Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an e-arc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

*I am a member of Sandhya/Lily Menon's street team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon is her sophomore novel writing adult romance. After enjoying her YA work as well as her adult debut, Make Up Break Up, I had high hopes going into this new book. While I did enjoy it, there was something about this book that didn't have me really loving it.

I'm not sure if it was how genuinely blind the two main characters were or the flow of the story, but something just did not work for me. There were parts where the main character, Lyric, was truly clueless to the growing chemistry she had with the love interest. And there were some elements of a sub-plot with the main male character that just did not seem very plausible or were too short and rushed to be very believable or really needed in the story.

I don't think this is a bad book. There were elements I enjoyed, but overall I don't think I was completely sold on it. I am landing at a 3.5 star rating. It was more than just okay, but I don't think it deserves a full four stars from me. I will still be picking up books that Lily/Sandhya Menon writes in the future. I'm hoping that this was just a flux for me.
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Unfortunately, I had to DNF. After starting and stopping several times, I realized that I dreaded the reading experience every time I picked up the book. I loved The Love Hypothesis, Kiss Quotient, etc, but that didn't translate into love for this story. I also didn't like the relationship development between these two friends - the whole thing felt off. Ultimately, I set the book aside and felt no desire to see how it all turned out.
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Thank-you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin for the chance to review this ARC.


The Sizzle Paradox has a lot of ingredients that make a romance novel great. 
Friends to lovers, fake dating, forced proximity and the right amount of slow burn!
The characters felt real and they were so fun! 

Menon's wring shines here! I had so much fun reading this!
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Lyric and Kian have been best friends and although Lyric is studying sexual chemistry she personally, has no experience so she asks to be tutored by her best friend Kian.
 
I love Lily Menon's YA as Sandhya Menon, although I love her YA, I feel as if her adult romance left a lot to be desired. I don't know, if I found some things to be a little cringey or if it was just not for me in the context of the book but I did not enjoy the relationship between Lyric and Kian, it felt a little forced and I could not feel the chemistry between them. In a romance, I want a mutual understanding between the couple and a 50/50 give but I did not get that in this book between the two characters. As much as I loved her as a YA author I feel that her adult romances are not for me as her characters feel immature. I was so sad about not liking this as this was one of my most anticipated reads because of the sexual tutoring trope. 

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC copy in exchange for a review
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I loved the dual perspective, every romance book should be written this way. The book itself was okay I guess, the beginning was just but everything just started going downhill. There weren't that many great scenes or moments that made me giggle, everything was just bleh. Even though the main trope of the book is best-friends-to-lovers you can't convince me these two were best friends. Lyric was highly immature for her age and so annoying,  Kian isn't the kind of character I will continue to think about months after reading this book, simply because he doesn't have a personality and is completely forgettable.
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This is a great book with STEM and friends to lovers. I really enjoyed this and I'll be reading more of Menon in the future.
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4.5 stars, rounded up.

I really enjoyed this book, I couldn't put it down! I love the STEM setting and the friends/roommates to lovers trope. I found myself laughing out loud at Lyric's awkwardness and total inability to flirt. There were cute nicknames, sweet family moments, and some delightful animal facts throughout the story. 

The steam level in this book worked for me. A bit of a slow burn, but worked with the sexy dreams they had. I felt there was decent character growth for both of the MCs, too. They were a bit immature at times, but I felt it made sense with Lyric, at least.

I will admit, I hated that they both had such....unique....first names? Lyric's made sense with all of her siblings' names being similar, but Kian? What the heck is that???

Overall, I liked this one a lot!   I would definitely reread.it.
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Friends to lovers. I wanted to like this more than I did. There is a whole conceit of fake dating that just feels necessary. There’s clearly chemistry between Lilac and Kian, and they’ve been best friends for seven years but never apparently thought about dating. The best parts of the book is when the artifice is dropped and you get to the actual connection between them. 
I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a really cute fake-dating, friends to lovers story with the added element of STEM which is so fun to read about. I bought into the chemistry between the MCs right off the bat so watching their relationship unfold was adorable.
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An enjoyable friends to lovers romance.  
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I really enjoyed Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon and was excited to read her latest. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy The Sizzle Paradox quite as much. 

My number one pet peeve when reading romance is when the characters fail to communicate, and that. was the main source of conflict in this book. If Lyric and Kian had just communicated more effectively, everything would have worked out! I also really couldn't help but roll my eyes at the way academia was presented - the research and the final paper are so far outside the bounds of believability that I couldn't get past it to enjoy the story. I felt like the pacing was off and overall the book would have benefited from tighter editing. Unfortunately, it was a miss for me.
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This book was just okay and kind of "meh" for me. There wasn't really much to the story in my opinion. It was written well, just not very entertaining and it was hard to keep my attention on the story. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book! 
The Sizzle Paradox will be great for readers who want a book similar to The Love Hypothesis, but with a friends-to-lovers vibe. Lyric (incredible name) and Kian are best friends, roommates, and fellow grad students. When they both experience trouble in the dating world, they decide to tutor each other in an attempt to fix their romantic problems.  We all know what happens next...

I loved Lyric and Kian's relationship from the get-go. They were so supportive of one another and had some wonderful banter.  Unfortunately, that relationship begins to suffer as they both catch feels and no longer know how to talk to each other (even if talking to each other would solve 99% of their problems.) Fortunately, all that miscommunication led to some good angst and pining. 

Another plus for this book is the side characters who I absolutely loved! I was so invested in Lyric's sister Opal and her relationship with a much younger professional magician. Lyric's friends were great voices of reason in the midst of Lyric's life crisis. 

