Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

Lyric and Kian are both incredibly intelligent post-grad students. They’re also roommates and best friends. They’ve been inseparable since they were undergrads. Lyric is trying to crack the “Sizzle Paradox” for her doctorate research. She studies couples that have intense physical AND emotional chemistry and plans to find the common qualities between the couples. Unfortunately, she feels like a fraud because she’s never experienced it! Kian is a fun-time kind of guy, and offers to tutor Lyric on her awkward dating habits. (Writing this out feels a bit like a convoluted snooze fest, but I promise it was cute and entertaining!) 

I am a sucker for a good friends-to-lovers, forced proximity, fake dating combo. I love these two as friends, and their post-grad life was an interesting setting. The ending was a bit cheesy, but the journey was fun! Lyric and Kian DEFINITELY have chemistry. Thanks to NetGalley for the copy to review!
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Lyric is a scientist diligently working to crack what she has coined “The Sizzle Paradox.” She hopes to find the scientific reasons behind couples working both on a physical and emotional level. Meanwhile, her roommate and best friend Kian is finishing his own thesis. When Lyric receives feedback from her adviser that she needs to do better, Kian agrees to fake date her in order to give her dating practice. Lyric becomes invested in helping Kian find a new girlfriend. As the clock ticks closer to graduation, will Lyric be able to crack The Sizzle Paradox in time? 

The Sizzle Paradox worked beautifully in theory and in reality felt rough. The premise was great and I initially really enjoyed Kian and Lyric’s friendship. They have a fantastic friendship and have known each other for years, helping each other through the trials of academia. When Lyric became focused on helping Kian get a date, this is where things began to feel a little off. Not only did it take an extremely long time for Kian and Lyric to acknowledge feelings about each other, there was far too much time spent on them trying to set each other up with other people. This made the ending feel rushed and not earned. 

I did appreciate that there were many great side characters, such as Lyric’s family and their found family of college friends. Again, the premise was great, but I struggled with the execution. While it takes Lyric a long time to crack The Sizzle Paradox, for readers it may feel frustrating since the answer will likely be very obvious to them. I will definitely still check out whatever Lily Menon writes next and hope that she continues to explore adult romance! Thank you to Lily Menon, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Lyric and Kian are best friends, they met in college and hit it off eventually becoming roommates. They share everything with each other and are incredibly close, relying on each other to get through their strenuous degree programs. Lyric has chosen to undertake the study of sexual chemistry, creating what she calls the Sizzle Paradox. It is the study of both physical and emotional attraction. The problem is she cannot find someone who she is compatible with to the prove her theory. She feels like a major fraud, Kian who is getting ready to graduate is trying to help her so he offers to tutor her to help her with her dating life. 

I liked the fact that Lyric was a super smart driven girl. She graduated high school early and entered college and her major program for her degree at a young age. Kian was a incredibly supportive character to Lyric and did all the typical things a best friend should do and more. I also really enjoyed the academic element to this book. 

What didn’t really work for me was, the entire book everyone the two MC’s talk to (and I mean almost every other character in this book) suggests that they would be perfect for each other and yet for Lyric and Kian a relationship between them is not even on their radar. But yet Lyric mentions laying in Kians lap and cuddling on the couch. I wouldn’t associate those things with my platonic friends. It was frustratingly obvious they had deeper feelings for each other that neither of the characters was aware enough to realize. The ending also felt rushed the huge conflict at the end of the book had been built up so much that I felt the resolution was to easy and smooth for what it was. 

Because I listened to the audiobook version I want to say how absolutely amazing Brittany Pressley is at narration. I’ve listened to several books that she has read and every time she does a phenomenal job! Abhay Ahluwalia was the second narrator for the book, while I do enjoy switching voices for the different POV I found his voice to be a little flat and monotone. 

Over all it was a cute romcom with a HEA ending. If your into science and friend to lovers or college romances this will be a great book for you.
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4.5 stars

There was sooooo much to like about this book!  Friends-to-lovers rom-com. Great banter, might I say "sizzling" chemistry between the leads,  and overall a fun read.  There were three things, however, that kept this from being a solid 5-star. 

