Cover Image: Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble

Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble

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Member Reviews

I wanted to love this book more! I just couldn't get into it and didn't feel attached to any of the characters. Unfortunately this wasn't it for me but I would be more than open to reading a future book by this author and I did appreciate their voice and certain storytelling techniques.
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This plot of this book is basically two queer men (one of which is Muslim & saving himself for marriage) going on a bake-off show (similar to GBBO) and fall in love. Along the way, Paris deals with extreme mental health struggles and Tariq learns a lot about himself. The descriptions of Paris’s internal dialogue (fueled by anxiety) are almost TOO relatable. 

I really enjoyed this even though it was too long for my taste. I love Alexis’s writing and stories but the length of the books get to me!! I liked the balance of scenes on and offset of the cooking show - I think it would have been too much if it was all on the show set. 

Definitely recommend if you like longer books and are looking for a funny, relatable love story!
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I typically love Alexis Hall books and her first book in the series was excellent, but this story was a bit tough for be to connect with.  I found the characters to be annoying at first with the constant whining and lack of confidence in anything he did on the show and his life. However, as the story moved so did my heart.  I began to realize why Alexis wrote the story in this fashion so the reader could feel the change and growth as Paris changes.  By the end of the story, I found myself enjoying it and having an understanding for people’s journey with mental health.

Thank you for the advance copy.
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Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall
#2 of the Winner Bakes All series. M-M romcom. 
Paris is a contestant of a famous British cooking show. He’s sure it will all be a failure. He meets competitor Tariq and the two become friendly. 

Paris is a blubbering mess. He’s sure he is terrible at baking and is nervous of everything. But he goes on the show and tries his best. 
He is a mess. And it went on for too long. 
There was a reason. He has an anxiety disorder. And once diagnosed (at 80%) and he gets some therapy and treatment, he’s better. But by that time, I didn’t care if he repaired relationships or not. 
And what’s with the parents? Missing in action. 
It’s resolved romance at the end which was nice but I read to finish, not thinking he should be forgiven or given a second chance, but it’s a romance happily so I knew it would have a good ending. 

There was some Weird verbiage such as “explainogised”.
“It felt suburban even though there was no particular urb for it to sub”
I’ve loved other books by this author. This one, too much for too long. Sorry. 

I received a copy of this from NetGalley.
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I really enjoyed Boyfriend Material so I was excited to receive this book. Paris Daillencourt Is about to Crumble has a diverse cast and a main character that suffers from anxiety. As someone who also has anxiety seeing it portrayed is either validating; as I know exactly how that feels or it’s draining. While anxiety comes in many forms and no one is exactly the same, Paris's mental load was truly exhausting. The story became weary along with jokes that fell flat and some that felt offensive. 

I will look into the next book that Alexis Hall writes but perhaps look at the trigger warnings a bit more carefully. Thank you to Forever Publishing and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy, in exchange for my honest review
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Didn't finish this one, which is unfortunate because I love baking show based plots. I did find Paris's anxiety relatable, but ultimately wasn't able to connect with the voice.
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✨ Review ✨ Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall

I'm already here for anything Alexis Hall writes, but even more so when it's about cake. 

This is less of a romance than many of Hall's books and in some ways felt a bit more coming-of-age and mental health focused as the main character, Paris, struggled with a lot of anxiety while on the book's baking show and his budding romance with fellow contestant Tariq. 

This book offered a really stunning portrayal of how anxiety can takeover your life as your brain catastrophizes everything around you. At the same time, this constant anxiety made this difficult to read, as I struggled with my own feelings with anxiety. It really beautifully depicts that inner struggle to recognize a problem and seek help, which is also frustrating as a reader as you're calling out to him to seek help all along.

At the same time while tackling these more serious issues, this book is so delightfully funny, leaning into that quirky Alexis Hall humor. Paris and his roommate are a delight, and there were so many places to laugh in this book, even while Paris struggled. I appreciated that balance.

