Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

Lyric is a graduate psychology student who is writing her thesis on sexual and emotional chemistry in romantic couples, aka “The Sizzle Paradox”. As the due date approaches, Lyric is concerned her lackluster love life will undermine the credibility of her research. When her best friend and roommate Kian offers to “tutor” her so she can improve her dating skills, they are forced to confront what their friends and family have told them for years: maybe they are destined to be more than just friends. 

I had mixed feelings about this book. The first half felt so slow and tedious, that I almost DNF’d it. However, I pushed through and found the second half significantly better. I expected this book to be on par with great academic/STEM romances like The Love Hypothesis and The Soulmate Equation. Despite sharing some similarities, this one just wasn’t as well executed. 

What I liked:
The “paradox” theme 
In addition to Lyric’s thesis, the author weaves in other paradoxical elements throughout the story. Lyric herself is an ivy-league student but relies on crystals and tarot cards for comfort; her noncommittal, underachieving brother becomes engaged; her friend Charlie is both a scientist and a pastor at an LGBTQ+ Korean church, and her no-nonsense sister finds love with a professional magician 10 years her junior. 

Meanwhile, the MCs are having no luck with “obvious matches” who share common interests, backgrounds, and goals. The author’s message is well-illustrated: people, life, and love don’t always fit into neat, tidy, and obvious boxes. 

Casual diversity
The author took care to write diverse characters with real storylines and does a great job of incorporating intersectionality into the diversity. 

Kian
Kian was a cute love interest. He genuinely cares about Lyric, and his character growth and romantic feelings felt natural and authentic. 

Friends (the show)
I strongly suspect the author is a Friends fan. There seemed to be a few nods to the show: the mention of finding your ‘lobster,’ going to London for a wedding, and then proceeding to hook up with a close friend in London. 

Dislikes:

Lyric’s Thesis
It was a cute idea in theory. However, the explanation of the study and Lyric’s approach was convoluted and messy. Why does she need a successful romantic relationship for her work to count? Didn’t her years-long experiment already prove her point? Wouldn’t it be improper and undercut objectivity to include herself in the study? By the second half, I found myself trying to forget about the thesis and just focused on the characters and the romantic storyline.

Lyric
This FMC is mind-bogglingly immature. Her awkwardness and cluelessness are endearing at first, but it drags on for far too long. Even towards the end, she makes a massive life-altering decision on a whim but then goes back to her original plan just a little while later. Like, what? Where Kian had a natural progression in growth and his feelings, Lyric was just as dumb at the end as she was in the beginning. 

Overall, this was a fun, light romcom if you keep your expectations in check. You won’t find the same attention to detail and compelling characters you would in similar Christina Lauren or Ali Hazelwood books, but the general theme of the book is cute. There are sweet and funny moments along the way, and ultimately what we’re all after: a satisfying HEA.
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The Sizzle Paradox gives Love Hypothesis vibes and I am HERE for it!! There are several good spicy scenes in the book. Kian and Lyric suffer from the miscommunication trope, and best friends to lovers! This scratched my itch for more nerdy romance!

Read if you love: nerdy romance, fake dating

Thank you to St. Martin's Press + Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is Menon’s second adult novel and it was such a delight! If you like friends to lovers, fake dating, and a graduate school setting I think you would enjoy this contemporary romcom.

Lyric Bishop and Kian Montgomery are besties and roommates. They’ve been great together since they met years ago in college. Currently they are both working on their doctorate degrees.

Lyric feels like a complete scammer as she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes relationships last long term, and she can’t even figure it out in her own life. The science she’s researched is sound, but she feels as though she can’t give her expert opinion on the subject without some real world experience. In order for her to complete her doctoral thesis, she needs to crack the Sizzle Paradox, and she desperately needs some help.

Kian has never had trouble bringing sizzle and romance to his own romantic relationships. He offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics so that she can find her own match. Lyric is certain that this offer will help her to solve her problems, and she offers to set Kian up with someone different than he usually dates to stir things up a bit.

Once the tutoring sessions begin however, they don’t really feel like academic exercises to Lyric and Kian as real feelings begin to develop. This becomes a big problem as they have always been best friends and nothing else. Will their friendship survive?

