Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

2.5 stars

Wow, I really didn’t enjoy this…. Like, I was able to finish it, it wasn’t so bad I had to DNF it, but it also just wasn’t that great.

I have really loved Sandhya Menon’s YA books (especially the Dimpleverse books), but idk if something just isn’t translating to her adult books (this is NA) or what, but I’m just not liking them.

There honestly isn’t much good that I can say about this book.  It came across as aphobic, where the MC was obsessed with romantic and sexual attraction.  She was doing this whole study on it, her doctoral research, yet there was no mention of folks who don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction.  It was this whole ‘you have to score way off the charts on sexual and romantic attraction in order to be compatible’, which is really not true.  I think this could have easily been remedied with a single sentence about aro/ace folks, but there wasn’t.  It was a very allocentric view and I didn’t like it.

This had fake dating (sort of), which is basically my favourite romantic trope, but it just didn’t work for me in this instance.  Like, it was almost painful how long it took the two MCs to actually talk about their feelings, to the point I almost didn’t want them to get together because I was getting annoyed.

Also, there was one sex scene and it was kind of… off? It just did not work for me, and maybe had some mild consent issues?  It felt like they just had to get to the PIV, instead of doing other hot stuff that didn’t involve PIV. Honestly, I think that’s what ruined it for me.

The one thing I did like was that Lyric’s older sister is in a secret age gap relationship with a magician (he’s 10 years younger).  Like, please, give me that story, I think it would have been better than the mess that this one was.

Overall, this wasn’t unreadable, but it also wasn’t good.
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Lyric is a grad student looking for ways to support her thesis on The Sizzle Paradox. The premise is that sexual chemistry in a romantic relationship can make for a successful relationship. The problem is that Lyric has never experience this and her current dating life sucks. She enlists her roommate and best friend, Kian, to help her.

Kian agrees to tutor Lyric on relationships and chemistry.as the two spend more time together, they realize that their relationship may be more than just a friendship. The want to fight it but sometimes emotions outweigh logic.

The friends-to-lovers trope just fall short in this one. The connection between the main characters is there but more like friends. I don’t know if it is because they started off as friends or the rationale for them to dabble into a romantic relationship didn’t hold up for me. Either way, the romantic and sexual chemistry is lacking. Not to mention, they are constantly reminding everyone and themselves they are friends.

My biggest pet peeve that an author does is just throw in silly miscommunications. This one had it which is mind boggling since they are best friends. How can they not know how to communicate with each other? Yes, one can argue that once they cross over to lovers the dynamics can change. However, the type of friendship, they had leaves little to no room for that argument.

Overall, this is cute at times, but it leaves no memorable moments. Fans of STEM romance or the friends-to-lovers trope may want to give this a chance.

~ Samantha
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This was such a fun read, even though I hate using the word “fun” to describe a book. With it’s quirky characters and endless supply of dating conundrums, this is a friends to lovers romcom about the psych grad student falling for her best friend/roommate who can’t commit. Lyric and Kian’s friendship is perfection and I couldn’t stop smiling as I watched the sexual chemistry blow up in their faces. A charming read with lots of pining!

Lyric and Kian have been friends since Lyric’s first year of college and when she confesses her frustration with “The Sizzle Paradox,” a study on attraction and chemistry, Kian offers to fake date Lyric in hopes of helping her with the data and her dating life. The two don’t anticipate the heavy feelings that come with experimental dating.

There’s just something smooth and effortless about the way Menon writes. I found myself loving even the small details throughout the story, such as Opal, Lyric’s older sister, falling for a much younger man named Arthur.

I got really wrapped up in the storyline and there was even more steam than I anticipated. I could really feel the emotional turmoil in the end and it was just a really easy read for me with lots of movie magic moments.
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Ok my stem romance fans! Add this one to your list!

I just adore friends to lovers esp when they volunteer to tutor you to see why you can't keep a date and at the same time find out how awkward you get and how the sparks fly when you touch.

Ok Kian Montgomery is a new book boyfriend!! 

Lyric his best friend which hilariously my kindle read LB her initials as Pound which was also her nickname. But made me giggle until I knew that. My kindle pronounces things weird and assumes a lot.

But anyways Lyrics doctoral project was on chemistry in relationships and the other reviews that I've read said she was too picky she had really high expectations.  Lol doesn't everyone, if you don't feel chemistry or are annoyed by them now think about how that will compound in 10-20 yrs.

