My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MM
Good things come to those who bake.
Grayson used to love baking, but the recipe for running his parents’ café changes every day. His dad, overwhelmed by grief, is no help. They can’t even talk about Gray’s mom, let alone the failing business. Of less help is the crush Gray has on Sporty—a trainer from the local gym. Gray barely has time for his friends, let alone scratching the itch Sporty inspires.
Aaron suspects he’s not Gray’s type, meaning Gray probably isn’t into fitness, board games, or redheads. Still, that doesn’t stop Aaron visiting the café twice a week. The day Gray finally speaks to him personally could have been the start of something—if Gray hadn’t immediately suffered a heart attack.
The prescription for Gray’s recovery includes exercise, but when Aaron steps in to help, Gray is dubious. He’s never been fond of working out. The more he gets to know Aaron, though, the more they seem to have in common, especially when it comes to games. Aaron has been quietly designing his own, and when Gray shows interest, they embark on a quest to complete it together: a hero’s journey complicated by family, the demands of their careers, their fledgling relationship, and learning to be honest about what they want out of life.
I received a copy from the publisher through Gay Romance Reviews and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Shelf Life is the second book in the Hearts and Crafts series. I loved the first book and was excited to read this second book which follows Gray, the best friend of Oliver one of the main characters from book 1. I really enjoyed Shelf Life, it delves into deep topics about what characters want out of their lives and has a great romance as well.
Shelf Life starts with Gray suffering from a heart attack while working at the café. A lot of the book deals with the aftermath of it, him figuring out how to change his life as well as evaluating what he really wants and why she struggled so much with running the café. The book is quite deep in places and I liked how much it dealt with the characters figuring out what they wanted from life. I feel like the book was realistic and I liked how it handled all the topics.
The romance was well done, it starts pretty slowly with Gray recovering from his heart attack and him getting to know Aaron. Aaron helps out in the café after Gray’s heart attack and he’s also helping Gray with exercising more. Slowly they grow closer and their initial attraction grows into more. I liked reading about these two and their romance. I liked how they connected both physically and mentally. I also liked how both Gray and Aaron were into board games and how that was another point they connected on. I liked how they could talk about everything and even the conflict toward the end felt realistic.
Besides the romance and them figuring out their own lives, they both have stories of family members intersecting with their own. Gray is living with his dad who seems to be doing worse after Gray’s heart attack and they have trouble really talking to one another. Aaron’s mom suddenly comes over to visit and Aaron and his sister face some problems when they have different plans for his career. It all added to the story and made it feel alive and real. I liked how both main characters have good relationships with their parents, but still have their own struggles with them too. It felt realistic how life not always goes smoothly.
The epilogue was awesome and I really liked seeing these two find their happy place, both in their relationship and work.
To summarize: This was another great read in this book. Like the first book it delves on some deeper topics regarding life and work and the characters figuring out what it is they want. I liked how realistic it felt and how the book really delved into these topics and feelings. I liked the romance between Gray and Aaron, it starts of slow and then gradually builds into something more. I like how they connect and also liked reading about their mutual love for board games. I liked reading about these two and how they figured out what they want from life. The epilogue was awesome and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.