Cover Image: The Sizzle Paradox

The Sizzle Paradox

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Member Reviews

Thank you to St. Martins Press for an advanced digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for review. 

Unfortunately, while the premise of The Sizzle Paradox intrigued me, it really fell flat for me. At no point did I feel invested in the characters or the story. 

There were definitely some moments that made me laugh, but as a whole, I wasn’t interested in how the Lyric and Kian kept hiding their true feelings for each other.
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Best friends and slow burn, sign me up! This was a really cute romance between Lyric and her best friend of many years, Kian (swoon). They are both doc graduate students who live together and share everything, including no luck in the romance department. Although the story was overall predictable, it was exactly what I needed. Cute, lighthearted and funny. I really enjoyed it. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC.
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This book starts out with PhD candidate Lyric, who is writing her thesis on sexual chemistry, on how emotional and sexual connection correlate in a relationship with the nuero chemicals in the brain related to those feelings. She herself has not been able to experience both at the same time with anyone she has dated and feels in a rut with her thesis. So she enlists the help of her best friend Kian who is charismatic and has no problem with dating. They begin have "tutoring" date sessions to help Lyric get better at dating. It goes well up to the point that they give into the moment and it feels like their friendship is ruined forever.

The chemistry between the characters was excellent, as was the gradual build up of feelings and tension. I loved having both characters be in academia and doing well. The miscommunication in this book is really what let me down. It went on for far too long and got frustrating in a bad way.
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I gave Lily Menon another chance, as I really like her “Sandhya” stuff in YA. But this second adult romance is even more unbearable than her first. It seems to be trying to capture the magic that similar academically driven romances have, but without the substance. Granted, I couldn’t stand more than a page or two of The Love Hypothesis, but there’s basic plot similarities to The Kiss Quotient without a real grasp of the nuances of what made them work in TKQ. And I just didn’t care for the characters.
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lighthearted fast-paced
Plot- or character-driven? A mix
Strong character development? Yes
Loveable characters? No
Diverse cast of characters? Yes
Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
This book had a lot of potential but unfortunately it did fall flat. The characters were unbearable about 50% of the time and the other half they were just okay. It felt as if the author had never interacted with a ‘nerd’ or ‘dork’ and got most of her source material from watching bad 90s sitcoms. The jokes and attempts to make lyric seem as if she was an unsocialized hermit felt weird and forced. Not to mention while the cast of characters are diverse and plenty there were some moments where my brain went ‘misogyny’ and then moved on.  I did enjoy the writing style for the most part and the idea of the book was honestly very interesting . It was just the actual execution fell flat. 
If you want a short book where you can kind of shut off your brain for a moment you could honestly do so much worse. But if you are used to well developed contemporary romance where the character growth is a main focus and the plot is well researched and stuck to this might not be the one.
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What's it about (in a nutshell):
The Sizzle Paradox is about friends and roommates – Lyric and Kian. The end of their lives as college students is nearing, and they realize that means they will have to go their separate ways. But they have been best friends and roommates since their undergraduate days, so this is a hard reality to process. When they begin developing romantic feelings toward each other during this time, that becomes an even more complicated reality to face.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
This will be the second book I read by Lily Menon, and since I liked the first book, Make Up Break Up (an enemies-to-lovers story), I anticipate the same for The Sizzle Paradox (a friends-to-lovers tale). The cartoonish cover screams romantic comedy, and the blurb sounds intriguing. I can't imagine a doctoral thesis referred to as the Sizzle Paradox would be taken seriously in any college, so I'm hoping there is more to it than the blurb lets on.

Actual Reading Experience:
I enjoyed the first half of the book. I even bought into Lyric's thesis being taken seriously (maybe) once I heard her explain it in more technical turns. But, eventually, Lyric and Kian's inability to admit their feelings or see that those feelings were reflected began to grate on my nerves. I can understand being worried about ruining their friendship. Still, I had trouble believing that at no point they could see what everyone else – even strangers – had no difficulty discerning. Still, the predictable ending made me a delighted reader. If you can't expect and get a happily ever after from a romantic comedy, that would genuinely be very disheartening.