1.  The book's synopsis states that "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?" I find it hard to believe that every scientist has to *personally* experience what their data reflects. What if she was measuring something in animals or same-sex couples and she's heterosexual? 
2. The communication between the leads as their relationship began to turn from best friends to lovers was frustrating, to say the least. They kissed but couldn't actually talk about it afterward. 
3. This one irked me the most and it's really not that important. The two main characters kept referring to their big, final research paper as a thesis, not a dissertation. In my mind, a thesis is written at the master's level and a dissertation at the doctoral level. I know there may be some regional differences, so I did some google research and Columbia University (which is the setting of the novel) does refer to the doctoral research as a dissertation. In the e-ARC, there are 3 references to a dissertation and 33 to a thesis. Maybe this will be corrected in the final editing process. 

Despite my concerns above, I very much enjoyed reading The Sizzle Paradox and would happily read more of Lily Menon's work. As a matter of fact, I was just  approved for the audio version, so I look forward to listening to it in the next few days! 

Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in return for an honest review!

Posted to Instagram on 7/6
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I think it's safe to say that Menon's adult books are not for me.

While this book has some of my favorite romance tropes, I just could NOT with our main characters. This was the same issue that I had with Make Up Break Up. The characters are very unrealistic, especially in their age bracket and I just don't understand their character motivations.

Some authors really flourish when they jump from YA to Adult and for me, Menon just doesn't make the leap.
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I loved Lyric and Kian’s story. If you love friends to lovers stories, you will love this one! This has lots of communication mishaps and cute will they/won’t they moments! Everyone seemed to know they were perfect for each other before them.
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The Sizzle Paradox is a contemporary romance/rom-com featuring women in STEM set in New York City.

The book alternates between the male and female 1st person POVs.

Kian (26) and Lyric (24) are roommates and doctoral students. He is an environmental chemist. She is a psych student.

I really liked how her thesis was devoted to studying how partners in successful relationship keep both the romantic and sexual chemistry alive.

I liked parts of this story. But I was not super invested in the couple or the romance. It was a cute romance. But the miscommunication was too much. The epilogue was really good. But I wish that the romance part of the story took up much more of the book.
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Omg! Such a great story! Definitely predicted the plot of the story at the beginning but was very much surprised with the direction it took and the decisions the characters made. Was definitely caught off guard at some point but thoroughly enjoyed the book regardless. Lyric and Kian were definitely destined to be together and make such a cute couple. There was a point in which I felt it was dragged out a bit, but in the end it worked out well. Would’ve loved to see a bit more of them but the epilogue was a great addition to their story.
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The Sizzle Paradox
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle eBook 
Date Published: 6/28/22
Author: Lily Menon and Sandhya Menon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 304
Goodreads Rating:3.31

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

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. 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.

My Thoughts: I have seen mixed reviews on this book and the rating is lower than I expected. I, however, loved this book and thought it was the perfect light romantic story. The besties and fake dating trope worked so well for this book. The story is narrated in dual perspectives from Lyric and Kian, from their perspectives. They are both getting their doctorate degrees in different fields. For me, the characters were developed well, they had undeniable chemistry, they had some growth, the witty banter between them was amazing, and I think they just worked well for this book. The authors’ writing style was complex, creative for the concept of this story, and I was never bored, kept me engaged from cover to cover. I did get a little frustrated right before the end, I will not say why to spoil it, but I believe that was the concept. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend giving it a try. I would definitely read more by these authors.
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The Kiss Quotient meets Love Potion No. 9 in The Sizzle Paradox.
Lyric Bishop isn’t having much luck in the dating department, which wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t basing her dissertation on it for doctoral program. In order to graduate next spring she’s going to have to figure out how to turn her awkwardness with guys into a successful relationship. Enter her BFF and roommate: Kian Montgomery. He’s as dedicated to helping Lyric figure out her Sizzle Paradox since he’s been her friend at the beginning of college. In an effort to help, he offers to tutor Lyric on dating and in return Lyric will set Kian up with someone different to change his romantic future, instead of him dating the same type of woman over and over. What happens next defies logic and science.
This was a cute friends to lovers trope (also opposites attract trope) that was short and sweet for anyone in the mood for an adult romance with women in STEM! 

