Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews


Gotta love a good friends to lovers 🥰 Lyric is such an adorable quirky FMC & Kian is the sweet, hot cinnamon roll best friend. We get one spicy scene from this book, which wasn’t enough and def could have added more chemistry and tension for the book. Otherwise, it was a nice short-er read! 

Lyric is a Doctorate student studying the science or emotional and sexual attraction, but has been failing at finding it in her real life until her best friend and roommate Kian Montgomery offers to take her out of “dates” to learn how to find that chemistry in real life. Until the pretend scenarios start getting more and more real for the both of them 

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an eARC copy of The Sizzle Paradox, in exchange for my honest review!
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If you liked the love hypothesis, you will most likely like this book as well. While set in the STEM graduate school field, like the love hypothesis, it tells a different story. Two people who have been best friends for years, trying to find love, just not with each other. The book was a cute and fun read. It kept a good storytelling pace so I never got bored with the book. A few details, as someone who has been in grad school, bothered me, but overall, a very good read. 
Things to fix: they are PhD students; not doc students - no one says that
Kian has a pretty busy social life for someone defending their PhD in two months
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The Sizzle Paradox is about two roommates, Lyric and Kian, that are pursuing higher education while trying to navigate adulthood and relationships. I enjoyed the beginning scenes between the two main characters and thought this was a quick and cute read. As the reader delves into the story, the two main characters’ friendship begins to change and miscommunication occurs.   

I did not enjoy the decisions being made towards the ending as they seemed rushed. Lyric’s decision seemed like something a different character would do and frankly seemed childish. 

Overall, this was a charming read.
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Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for allowing me to read this ARC!

I was drawn in by the synopsis and cover. I thought this was a light, fast-paced, and cute read. I enjoyed Lyrics zany family along with the friendship between her and Kian. Also, I liked the university setting but there were some inconsistencies with that. I surprisingly didn’t mind the dual POV’s either. However, I didn’t feel the connection between Lyric and Kian once they were “fake dating” and got together. I’m not sure if it’s because it kept being said how “things changed” between them and then all communication was lost which was super frustrating. Lyric was a hard character for me to like, she just came off selfish (which is fine because it’s realistic) but for reasons I don’t understand. For example, her brother getting engaged and she’s upset because she’s alone and having trouble finding someone? Ehhh yeah, 🚩.  Overall, it’s a cute book that I think a lot of people will like and I’d recommend it for anyone who just wants a quick read. It’s well written but there are just things about it that could make it better.
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it was well written but not quite what i was looking for in a friends to lovers book. it felt very cookie cutter friends to lovers, like it was cliche and didn't have anything to make it stand out from all of the other friends to lovers. i did like the aspect of science in it, but overall it was not one of my favorites but i might still recommend it to some people when it comes out.
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The Sizzle Paradox can best be regarded as a kissing cousin to the 2018 release The Kissing Quotient. In many ways it was hard to shake the ghost of The Kissing Quotient in the back of ones mind while reading. The Sizzle Paradox is a charming plot on the surface two young academics who are the best of friends look to each other to improve their love lives and crack "The Sizzle Paradox" a vague scientific theory that doesn't actually get described beyond the idea that romantic compatibility can be somehow determined by imaging the chemicals in the brain (no further elucidation on what the paradox of the theory was exactly, leading me to believe this word was chosen solely to sound scientific without actually being accurate). 
Lyric is often a frustrating protagonist. Supposedly a brilliant scientist who is an expert on romantic compatibility (despite her constant protests to the contrary) so often struggles so completely to engage with the people around her or discern the interest or intentions of others thats one if left wondering like the protagonist in TKQ if Lyric is meant to be on the spectrum although this is never specifically addressed. Despite this she is also some how the "hetero" fantasy woman seemingly based on nothing more than her physical appearance. 
Honestly, the plot is a slow build and grinding through that build can feel a bit like slogging through mud. There are a few mildly spicy scenes which are given as the payoff for the trudge and yet once it's all over and done with you find yourself wondering if there were truly any stakes at all. Perhaps, this is the trouble with the friends to lovers and miscommunication tropes despite the character constantly going on about why they could never date their best friend we all of course know that there is simply little reality to that statement. In fact, a firm friendship is only going to build a firmer relationship (which any scientist studying sexual chemistry should probably know). The plot relies heavily on miscommunication to create stakes and keep the main characters apart as long as possible and yet given their supposed level of academic brilliance its a little hard to accept and get behind.
That is not to say this book doesn't have its moments. There are many funny and charming moments peppered throughout the book and the supportive friendship between Lyric and Kian through out it wonderful. The book is  a nice romance between nice characters, and I think there will be many who enjoy the plights of Lyric and Kian. For myself personally this wasn't quite a book for me.
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Loved both Lyric and Kian. Had a great understanding of who they were as characters not just individually but also as friends/roommates. Could immediately sense the deep level of friendship but was also already rooting for them to get together. 