I did love the families of the two main characters and the many quirks, layers, and struggles they provided to the main characters and the story. Lyric's family are free spirits who rub crystals and focus on the positives in life. She has three sisters and one brother who, when all together, tell a tale of Lyric's upbringing that helps flesh out her character. On the other hand, Kian is plagued by guilt and doubt, as his family life has been one of lies and mistrust. Kian makes choices to not be like his father, but he isn't being true to himself as a consequence.

The Sizzle Paradox is told in first-person narration through Kian and Lyric's points of view. I found the narration changes easy to follow and enjoyed that the story flowed well and read at a fast pace. It's a light read perfect for when you are in the mood for a predictable happily ever after with some sizzling hot scenes to break up the cuteness.

Overall, I enjoyed this read. I enjoyed Make Up Break Up more, but then I am a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers story more than a friends-to-lovers tale. The story became a bit grating with miscommunication that lasted for way too long. Otherwise, I loved the sizzle in the paradox and the happily ever after.

I've already talked about the two main characters in the story. Still, there also is a collection of support characters that are all very interesting. Lyric's sister Opal who is afraid to commit to a man ten years her junior, is probably my favorite among them. But I also enjoyed Lyric's friend Zoey with her interest in all things plague related.

To Read or Not to Read:
If you love a sizzling hot friends-to-lovers romantic comedy with an ending that will make you cheer, The Sizzling Paradox is just the right book for a hot summer day by the pool.
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I had such a hard time trying to read this book. Both Lyric and Kian were annoying characters to me. I know they were the main couple but because of how annoying they sometimes were (especially Lyric) I really wanted them to suffer. 

This book didn't end up being good to read for me until about halfway, because that's when Lyric stepped trying to set Kian up on dates with this girl Zoey she knew, even though everyone including Zoey and Kian knew they didn't fit together. Kian and Lyric's communication was a bit lackluster especially since they'd been roommates since college and took each other to meet each other's parents. It was amazing how they couldn't be honest about lusting after each other because "it was morally wrong".

I also found Lyric's thesis annoying and very improbable because it seemed very subjective to her thoughts and feelings and didn't see to be benefiting anyone other than her, even if the subject matter was interesting.
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The Sizzle Paradox was quite adorable. Lyric is working on her psychology doctoral thesis: the sizzle paradox - how partners react chemically that show physical and emotional desire. At times Lyric was a little frustrating as she was unable to see and use the data because it wasn't solving her love life problems. But as a scientist you've got to set that aside. 

Kian is her friend and roommate. Kian offers to tutor Lyric to help her out and Lyric offers to set him up in return. This brought in a few funny moments, as well as some steamy ones. They have some real chemistry together, and it was easy to see from the beginning that they were meant to be. 

Their journey may have been a little rocky, but it was worth the ride.
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What is not to love about a friends to lovers trope?

This was marketed as The Love Hypothesis meets other best sellers and I just have to say The Love Hypothesis was nothing great at all. I actually really disliked it. While The Sizzle Paradox ticked every box for me! IT was cute, sweet, fresh, enjoyable and Ididn’t roll my eyes on every page.

I liked the representation of women in science and always love a good friends to lovers story line!
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The Sizzle Paradox follows Lyric and Kian, two best friends and roommates who are working on finishing grad school while navigating their love lives. Kian finds that he is just dating the same type of woman, while Lyric flounders when she gets attention from any male specimen. In an effort to be mutually beneficial, Kian starts tutoring Lyric on how to get men in a meaningful way, and Kian attempts to learn how to  try and date woman who might not be his typical type. Seems like a flawless plan until they start to become more than just friends. 

