one-sitting kind of read and, well, that hasn't happened for me in quite a while. There was just something about Brooke and Dylan that I couldn't get enough of. I'm a sucker for a good best friends to lovers book and when mixed with the expiration dating/friends with benefits piece, I was all the more hooked. The couple times I did sit the book down to do other things, I was chomping at the bit to get back to it. 

There were a million little things to love about this book, not the least of which was the wonderful chemistry between Brooke and Dylan and the humor. Boy, do I love a good whale pun. There's at least one joke in here that I ended up texting to several friends while reading. While the overall vibe of this book was light, there were mentions of tougher issues. (CW for past abortion and parental illness) While the latter hit me in the feels, it wasn't totally overwhelming.

Brooke and Dylan were just so good together. They charmed me — especially as he was the one who was "all in" and she took some convincing — and made me swoon. Don't go in expecting a lot of heat from this book — it's closed-door — but I found I didn't miss the sexy scenes at all. They weren't really needed to illustrate the feelings and passion between these two characters. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Favorite Quotes:

"What's a mansplainer's favorite animal?"
"A whale, actually."

Blood didn't make you family; it was just an accident of nature. Family were the people who stood by you no matter what, not the ones who were nowhere to be found when you needed them.

"You're the only one in my life who's a hundred percent real. When you look at me, I know you're seeing the real me, not the person I pretend to be." 

"I nurture my grudges as if they were my children. I keep them healthy and well-fed, and make sure they take their vitamins every day. My grudges will outlive me."
Profile Image for Alana Bloom .
452 reviews42 followers
June 14, 2020
Experimental Marine Biology is among my list of 2020 releases that I'm excited about! I am absolutely chuffed to have the opportunity to share my review with you on release day! If you have been looking for a sweet, friends-to-lovers romance with a lead female in STEM then this book (and series) is for you!

Nix expertly builds relatable, flawed characters and has long been an auto-buy author of mine. I LOVE reading about women in STEM and readers get a glimpse into the world of marine biology complete with whale puns and decor. I loved it! Brooke was a complicated character for me. I enjoyed her but I didn't connect the way I do with some characters. I freely admit that my reading was probably overshadowed by current events so I may just have been extra salty. I did cry a bit at the end during a certain moment in Brooke's arc so I suspect salty.

What I can tell you is the chemistry between these "just friends" is hot right from the beginning. The intimate scenes are fade to black but the lead up is on fire. Watching Brooke's internal salivating had me giggling madly.

While I didn't quite connect with Brooke, I did enjoy Dylan. I love that we have a chance to see his ability to chameleon and charm a crowd in a performative professional setting as well as a genuine, laid-back event with Brooke's friends. I do wish we had his background fleshed out a bit more though I admit that is tricky with using only Brooke's POV. I came away feeling like Dylan was already this perfectly formed other half, beyond some self-esteem issues. Just a constant character ARC to stabilize the relationship while Brooke fights with herself and her past.

Nix has a way of dragging laughter out of me even when I don't feel like it. I adore puns and bad jokes and Nix served up some side-stitch, belly laugh comments. I was ridiculously invested in the rivalry between Tara and Mathias even though it is barely mentioned. The company picnic moment had me dying. Such a low key "enemy strike" but Tara's reaction continues to make me laugh when I think about it. Consider this my formal request for at least a novella where we get more of these two! Maybe another delightful Christmas novella? (Shameless plug for Maybe this Christmas and it's awesome Bi rep) 

Overall, this is a sweet and spicy, friends to lovers romance that took me away from the real world for a while. I wish I had felt more connected to the story, and Brooke in particular. Brooke and Dylan's romance didn't hit me in the feels quite as much as Olivia and Adam (Applied Electromagnetism) although I freely admit that it is because I may have stuck those two up on a pedestal. Maybe I need to reread it. You know, for science...

