Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lyric (LB) is a PhD student studying sexual and romantic chemistry between partners in serious relationships. Kian is her super hot best friend/roommate who (I think) is getting his Master's degree in chemistry. Kian is a bit of a womanizer and LB is the total opposite. Both unhappy with their current dating lives, they decide to impart their knowledge on each other and end up catching feelings for each other in the process.

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I am a fan of this. I read some reviews beforehand that weren't great, but I was surprised at how much I liked this. It definitely isn't anything groundbreaking, but I had fun reading it and think it's a solid, lighthearted romcom. I'd definitely recommend this to fans of The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazlewood and The Kiss Quotient by Helen Huang, as both are along the same vein - but with friends to lovers trope in addition to fake dating.

There were a few issues I had - some of the language surrounding graduate school was just incorrect. I have a doctorate and we did not use "thesis" and "dissertation" interchangeably. Additionally (I know this is going to make me sound pretentious, but it bothered me nonetheless) there is one character who couldn't tell the difference between a t-test and a one-way ANOVA. I struggled HARD with stats in grad school, but that was one of the only concepts I easily grasped. It wasn't that believable to have a non-first year student who's working in a lab have that kind of struggle.

I really liked the representation and felt it was super similar to what might be found in academia.

I liked the characters a lot. Kian was super cute and I really related to a lot of what Lyric was feeling at times. I thought they were well developed and their friendship was believable. I liked that we got to learn about Lyric's crazy family and I thought they were used well to further the plot. I think this will be popular when it's released!
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I’m never getting tired of a light hearted, quick paced and well written romcom novel, and this was exactly just that. Ahh I just devoured it in a single sitting. I so enjoyed this friends-to-lovers novel. The main characters were delightfully nerdy and their friendship was one absolute gem, left me all jelly here. It gets a teeny tiny bit corny at times, but, that might just be me. 
Nonetheless, it was a very fun read. I totally enjoyed it!!
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This felt more like NA than I was expecting, but in a good way. It's a fascinating idea - how people fall and start in love, so I liked that. I am personally very suspicious of the friends-to-lovers trope when it's presented as a surprise to both parties. That seems unlikely, at best. But, my own issues aside, I thought it was an feel-good read. 

*ARC through Netgalley*
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I loved this book so much! The passion and smoking chemistry between the characters, smart banters, the high tension friends to lovers premise stole my heart!
I couldn’t put it down, it was the perfect kind of romance for a reader like me and I highly recommend it!

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

Lyric Bishop, affectionately called LB, is a psych doctoral student at Columbia. Full of academic steam and determination, LB has a cute quirk for liking crystals and their specific apparent properties, which she uses nunerlus times in the novel. LB is preparing submit her thesis to her advisor: The Sizzle Pradox. Finding how couples can find the perfect balance between sexual and emotional chemistry. LB’s problem is that she’s never been able to find the right person for herself who meets that balance.

Kian is an environmental studies student in the cusp on graduating and leaving university behind, which also means leaving behind his best friend and roommate, LB. It also means leaving behind his casual dating ways. I was pleased to find Kian was a BIPOC MMC, as I find this is rare in romcoms, but is becoming more popular. He was so swoon worthy, and a sweet MMC that I found myself blushing over A LOT.

While both Kian and LB struggle with their romantic endeavours, Kian suggests they do some practice dates. Kian will show LB how to properly date someone without using jargon and talking about the sexual habits of certain species, and LB will teach Kian how to date women that are different than what he’s used to.

While some aspects of this romcom are cheesy (and some economical logistics are unrealistic for people living and working in Manhattan), and feature a few too many pop culture references for my liking, this was a splendid friends-to-lovers romance that had some great tropes that I love. Parents think your best friend is the one? Check. Fake dating? Check. Getting “it” out of their system? CHECK. 

This was a cute little romcom that many will enjoy.
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Lyric and Kian are both grad students at Columbia, are best friends and roommates and both are disenchanted with dating. As best friends they never think of dating one another. It would kill their friendship. But Lyric is studying romantic attraction for her PhD and she is stuck. Kian agrees to ‘fake-date’ her then fake kiss her then… they make real love. The confusion over their feelings creates a strain on their relationship that neither understands. Perhaps they’ve fallen in love?
The story is told in dual perspectives and that is so satisfying. It is a juxtaposition: the more Lyric and Kian are confused about what they are feeling, we as readers get to know what is going on. And it is fun and easy to fall in love with both of these characters. I will love recommending this book.
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A heartfelt friends to lovers! 

