Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

Lyric Bishop and Kian Montgomery are BFFs and roommates who are both doctoral students. This is a classic friends to lovers romance. It was pretty sweet and contained a slew of the the usual suspects including fake dating and just-one-time-let’s-bang-it-out-of-our-systems tropes, so if that’s your jam, then you’ll enjoy this romcom.

Overall, it was just okay for me, but nothing particularly special in my opinion. Lyric and Kian definitely had a strong friendship bond but beyond that, nothing really sizzled between them. It took more than half the book before there was even a little tiny spark and I was bored waiting for their feelings to start bubbling. At best the tension was room temperature.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Lyric is a college grad student working on her Sizzle Paradox project, which involves her trying to find what makes the perfect partner (emotionally and physically)...but she is struggling. In comes her best friend/part time roommate, Kian. He helps her out on her project, too bad they end up kissing and things go a bit out of wack! 

Kian is a player and Lyric... is well, Lyric. They decide to help each other find romantic relationships. But things never go the way they plan! 

What I loved: 
- friends to lovers trope 
- slow burny vibes
- fake dating 
- cute and funny male main character 
-bantering 
-the academic setting 

My only problem was that it was a bit predictable, but alas, that is probably just a side effect of rom coms.
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3.5 stars

I enjoyed this fake dating/friends-to-lovers story well enough. It was a quick rom-com read and I did enjoy the fact it was set in a PhD university setting, but there were also a few things (the random side romances that felt thrown in and the seemingly sudden insta-love between both the main characters) that didn't mesh completely with me. Plus, all the miscommunication/no communication at the end... when they were supposed to be close friends? Not a trope/plot device I'm particularly interested in.
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I LOVED this book. Friends to lovers is such an underrated romance trope in my opinion and it is done so well in this book! I also love nerdy romances and after being disappointed with my past nerd romance this book was most definitely a redemption. Lyric is such a lovable main character and I am so glad that this was a dual pov type of book. Another trope that I love is the “just for research” trope, this book did it so well that it had me kicking my feet and squealing! this deserves all of the stars easily!!
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Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for this ARC! 
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! This was a quick read with endearing characters and a sweet HEA. I thought the author developed the characters and story well, not rushing over key plot points or background but also not weighing the story down with excess detail. 
My main caveat for readers is that this story relies quite a bit on the miscommunication trope, which is not for everyone. I could have done with a little less of it myself, but it didn’t go so far as to ruin the story for me in the end. I recommend this as a fun, light read!
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This book is super cute. I feel like it should be a bit longer that way there can be more of the fake dating in the middle but besides that I really liked it.

I received an arc through netgalley.
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Rating: 3.25/5
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Warnings: difficult family dynamics 
Read if you liked: nerdy friends to lovers
Steam: 2.5/5

Thank you to St. Martin's Press  and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. The Sizzle Paradox will be released on June 14th, 2022. 

Things I loved: I love a long term friends to lovers, there is something special about that dynamic. Lyric's family. Target and Kohl's trips. Higher Education and STEM rep/focus. All the forced proximity. The tree house was a new concept. 

Things I didn't care for: It took a long time to get into this...nearly a week to finish it. There were some plot inconsistencies and issues with language about graduate school (thesis and dissertation are not interchangeable terms). I could not understand why Lyric's research was held up because she couldn't prove her concept on yourself.

Overall, loved the concept of this book but not the execution.
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Full review will be up on pop-culturalist.com closer to release week!  This is perfect for anyone who is a fan of slow-burn best friends to lovers . Kian and Lyric’s chemistry is undeniable. I love them so much and the romance is incredible.
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We’ve all read books with similar friends to lovers plot lines so I was excited to see Miss Menon’s take on the matter.  Unfortunately she didn’t really do anything special with the plot. Which is not a problems.  Tropes would not be tropes if they weren’t popular. It’s just this plot was kind of boring. It took me 4 tries to finish it. The story was well written and it flowed nicely.  It was just boring. It was hard to connect to either character. I honestly didn’t care about them which is a problem. The author however did enough to ensure that I will read her next book.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Lyric who lives with his best friend Kian. They are both graduate students and have been friends for years. She is starting to have feelings fir Kian that she is trying to hide but the spark remains. I liked the attraction that developed between the two.
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This was a stellar improvement in Lily Menon's romance writing. I loved the friends to lovers aspect of the book, the inherent chemistry the two characters had, and the snippets of the secondary characters who wove in and out of the story. Unfortunately I found that the progression of the narrative was odd. While the story had the classic markers of romantic struggle and road blocks that push characters together, I found that the initial chemistry didn't really change. The way Kian and Lyric talked about each other didn't really change. Perhaps that's an indication of their buried feelings but to ramp up the emotional tension, I felt that it was more stagnant which led a lot of the story to fall flat. 
It's a solid second book and I'm excited to see what Lily Menon has up next!
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Lyric is a graduate student in the experimental psychology department studying the sexual and romantic connections between partners. But she has trouble connecting with her research because she feels like a fraud. How can she analyze these relationships when she herself has never had one that has both a strong physical and emotional connection. Lyric’s best friend and roommate Kian proposed the idea that he “coach” her when it comes to dating so that she can finally get her research going again. But feeling they have never acted on start to come to the surface.
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The premise and structure of this book (with dual POV’s) really engaged me from the beginning but the execution wasn't quite there. The first half of the book felt quite slow and I found myself skimming through parts of it. I enjoyed their friendship but don’t feel like I was ever fully invested/connected to them as characters. I also wish we would have had more time with them together, an extra chapter at the end or a longer epilogue.
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Very cute story -- the bond between the two main characters was sweet and believable, and although the story lagged at a few points, I kept reading because the development of their relationship was compelling to read about.
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This is the second adult novel of Lily Menon's and quite enjoyed it.