Content Warning: anxiety, references to abortion 

**I voluntarily read and reviewed a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Shannon.
4,516 reviews224 followers
December 31, 2021
I'm so excited this book is finally out on audio with returning narrator Caitlin Kelly! Another sweet, emotion-filled romance from Susannah Nix's Chemistry Lessons series. This book features Brooke, a marine biology PhD student and her friends to lovers journey with high school bestie and NYC super model Dylan. Dylan comes to LA and spends the week hanging out with Brooke. Things heat up and the two finally confront their mutual attraction. When Dylan wants to take a chance on a real relationship though Brooke gets cold feet.

This one was a fully closed door romance which was a little disappointing. The chemistry between Brooke and Dylan was top notch and oh man the Dad-joke level puns were on point! I also loved the Ripped Bodice bookstore reference and how the author worked in conversations about how amazing romance novels are, for both men AND women. Dylan was a hottie with a huge heart and wins all the book boyfriend stars, showing up for Brooke when there's a family crisis.

Fans of this series are sure to enjoy the cameos from past books in the series but overall this was good but not the best one for me. Too PG!! Gimme all the steam please :) I'm going to be sad when this series ends after Elementary romantic calculus!
Profile Image for Jess (ireadergosum) Reviews.
730 reviews22 followers
June 15, 2020
3.5 Stars! This was my first book from this author, but I've been curious about this series for a while! This story was cute and quick. I enjoyed the very real issues that Dylan and Brooke went through and their journey from friends to lovers to more. Both characters have some hold ups despite each having some really great qualities. Luckily, it just felt like they were meant to be as they interacted. Brooke's whale decorations were cute and good for a laugh too.
Also, if you're looking for a book without explicit details during the sexy times, this one might be for you!

Thank you to Wildfire Marketing Solutions for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Miramanee .
176 reviews45 followers
May 23, 2020
I adore every single book in this series. This one included!

Brooke and Dylan have known each other for years. All they've ever been is "Just Friends". And that worked out perfectly fine for both of them.
Now their high school years are long behind them. Brooke pursuits her love for the ocean, working as a marine biologists in Los Angeles while Dylan is a famous underwear model in New York.
Then one day Dylan gets a modeling job in LA and crashes on Brooke's couch.
... And it was a total accident she saw him naked.
Can they uphold their new agreement of "Friends with Benefits"? What if it leads to more? Will they risk their life long friendship?

This was such an adorable book!
I love the easy and loving dynamic Brooke and Dylan have. Their banter and shared interests. How they're both so familiar with each other. And how Brooke not only adores him for his appearance but knows his inner worth! They're just constantly building each other up!
And the fact that all of the "Chemistry Lessons" girls kind of reunite in this book was amazing! It's so great to see where they all ended up.

Also, Susannah Nix: I need Mathias and Tara's story!! I can already see their enemies to lovers relationship evolving and I'm so here for that!!

(this book touches on certain subjects, including abortion, parental illness, and disordered eating)

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review *
Profile Image for Prerana.
1,196 reviews377 followers
August 28, 2021
This was cute like all Susannah Nix books. I'm a big fan of best friends to lovers and long histories. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I'm not sure if I received what I thought I was going to read. Nevertheless, I found it adorable but slightly forgettable.

And I'm out.
Profile Image for Cora.
417 reviews42 followers
December 4, 2022
Equally as good as (and even better than) other popular romcoms featuring STEM scientists as main characters (AKA Ali Hazelwood's The Love Hypothesis). I'll definitely be checking out other installments in the series!
Profile Image for Lindsey (Bring My Books).
649 reviews140 followers
May 28, 2020
As this is the fifth book in the Chemistry Lessons series by Susannah Nix, I knew a fair bit about what to expect in this title, and in that I was not disappointed. Whereas I don't think this one hit me the same as previous installments (see: #1 Remedial Rocket Science and #4 Applied Electromagnetism), it was still enjoyable and I'm definitely ready for a sixth book!

(Also, if the sixth one is going to center around who I think it is - I'm DEFINITELY here for it. Enemies to Lovers is quite the fun trope and these two characters already have such a good jumping off point from what was shared in this book!)

Read this one for: STEM heroines, friends to lovers, sort-of second chance romance, and a hilarious cat named Murderface. Yeah. That's not a typo.