Overall, another sweet read from Lily/Sandhya Menon!
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Friends to lovers is a trope I really enjoy and one that definitely caught my attention when I heard about The Sizzle Paradox. Add in tutoring sessions to help Lyric continue her studies and I knew I needed this. We all knew that there would be some real feelings developing.

The Sizzle Paradox is a great mix of humor, romance, friendship, great characters, and the happily ever after I was looking for. Lyric was such a fun character. She’s smart and isn’t afraid of that, but it also makes her geeky and awkward on dates at times. That made me smile though, because she was truly genuine. Kian on the other hand has never had trouble dating and definitely sleeps around. But maybe he needs more than just a hook up. He was also quite the interesting character who also realizes he’s not doing something right if he’s kissing a girl and thinking about studying and food.

I loved Lyric and Kian’s relationship. Yes, they have always been best friends and care about each other. The stories we hear about them are a lot of fun and it’s clear there’s some chemistry. Them having “tutoring sessions” to help Lyric out was a lot of fun to read. There was some tension and things got a little steamy. With all stories like this I loved watching them realize there was definitely more than just friendship.

All in all, The Sizzle Paradox was a fast and fun read that left a smile on my face!
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*sigh* So normally, I go up for Sandhya/Lily but this book really upset me in terms of the characters and their behavior. Lyric was incredibly privileged and didn't respect people's boundaries along with being passive aggressive. I found myself every frustrated with her and I don't feel like I should be leaving a romance pissed with a heroine to the level I was pissed. The premise was promising but I hated that the direction was white desirability. I wondered where all the representation went from her YA books. I tried to envision Lyric as a person of color but her behavior (and reminder of her skin) kept taking me out of the fantasy. I honestly hope that this story gets reworked because I love an academic romance but I really want to see it between people of color and people who respect boundaries. I love Lily/Sandhya's writing and I know she could do better than how this story turned out.
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I loved the concept of this one. An experimental psychology doctoral student who is studying what’s the perfect mix an emotional and physical connection to create the real deal who realizes through her study that her true love was right in front of her the whole time. Unfortunately the story itself fell a little flat for me. 

Lyric is a contradiction of science minded with a touch of pseudoscience thrown in. She is in a prestigious doctoral program but she also has a fascination with crystals and believes they imbue powers. She is working on her thesis called the sizzle paradox but despite having tons of usable and available data she refuses to work on it until she is able to apply the concepts to herself. Again not something I would expect from a scientific genius. 

Kian is an environmental engineer who is almost done with his thesis and is then packing up and shipping out leaving Lyric alone despite their years of close friendship. When Lyric is floundering on her thesis he offers to step in and help her by tutoring her in how to get a guy interested enough to score better on her rating scale so she can crack her thesis. As you can imagine this simple arrangement gets complicated fast. 

I had a really hard time connecting with either main character but especially Lyric. And at the end she does something that makes zero sense and almost derails everything she has ever worked for. As a woman in science myself her character just wasn’t believable to me. I can’t imagine she would last long in the field given how fickle she was toward her own study and her career. 

I really wanted to like this one and if you like friends-to-lovers with emotional inner turmoil, miscommunication, and self-sabotage then I think this one is worth a read. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Thanks to St Martin’s Press and Lily Menon for allowing me to read an early copy via Netgalley.
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The Sizzle Paradox follows roommates and best friends, Lyric Bishop and Kian Montgomery.  Both doctoral students, Lyric is doing her thesis in experimental psychology on 'the Sizzle Paradox' where she studies what makes long term relationships work by studying their brain activity for emotional and physical connection. She's in a rut though because with such a bad dating record, Lyric can't relate to her data. Meanwhile, her best friend is in a dating rut. He always dates the same time of woman and is bored. Lyric and Kian decide to 'fake date' to allow him to help her become a better dater since Lyric feels so awkward on dates, and Lyric is going to help Kian date outside of his norm and is trying to fix him up with a colleague. 

Things I liked about this book: the diversity of characters, the friendship between Kian and Lyric, the tension between them that builds in the second half of the book.

Things I disliked about this book: there were too many side stories- Kian and his parents, Lyric and her huge family and all the different dramas with her siblings and their relationships, Lyric's friends, the fix-ups, etc. I just think it was a little busy. Also, the first part of the book was really slow. It took me awhile to get in to.
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Lyric and Kian have been best friends for seven years, and until Lyric needs inspiration for her dissertation in sexual psychology, do they begin to realize their feelings for each other. 

Kian offers to fake date Lyric so she can experience good dates and get a new understanding for her paper. Quickly, it's obvious they are more than friends and naturally fall into a relationship (which they nearly have already).

This book had so much potential, and I love the author's YA books, but found this one annoying for one reason. The main characters are stupid. I wrote notes many times to this effect, and it went above, "oh he's my best friend and I've never thought of him romantically," to, "you are about to be a doctor in sexual psychology but have no understanding of love despite writing your dissertation on it." 

In addition to the characters -refusal- to believe they are anything more than friends, there are too many moments the drama is drawn out. By the time they say, "I love you" I didn't feel any payoff or like the moment had been worth all that drama. 

Read if you like: friends to lovers, fake dating, miscommunication trope, women (and men) in STEM, mixed race couples, and spice

3 stars
2 spice
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC in exchange for my honest review! I enjoyed this book a lot, but the characters didn't feel that fleshed out to me. it was a bit flat.
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I was really excited about this one, but unfortunately, I did not like it. It really played hard into gender roles in a way that left a bad taste in my mouth and the writing felt very immature. I never found myself reaching for it and honestly did not enjoy most of the reading experience. I couldn't stand the main characters, especially Lyric, and was honestly more invested in the relationships of her siblings. Thank you, Net Galley and  St. Martin's Press for the ARC!
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