Lily and Kian are roommate best friends who are both doctoral students at Columbia university. They have been inseparable for the last six years. They can't imagine their lives without the other.

Lily is studying the sexual chemistry through emotional and physical connections within partnerships. She seems to be at a standstill in her research. She chalks this up to inexperience with having true connections.

What you're thinking happens. You gotta read it to find out though. I'm no spoiler.

I will say that this was quite a slow burn and took a while for me to follow get into the story. Once I truly became invested I was all in!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange of an honest review.
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3.5 stars
I really enjoyed this! We follow Kian and Lyric, who are both working on their respective doctorate degrees. They've been best friends for years but Kien and Lyric end up fake dating. I'm not the biggest fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, and this book wasn't the worst but it wasn't the best either. The pivotal moment wasn't very convincing and kind of came up all of a sudden. In addition, there wasn't much fake-dating in this one, and it wasn't publicized so it wasn't *true* fake-dating, more like training in dating? Kinda hard to explain. I don't know much about the post-graduate degree process, but some of the details did kind of get jumbled in the book and didn't seem completely accurate. Overall, though, this was a fun book and I would recommend it for a quick, lighthearted read.
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I identified soooo much with the female MC in this book!! As a psychology grad student myself we had so many interests and things in common. My favorite books are always those I can see myself in! I loved following Lyric through graduate school and trying to solve her sizzle paradox for her thesis. I was rooting for her every step of the way. From the beginning I felt like I wanted to shout “open your eyes” because the connection between her and her best friends jumps off the page and they just weren’t seeing it!! I loved that we got both character’s points of view too! 

If you love: 
- slow burn 
- best friends to lovers 
- nerdy, super smart female MCs that are completely socially awkward 
Then you should definitely check out this book when it releases on June 14th, 2022! 

Thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me this amazing ARC!
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The Sizzle Paradox was a fast and light read about a doctoral student who is stuck in a rut with her thesis. Lyric wants to find a correlation between romance and the body's psychophysical reaction to a photo of a romantic interest. Still for all her hard work and research, she has never had luck in finding a lasting, meaningful relationship for herself. Her best friend and roommate Kian agrees reluctantly to share some of his dating expertise with her by taking her on a series of fake dates, under the condition that he will help her overcome her nerves and awkward conversational skills with strangers. Predictably, these two are forced to acknowledge the growing attraction sizzling between them and Lyric is left wondering if her real life research may turn out to be more substantial than anything that can be produced in a lab.

I thought this story was a light and easy read. A bit on the predictable side, but that didn't bother me. I was invested in the sweet and supportive relationship between these two characters and appreciated that during their time together it was always about being there for one another. Even during the fake dating/"coaching" portion of the story, there is never any discussion about changing Lyric to be someone she's not. Kian only ever focuses on helping her relax and be herself so her best self can shine through. I enjoyed the academia setting and the way that these two were challenged by the upcoming transition from grad school to "real life" that changed the way they saw each other and the trajectory for their future. 

Many thanks to the publisher and netgalley for an advanced copy, all opinions are my own.

Content: open door romance scene, controlling parental figure, parental infidelity
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The sizzle was lacking in this for me. I found myself skimming the second half of this novel. I didn’t buy that suddenly Lyric (even typing the name makes me groan) needed that much help dating given she finds men just approaching her in Target, in Manhattan. She also was just overall unlikable and I found her very self-centered. As other reviewers have noted, the descriptions of grad students are also highly inaccurate. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book held so much hope for me, I’m a sucker for smart romances. The Sizzle Paradox was so close to being a great one, but it fell a little short for me. The friendship between Lyric and Kian was amazing, I really loved they’re bond and could feel the potential for something “more”. When it came to the academic and science part of the book, it felt forced and it didn’t add a lot to the story. I love a good “smart romance” but really didn’t work well in this book. The build up for romance with Lyric and Kian had a lot of potential and I could feel the attraction build. The first half of the book felt a little forced and there was a lot of unnecessary scene that didn’t add to the plot. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
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I really wanted to like this book but ultimately it wasn't for me. I went in thinking it was a bit more of a cozy/rom-com and it turned out to be much more sex-focused than is my taste. I recognize that my feelings aren't shared by everyone and for that reason, I would give this book a 3/5. I think it has a friends-to-lovers trope that most will love. 

3/5 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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