Also maybe she's demisexual and can't feel immediate chemistry and was giving herself too much pressure. Who knows? I didn't think she was picky at all.

I loved their chemistry and in their effort to not destroy their friendship they may have created a gulf.

This one was so steamy 🔥 and sweet. I definitely enjoyed this one! A perfect summer, poolside or beach read for sure.

Thank you stmartinspress and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

✨I adore Sandhya Menon's books and I love her books as Lily Menon too! ♥️
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This was really painful to read. The style was just not for me at all. 

In general I was not a fan of this story. The whole sizzle paradox thing seemed kind of silly.
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I am a huge Sandhya Menon/Lily Menon fan, and this book did not disappoint. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope, and I loved every second of it. I appreciated that the protagonist is a scientist. The banter, plot, and characters were fantastic!
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Lyric Bishop is preparing her graduate thesis on romantic love and sexual chemistry, except she feels like a fraud because she’s never found that sizzle.  Her roommate and best friend since freshman year, fellow graduate student, Kian Montgomery offers to tutor her in the fine art of dating.  When their dates start to feel too real to both of them, can their friendship survive?  

The Sizzle Paradox is a hilarious romantic comedy that I couldn’t stop listening to or put down.   Kian and Lyric have such a solid , loving, real friendship, so of course that should translate to a hot, spicy romance.  I loved it!
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Fans of Christina Lauren's "Soulmate Equation": rejoyce. With a similar concept, you're going to love this one.

What is the equation for long-term love? That's the question Lyric wants to solve, but it's hard when she can't find the answer for herself. And in age-old fashion, she finds love in the least likely place... 

I love this romance troupe, Lily Menon's writing, and everything about this plot!
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The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon was a breezy read with some delightful moments. This comes out tomorrow 6/28!

✔️ Friends to Lovers
✔️ Dating Lessons
✔️ Academia
✔️ Miscommunication
✔️ Dad Cheats so MMC Isn't Sure He Can Be Faithful

I enjoyed the set up of the book and believed these two were the best of friends, though I did raise an eyebrow with how much these two main characters physically touch and cuddle.

I also liked their obstacles to love in general - she hasn't been able to find someone she can have both attraction and an emotional connection while he (because of his dad) is not able to stick with someone for long.

I loved the moment where she realizes she's attracted to him and then acts awkward.

I liked less how he became interested after she put more effort into her appearance.

I liked the steam level - there was a few really great moments, particularly during one of their teaching dates.

However, the third act breakup felt pretty typical for a miscommunication trope and that worked less well for me. It's my least fave device for breakup, so if it doesn't bother you, this could work for you.

Overall, I'd say 3.5⭐️.

Steam 🔥🔥
Banter 🗣🗣
Swoon 💕💕

Thanks to @netgalley and @stmartinspress for early access to this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This worked extremely well for me, and was exactly what I needed. I enjoyed both leads very much, LOVED their chemistry, and simply want more. A perfect pick-me-up. I'd suggest it for fans of The Love Hypothesis.
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The Sizzle Paradox was an okay book. I wanted to really like it because the premise was sound. There was just not a lot of development in the book, and it was slow to get through. When things happened later in the book, they happened very quickly. I had a hard time making sense of it and didn’t really have that warm feeling that I get with a happy ending. 
I really liked Kian, but I had a hard time feeling anything for Lyric. She just seemed immature, and I feel like that was maybe what was keeping her from growing at all or having any semblance of a good relationship. 
It may be because of other books I have read but it felt odd that neither Lyric or Kian seemed to really have any kind of physical attraction for each other until they start “dating”. I do like that deep love can grow from a friend love, but I still did not feel like there was anything there. They grew but didn’t really grow if that makes sense. 
Thanks to NetGalley, St Martin’s, St Martin’s Griffin, and Lily Menon for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a review.
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As someone with a Bachelors in Psychology and enrolled in a Masters Program in Counseling Psychology I thought the plot for this book was really interesting! 

The start was strong and I loved it! The humor and just that initial introduction to the friends part of a friends to lovers trope :) I found the way that she rated her experiences with possible romantic partners very interesting and didn’t really mind the one thing people seemed to have an issue with throughout, that thesis and dissertation were used interchangeably.