3⭐️ wanted more like The Love Hypothesis or The Soulmate Equation. This was rushed, short and didn’t grip me.
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If you like friends to lovers where neither one was actually harboring feelings on the front end until some fake dating and physical closeness came into play, then this is the romance for you!! I really liked the fact that neither one of them had actively considered the thought of the other as a romantic partner before, and the events that led up to them realizing those thoughts and feelings changed.
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This book was okay. The main characters were mostly likeable, although pretty immature (especially Lyric). I rooted for them to get together for the first part of the book, but towards the end I just didn’t really care that much anymore and found myself almost skimming the book. The dating “tutoring” that was mentioned barely happened and could have been much more interesting. I also didn’t understand the problem the main characters were having about getting together. It just didn’t feel realistic in that sense.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me access to this eARC!
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Ok, it was pitched as a cross between The Love Hypotheses and The Kiss Quotient… and while I could see the comparisons, this pales in comparison. It was an easy, quick read but I didn’t find it particularly satisfying or memorable.
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This was a good book! I liked the setting, and the graduate student life (I can relate!). It took me way too long to get into this book (almost half). But then I loved the second half of this book. I liked Kian’s POV much more than Lyric’s, she seemed too immature and I got a bit annoyed with the repeating thoughts and sentiments. This is a fun and easy read!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I liked this book! Overall, this is a very cute story with a best friend to lover trope which I can appreciate. However, there was nothing that really stuck out to me in this contemporary romance. I really enjoyed the narrators in the audiobook, but I was hoping for something more throughout the book. I would recommend if you are looking for a quick, light read.
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I was provided with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.

Menon is on my auto-buy/auto-read author list for a reason: her books never fail to make me happy. The Sizzle Paradox was no exception. While this was not my favorite of her works, I enjoyed it from start to finish and it met my every expectation. As always, we got an absolute swoonworthy male lead in Kian. Not only is he gorg, hes also sweet and about as opposite as toxic-masc as you can get in a cis-het man. Lyric was funny and quirky and a tad bit naïve.  I did want to shake her soundly at times - especially when she would decide/assume other people's feelings without actually asking them - but I was still rooting for her. 

This one is going right up on the shelf and I will undoubtedly visit it again!
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I actually missed the download period for this book, but my library copy came in right away and saved the day! A good read from Lily Menon!

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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Lyric and Kian's deal to help her understand relationships in order to save her thesis is the foundation of this friends-to-something-more story. Though their science life is unrelatable I can appreciate their unusual friendship but her pushing her "friend" on him seemed odd but not more than him agreeing to it. Cute and awkwardly funny moments really helped us with the wait for the inevitable.
Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity for my honest opinion.
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I picked this up hoping for something like The Kiss Quotient and The Love Hypothesis. I did not get that, and it was definitely a disappointment. There are laugh aloud funny moments, but so far they aren’t enough to win me over on the book as a whole.

The narrator, Lyric Bishop, has developed a scale to rate her romantic/sexual partners: the Sizzle Paradox Scale. She’s also a snob who looks down on MFAs because she’s a psychology grad student doing her Ph. D. on sexual chemistry. Kian Montgomery is about to defend his thesis in environmental chemistry in two months. He’s in a dating rut. He is the narrator’s housemate and best friend. They are both in a dating rut, and Lyric feels she can’t begin to write her thesis until she finds someone who fits into her Sizzle Paradox Scale, which is a ridiculous attitude to take even for someone who isn’t as in love with her field as she thought she was and who ends up changing departments a year from the end of her program as part of a romantic crisis and then comes to her senses and switches back. As is her out-of-the-blue obsession with getting Kian together with her lab mate Zoey when it’s obvious neither is at all interested in the other.

A few other things that bothered me about this book:
First person present in alternating points of view between Lyric and Kian. It’s just weird.
Why did Lyric’s sister name her daughter Lapiz? It’s the Spanish word for pencil. Couldn’t she have just spelled it “lapis” like the actual stone she probably intended to name the kid for?
Lily and Sandhya Menon are apparently the same person. Why use both names?

Ultimately it’s…okay? If I hadn’t been taking notes as I read I wouldn’t remember anything about it at all less than a month later.
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Fake date tropes are one of my fave when it comes to romance novels. I knew this book would not disappoint seeing how funny Lyric was, how comfortable she is with herself and the topic of sex, especially when it comes to her thesis, and this crazy chemistry with Kian her best friend. They are both nerdy but sexy people, and I wish we got more steam but when we got the steam it was worth the wait. This book was hard to put down after I started to read it, it was just too much fun to read. I will leave it at that, haha. 

Thanks Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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