I enjoyed this academic type romance novel. I read this entire book in one sitting because I was DYING to know how it ended up. While the premise is definitely not something new, it was still a fresh take on the "friends to lovers" troupe. I also enjoyed that there was representation of so many women in scientific positions and academia! It wasn't groundbreaking, but it was a sweet novel and I was rooting for Kian and Lyric the entire book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I love a good friends to lovers trope but Lyric and Kian’s story was missing the sizzle needed, as noted from the title. They were like able but not swoonable.
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The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon is an adorably nerdy romance.

Will Lyric and Kian figure out what everyone else already sees?

Lyric Rae Bishop
Our heroine is Lyric, a grad student whose dissertation is based on what she has dubbed the Sizzle Paradox. However, Lyric can't seem to crack her own paradox. She goes out with lots of guys, has had two relationships, and still hasn't been able to figure out what makes the sizzle paradox work. Honestly, I felt like she was easy.

Lyric is a bit nerdy, opinionated, but kind-hearted. However, she is kind of clueless too, for someone as smart as she is. I didn't really care for her. Quite a few times I actually disliked her. She can be selfish and blind to what other people need. One of her redeeming qualities is her love for her crazy family and the way that she was able to help Kian deal with his dad.

Kian Montgomery
Our hero is Kian, also a grad student. However, he is graduating during the story whereas Lyric still has a year. Kian is a nice guy. He has a lot of baggage regarding his family and worries that he will be like his cheating father. Even though, Kian is so different from his dad and doesn't have the same goals. I kind of liked Kian, at least better than Lyric. He seemed to truly try and see the good in people. Oh, and that treehouse restaurant thing was so cool.

Kian figured out he likes Lyric first, but he didn't try to push her. He just kept plugging along with their stupid tutoring sessions. Their romance unfolds slowly almost painfully.

Three Stars
My rating for The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon is three stars. I had a hard time finishing the story. The better I got to know the characters the more turned off I was by their journey. The writing is good and the story is well thought out. It just wasn't for me.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon.

Until the next time,

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out
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A cute friends-to-lovers story with a decent amount of miscommunication. This book was a typical cute romance with STEM influences as. both main characters are student doctors about to graduate. I felt the book was longer than it needed to be and dragged for a bit before it got interesting romance-wise. It felt like a slow burn. Lyric in certain scenes was not making sense to me so I personally was not clicking with the characters. Wasn't a fan of how the author was describing the setting as NY either. It wasn't my favorite and I won't recommend it to friends. 

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review
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This was a quick, light book featuring some of the things I like best:

✔️Dual POV
✔️Fake dating 
✔️Nerdy characters 
 ✔️A sprinkling of spice 🔥

I started it in print and ended up listening to almost all of the audiobook instead. I think that this helped me get through it quickly and actually finish it. 

Friends to lovers is not my favorite trope but it is one I enjoy enough to read pretty regularly. The trope development was okay (at times less believable than others) but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite FTL plot. 

The main character seemed kind of immature and not as “intellectual” as she was supposed to be. It felt like there were inconsistencies between how the characters were described and how they acted. I found the lack of development in characters to be off-putting. For me, simply identifying that you’re in love with someone doesn’t automatically count as development when all other behavior stays the same. 

For me, the ending felt rushed. Things built up and then resolved quickly to where I felt like I missed something in between (I won’t give details to avoid spoilers).
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This is such a sweet friends to lovers romance. It definitely reads as more of a novella, but thank goodness because I wasn’t able to put it down until it was finished. The characters were so well written I wish we could’ve gotten more of their “fake dates” and their day-to-day lives together. Overall it was a sweet, short read.
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I would rate this a solid 3.5 stars- rounded up. It kept me engaged but I found it really difficult to get into and I felt like the beginning half was quite repetitive and stagnant in regards to the plot. But character development was on par throughout the entire book. I loved seeing Lyric and Kian’s relationship grow and develop, but one of my least favourite tropes is the “miscommunication” trope which definitely is the majority of the last quarter of this book. Overall it was a fun and fluffy romance, I may read it again, but I would honestly just recommend it to anyone looking for a book to get them out of a slump!
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This was another romcom with the miscommunication as the main plot point, and I just have a hard time with that. These two were best friends for years, but when they finally start to realize they've developed actual romantic feelings for the other, even after several instances of physical expression, they STILL think the other couldn't possibly be interested and run away rather than express how they feel. And Lyric continued to push Kian to Zoe, even after they both showed a lack of interest. There's something about the "I can't see past my own nose" that just really bothers me in a romance. 

