My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.

The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.

After all, I was never going to see him again, right?


Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.

He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

[5 stars for the first half2.5 stars for the second half]
Overall it’s a wonderful feel-good romance! Sprinkled with humor and rooted in reality, this book took a much overused premise and turned it into a story that entices the reader into wanting to know more about the plot and characters. I was never bored while reading and though the plot is quite simplistic, I never found any scenes to be mundane.

Jade is such an admirable and refreshing female lead. I can’t tell you how many times I gave up on a book because the heroine is a weak, sniveling character but Jade isn’t like that. She’s responsible, loyal, daring, and witty; a recovering alcoholic and acting as a parent to her younger siblings, Jade’s character really appealed to me and I admire her resilient personality.
Shane is not your typical hero. He’s shy but can be possessive and attentive. He’s experienced betrayal in the past and his childhood was quite cold and lonely so meeting Jade was like finding buried gold. What made this book really work for me was how the author portrayed Jade and Shane’s relationship that went from friends to lovers: convincing and believable.
There is a strong musical element to the book and without it, the story would not be the same. Part of what makes Shane and Jade connect on such a deep level is his music and I loved the way the author weaved the musical aspect into the story so when I read it, I didn’t feel like it dominated the plot, but instead, supported, gave weight, and helped validate their relationship.

Another thing I have to point out: this author KNOWS how to make the little things count. Often times I read a book and minute details are glazed over and not given much thought, but this book was rich in setting description, character quirks, and that in itself helped deliver an additional layer to the story and helped me connect with the book on a deeper level. Example being: there is this emotionally powerful scene at 40% that completely stole my breath. I did not expect it to affect me so much but it did so props to the author for achieving that.

1. “His face moves to my hair as he sucks in a deep breath, scenting me.” Sorry, the term “scenting” doesn’t do it for me. It totally kills my ladyboner.

2. The sexual tension hindered the plot. Normally I love feeling how palpable the tension is but in some cases, Jade’s reluctance to give in for even an millimeter made me angry. It’s like…they’re having a great scene where they really connect and then Jade pulls up her ice-cold wall defenses again and the moment is ruined. RUINED I say! This happens multiple times and I walked away rolling my eyes! What is wrong with Jade…

3. This is probably my biggest complaint of all. At precisely 76% I considered slapping a DNF on the book and walking away. Mind you, it’s not cheating. What went through my head (besides WTF) was why is this added in? It certainly helped explain why earlier chapters in the book didn’t really make sense until this revelation came out, but with this fact revealed, it made me question the believability of the characters and the story as a whole. You see, what was uncovered should’ve brought forth a lot more turmoil and emotionthan was described in the book, but Shane and Jade’s blasé reaction towards it not only undermined the point of adding this in the first place, but also tainted the realism and convincing portrayals of their characters in the first 50%, hence, ruining the book for me.

I really struggled with my feelings for the book as it was so evenly split into two: first half, total enjoyment and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it; second half was a downward spiral and ended up as a big let down compared to the beginning. Perhaps if the events at 76% were taken out, this could’ve made a solid 4 or 4.5 star read for me, but unfortunately it didn’t make the 4 star mark.
To take a sentence from the book, “close…but not close enough.”
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.