I found myself cheering for Lyric and Kian along the way! I loved the banter and all of the angst. Such a cute and swoony romance that you’ll be sure to enjoy. This one is coming out on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 so please pick this one up and/or add it to your TBR.
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Lyric Bishop is a student living with her best friend Kian as they pursue they’re doctorate degrees. Lyric is crafting her dissertation on The Sizzle Paradox, measuring physical and emotional attraction of couples. When she realizes her own love life doesn’t come close to those measured for her study, Kian offers to coach her through fake-dates—with rules—to figure out where she’s falling short in her dating. But will this role-playing affect their existing friendship?

I really enjoyed this book—and finished it in one day! I appreciated the bond and chemistry between Lyric and Kian. I appreciated their growth and self-awareness as the book progressed and was a fan of the dual-perspective.

This is a great, easy read for fans of friends to lovers, found family, and dual POV!

Special thanks to the NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. All thoughts in this review are honest and my own.
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I wanted to love this book so much, but it just didn't fit for me. The male perspective wasn't very believable, His voice felt very feminine. Overall the writing seemed juvenile, like a kid trying to write for an adult. Also their relationship was weird. They were both like "Yeah BFF's I'd never see this person as a serious relationship" but then they were also always like "Yeah he/she's so hot and stunning and let me touch you and be so close to you all the time." I'm sorry but none of my best friends male or female have ever acted like this. Also I found it so weird that Lyric comes from this family that believes in crystals and tarot cards, but she's a full fledge scientist. I feel like those two things don't really overlap in real life. 

I also felt like this could have benefited from some more editing. There was a low of flowery descriptions that weren't necessary. And how many times do we have to hear Kian's hands were so large and Lyric's were so tiny and petite. It felt a bit stereotypical and not really benefiting the story at all. We get it! Also there were big rants in detail about their doctorate programs that I just didn't find interesting. Maybe an overall theme i'd find interesting but the little details I didn't understand and didn't care to for a romance novel. 

With all that said, this book did get more interesting as it went on. The back 50% is much more interesting than the first half, and had that been edited down a bit I think this would have been a much more successful romance. 

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review! This book releases 6/28!
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Sigh. This just wasn't it. Was it a lighthearted summer romance read? Yes. Was it offensive in any way? No. Would it be ok to read on the beach and not get too invested in it? Sure. It tells the tale of doctoral candidates Lyric and Kian, who are longtime platonic best friends. Lyric is working on The Sizzle Paradox, which is a way to assess romantic love and sexual chemistry. The problem is that she is socially awkward and her dates for the project aren't going well. Kian suggests some sample dates with him to help her out and sparks fly. They go from friends to lovers but don't seem able to face it....until they do. My problem with this book was the level of maturity that both characters lacked, and the sense that neither one of them had any sort of growth. The verbal exchanges didn't seem like those of doctoral candidates...more like high schoolers.
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Lyric and Kian are best friends and roommates working on completing their dissertations. Lyric’s topic is related to intimacy and compatibility -her Sizzle Paradox - but feels like a fraud because she’s never been in love. Her and Kian are both the king and queen of random hookups, and Kian agrees to “tutor” her on flirting and relationships.

The miscommunication trope is strong in this book, and they both seemed a little immature. Lyric was also really into crystals, which just isn’t my thing. It was cute altogether, with a few spicy scenes.
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Hey book lovers! I'm here with a book review for a Netgalley arc of The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon (a pen name for Sandhya Menon). I requested this arc after liking Sandhya's book From Twinkle, With Love and LOVING 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. On her website blog, she said she's using Sandhya for her YA books and Lily for her adult books so that parents and librarians can easily tell which books are appropriate for younger readers. The Sizzle Paradox will be published soon and is an easy and fun read for the beach or summer vacation.


About The Book 📚
Title: The Sizzle Paradox

Author: Lily Menon

Publication Date: June 28, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Suggested Reader Age: Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance
› Lyric and Kian are best friends and roommates. Kian is a big guy with curly dark brown hair, half-Indian heritage and is an environmental chemistry grad student. Lyric is a short, blonde hair blue eyed psychology doctoral student. The Sizzle Paradox is a scale she developed for her psychology thesis. She is studying romantic partners in successful relationships to figure out how they keep the romantic and sexual chemistry alive. Biotech students helped her develop software that can analyze romantic and sexual activity in the brain. She plans to interview couples with high scores to determine what they are doing "right" in their relationship and once she's gathered enough data she will know what makes a successful relationship.