I received an eARC copy of this book via the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Misti.
1,005 reviews61 followers
June 18, 2020
I just didn't like this one so much. It's probably just me. It seemed short and there were 2 or 3 things brought up and then never really addressed, , so I was left a little dissatisfied. I have enjoyed all the other books in the series though and even re-read a couple when I need a pick me up.
Profile Image for Anna Reads Here.
878 reviews186 followers
June 14, 2020
The Chemistry Lessons series by Susannah Nix fell across my lap accidentally and now I’m obsessed with these women, their friendship and the men in their lives.

Synopsis: “Experimental Marine Biology” is the fifth book in the series and follows Brooke and Dylan. They’ve been best friends for most of their lives, but they’ve always been heading down different professional paths. Brooke is working towards a marine biologist PhD and Dylan has used his devastatingly good looks to become a gorgeous underwear model. Their friendship has always worked and it’s stood the test of time. Till Dylan shows up in California for a break and everything just gets topsy turvy.

Review: I absolutely adore friends-to-lovers and the relationship and friendship between Brooke and Dylan was so damn cute. While not my favourite of the series, this book definitely warmed my heart and soul.

The things that I really loved about this book was how supportive Dylan was and he appreciated all of Brooke’s whale puns and her quirks and her brains and encouraged her to just go after what she wants and be who she truly is. And then there’s Brooke never thinking of Dylan as just a handsome dude, but someone worthy of everything good in the world.

It’s a no brainer that any time friends decide to establish things as ‘friends with benefits’ everything goes awry. And with Brooke and Dylan, that’s not different. It’s not like they can ignore the kiss they shared on prom night or the kisses and the touches they’ve been sharing since then, or the obvious way being around each other makes them feel. The gradual ‘falling into love’ and making it work is always my favourite part of any book and Susannah Nix does a good job of that here. Plus, so damn relatable. Oh man.

There’s a warning at the beginning of the book, about contents and issues that come up and Susannah Nix handles the conversation of abortion and the talk around it so well. None of the issues that the characters deal with are defining characteristics of who they are, but they are issues that come up as part of their growth and the building of their relationship and gosh, guys, that was so special.

And let’s not forget about all the women from the series showing up through the course of this book. They’re such a perfect tight knit gang (see what I did there?!) and I absolutely love the female friendship that is written in all of these books.

If you’re looking for a cute, fluffy romance about friends and friendship and love and the journey to get there, this is where it ends. “Experimental Marine Biology” delivers that and then some and you won’t be sorry!

Thanks to Susannah Nix for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Heather (winemakerssister).
2,187 reviews17 followers
January 10, 2022
This was not my favorite of the series. Maybe it's just my COVID-era brain??? Brooke just seemed immature, and I felt like the insecurities of both the H & h dominated the storyline. And Brooke spent so much time ogling Dylan's body. Yes, he had a good body, but how would the reader feel if the gender roles were reversed?
421 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2023
Ok a plethora of penile pseudonyms and a weepy scene and the obligatory happy ending….count me in! I stupidly read a couple of reviews before I started this and one of them said this main character was just like another character in this series because they were both unsure they’d ever be mushy in love. That’s tantamount to saying it’s the same story because they are both brunette. All of these stories are the same. Boy and girl. Meeting. Conflict. Separation (mental or physical). Reunion. HEA
Profile Image for Brenda Brown.
Author 23 books495 followers
May 26, 2020
I'm a huge fan of Susannah Nix's books and this one is definitely a new favorite! I loved Brooke and Dylan. Their friendship is authentic and their mutual recognition of what they have in that friendship rang really true to me. I'm not going to lie - Dylan was downright swoonworthy and the tension between the two was delicious. Another fab book from Susannah!
Profile Image for Kate (kate_reads_).
1,450 reviews205 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 15, 2020
DNF at 32%. I have really enjoyed most of this series - especially book 4 Applied Electromagnetism. If you haven’t read that, you are missing out and should go do it right now!

Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me. Dylan is a successful underwear model living in NY who comes to LA to visit his childhood friend Brooke. She’s a marine biologist who is working on her PhD and is very ambitious. However from the moment she learns Dylan is coming to visit we stop hearing about her career goals and just hear (repeatedly) about his hotness. If you drink every time any version of hot/hotness is on the page, you will be very drunk.

