Monday, August 1, 2016

[ARC Review]: "All Note Long"

All Note Long by Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Lyrical Shine (August 2, 2016)
Series: Perfect Harmony, 3
Genre: M/M Romance

Giving true love a spin . . . 

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . . 

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Albert's Previous Novels:

Status Update (#1) -- TBQ
Beta Test (#2) -- TBQ

Treble Maker (#1) -- TBQ

My Review:

He was country, but he wasn't sure country had a place for him.

Michelin never wanted to come out publicly, especially as he moved up in the country music industry. For one, he knew coming out would result in a loss of fans and support from his label, but he also never wanted to be the token gay country singer, shoved into this neat little labeled box rather than being seen as a country singer . . . who happens to be gay.

But his cover is blown while he’s out celebrating a friend’s birthday at a gay bar. There, Michelin can’t keep his eyes off of Lucky, one of the dancers, and while talking to him in the locker room (which, okay, did lead to one kiss . . .), another dancer manages to snap some pictures, selling them to the gossip sites. The whole thing is made even worse by a misunderstanding that was also captured in the pictures: Lucky had mentioned how his tips that night were shit, and Michelin, who desperately wanted to help, tried to give Lucky $200. After the kiss. Oops. Obviously the sites twist it to Michelin not only being gay but also hiring a hooker.

It should be noted that Lucky also took this the wrong way and believed that Michelin really WAS trying to buy him in some way. So the misunderstanding also created conflict between the two, not just fuel for the gossip fire.

In hopes of managing the gossip situation, it’s decided that Michelin and Lucky will play pretend boyfriends for a bit while the label and PR smooth over Michelin’s coming out. Of course it doesn’t stay in the pretend relationship category for long, and when things start to get complicated, everything starts rolling out of control quickly. Can Michelin keep his career on top, not be pigeonholed into the token gay spot, and convince Lucky to give them a real shot?

There’s a great deal of drama and angst in this book. A lot of it is over Michelin and his coming out – his mixed feelings about it, the reactions, etc. And all of that really pissed me off. Not because of the writing or the story Albert told – no, not that. It pissed me off because it’s certainly something that could easily happen IRL. There are a lot of assholes that would react that way if a big star, especially a country singer, came out as a gay. We’re taking big steps forward as a society, but we’re far from perfect yet. So it was this situation that bothered me – just as it bothers me seeing so many deal with the homophobia IRL.

There’s also plenty of conflict between Michelin and Lucky. First, they each had terrible exes; Michelin’s was an old bandmate who used him and broke his heart, while Lucky fell for an older man with money who basically kept him as a secret boy toy. They both have issues opening up and trusting a relationship again.

God, it cost him to let Michelin do that, but he knew that it was the right thing to do -- to find a balance between being independent and accepting help.

There’s also conflict because Michelin has a savior/rescue complex like WHOA (there’s a bit of a story to it), and because he has all this money, he wants to use it to take away all of Lucky’s problems . . . while Lucky has pride and a distaste for having money thrown at him like that, thanks to the ex. They butt heads over this throughout the book, though in the end Lucky starts to allow Michelin to help him -- not with money, but rather the help of connections so he can get his own foot in the door (dancing).

Being the real-but-secret boyfriend was miles harder than being the fake-but-public boyfriend, and Lucky couldn't help wondering if they would ever get to the real-and-public place.

I was excited when I finished Love Me Tenor and realized that Michelin would be getting his book next. And I wasn’t at all disappointed. I went through a lot of feels with these two men, and was glad that they finally got their HEA.

He'd never known anyone who could feel with the intensity of this big guy with all his many layers and complexities. It wasn't the stereotypical "hidden heart of gold." It was more like a live oak tree, rings and rings of feels waiting for someone to see it and appreciate all that it had to give.

Lucky wanted to be that someone.

There’s definitely heat going on between these two (yes, please!). One thing that I love with pretty much all of Albert’s books is she doesn’t focus on anal being the Be All End All of sex for her heroes. There’s a lot of focus instead on doing what both men love and find pleasurable, whether it’s frotting, hand jobs, oral, etc. This is the case with All Note Long. Most of their sexy times do not include anal (though there is some later on), which definitely fits the characters here, but also does not disappoint the reader at all, trust me!

"Oh fuck. That's perfect. God. Your tongue . . . could probably get me off licking . . . so good." Lucky's praise washed over Michelin, as cleansing as a hot shower after haying on the ranch. It made him bolder. A lick here. A tease there. Some play with that intriguing foreskin . . . 

"Dios. Right here." Lucky extended a finger, tapped right below his frenulum before withdrawing his finger and letting Michelin tease him there. Knowing exactly where Lucky wanted him to touch him, when he wanted it, made Michelin's cock strain against his zipper. He reached down, unzipped before he had a permanent mark.

"Nuh uh." Lucky released a breathy chuckle. "Don't try to do too much, cowboy. I'll get you after. Promise. Patience. You're doing so good."

Oh fuck. His cock bounced in the air, leaking clear fluid, and having definite ideas about not waiting. Jerking himself while he sucked was a usual part of the game for him, but nothing else about this was usual. Michelin  could wait another year if it meant more praise like that, more dirty promises.

Oops, did I forget to mention that Michelin gets off on being praised by Lucky? Yep. YEP. So, like I said, this book is sexy.

Albert even hits, slightly, on Michelin being demisexual; that is, he’s only attracted to someone if emotions are involved. Casual sex or sex just because holds no appeal to him. His demisexuality wasn’t a large point of the book, but it was there, and I’m always happy to see other sexualities, in all forms, being explored and shown in romancelandia. So thumbs up for that alone.

Yes, Michelin was taller and older, but he had a way of kissing Lucky like Lucky had all the answers, and the way he leaned in and let Lucky lead was sexy as hell.

I loved that Lucky was dedicated to his dancing and wanted to do it, even if it was in the club for now, no matter what others thought of him for it. He wasn’t ashamed of his go-go dancing even though it wasn’t what he wanted to do long term. I also loved that Lucky was a bit more dominant, sort to speak, in their relationship while Michelin was a bit more shy and prone to blushing. Also of note: Michelin is about a decade older than Lucky, which I know is something many readers are always looking for.

The only thing that’s . . . well, not a negative, but did kind of confused me a bit was where exactly Michelin was supposed to be from. He mentions often that he grew up in eastern Oregon, yet his speech and whatnot often came across as more southern to me. Admittedly I’ve not been to eastern Oregon, so maybe that corner of the state is very southern-feeling? I really don’t know. It’s not a big deal, but it did have me wondering.

Another great romance from Albert. I loved Michelin and Lucky together, even though it was more than a bit bumpy for them to reach a stable, public point in their relationship. I thought there were a lot of cute/sweet moments, while still keeping the steam and the angst/conflict up. 


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Annabeth Albert; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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Going through my highlighted quotes yesterday only reminded me again of how much I enjoyed these two together. *happy sigh*


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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