You might think Lyric has first-hand knowledge about long-term relationships, but no. She has struggled to have both a romantic and sexual chemistry with anyone. When she meets a guy who seems like good fit, she somehow messes it up. Kian suggests they can go on "fake" dates so he can try and help her figure out where she's going wrong because he knows she's amazing and doesn't understand why she's not in a relationship. Kian just broke up with his girlfriend due to his fear of commitment. Hmmm...I wonder what will happen?

› I use the CAWPILE method to rate books.
0-3 Really bad
4-6 Mediocre
7-9 Really good
10 Outstanding

› Characters: 4
› Atmosphere: 4
› Writing Style: 5
› Plot: 5
› Intrigue: 5
› Logic: 8
› Enjoyment: 6

Average 5.3

1.1-2.2 = ★
2.3-4.5 = ★★
4.6-6.9 = ★★★
7-8.9 = ★★★★
9-10 = ★★★★★

My Rating ★★★

› Final Thoughts
• The Sizzle Paradox isn't one of my favourite rom-com reads, but I did have a good time reading it. I'll definitely be checking out more from Lily Menon!



Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Not my cup of tea. It just didn’t interest me that much and as someone who gets major secondhand embarrassment, let me tell you, there’s a lot of it. But it was well written, so if you like friends to lovers and don’t get secondhand embarrassment then by all means get this book 😂
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I really enjoyed this author's previous book but this story didn't draw me in the same way.  Best friends, to one-time lovers, to HEA trope.  It's kind of hard to cross the line with your best friend when you also live together.  I think that was what made the story difficult in that they really couldn't escape each other and so all the awkwardness was kept in play until someone moves out.  I'm not sure why the parents had to be Wiccan, it's like the author was trying to throw in so many diversities with the characters.  It was an ok read - 3 1/2 stars.
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You're the shizzle to my nizzle! You make my shizzle dizzle!

This was hot! That's what my slang implies. It starts hot; it ends way hotter to the point I kept saying to myself — when would you both see that you should be together? 

There are no words to type; if you are in a spicy need for the perfect friends-to-lovers, please my darlings, this is it. 

Thank You, SMP Romance, for a wonderful reading journey!
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What's your favorite romance troupe? Personally, I am a sucker for #bestfriendstolovers! 

📝 Best friends and roommates, Kain and Lyric, are two doctoral students at Columbia University. They both struggle to make long-term relationships work. Kain can't seem to make a long term commitment. Lyric on the other hand, can't get her physical connections to match her emotional ones and vice versa. What worse....Lyric's thesis is all around the science in healthy long-term relationships. How is she supposed to graduate if she can't even understand what love feels like? The solution: to tutor each other. What could go wrong? 

What I 🤍: 
👩‍🏫 Academic Setting
💕 Best Friends to Lovers
💗 Interracial Relationship
✌️Duel Perspectives
👟 Fast Pace
🌳 Treehouse Date

I REALLY loved the idea of this book! I appreciate reading about women in this setting, because I feel that representation doesn't happen a lot. I also loved the warm connection these two had at the beginning of the book. 

With that said, some things didn't work for me, and I was longing for more. This is a miscommunication troupe. So if that's your thing, you'll love this book! Personally, it seems weird miscommunication would happen when two people are best friends for a long period of time. Because of this, I am not quite convinced this relationship would work. 😢 I also wish there was more plot and character devlopment. If I was the editior, I would have cut ✂️ this story apart and rearranged some scenes around. 🧩 That way, readers would be more invested in the MCs. 

Prince's Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Steaminess: 🔥🔥🔥
Read If ➡️: You Love Paris Geller from Gilmore Girls or Miscommunication Troupes. 

Overall, this was a phenomenal story idea, but it fell a bit flat for me. 

Huge thank you to @stmartinspress and @netgalley for a #gifted #arc of this book! 

🌟 The Sizzle Paradox comes out June 28! 🌟
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The Sizzle Paradox: Lyric's method towards finding love: her main research project. She is picky as can be and has set standards. 

Kieran: Lyric's roommate who has sworn off daring. BUT he also has promised Lyric to fake date her to get her research results. What could go wrong? 