We also hear way more about Dylan’s diet and exercise regime than I have any interest in knowing. I get it that he doesn’t just look so incredibly hot without any effort. But I’m not feeling like I’m getting to know their personalities beyond their jobs, appearance (his) and insecurities.

Thank you to the author for the advance reading copy.
Profile Image for Rachel.
8 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2020
I love marine biology and was hopeful that I'd be introduced to a strong woman in STEM...but that wasn't the case here. The book focuses on Brooke (the PhD student) and her long-time friend Dylan (the model) and their relationship, which inevitably becoming romantic. There are some complex themes surrounding abortion, family estrangement, competition in academia, and health issues...but didn't make up for the poor writing and predictable plot. Brooke and Dylan are one-dimensional characters and they're both cheesy and annoying.
Profile Image for Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog).
5,161 reviews175 followers
June 17, 2020


Brooke totally does not think of her underwear model childhood friend, Dylan, as more than a friend. And that is a good thing considering he's going to be staying with her for a week while he's in town for a photoshoot. Yep...

Except of course there are more than friendly feelings between them and of course they act on them. Now the only question is whether Brooke will run scared when Dylan lays his cards on the table, or if she'll fight for them the way Dylan wants to.

For a supposedly lighthearted story, this one is not really fluff like I was expecting. There are a few serious subjects dealt with, and the emotion between these two friends is pretty intense. I enjoyed this read and loved seeing them finally get on the same page.

ARC via Wildfire Marketing Solutions for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books74 followers
July 8, 2020
3.5 stars
From friends to lovers is the theme of this charming modern romance. I read a regency on the same theme recently; it must be catching.
The story sports some interesting vocabulary choices, which spice up the narrative. The examples include dirty but irresistible slang - "his dangling participle". I'm sure you could guess what it is.
Another example comes from the scientific biology lingo - "sessile bivalve lifestyle." I needed to look it up to understand the meaning.
The characters appear opposites in every way. Brooke is a marine biology PhD student. Dylan is a successful underwear model. She is introverted to the extreme. He is charismatic, a show-business natural, or so it seems. They have been best friends since elementary school, but now their relationship transforms into lust and love, and the readers are lucky enough to witness those turbulent changes.
This was book #5 of the author's series of stand-alone romance novels about brainy girls and their love life. The interesting factoid I noticed in all five books: either one or both protagonists come from a family with complicated family dynamics. No simple loving parents and siblings for most of this writer's heroes.

Overall, it was a quick and easy read.
Profile Image for Bex | TotallyBex.com.
524 reviews184 followers
July 12, 2020
The Chemistry Lessons series proves that women can be supportive friends, they can hold their own in male-dominated fields, and they don’t necessarily take the traditional path to fall in love.

The fifth book of the series, Experimental Marine Biology, is a smartly-written, sweetly charming opposites attract friends-to-lovers romance. The characters are witty and endearing, and the banter is funny and intelligent, making it a fun read overall.

Brooke is an LA-based marine biologist, working on her Ph.D., while Dylan is an NYC-based model. They have been friends since childhood but drifted apart during their senior year of high school. A work trip for Dylan brings him to LA and Brooke’s apartment for a week. Honest communication, the resurfacing of suppressed feelings, and life-changing revelations ensue, making Brooke question the leap from just friends to friends with benefits to more.

Dylan is one of the sweetest heroes I’ve ever read, and he is so patient and understanding with Brooke throughout the story. Brooke, on the other hand, may be book smart, but she seems emotionally out of her league at times. Their personalities are almost a role-reversal from typical romances, something I really appreciated about this book.

While this book is mainly light and fun, there are some serious and heavy issues dealt with in the storyline—all of which were handled really well by the author. The friendships and social gatherings were a highlight for me, as well.

If you love whale puns, science facts, hot male models, and sweet friends-to-lovers stories, Experimental Marine Biology is for you! It’s a complete standalone, so don’t worry about starting with book five (and then working your way through the rest of the series!).

ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Lauren.
10 reviews
June 15, 2020
I received an ARC of Experimental Marine Biology, and I sincerely enjoyed it! I always love Susannah Nix's characters, because they're so realistic; they all have flaws, and seem like people we could meet in our every day lives. And of course, her heroines are all in STEM, which is so refreshing! I love reading about different aspects of the STEM areas, because I didn't pay much attention to it while I was in school. I love being able to use what I love (reading romance/ fiction) to learn about other areas of the world.

This book was no different; I loved it. Dylan was such a good male lead. He has ADHD, but that wasn't his whole personality/ character arc. Nix handled it so well; it was an aspect of him, not who he was. He was so sweet, and throughout the book you see him gain confidence in himself outside of his looks (since he is a model). I feel like male body image/ confidence isn't talked about enough, and I loved that this book touched on it!

Another aspect that I love about Nix's novels is that she touches on series issues within the romance. The difficult topic in this novel was abortion (not really a spoiler, there's a warning on the first page), and how it can alter familial relationships. Brooke's family relationship was so strained; I was happy that it was addressed, and in such a realistic way. The tension wasn't just erased, but they were able to move in a better direction. I love how it was handled, and like Dylan's ADHD, the abortion was only a minuscule part of the story, not the characters full personality. I thought the way it was handled was so true to life; it was something that happened in the past, but it doesn't define her future.

As well, Brooke is a marine biologist! I feel like every kid wanted to be that at some point (myself included!), and it was so interesting to see the realities of it. I also learned some fun facts about whale earwax, which I never thought I'd need but am now glad I know.

I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a sweet friends to lovers romance with serious underlying issues and some really cool science!
Profile Image for Kristen Lewendon.
7,103 reviews42 followers
June 13, 2020
I love seeing best friends transition to be something more. It’s almost the same kind of catnip for me as a second chance. And when it’s a pair that have been friends for as long as Brooke and Dylan have, it’s kind of extra special. I loved watching Brooke defend her introverted lifestyle. In a world where extroverts get the glory, it was nice to see someone quiet take center stage for a change. Dylan is everything that makes up the best book boyfriends: he’s sweet and caring and very perceptive. There is a lot of angst and dramatic tension in this book. Maybe it’s because of that that this story didn’t feel quite as ‘light’ as some of the others in this series did. But I guess when you’re trying to decide if you should gamble with two decades worth of best friendship, it’s a pretty heavy decision to make. It was so much fun to get cameo appearances from some of the previous couples and to see what’s been happening while we’ve been gone. I adore everything about this series, and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us next.
I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book from the author.
June 15, 2020
I love these books with women in STEM fields. This is the second one I’ve read in this series and I really enjoyed it, a best friends to lovers book and the best friend is a sexy underwear model. Not only that, but he’s in touch with his feelings, knows exactly what she’s thinking, and reads romance novels! It seems the normal gender roles are switched in this book. Brooke is going for her PhD in marine biology and she is partially estranged from her family due to something that happened in the past. Dylan is her best friend who lives in NYC and she rarely sees but they keep in touch over the phone and social media. But when they see each other again after 6 years, truths are revealed and Brooke has to face her past. Her fear of commitment, her estrangement with her family, and her true feelings for Dylan. The one thing I wish was different about this book is I would have liked if it was in first person. But beyond that it’s a great read about a smart woman living her dream and uncovering the truth about her feelings!

Profile Image for Nicole.
163 reviews
September 20, 2022
Cute and fluffy. I like that Susannah Nix continues to create fairly realistic depictions of 20-something women in STEM -- their nerdiness, neuroses, and insecurities.

The third act conflict is very weak (miscommunication, my least favorite trope), but I do like the shift of the book to focus on the protagonist's family issues. Some might prefer for romances to focus solely on the MCs, but I didn't mind it at all. I think it's realistic to depict the messiness of life in a romance, and I actually thought there was some genuinely emotional moments of the MC not knowing how to process her dynamic with her dad. My other qualm was that I think there was a missed opportunity to delve even deeper into abortion, since it was just used here as a plot setup. The author has a history of using sensitive issues as a plot device, like in Remedial Rocket Science, and I think adding more nuance and elaboration to these topics could've increased the depth anad emotional stakes of her books.
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