Other things like her putting herself taking her feelings into consideration when it came to the research also didn’t really bother me because it makes sense that she’d want to have something to prove that she knows what she’s talking about 🤷🏻‍♀️

I  think what got me was the middle, at a certain point I stopped connecting with Lyric Bishop and I kept on looking forward to Kian Montgomery’s parts instead 😅❤️ 

The ending felt kind of rushed to me and I didn’t quite understand how things shifted so fast… like I understood what I was reading but it felt like things were moving on too quick.

Thank you netgalley for the opportunity to review this book!
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Thanks to St Martin's Press, St Martin's Griffin, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
The Sizzle Paradox tells the story of two mid-twenties best friend roommates who are Columbia PhD students. Kian is about to defend his environmental engineering dissertation, and Lyric is working on analyzing her data about the psychological factors of sexual attraction leading to long-term relationship viability. Lyric feels like she can't accurately analyze her data because she's never had a successful long-term relationship. Kian offers to tutor her with some quintessential fake dating. 
Kian also enjoys Moscow Mules and at one point wants to buy copper mule mugs. I had to make myself a mule to enjoy while reading! If you've never made one yourself, they are possibly the easiest cocktail to make. You need some vodka, about three times as much ginger beer, and a fresh lime - that's it to add to ice and stir! You can make them to taste, with more or less vodka. Personally, I like to squeeze at least two lime wedges per drink - possibly three if I'm feeling extra zesty. 
If you're looking for a friends to lovers romance with some mid-twenties grad student drama, this book is for you! 
And please try to make your own Moscow mule! I will warn you that after making them you may not be able to pay the $$ premium to get one at a restaurant or bar!
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The Sizzle Paradox is a fun friends-to-lovers romance set in the world of academia. It's a little spicy and features a close friendship between longtime roommates in graduate school. Overall, the story was okay, but aspects of it were a little frustrating. The main character, Lyric, seems a little immature and it seemed beyond belief that her personal anecdotal relationship experience would somehow be used or be limiting her thesis "research." The narration by Brittany Pressley and Abhay Ahluwalia was fantastic. I especially love all books narrated by Pressley. 

Thank you St. Martin's Press / Macmillan Audio for providing this ebook / audiobook ARC. All thoughts are my own.
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2.75 stars ☆ This reminds me of the kiss quotient and the love hypothesis had a baby = the sizzle paradox. 

I liked how it was going so far from the start but it went downhill after like 50%? I’ve become bored where I just skimmed through probably most of it. It was just meh. There’s no wow factor to it besides their scenes here and there. The fact that they still don’t end up together up until like 70% when it’s clear that they’re already into each other but they both don’t do anything about it yet. idk it frustrates me sm. Even if this was a slow burn, it wasn’t burning soo. It was sweet but nothing spectacular.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC !!
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I was really excited to dive into this book! I’m a big fan of Lily (Sandhya) Menon’s books, usually rating them 4-5 stars, and her adult debut, Make Up Break Up, was one of my favorites last year.

The Sizzle Paradox did not quite hit me the way her other books have, though I did still enjoy it.

In it, best friends Lyric and Kian are both in dating ruts and end up fake dating to help each other out. They care deeply about each other, and that’s clear right from the beginning. Of course, everyone in their lives think they should be together and they laugh it off, but once they start their dating experiment, they realize there’s a bit more desire there than they thought.

Off the bat, I have to say that this is one of the wildest fake dating set-ups I have ever read! Lyric is trying to learn how to be better at dating, essentially, and Kian offers to help. In exchange, Lyric will give him tips on how to date women who aren’t typically his type. Kian barely even cares about his goal, and I never understood why Lyric personally needed to find her perfect partner in order to complete her research in the first place. Surely, people research things they don’t personally experience ALL the time. Because this is the setup for the entire fake dating scheme, the whole thing felt absurd, but I got on board eventually.

The main thing that did not work for me in this book is Lyric. I could not figure her out for the life of me, and I just did not like her. It was wild to me that she seemingly became an entirely different person on dates, which is also essential to the plot, and I never understood why. In general, her read on romantic partnerships was confusing because she clearly got that Opal’s relationship was higher stakes than Opal was admitting, and yet she continued to misread the whole Kian/Zoey situation, even after it was abundantly clear that Charlie was going to go after Zoey. None of this made sense. I didn’t like that she low-key slut shames herself and refers to herself as a pervert more than once. She was also just annoying as a character. This doesn’t often bother me, so I definitely surprised myself when reviewing my notes at the end of the book and seeing over and over again some iteration of, “Man, I don’t like her.”