In Lily Menon's book, it turns out a lot could go wrong. The characters were dry and seemed very stuck up in their standards. Standards are not a bad thing but acting like you're better than everyone less than five percent in? I wish there would be more fake dating scenarios and more depth into who these characters. The audio voice for Lyric was suitable but the male lacked emotion. Overall, this book wasn't for me but hopefully it will be for others.
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Lyric and Kian are both students finishing up their doctoral studies and BFF’s who live together.  Lyric is studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes for healthy happy long term relationships.  She feels like a fraud as she has never been in one herself and acts like an immature goofball with men.  Well, all of them except Kian. As she feels in need of some real life experience to help with her thesis she’s at a loss until Kian volunteers to tutor her on dating and all that goes along with it.  Their tutoring sessions start off well until actual feelings get involved on both sides with neither of them willing to admit it to each other things go all FUBAR.  Its a cute story, but considering they’re both adults they come off as children at times.  For goodness sakes talk to each other.  It all goes wrong until the tow of them figure it all out with a sweet HEA.  It was a sweet story of friendship to romance, but at times found some of their dialogue and actions a little bit cringe worthy.  It’s light and sweet listen.
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As a doctoral student and woman in STEM, I love a story that features both. Lyric's research and family were interesting and kept me reading. I struggled a bit with rooting for Lyric and Kian, as it didn't feel like they had much development. It was a slow burn that ultimately fell a little flat for me.
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The Sizzle Paradox is a friends-to-lover romance between Lyric, a PhD candidate studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners, and Kian, her best friend and fellow graduate student. Their journey is sloooowww but cute! This book is a great summer beach read when you want low-stakes, something a little predictable, and funny. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
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Lyric is a Ph.D student studying what she calls the Sizzle Paradox - using emotional connection and sexual connection to see how they amount to a successful long-term relationship. Although she has the science to back up her theory, Lyric herself has never had a successful relationship that has both. When her best friend/roommate Kian offers to tutor her in dating, she takes him up on his offer. However as their “lessons” progress their feelings do too.

I love a good woman in academics/Science plot line and I thought Lyric’s research sounded super intriguing. This one was a slowww burn and although I loved Lyric and Kian as individuals, it took me a bit to really invest in their romantic relationship because it was such a slow burn. Ultimately I did end up rooting for them, it just took a while to get there for me. 

Thanks to SMP Romance for the advance copy.
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. . . ⭑ ⭑ ⭑ ⋆ ⭒
You ever finish a book and we’re so caught up in it that by the end you’re like: “Y A S, ALL STARS!”, but then a day later, you settle down and start to really reflect in the book, and then catch yourself going: “Waiiiiit a minute…”?  That was me after finishing this one. 

So initially, I had a hard time getting into this STEM-romance story - the beginning really didn’t have that spark for me - but the more I read on, the more I got caught up and into the characters, that by the ending I was all aflutter and completely on board with all that happened.  But then, after thinking about this book for a few - and while a major kudos to the author for writing a book that kept me thinking about it for several days after finishing is in order - there were some issues that became more apparent. 

I find it a little hard to believe that after 7 years of friendship, Lyric - who is literally pursuing a doctorate in sexual chemistry and emotional connection - was totally oblivious to any inkling or twinkling of sexual attraction to Kian ( &/or vice versa ).  Especially because it’s essentially a flip-switch shift for two parties who are presented as being very “platonically” connected, who then suddenly want to rip the clothing off of one another. 

Ultimately though, I did really like this one.  I tend to favour the friends-to-lovers trope more than others, mostly because the emotional connection is well established.  And while they did seem to jump on the fast track in this regard, I still enjoyed the journey. 

~👩🏻‍🦰
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I’m always amused when scientists try to analyze emotions, especially love. Lyric is trying to code what she calls the Sizzle Paradox. Until it applies,to,her best friend, Kian. 
It’s an amusing read with some painful parts, but the ending is totally worthy of the story.
Take analysis and practicality out of romance and just emote those feelings. Not everything can be sliced, diced, and compartmentalized anyway.
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This was a very predictable friends-to-lovers romance.  I always like that trope since I think that is actually the best foundation for a relationship.  And I really enjoyed the friendship between Lyric and Kian.  The only thing that was how long it takes them to realize that they are actually a perfect couple and just what they have each been missing in a romantic relationship.  I also liked Lyric’s family and friends and their interactions.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.
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