The romance in this is more of a sweet romance, not a lot of physicality to it, but it worked within the bounds of the story. Another really beautifully written story by Hall.

Content guidance: Main character with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder (that does get diagnosed), on page panic attack, hospital stay due to panic attack, treatment plan for anxiety disorder discussed, emotionally-unavailable parents, very graphic swearing, cyberbullying, religious and racial microaggressions, Islamophobia (challenged).

Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Location: UK
Reminds me of: the Great British Bake Off, so weird the parallels between that show and this fictional one... 😉 
Pub Date: out now

Read this if you like:
⭕️ mental health representation
⭕️ silly jokes and clumsy characters
⭕️ baking reality shows

Thanks to Forever Publishing and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy and a physical copy of this book!
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1 star; DNF @ 16%

I have committed a hate crime against myself by trying to read this book after the dumpster fire of Husband Material. I have been hoisted by my own petard of systematically reading and reviewing AJH's heel turn through his books. Or maybe I thought it'd be an ok book because it has cookies in it. Unfortunately for me specifically, IT IS NOT.

In 16% AJH managed to squeeze in comments about Nazis, Jewish people, Muslims, ancient Greeks, Egyptians, people from Glasgow, hippies, the French, penises, various political parties, and public schools (UK version). I have no idea if these were meant to be funny or AJH's incessant need to use his widely published books for half-baked social commentary and I am not going to waste any of my time trying to parse it out. Either way it shouldn't be in a light-hearted romcom about baking.

But that isn't even my biggest problem with the book. What was making me want to crawl into the earth and die was 1) turning every word possible into a verb or adjective and repeating it a thousand times and 2) the horrifying amounts of self-loathing narcissistic victim complex Paris has. Didn't I get enough of this from Luc in Husband Material! Is this a cry for help from AJH? Because what the fuck. I don't want to read a book with this garbage in it! I mean, look:

Paris didn't quite wring his hands, but he moved his hands in a wringular direction

showing his face-fridge-hitting face

The look that said there's something wrong with you, and I'm not certain I like it.

Paris's penile babbling.

They were still in a frozen tableau of phallically induced embarrassment

A truly enormous level of enormity

I don't know what this writing style is but it's super obnoxious to read. And what makes it worse is there are some glimmers of old-AJH particularly with the feeling of anxiety Paris has. But then it's ruined with crap like "penile babbling".

Finally, the chocolate chip cookie dough recipe(s) are super wrong. You don't need to chill chocolate chip cookie dough at all before baking and can make soft and chewy cookies immediately after mixing your ingredients together! Every baker on earth can manage a non-chilled chocolate chip cookie probably! Yet every character was shoving their shit into the fridges which led to the super fun and zany accident of Paris slamming his fridge's door into Tariq's face causing Tariq to bleed everywhere and trigger a self-loathing spiral in Paris so bad it still wasn't over when I hit my breaking point.

As Tariq told Paris, "Blank stares and running away are your whole thing" and when it comes to reading 90% of the drivel AJH has written since 2020 I highly recommend everyone do the same.
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This book was sweet and occasionally funny  but often tricky for me. While I can very much relate to Paris and his anxiety, it was really tough to get through at times. In fact, it was really hard to watch him self-sabotage. It took over the whole story in a way that was a bit overwhelming. While I’m glad he got the help and treatment he needed, and he clearly was on a journey, it didn’t feel as much like a romcom to me. I think the book would be greater served to not be marketed as a romcom and instead as just contemporary. Going in with that lens would have helped. I believe stories with mental illness and anxiety need to be told, and appreciate the representation. I really enjoy Alexis Hall’s work (and that reading guide at the end - especially the last question (IYKYK) SENT me into hysterics). 