**spoiler alert**

The progression of the story did feel a bit choppy. They went from going on a practice date, to suddenly out to London, to kissing, to back home, and then having sex. The plot details were there but it sometimes felt like the author didn’t know how to transition from one point to another so instead chose to just jump. I wish there had been a slower, more natural progression to those points heavy on a slow burn.  I wish we could have experienced more longing and awkwardness between the two characters as they figured out their feelings. 

Overall I enjoyed the story and felt it was nicely wrapped up in the end. Would definitely read more from this author moving forward.
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You’re at a bakery… just go with me here … and there’s a treat in the case that looks so delicious that you simply can’t resist. You don’t even ask the price. You have to sink your teeth into that pastry, that cookie, that donut, that slice of pie or cake. You can almost feel the flavors mixing on your tongue even before you hand over your credit card.

Finally, the box or bag is in your hand and you are shivery with excitement, your stomach growling a little in anticipation. You step outside and sit at one of the conveniently placed sidewalk tables, your hands shaking the tiniest bit from excitement.

You slide the treat out of its container and place it gently, reverently, on a napkin on the table in front of you. Glorious, you think, saliva pooling in your mouth. You lift the delectable treasure to your nose, inhaling a heady scent combination that makes you groan aloud.

Time for the first tentative, exploratory nibble, though you want desperately to consume the entire treat, napkin and all, in one enormous bite. You open your mouth, lick your lips, and bite down almost gently, eager to savor the first luscious taste.

It’s … sawdust. It's beautiful in concept but inedible in execution.

Unlike the aforementioned delectation, I consumed the entire pseudo-treat that is The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon. But I am very sorry to report that I didn’t enjoy it and I won’t be going back to that bakery again.

The story should be good but pretty much immediately falls as flat as a poorly cooked souffle. The concept is standard: friends-to-lovers roommates who fake-date. The problem is that there’s no reason for them to fake-date. They literally do everything together.

The point of fake-dating is to put the protagonists in situations they wouldn’t normally be in together. This doesn’t work when the protagonists spend 90% of their time together. They snuggle. They wake each other up. They hold hands. They go to all their family events together. They have a favorite pizza (half Hawaiian, half pepperoni). They touch constantly. It would be great if that were the start of their fake-dating to falling-in-love storyline but it’s their normal.

Since that is their normal, what if their normal suddenly weren’t possible? What if they both had significant others who objected when Lyric and Kian curled up together on the sofa? Think of all the lovely pining if they suddenly couldn’t hold hands in public. Well, you can imagine it all you want but just like that lovely pastry, you can’t have it.

In addition to the concept problems, the book itself is absolutely dusted (bakery references will continue until the book improves) with really terrible, awkward wording, like a donut that has been way over-sprinkled until every bite is chalky and crunchy, stabbing your gums with little rice-shaped daggers that won’t be dislodged no matter how much you worry them with your tongue.

Also, the author includes so much drinking and joking about drinking. So much. “Haha, they’re all going to think I’m an alcoholic because I have to pound three jugs of wine just to feel comfortable talking to boys who aren’t my roommate.” (Quotes are illustrative, obv, because I’m reading an uncorrected proof and can't include quotes without permission.)

