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Top Shelf

(Seacroft #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  78 reviews
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
Paperback, 302 pages
Published May 20th 2019 by Allison Temple Books
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  254 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I struggled for quite a bit of this book. Not with the quality of the writing, that is excellent, but with the characters.

While I could find sympathy for Martin, for the vast majority of the narrative I thought Seb was an utter arse and didn't feel any connection to him as a character I wanted to root for.

This is very clever writing on the part of the author, it bucks the trend in romance to have the reader fighting for the couple over everything else.

But, I wasn't sure really whether I
Roberta Blablanski
One of my favorite things about Temple's books is that they are grand. sprawling adventures that keep me entranced until the last page.

I adored Martin from the get-go. He's one of those characters that you want to roll up in bubble wrap and keep safe from the world...until you get to know him better and realize there's much more to the timid professor. Seb started off as an abrasive character, but grew on me as the story progressed. I love them both.

Another wonderful thing about Temple's is
Joyfully Jay
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kenna
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

The blurb for Top Shelf grabbed my attention, and Allison Temple is an author I’ve not read, so I jumped on the opportunity to read this book. I very much like the author’s style; it’s smooth with chapters that flow, dialogue that is written like an actual conversation, vivid detail/descriptions that allow me to “see” scenes and settings, and obviously well researched situations (especially art). However, I just didn’t feel very connected to the characters and
Karen Wellsbury
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had no expectations when I started reading this, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Martin starts the book off by being timid and nervous, avoiding contact with people but slowly starts to come back to life, he's easy to like and as he grows more confident I really enjoyed his character.
Seb was more complicated and conflicted, he had a pattern of behavior that he relied on when life became difficult ( he was a bolter) and struggled not follow this, hurting people on the way.
The love between them
L.J. Hayward
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I stayed up so late to finish reading this (for the second time ) I only got five hours of sleep. Well worth it!!

ARC provided by the wonderful author.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: promo-deals, dnf
Everyone is ghastly or caricature or both.

Martin is written to be pathetic, depression is a serious thing but he never quite added up.
Seb is obnoxious and deliberately offensive, happy to stand back and watch others be mean. He also makes lots of money from cutting up books, despite living above a secand-hand shop. While I've seen impressive book-art, the idea of cutting one up repels me!
I didn't like either of them as a romantic lead and didn't want to read of them getting together.

There are
Dec 05, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
FREE on Amazon today (12/5/2019)! ...more
Kendra T
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked Martin as a character. He was flawed, and that was kind of refreshing. Seb has a lot of family baggage that he covered up with snark and bad attitude. I liked them together, and I liked the slow burn of this for Martin and Seb. They really connected as people and friends before their relationship, and I think that was a good thing with how off the rails Seb could be. It was a slow paced book, but I enjoyed it.

I am voluntarily reviewing an ARC provided by LesCourt Author Services
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A really cute strangers to friends to lovers story :) 3.5 stars.
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I had to dock one star for blatant and pervasive fatphobia.
Jess Gabriel
This was a very pleasant surprise.

I loved Martin & Seb, even though my first impression of Seb wasn't the best. I think that was intended. Martin was so charmingly awkward at first, but definitely had some surprises up his sleeve. Both characters had their own internal struggles and they grew together beautifully. Their relationship was a slow burn with surprisingly hot chemistry when they did get together. While there were some parts that felt a little slow, it was never enough to bore me.
Dara Nelson
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-blog
The saying ‘good things come to those who wait’ definitely applies to this book. What started out so slow I almost lost interest, Seb and Martin’s story suddenly turned on the speed at about the halfway point and it was couldn’t put it down, full speed ahead until the very end.
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review soon!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this story. Everything about it was just up my street. Characters, the writing, the plot, the angst towards the end, the happy every after.
Would recommend.
Lillian Francis
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good.

I adored this book. I love a damaged hero and here we have two. At first it seems that Seb is saving Martin but Seb isn't as put together as he first appears. It takes place in a second hand bookshop, how good is that. And Seb's artwork sounds amazing. Well written with a lovely relationship, I wept but there is a glorious happy ending and the promise of another book. I can't wait.
an •
I made the mistake of not reading a sample; I remembered enjoying Temple's debut, and the blurb seemed like enough of my kind of thing. But I'm calling it quits at, I don't know, 8%-ish because (from chapter two; CW for fat "joke"/anti-fatness/fat hatred):
Seb snorted. “That asshole? How is he?” He hadn’t thought of Greg Ellis in probably close to fifteen years [...].
“Married. Fat. Working in the finance office on campus.”
“Perfect.” Seb laughed at the thought of poor, handsome, conflicted Greg,
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I eagerly anticipated this next full-length novel by Allison Temple. I loved The Pick Up, her debut novel, and the subsequent (unrelated) short stories, and couldn't wait to jump back into a longer story by this author. Top Shelf is the beginning of a new series with new characters, but some of the themes I loved in The Pick Up are present in Seb and Martin's story. And they're themes that Allison Temple does so well.