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Lyric Bishop feels like a fraud – she’s studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners and what makes for a successful long-term relationship, only she can’t seem to figure it out in her own dating life. The science is sound, but how can she give her expert opinion with no real-world experience? In order to complete her doctoral thesis, she must crack the Sizzle Paradox – it seems the more sexually attractive she finds a guy, the less likely it is to come with an emotional connection; but why? – and to do that she must get the help she desperately needs.

Kian Montgomery, her best friend, roommate, and fellow grad student, has no trouble bringing both romance and sizzle to his own relationships. When he offers to tutor Lyric on dating tactics to find a good match, she’s certain it will solve her problems, and in exchange she agrees to set long-term-commitment-averse Kian up with someone different to give his romantic life a much-needed shakeup.

But once the two progress with their "tutoring sessions," they start to feel less like the academic exercise they were supposed to be as real feelings develop. Which is a problem, because Lyric and Kian are best friends and absolutely, irrefutably nothing else... Right?

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an ARC!
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(2/5 stars) Lyric is a grad student in experimental psychology studying physical and emotional chemistry between romantic partners. She feels like a fraud, since she hasn't cracked the Sizzle Paradox (finding a partner with BOTH physical AND emotional attraction) for herself. When her roommate and best friend of 7 years, Kian, offers to help tutor Lyric in bringing romance and sizzle to her relationships, Lyric is certain that will solve her problem. But when what seemed solidly the friend zone turns into more over the course of his tutoring, Lyric has to decide what the future holds for her and Kian as graduation looms.

Honestly this book just did NOT do it for me. I liked the dual point of view (I always prefer dual POV) and the general idea of the book, but the execution just wasn't there. The combo hit of friends to lovers and miscommunication tropes was just too much, and there wasn't good writing to overcome it. I almost DNFed when the author used the phrase "curly brown hair the color of wet dirt." 

Not to mention this book is about grad students but I'm not sure that the author actually talked to any grad students before writing this book, since she uses "thesis" and "dissertation" interchangeably, among other things. There were also a few plot holes/mistakes where it felt like the author had written it from the other characters POV and then forgotten to fully switch it. For example, Lyric says she has to work overtime in the lab to make some extra money when earlier in the book it says she's funded by a teaching assistantship while Kian has a research assistantship in a lab. Finally, it seems silly that Lyric can't do research/data analysis on something until she's experienced it for herself - since plenty of scientists (especially in psychology) study things that they aren't personally experiencing (but maybe that's a bit harsh).

Overall, if you're not a grad student, this is probably a fine read. If you are, just be warned.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an early look at this book.  I very much appreciate it!

I enjoyed this friends-to-lovers book quite a bit.    The main characters were delightfully nerdy and their friendship  felt real.    Their families were the right amount of complicated and added to the story.    Their friends and co-workers felt very real as well.    I liked that the struggle Lyric had with her research wasn't just glossed over but instead added tension.  However,   I didn't think the sex scenes were really necessary.

I adored that the heroine's initials were "LB" and the hero called her "Pound" in private;  that was a great touch!!   I I loved Make Up Break Up and this book is a winner as well.
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BRIEF SUMMARY: Lyric and Kian met six years ago as undergrads at Columbia. Now her longtime roommate and best friend Kian is graduating with a PhD she still has another year of school. Her thesis, The Sizzle Paradox, finding the perfect balance between physical and emotional feelings, i.e. couples that are perfect and have lasting relationships. Lyric has lost her “sizzle” and cannot write her thesis. She tries to go on a number of dates desperately trying to find it, but with her lack of dating history, she needs some help. Cue Kian, the sexy roommate to provide dating lessons to help Lyric up her game. Kian and Lyric kiss during a dating lesson and throws everything topsy turvy. Is there something more under the surface of their platonic relationship. 

MY THOUGHTS: This friends to lovers trope is the antithesis to The Love Hypothesis.  These characters are smart, witty, and a bit nerdy (which I love).  If you are looking for something light, funny, and with a tad of romantic steam, this is the book for you!
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I really enjoyed this book. The plot was quick and the characters well developed. I would enjoy reading other works by this author in the future.
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The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon.
Pub Date: June 14, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lyric and Kian are best friends. People ask them ask them all the time why they're not together. And its because the obvious they don't want to ruin their friendship. 
Soon things take a turn when Kian offers his help to Lyric on a project she is doing called "The Sizzle Paradox". 
More time they spend together the heat starts turning up. And neither one of them can hide what their feeling. 