Writing kissing and sex scenes that require the protagonists to be drunk is bad and unnecessary. And including “I’m drunk but I’m thinking clearly” does not absolve the writer from perpetuating a really bad trope. Drunk sex is not consensual because … duh … drunk people can’t consent.

All of this results in those cringy “oh no, did we have sex last night?” or “oh no, why did we have sex last night?” conversations which are awful. If you can’t remember having sex or don’t know why you had sex, you were too drunk to consent to sex. Why in heck are authors still writing this crap?!

Rant over. Back to baking comparisons. Salty-sweet is a thing. Pitch-black but moonlit is not. Salt on chocolate chip cookies is a thing. Tense but relaxed is not. Peanut butter and chili pepper is a thing. Restaurant is so popular we can’t get a reservation but we don’t need a menu because we’re such frequent diners that they know what we want already. Yeah, that’s definitely not a thing.

Unfortunately, there are many contradictions and malapropisms in this book. Over and over, I wished that the author’s beta readers would have stepped up and pointed them out. That’s literally their job and they didn’t do it (or in fairness to the betas, perhaps the author just ignored all the feedback).

I mean, really, if your baking apprentice frosts the cake with Crisco shortening instead of icing, you’re going to say something, right? Because a good crumb with crappy icing is a crappy cake.

The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon will be available on June 14, 2022. I received a digital ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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The Sizzle Paradox follows Lyric and Kian, best friends, roommates and grad students. Lyric is struggling with her doctoral thesis on sexual chemistry in romantic partners and long-term relationships, and her lack of good dating experience is discouraging. Kian, who has lots of short-term relationships, offers to help Lyric by fake dating and showing her what good dating and chemistry look/feel like. In return, Lyric will set Kian up with someone different than his normal dates in the hopes it will give his romantic life a shake-up. As they go on fake dates, both of them start wondering if maybe they can be more than best friends.

This was a super fun friends to lovers romance. I loved the pining and the slow feelings realization. The struggle between whether or not they should say anything about their changing feelings was so good. Plus it had some relatable content on grad school and figuring out what to do after you graduate college. And from one awkward potato to another, Lyric was definitely relatable at times as she struggled to go on dates and connect with people. This was a quick, easy read but lots of fun.
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This was such a fun friends to lovers story! I thought the plot was well thought out and I enjoyed the author's writing style. The dynamics of characters’ relationship and their fantastic chemistry melted my heart. I recommend The Sizzle Paradox to fans of romantic comedy novels.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a ok book. It reminds me of another book that I read. I like the conflict in the book. The dual perspective was nice.
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I just wasn’t into it. The synopsis sounded fun, but I didn’t care about Kian or Lyric. I found myself never wanting to pick it up and I found Lyric, in particular, to be really annoying. Just not the book for me!
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So happy the main female character Lyric works in STEM! I’m glad to see more novels shedding light on females in these professions. The premise of Lyric and Kian helping support each other to reach their professional goals was refreshing. They’re so close, knowing what the other is thinking and finishing each other’s sentences. Also, the chemistry WAS sizzling. The only thing I would have liked to add was a more established backstory to how Lyric and Kian became such important people in each other’s lives before all the “researching”. I really enjoyed the book!
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Hear me out! Fake dating, friends to lovers, science experiment. All things I love a rom-com needs. Plus the plot is easy to follow with a little bit of 🌶! I did get bored/frustrated in some parts when there was miscommunication, and I wish there was more tension. But I would definitely recommend this books to friends I know who like this kind of read!
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press!

Lily Bishop and her best friend/roommate Kian Montgomery are both working on completing their doctoral theses. While Kian’s work is going smoothly, Lily struggles with her topic of the “sizzle paradox”. She needs to find find someone who fits the sexual and emotional perameters. Kian offers to tutor Lily in order for her to attract the right guy and solve the mystery.  

The Sizzle Paradox is a unique twist on the fake dating trope. This friends to lovers romance has everything from typical family drama to grad school complications. The chemistry between Lily and Kian is apparent from the very beginning. 