Seacroft wasn't home to Seb or Martin; both come to the town at different times
Carol (bookish_notes)
This review is also posted on my blog.

I feel like you all should know that I have an extreme weakness for books with anxious characters who are too precious for this world and deserve to be loved and cherished by a sweet love interest.

This book has that character. That character is Martin. And I love Martin. SO MUCH. He just breaks my heart and I just want him to get his happy ending.

Which is why we need to talk about Seb. I think he's...likable enough but I’m not sure if I love him within the
Zoe Ashwood
ALL RIGHT, so I read this today - all in one go - barely pausing to feed my kids (lol, don't worry, I cuddled and sang them to sleep and everything, then went right back to being huddled on the couch with my hot water bottle). :D

ANYWAY, this m/m romance was exactly the right book for me now, and I know I'll be buying all Temple books as soon as they're out (I read them all in case you were wondering).

Do yourself a favor and give it a try. ;)
Dec 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This book is boring. It moves like that video of the sloth crossing the road. Besides that I don’t care about these characters. I’m not sure what happened to Martin even though he explained it. I understand what he said happened but I don’t understand why it was such a big deal that he can’t cope with life anymore. Seb is just kind of a jerk and I don’t understand his art. He’s cutting up books, and I agree with Martin about that one, but I don’t understand what he’s doing with them. The
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I actually loved the story and the characters. I loved their quirks, their past, their interactions with each other. Yet, I didn't love the book as much as I should. But that's because the writing style was not really for me. It just threw me off and didn't let me dive into the story as deeply as I would have liked. I hope you'll enjoy it more than I did.
Maureen Crothall
I'm on a roll with fantastic m\m romances lately, so glad I tried this genre. These two m\c's were both, at times, enjoyable and difficult to read but the whole story was wonderful. I think I will enjoy more of this series.
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
this was a lot of fun to read. it was interesting and different. i enjoyed the characters and their world.. there were a lot of spots i just didnt like the characters.. who they are.. who they pretended to be.. but the story explained why they are who they are. good story
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
C’mon, it’s set in an NC used bookstore! Extra star just for that.
Misty M
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, m-m, contemporary, arc
I’m so conflicted with this book. I loved Martin, I was cheering him on so hard. The setting and the story were great, with lots of interesting side characters.

Seb was a jerk, and he was supposed to be, that’s how it was written. The author did a good job convincing us of that, maybe too good. I really, REALLY wanted Seb to be redeemed, I wanted him to turn it around. But he actually kept getting worse and then did the BIG THING, and somehow it was all on Martin to make it better??? (insert eye
Jenny Wood
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I first have to say that this is a new to me author, but I’m such a sucker for the wounded bird, that I really wanted to see what Martin was about. From the blurb, I didn’t understand what happened to cause the situation he was in right then, and to be honest, though it was touched on, I’m still unsure how it affected him the way it did and what he actually went through. I might’ve missed something, but I’m just not sure. I really felt for him though, because he was so relatable. Kind of going ...more
Laura ~Passion flower
Apr 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: mm-romance, arc

Top Shelf (Seacroft, #1) (ARC) was graciously provided to me by A Novel Take PR for an honest review. I will voluntarily read this book and provide my honest opinion. Review to follow.
Alex (HEABookNerd)
Series: Seacroft #1
Rating: DNF - stopped reading at @ 60% (2019)

I struggled a lot while reading Top Shelf and with the decision to DNF, especially because I was so far into the story. However, I was just not invested in the characters or the book, I didn't enjoy Seb as a hero, and I honestly couldn't understand why they were interested in each other.

I usually take 2-3 days to read a book and after almost 2 weeks I had to accept that my starts and stops where an indicator that I just wasn't
Cristina Myers
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, that was a surprise! I almost dnf in begging but thennnnnnn that dinner lol oh my gosh that was funny.
In the end it was an ok reading
Kat E.
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever picked up a book from an author you never read before and wondered if it will be good? Let me reassure you this innovative slow burn romance was a true delight.

The insufferably shy Martin is a former professor who no longer has his prestigious career at a top university. He feels he has lost everything, his job, home and future. Fleeing to Seacroft a small town to live with his brother Brian he is reduced to sleeping on a lumpy couch listening to his brother arguing with his soon
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