A beautiful friends to lover story. 
It’s a wonderful, charming, sweet, amazing read all wrapped up into one emotional little bundle of romance.
The chemistry is on fire, the story is so fun and captivating, and these characters—you can’t help but love them.
I fell in love with these characters and the plot that was just fabulous.
So romantic and swoonworthy!! I couldn't get enough. 
I loved how realistic and wonderful this book was. 
This story was beyond captivating.  
I loved both of the characters. I adored the side characters and how everything felt natural, the writing flowed.
A beautiful and realistic novel that embraces uniqueness. 
It’s the kind of book that will make you smile, swoon, tear up, and think. 
I was on cloud nine when I finished it.
It was simple with a nice flow and pacing. The chapters are not that long, so you literally flow through the book.
I finished it in just one day and I’m so happy with it.
It was unique and fresh and full of heart. It was unlike any other romance I've read and I couldn't get enough of it.
This book is sweetest, softest, most charming, loveliest book I've read in some time! 
This is why I adore contemporary romance novels. 
Its because of amazing authors such as Lily Menon. Who can hook, line and sink me deep into a story! 

St. Martin's Griffin,
I can't thank you enough for the opportunity to read this phenomenal story!
I will tag and post to my platforms closer to pub date!
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Thank you netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This romantic novel had a decent amount sizzle. I was surprised how quickly Lyric and Kian went from platonic friendship to hot, steamy sexual partners. I enjoyed their friendship and had hoped their transition from friends to lovers would have been smoother. I liked that both were nerdy characters and they respected each other. Overall, worth the read.
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Lyric is struggling with the last piece of her doctorate in sexual chemistry until her best friend and roommate, Kian, volunteers to help her. The shock for both of them is that he maybe the answers to her dilemma. Fun and feisty and definitely spicy.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Lyric and Kian have been best friends for a long time. In all their years together they never crossed the line between friends and more. Now as graduate students they are focusing on finishing up their theses and getting ready for the real world. Kian may graduate this year but Lyric has another year to go, which is good for her because she is currently stuck on her project. Lyric's thesis is about cracking "The Sizzle Paradox. A way to find the perfect balance in a partner that has most positive emotional and physical readings. But when it comes to finding her own "sizzle" she just can't seem to get it right. Everyone always asks Lyric and Kian why they aren't together. But neither can stand the idea of ruining their friendship. But when Kian decides to help Lyric on her dating tactics, things take an unexpected turn. One thing leads to another and the end result: a kiss neither can stop thinking about. A definite friends to lover trope, you can't help but love these two oblivious characters. Despite their resistance to the idea of them being more than friends, it is clear from the very beginning they are perfect for one another. Watching them get there is a whole new level. Both these characters are fun and hilarious, geniuses yet not when it comes to knowing what the other is feeling. A fun story that I devoured in one sitting. Great story!
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Lighthearted, easy read that sets a  typical best friend-to-lovers trope in the context of grad school. 

Despite being in the middle of a PhD studying sexual chemistry, Lyric is not having much luck on the relationship front. Everything comes back to the Sizzle Paradox - having either a great emotional connection or a great physical connection with someone, but never both at the same time. Meanwhile, her best friend and room mate Kian is almost done his PhD and in environmental engineering, and while against commitment has a revolving door of potential romantic partners. As they have to start thinking about what it means when it comes time for him to move out, they might have exactly what the other person needs. Racing the clock, can they help each other out, or will everything change for the worse?

The strength of the friendship between Lyric and Kian is endearing, and the story also explores the challenges they face under the pressures of grad school. The story is rounded out with quirky situations, (some embarrassing) attempts at matchmaking, and their loving friends. A fun but fairly predictable read.
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I start reading this book because I love the author's Make up Break up.   This is a bit different but still very fun.   It's a friends to lovers book.  The heroine wants to test her theory The Sizzle Paradox and starts going on dates.   She needs help from her best friend and of course something develops....   Totally enjoyed it and love both characters.     A very fun book...

Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc.
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If The Kiss Quotient, The Love Hypothesis and People We Meet On Vacation had a baby, it would be this book!

I went into this book blind, I saw The Kiss Quotient and couldn't request it fast enough! I had NO idea what it was about and there is an air of mystery to that! So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's a friends to lovers romance with the main character Lyric being a scientist testing her Sizzle Paradox by going out on dates, but she's an "awkward potato" as she likes to put it, and needs help from her super sexy best friend/roommate!! You see where this is going?? So good right?? 

I can assure you, if you enjoyed The Love Hypothesis and People We Meet On Vacation, you'll enjoy this book, it's a perfect mix of the two! My friends who enjoy friends to lovers will LOVE this book, it's the ultimate friends to lovers book in my opinion, their relationship at the beginning is wonderful, then something happens to shift things to a whole other level!

Out on June 14, 2022!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the earc in return for an honest review.
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