Overall, there was less "sizzle" than I had hoped.
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Lily Menon's books have the same bright, fun, light-hearted tone as her YA (written as Sandhya Menon) but with more steam! This is an adorable friends-to-lovers romance. Lyric and Kian are clueless about how much they belong together, but eventually they figure it out. 

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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I originally signed up for this because of it’s Love Hypothesis type vibes and the cover art grabbed my attention. I’ve heard good things about Lily Menon so this was the perfect opportunity to give her a try. 

Unfortunately, The Sizzle Paradox just didn’t do it for me. I don’t mind a little miscommunication in my rom-coms but this one was dragged out for way too long. Lyric and Kian are best friends who have been living in the friend zone with each other the last 6-7 years of their lives and they are perfectly fine with that even when their friends and family members constantly tell them how perfect they are together. They constantly are “omg ew no way” with even the idea of dating one another. Until Lyric needs help with her thesis on sexual chemistry. Kian offers to “tutor” Lyric on her dating habits and things take off from there. Feelings are developed and THINGS happen. But each one thinks it’s totally unfathomable that the other could return the obvious growing feelings between them and this goes on foreverrrrrrrr. I was highly annoyed with them and even commented to my friend that I’d like to bang their heads together.

I also found some of the lines and plots of the book quite icky. Zoey was pretty adamant about getting Zoey and Kian together and even after several times of Kian telling her that he doesn’t think Zoey is interested she still is like “no keep trying” it was really off putting and poor Zoey being used in this way was gross. Also, Kian realizing that “this is a totally different Lyric, not my Lyric” when Lyric is dressing up and putting effort into herself and all of a sudden she becomes much more attractive to Kian. It just didn’t sit right. 

I did get a chance to listen to most of this book on audio and I have to say that I was really pleased to see there would be dual narration. I always look forward to having both sides of the story. I thought the female narrator, Brittany Pressley did a great job of voicing Lyric. Her inflections and tone were spot on in projecting Lyric’s feelings and emotions. I’m really sorry but the male narrator, Abhay Ahluwalia, was quite bad. It took me a while to get past every line he ended sounding like a question and he hardly ever changed the tone of his voice to match what was going on in the book. This looks like to be his first audiobook on Audible so hopefully he learned some things and improves for next time. I thought Brittany did a fine job of Kian’s voice when she would imitate him so this might be the one time I wish there wasn’t dual narration. But the pacing was fine and I didn’t need to speed up the narration beyond 1.15x which is my normal listening speed. 

Overall, The Sizzle Paradox was a so-so book. I will never read it again due to the annoyingness of the miscommunication…but the spice was hot so if that’s all you care about you’ll love it. Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press and MacMillan Audio for providing me with arcs via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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First off, thank you to Net Galley and St Martin’s Press for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This one is right up my alley and I was thrilled to get it! 🤩

Just as expected , this was the perfect little romance for all my cheeky little romance lovers. 

Best friends, fake dating, age gaps, miscommunication, this had it all.   Think Love Hypothesis meets While We We’re Dating. 

The author had my on my toes the whole time. I was “lucky” enough to have a sick day from work 😷 but used my snuggle time to power through this in one sitting. 

Not too steamy but enough spice to get your cheeks a little flushed 🔥 You can’t help but root for the MCs to get together. 

The only place this lost any interest for me was in the epilogue … if you’ve read any of my previous romance reviews you will see my thought on things ending a certain way … 👀 

Anyways ! This will be going in my cart when it’s out and I can’t wait to suggest it to my friends ! 

4.5 ⭐️
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