I also wished the thing with his parents was more resolved (I had a hard time believing that his parents would go from taking him everywhere to no contact).
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This was such a good story that I read it in one day!  I guess you would call this an anxious/sunshine pairing.  A difference in cultures, economic backgrounds, and religions don't stop Paris and Tariq from developing a relationship while they both compete on a televised baking show.  I enjoyed the banter even when there were the usual miscommunications and misunderstandings.  It's a clean romance that doesn't force compulsory premarital sex on the characters.
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My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

My Review:

I received a finished copy of this book from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review – thanks!

I have got to say, I honestly didn’t know how this review was going to pan out until about halfway through. Paris Daillencourt is a lot, in both good and bad ways. The writing itself can be overwhelming at times, but I garner that is the point: to let readers take a walk in the mind with an anxiety disorder. That being said, it doesn’t cover for the fact that Paris is terribly naive about the world sometimes, ala rich white boy style. Sometimes I just wanted to reach through the page and shake some sense into this man, but I refrained from doing any damage to this book.

I am having a hard time articulating my thoughts about this book because there the aforementioned A LOT I could talk about. First and foremost, this book is most certainly not a romance. I honestly don’t think it is much of a spoiler to speculate that Paris and Tariq most definitely do not last very long after the end of this book. Tariq deserves so much better… oops.

I say that because, honestly, Paris does not grow a lot in this book. Sure, he comes to terms with his mental health issues and is actively seeking help, but I think to say that magically made him a better person would be a gross understatement. We cannot blame all of Paris’s flaws on his anxiety, just because you have mental health issues does not excuse your toxic personality/behaviour. I think that is it kind of offending to come out of this book and generalize that way. Paris is a rich, white, cis man. He exudes privilege from his palatial flat and ability to spend money on truffles without even thinking twice. And this privilege blinds him to a lot of thinks, most crucial to this story, Tariq’s own beliefs. Anxiety is not Paris’s scapegoat and frankly, by the end it does not seem like Paris is on a path to reconciling with his privilege. And we cannot place all that blame on his absent parents.

As Hall has pointed out often with the advertising this book, Tariq is a “sparkly gay Muslim” and this intersectionality plays a large role in who he is and how he interacts with Paris throughout the book. His religious beliefs become a contention between the pair, see the previously outlined mindset Paris lives in. I cannot speak directly to the Muslim rep in this book, but from an outside perspective, it is not the worst I have ever encounter, but it is certainly not the best. I certainly think we could have done without the Islamophobic/racist tweets that were included in the beginning of the chapters at the end of the book, especially when most of them were glossed over/the only ones discussed had to do with the world’s mixed opinions on Paris. Tariq deserved better all around in this book, and I certainly hope in the fictional ever after he is thriving.

Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble could be retitled Paris Daillencourt has Crumbled and I feel like it would still accurately represent this book. I wanted to throughly love this book the way I loved Rosaline Palmer (Im still sad she did not get a cameo wtf), but I think I am very in the middle, leaning backwards for this one. It is bittersweet getting to review a finished copy, as I know that there won’t be any other changes. I will probably still read the next Winner Bakes it All book, as it is my favourite subgenre, but I will be salty about waiting all the way until 2024 for it.

Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble released November 1st, 2022
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DNFing @ 35%. This book is not at all what I was expecting. I tried so hard to like Paris, but his anxiety and constant apologizing and projecting his insecurities was really annoying. I liked the baking show element of this book; it’s really fun and interesting, but I did not like the forced relationship between Paris and Tariq. 

Their first date was horribly cringey and hard to get through. Paris tried really hard on his dinner for Tariq, and Tariq is kind of a jerk to Paris about it. And the whole scene when they’re making out and Tariq doesn’t like where Paris is taking it is truly unbearable to read and is miscommunication at it’s worst. These are two people who very clearly do not share the same values and should probably not be together - which is totally fine. Up until that part of the book, I was pretty on board with the two of them as a potential couple. But honestly, I just really can’t see the chemistry between them at all and I don’t think they’re good together. This book would have been better if both characters realized their date was spectacularly bad and just moved on or chose to be friends instead. I also don’t think I’ve ever read the word “penis” so many times and that’s only 30% in, and not even in great or fun ways. 