I do wish that the author would have included some more background info on the main characters. We know that they are best friends and roommates but that’s about it. How long have they known each other? How did they end up roommates? A lot of information is given about Lily’s thesis but not Kian’s. The ending was a little rushed but the epilogue helps. 

This is the first book that I have read from Lily Menon but I plan to look into some of her other works in the future. 

The Sizzle Paradox is perfect for fans of Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis or Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient.
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I had a bit of hate/love relationship with this book. I liked how fast it was to read, and I loved the STEM representation, the sexual tension was obvious and the academia setting was just amazing. I had forgotten how much I love college romances.

However, the miscommunication was too much for me. I only enjoy friends to lovers under very specific circumstances, and the miscommunication didn’t help the book’s case for me. It was frustrating and at some points I just wanted it to finish once and for all.

Overall, sweet and sexy, and I’m sure fans of friends to lovers will enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5
Steam: 2/5

Thanks to St. Martin’s for my eARC!
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I really enjoyed the storyline and the added scientific research to it. I am a big fan of books that include romance and STEM. I can definitely tell The Love Hypothesis was an influence for this book. I would have liked the characters to have told their feeling sooner, but the tension between them kept me engaged until the very end. I of course, loved the ending.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me an arc in exchange for an honest review!


The Sizzle Paradox follows Lucy and Kian, best friends (and roommates) who attempt to help the other find love. I like the premise of this book, and thought it was a fun, light read. I enjoyed the dual POV and probably finished the book in a few hours. There were a few aspects that frustrated me - Lyric is a hard character to like, mostly because her personality is a combination of being both childlike and incredibly smart. Also, about 80% of this book relies on miscommunication, which is difficult to read when the characters are supposed to be best friends and they miscommunicate for almost the entire book. Pick it up if you're a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, but know that you'll also get the miscommunication trope.
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This was a cute, adorable story that had some really sweet moments. I laughed a lot throughout this book as there were some pretty hilarious moments and there were a few tears shed as well. This story tells about how miscommunication can really mess with a relationship and how you can miss things that are right in front of you. I really enjoyed my time reading this sweet book. I recommend!
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Overall: 62/100
Characters: 64/100
Plot: 60/100

* Friends to lovers
* Women in stem
* Fake dating
* Miscommunication trope 
* Academia
Content warnings:
4/5 on the smut scale. parts and actions described on the page 

This book centers around Lyric, a grad student studying sexual psychology and is trying to quantify emotional and physical chemistry, but she’s having some issues because her personal love life is not good. So her serial dater best friend and roommate, Kian, tries to help her by giving her lessons in dating. 

And that leads me to one of my hang ups on this book, I don’t really understand why her personal life impacts her data or thesis. I got got a hint of imposter syndrome but it wasn’t really addressed again and I don’t get how getting into a relationship would fix that. And the entire research part is a fairly major part of the plot so it seems weird that wasn’t addressed more. 
Second hang up on this book is the amount of times the people around Lyric and Kian told them they should be together in the first half of the book was excessive. They really wanted to hit the readers over the head with that. 
Third hang up was the classic miscommunication trope. It was strong in this one. It’s been a bit since I’ve finished a book where I’ve stopped so much to say just have an actual communication and don’t rely on others to read your mind. 
Fourth hang up, I hated how Lyric kept pushing for Kian and Zoey to get together. It was pretty awkward. And I don’t see how she could’ve missed the signs from the get go that Zoey liked Charlie.
And kind of unrelated but this book read like a young adult romance (that’s not good or bad it just felt like it) and there was something about it that felt familiar and that makes complete sense because it’s by the same author who wrote When Dimple Met Rishi. I can’t articulate why or how I thought that. And just to be clear this is not a ya novel it’s a solid 4/5 on the smut scale like parts described and actions are depicted on the page. 

Overall, it isn’t a bad book. It was enjoyable, quick, and cute. It has women in stem which is one of my favorite things in romance novels. 
Would I read this again: no
Would I read more by this author: probably wouldn’t seek it out
Would I recommend: maybe with some caveats, like if you liked the author’s previous work ya or otherwise.
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