REVIEW: In Southern Deep by Marissa Holt

35618886[1]Release Date: July 11, 2017

Length: Novel (284 pages)

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance

Cover Art: Unknown

Links: Amazon  Goodreads

Blurb:  What do you do when one man could give everything you need in the world…but the whole world is against you having him?

Unexpected reunions…

Jeremy Lyles can’t believe his eyes. Sean Sax — his onetime best friend, who disappeared from his life seven years ago — is working as a bouncer at an Atlanta nightclub. Muscular, tattooed, and very much the bad boy, Sean is irresistible…even though Jeremy considers himself straight.

Impossible dilemmas…

Sean knows he should stay far away from Jeremy. His troubled background and rough ways will never be welcome in Jeremy’s world. More, Sean doesn’t want his kind of trouble to intrude on his friend’s life. But sensitive, adorable Jeremy is exactly what he wants, and Sean finds himself unable to say no.

Fateful choices…

Afraid of his father’s disapproval, Jeremy tries to hide his relationship with Sean even as the heat between them intensifies. But constant meddling from both families strain things to the breaking point, especially when Sean learns that Jeremy’s keeping secrets. When Sean’s past returns with a vengeance, Jeremy must risk everything to save the man he loves.

Review:

4-Hearts

I’ve struggled with how to rate this book. After some debate, I settled on 3.5 Hearts, rounded up. This book is friends-to-lovers meets Richie Rich and the redeemed bad-boy. The reason I rounded up instead of down was that the book grew on me as I read it. For the first 20-30% of the story, I had trouble connecting with our heroes but by the time I reached the middle I was hooked. For the early part of the book, Jeremy came across as passive and a little wimpy, but once he and Sean start having sex, I saw him more as submissive which changed the way I related to him. For Sean, I think it just took time to get the insecurity underneath all of his bad-boy dominance.

The plot is pretty straight forward. Both men have their issues both of their own making and not. I thought Jeremy’s relatively angst free slide from straight to gay was a little too quick without enough backstory. And the ex-girlfriend subplot was wasted. It would have served the story better for Stacey to be an evil minion for Jeremy’s father rather than just a distraction.

The sex in this book is filthy in the best possible way. Sean’s aggressive dominance plays nicely with Jeremy’s natural submission without it bleeding over into the rest of their relationship. Some people are going to be put off by Sean’s super-toppy toppiness and his insistence on Jeremy becoming a power bottom without ever having the opportunity to explore the other side. I noticed it, but it didn’t bother me.

The writing was mostly good. There were a few typos and editing missteps but not enough to aggravate me. My biggest problem with the wordsmithing was the uneven pace. Ms. Holt was a little too heavy on the gas and the break for the tempo to feel natural. Overall I ended up enjoying it more than I thought at the beginning. I like it when a book ends up surprising me in a positive way, hence the rounding up.

I don’t have much to say about the cover. It’s fine for yet another generic floating torsos in the sky design which is so prevalent in the genre. I know they exist largely because of the limited number of M/M stock images out there, but it’s still overdone.

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