Don’t be fooled by the cute cover, this book is not a romcom. It’s mostly showcasing Paris’s struggles with his anxiety and navigating the world around him, and I personally find it too difficult to read it. Knowing now that this book isn’t a fun, light-hearted romcom, I might revisit it another time, but for now I’m not enjoying it and am putting it down.
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Do you watch baking competition shows?

I find them so entertaining and they always make me hungry. Paris Daillencourt Is About To Crumble is the follow up to Rosaline Palmer - another season of the baking show, Bake Expectations, but this time, Paris, a gay man full of anxiety is the contestant / protagonist. Paris has to navigate the pressure of the competition and a new love interest while balancing his mental health. Paris was whiny and cringy and just so hard to root for but the other contestants and the judges were all so endearing and charming that they stole the show. And I just love Alexis Hall’s quirky and witty writing style.
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This book took me longer to finish than any book (that I was actively reading) in recent memory. I started and finished several others before managing to finish this one and that is because it was incredibly emotionally difficult for me to read. I related to Paris too hard, you see, and so I spent most of the book cringing hard out of second-hand embarrassment.

This book is an incredibly accurate portrayal of mental illness - specifically anxiety that gets so bad it runs your life before you realize it. I've been there. Anxiety isn't my only mental illness, but it has loomed very large in my life and so I felt everything Paris was feeling on a very visceral level.

Case-in-point: even though it was a struggle for me to read, I was wracked with anxiety and guilt the entire time because I love this author and I really did enjoy this book and had intended to finish and review it before publication and... well, it's a month past publication date now so you can see how that's going.

My thoughts at 50%: "I am making such painfully slow progress through this book and I feel so guilty about it because I'd meant to finish and review it, gods, weeks ago now. And the thing is, it's not that I'm not enjoying it or something. It's so so good. It's funny and relatable and secondhand-embarassment-inducing because gods Paris is basically me. And it's painful to see the worst of yourself in print. I love it."

I am SO glad that Paris learned strategies to cope with his anxiety, as well as started medication for it. It's so clear that he *is* so much better by the end. Still dealing with it, but actually dealing with it rather than flailing about and crying about everything and being terrified of everything and feeling guilty about everything. I also loved the group therapy sessions and the way Paris implements all the strategies for coping with his anxiety.

Tariq is adorable and while he certainly wasn't perfect in their relationship I am glad for the way the book ended. They have the potential to be really, really good together, now that they both know where they stand and can really see each other.

I really enjoyed the reality baking show framework, and the other contestants were great. And the Daves. And Morag. Really, all the characters were such... individuals. They were 100% themselves and that is my favorite kind of character.

In some ways, I think it was good for me to read this. Because I can look back on my former (un-medicated and un-therapied) self and really see what went wrong in my relationships as I was growing up and all the ways my brain lied to me. Which is why it was SO important to see Paris getting better at realizing when his brain is lying and how to deal with it. We see his thoughts and the anxiety trying to take over and the way he can combat that (with effort).

I had no idea how much this book would affect me emotionally. I mean, intellectually I knew it involved anxiety, but I underestimated how difficult it would be. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life but have spent the last 15 years coming to terms with it and learning to manage it. My husband has only recently really begun that journey, as has my kid. Anxiety is practically another member of my family, in other words. And sometimes it's hard to see something that is such a big part of your existence.

It's had to see it, as in it's almost invisible it's so prevalent. But also hard to see it, as in it physically hurts to watch it play out and recognize how prevalent it is. Watching Paris apologize incessantly about things he really didn't need to apologize for was a lot. I saw myself, and my husband, and my kid in that. Again the second-hand embarrassment was intense.