Despite Lyric’s character zapping a lot of fun out of this book for me, the romantic and sexual tension definitely saved it, as did Kian. I didn’t fully buy his strategy of avoiding cheating by... just dating a lot (which, huh?), but there were at least clear reasons why he felt the way he did. (There were absolutely no reasons given for why Lyric is a different person in romantic and sexual contexts.) I loved almost all of the side characters, who had enough of their own things going on for this world to feel rich and interesting, but not so much that it detracted from our main pairing. I also laughed out loud multiple times in this book, particularly in the second half. What a delight any time that happens!

On the whole, I had a good time reading, which is what matters to me most. I definitely wanted Kian to have his happily ever after and was thrilled when he got it. Also, I won’t spoil it but that final scene was pretty darn sweet!


Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for sharing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Sizzle Paradox had so much potential but was somewhat lacking in sizzle.  I liked all the main characters and was rooting for Lyric and Kian to realize they were perfect for each other.  They had chemistry from their very first scene and their banter was top notch.  I love a dual POV because I need to   understood both characters side.  My only gripe was the lack of sizzle and spice.  But overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to friends and family! 

Thank you #Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The idea of this book was great, but the execution fell flat. I didn't love the characters, and the entire thing felt slow and forced.
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Lyric is a graduate psychology student who is writing her thesis on sexual and emotional chemistry in romantic couples, aka “The Sizzle Paradox”. As the due date approaches, Lyric is concerned her lackluster love life will undermine the credibility of her research. When her best friend and roommate Kian offers to “tutor” her so she can improve her dating skills, they are forced to confront what their friends and family have told them for years: maybe they are destined to be more than just friends. 

I had mixed feelings about this book. The first half felt so slow and tedious, that I almost DNF’d it. However, I pushed through and found the second half significantly better. I expected this book to be on par with great academic/STEM romances like The Love Hypothesis and The Soulmate Equation. Despite sharing some similarities, this one just wasn’t as well executed. 

What I liked:
The “paradox” theme 
In addition to Lyric’s thesis, the author weaves in other paradoxical elements throughout the story. Lyric herself is an ivy-league student but relies on crystals and tarot cards for comfort; her noncommittal, underachieving brother becomes engaged; her friend Charlie is both a scientist and a pastor at an LGBTQ+ Korean church, and her no-nonsense sister finds love with a professional magician 10 years her junior. 

Meanwhile, the MCs are having no luck with “obvious matches” who share common interests, backgrounds, and goals. The author’s message is well-illustrated: people, life, and love don’t always fit into neat, tidy, and obvious boxes. 

Casual diversity
The author took care to write diverse characters with real storylines and does a great job of incorporating intersectionality into the diversity. 

Kian
Kian was a cute love interest. He genuinely cares about Lyric, and his character growth and romantic feelings felt natural and authentic. 

Friends (the show)
I strongly suspect the author is a Friends fan. There seemed to be a few nods to the show: the mention of finding your ‘lobster,’ going to London for a wedding, and then proceeding to hook up with a close friend in London. 

Dislikes:

Lyric’s Thesis
It was a cute idea in theory. However, the explanation of the study and Lyric’s approach was convoluted and messy. Why does she need a successful romantic relationship for her work to count? Didn’t her years-long experiment already prove her point? Wouldn’t it be improper and undercut objectivity to include herself in the study? By the second half, I found myself trying to forget about the thesis and just focused on the characters and the romantic storyline.

Lyric
This FMC is mind-bogglingly immature. Her awkwardness and cluelessness are endearing at first, but it drags on for far too long. Even towards the end, she makes a massive life-altering decision on a whim but then goes back to her original plan just a little while later. Like, what? Where Kian had a natural progression in growth and his feelings, Lyric was just as dumb at the end as she was in the beginning. 

Overall, this was a fun, light romcom if you keep your expectations in check. You won’t find the same attention to detail and compelling characters you would in similar Christina Lauren or Ali Hazelwood books, but the general theme of the book is cute. There are sweet and funny moments along the way, and ultimately what we’re all after: a satisfying HEA.
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The Sizzle Paradox gives Love Hypothesis vibes and I am HERE for it!! There are several good spicy scenes in the book. Kian and Lyric suffer from the miscommunication trope, and best friends to lovers! This scratched my itch for more nerdy romance!

Read if you love: nerdy romance, fake dating

Thank you to St. Martin's Press + Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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