Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall (Winner Bakes All #2)

Paris Daillencourt is a recipe for disaster. Despite his passion for baking, his cat, and his classics degree, constant self-doubt and second-guessing have left him a curdled, directionless mess. So when his roommate enters him in Bake Expectations, the nation’s favourite baking show, Paris is sure he’ll be the first one sent home.

 But not only does he win week one’s challenge—he meets fellow contestant Tariq Hassan. Sure, he’s the competition, but he’s also cute and kind, with more confidence than Paris could ever hope to have. Still, neither his growing romance with Tariq nor his own impressive bakes can keep Paris’s fear of failure from spoiling his happiness. And when the show’s vicious fanbase confirms his worst anxieties, Paris’s confidence is torn apart quicker than tear-and-share bread.

 But if Paris can find the strength to face his past, his future, and the chorus of hecklers that live in his brain, he’ll realize it’s the sweet things in life that he really deserves.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Ewan Goddard (Narrator)
YEAR: 2022
LENGTH: 384 pages (13 hours 5 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s).

PARIS DAILLENCOURT IS ABOUT TO CRUMBLE because he has an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and he has been entered in a baking competition by his best friend. The anxiety does not mesh well with the competition, and causes enough issues that fully half the narrative takes place after the competition, dealing with the aftermath and his journey to diagnosis of that anxiety disorder. During the competition, he enters a romance with Tariq, one of his fellow competitors. 

The series seems designed to be read as standalone stories which are connected because they all take place at the same baking competition show, but the books are set during different seasons, not necessarily consecutive ones. This means that some minor characters recur between books, such as the showrunner and various crew members. I appreciate the way that the pacing of the narrative with regards to the TV show in this book is very different from ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE. Paris spends the first half of the book on the TV show, panicking a lot, and not really being motivated to be there, especially since he isn’t even the one who signed himself up. The second half takes place after the show, mostly during the months between the end of filming and when the episodes are airing. 

Because this may as well be a standalone story, it doesn’t really wrap up anything left hanging from the previous book. Rosaline Palmer didn’t leave anything dangling, and so there was nothing for this to continue. The main storyline is entirely new, even though Paris is on the same TV show that Roslyn was, they’re not in the same season and they don’t have any meaningful interactions. 

Someone could start here with no knowledge of the first book and be just fine. I think maybe it spoils who wins the first book's competition, and it briefly mentions one of the central plot points, but it does so from the perspective of people who weren’t really involved in that relationship tangle, and so I don’t think it spoils it in any way that matters.

Paris is extremely anxious, so much so that eventually he does get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. But the word "eventually" is doing a lot of heavy lifting there: he gets through an entire season of filming constantly thinking he is terrible and can’t do anything right, all while being really good at baking in a way that makes his worries seem performative or disingenuous to the others. I like Paris and Tariq's dynamic as a portrayal of a relationship that is in the process of not working because they have issues in communication and don’t both understand what’s going on. Paris doesn’t know that he has an anxiety disorder and Tariq needs to not have to give Islamophobia 101 lessons every time Paris finds out about some way that other peoples' prejudices make Tariq’s life harder. 

Things I love, in no particular order: every mention of Tariq's nails, the way Paris's anxiety is handled, the show's producer.

This is great and I'm excited for the third book!

If you like this you may like:


Graphic/Explicit CW for panic attacks/disorders, ableism, mental illness.

Moderate CW for religious bigotry, classism, islamophobia, abandonment.

Minor CW for alcohol, homophobia, sexual assault, animal death, murder, death.

Bookshop Affiliate Buy Link

Add this on TheStoryGraph

Two guys, one slouching in a dark shirt, the other leaning casually in a bright yellow shirt, are standing in front of a rainbow cake with each layer a different color in order.


Popular Posts