Even though this book was very much about Paris' anxiety, it was also a funny story about a baking competition, and a relationship that had problems and obstacles but was also so incredibly sweet. I love Alexis Hall's way with words, and his ability to create touching but also hilarious moments. His characters always feel so well-developed and real that they try to jump off the page, and this was no exception. I loved them all. (Except Catherine Parr and maybe Gretchen.)

I haven't read the previous Bake Expectations book yet, but it didn't impede my enjoyment of this story. I hope to get to it soon (and hope it's not quite so emotionally difficult to read).

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever for providing an early copy for review.
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Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble is a fun, sugary sweet, and hilarious read! Alexis Hall, author of Boyfriend Material, takes their readers down the reality show trope fit for every Great British Bake Off fan. 

If you’re a fan of books like The Charm Offensive and Love & Other Disasters, you know the drill: our lead is pushed into joining a hit reality competition and is therefore introduced to one of the shockingly cute stars. Paris is trying his best to ignore the intense fan base and bake to his heart’s content, but how are they supposed to focus with the ever confident (and attractive) Tariq there? It’s anxiety-enduring for sure! 

Can the characters be a bit cheesy and unrealistic at times? Sure, but what’s a romance novel without some outlandish characteristics? And it’s hard to be against another great representation of mental health awareness. 

If you’re looking to check folks off your holiday list this season with a dependable LGBTQ+ book, whether for yourself or others, be sure to pick this one up!
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Alexis hall is one of my absolute favorite authors they never fail to give me a queer romance that is equal parts loving and comedic. This book had me in tears both from the plot and from the characters. I love when a books characters have so much personality you feel they’re real people. I have never disliked like a alexis hall book
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Cake? Baking? Anxiety? Romance? Yes!
I loved this book and these characters so much! I love the supportive relationship- and the gentle reminders that Paris isn't always the problem.
I def need to reserve a laser tag place for my next birthday!
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I requested this book thinking that it would be a fun LGBTQ+ offering to add to my classroom library, but unfortunately found it to be too unnecessarily vulgar. Additionally, the characters were such over the top caricatures that they felt like desperate attempts to be hip and current (the female friend who is constantly reminding everyone how sex-positive she is, the awkward queer guy who doesn’t know how to socialize, etc.).
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I'm a bit late for an ARC review but might as well!

So. I am grateful that I went into reading this after seeing a few reviews advising that this does NOT read as a romcom. This helped me enjoy the book as it is rather than what I thought it would be. Now, to start off with....Paris is a wildly unlikeable MC. This is a choice on Hall's part that I both enjoy and loathe, haha. I tend to enjoy reading unlikeable characters but this was a challenge for me. I suffer from a severe anxiety disorder and could both relate and also be horribly irritated by Paris and his choices. It's hard to see a main character suck but I like how Paris is a way to show the harder parts of mental health and that he (in the end) chooses to pick himself up and accept help in the form of therapy, meds, and friends.

Morag is a great character and I wish I got a little more of her in the book! She is a great foil to Paris's character. Tariq is also a great character and I like his approach to religion and sexuality. His self-growth is also mostly at the end but it's refreshing that he admits his approach to Paris's mental health was more self-centered than it should have been.

The story in it's base (a story of a guy who learns how to come to terms with mental illness) is good, but there were many instances where mini side plots ended up making the main plot a bit hazy. I think I would have enjoyed this book WAY more if I was into baking shows. This might be a niche interest book but I know it's one that people will go for! 

Overall, a solid three stars!
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First of all, this book made me extremely hungry. I want to bake and eat all the cakes, cookies, biscuits, bread and everything. Second, Paris was very relatable and, while often he wasn't likable and you didn't like the decisions he was making, he was just someone trying his best and finding out he had work to do on himself to lead a better life. His anxiety was bad, and paired with up his upbringing and tons of insecurities, made a very complex and chaotic character. I understand how many might not love him nor the book, but I really loved everything about it. I want more books in this world with this baking show!
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