TOP SHELF (SEACROFT #1) BY ALLISON TEMPLE
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
"Thank you, Dr. Stevenson," Martin said, "but I think you can see I'm very happy just where I am."
Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.
Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things—whether it's in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin's stuttering attempts to rebuild his life—and transform them into works of art.
Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.
• REVIEWS ARE MY SOLE OPINION •
The speed at which I finish a book is indicative of how well I liked it. For Top Shelf by Allison Temple, a slow-burn friends-to-lovers MM romance of 81K words it took no time at all despite the fact the story started slow for my taste.
I found I struggled through the introduction to Martin. I wanted more to happen, a big scene that started things off with a bang but that is more preference on my part than a fault on Allison's. The slow introduction made sense within the story and suited Martin's temperament and personality. It set up characters and future relationships well.
In truth, I was probably impatient. I wanted to know what happened to Martin, and I wanted to know right away. I hated being teased with information about his past, but the teasing is what kept me interested in the story and reading. By the time I learned Martin's secrets, I was already invested in the story. Plus, Seb had been relieved as a complex character with secrets of his own, I wanted to learn about.
In short, just when you think you might be able to put Top Shelf down, you're dragged in deeper.
It helps that the relationship between Martin and Seb was delightful and well developed. It had a couple rough patches that made my heart hurt, but altogether the pair were well made. Martin was shy and reserved—until he wasn't. Seb was cocky and self-assured—until he wasn't. They were a sweet couple that supported one another well through hard moments and I really enjoyed how they came together not only as friends but as a couple.
Overall, Top Shelf really highlighted the ways our family and life can scar us while delivering a charming story about two young men with their own struggles from start to finish. Allison made it impossible to put Top Shelf down, and I would recommend Top Shelf to anyone looking for a light read with interesting characters, a well-developed storyline meant to poke at your heart but not outright break it.
START: JULY 7, 2019 @ 11:00 PM
END: JULY 8, 2019 @ 11:20 AM
Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.
Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.
Facebook Reader group: https://facebook.com/groups/allisonsalist