Katiebird Reviews: Still Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway

I want to talk about book boyfriends. A certain kind of book boyfriend. The ones that capture your attention, but keep it well after you’re done reading the book. Those are hard to come by for me. I’m reading all of the time, so the men in the books I read has to really be special to move me.

Music has always been a big part of my life, especially live music. I would spend my last dollar on seeing a band play live for sure. This love of music has become more apparent in the books I’ve been reading. I want to talk about a book that I am adding to the top of my favorite list for this year. Music is definitely the theme in it.

Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway


Still Live with Strings cover


Book Summary:

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.

Let me put this out there first. Alpha males are a dime a dozen to me. Give me a sensitive, brooding artist or musician any day. Shane Arthur is perfection to me.


Torrance Coombs is my Shane Arthur

Torrance Coombs is my Shane Arthur

Shane’s entire body is a work of art as he moves with his violin, and I realize that he was right, it really is like an extension of him.

My head wanders as I become enraptured by the music. I hardly see or hear any of the other musicians, my attention solely on this intriguing man. 

I should probably talk more about Jade though, but I will definitely get back to Shane. *swoon*

Jade is this amazing girl who has experienced great loss in her life. It’s how she deals with it that made me love her. I rarely fall in love with the female protagonist, but she is also an exception.

A very mature 26 year old that is responsible for her two half siblings, Jade works multiple jobs to make ends meet. She works at the box office and bar at the local concert hall, but during her free time, she is also a “living statue”. Shane calls her “bluebird”, because she wears a costume of blue feathers.

What I found intriguing about her is her incredible imagination. She has this ability to see things around her that most people wouldn’t, especially when she hears Shane play. The author pulled off this aspect of the story beautifully.

There is a moment of quiet right before the music starts, and I relax into my seat, closing my eyes and allowing it to wash over my senses. The piece has a soft, slow start, but I can tell it’s building. Suddenly, there’s a loud caw from above, and I blink my eyes open to see two seagulls swoop low and fly right over my head.

The salty smell of the sea fills my nose and the walls begin to move, bricks turning over on to themselves and transforming into wooden slats. The top of auditorium where the organ and choir section is located begins to narrow to a point, becoming the bow of a ship. Down the centre of the hall, giant billowing sails rise up to the ceiling. The roof disappears; replaced with clear blue skies, wind fluttering through the white sails.

Jade “meets” Shane at the beginning of the story, and the attraction is incredible. She allows herself a moment with him, because she thinks she will never see him again. Of course, that changes when she sees him at the concert hall where she works. He is the first violinist for the orchestra, and is actually fairly famous in the classical music world. He was once a part of The Bohemia Quartet, before going out on his own.

She makes the decision to keep things simple between them and distances herself by being only friends. That’s when the UST in this book goes up 1000%. It just about killed me, and Jade’s friends are the first to point out the attraction between them that is bursting at the seams.

“Jade, that man seriously wants to Channing all over your Tatum.” -Ben

I briefly would like to talk about the secondary characters. They all have meaning in story, and are a big part of Jade’s life. April and Pete are teenagers that made me laugh, and be glad that my teenaged years are behind me. Alex the oldest sibling surprised me, and could totally see his story being told all on it’s own. *Hint hint* to the author… There’s also Jade’s friends that are definitely the lightness to the story. Jade’s pretty funny on her own though. I loved her internal banter with herself.

Shane’s parents on the other hand made me want to shake them most of the time. His ex best friend and fiancé’ both need to be shot on sight, but like Jade, I feel this over-protectiveness with regards to Shane. I loathe them actually.

Now back to my favorite part of the book, Shane Author. Jade describes him as “flesh and bone and sexy, pretty manliness.” Gah. I love him. Just love him.

Torrence Combs


Actually, when I think about it, he kind of reminds me of another book boyfriend of mine, Jem Carstairs, from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. He also plays the violin. Hmmm…

Anyway, Jade’s rules about keeping her distance go out the window, when Shane proposes they become “friends with benefits”. But how will she pull that off when the feelings that are growing between them won’t stop?

Whichever people can actually pull off friends with benefits without their feelings getting involved, I lift my hat off to those heartless fuckers, because I’m failing catastrophically.

Amen to that…The physical encounters that they have together are incredible, and I love that there was always an element of “getting caught”. *giggle*


I have only two emotions. Careful Fear and Dead Devotion. -The National “Don’t Swallow the Cap”

Sidenote: Special thanks to GG for introducing me to this amazing band. Saw them live last week with my friend Susan. They were so incredible…

I’m going to stop my review there, because honestly I am so love with these characters and this book that I could go on and on. The ending is just…amazingly perfect. *happy sigh*

I’ll add a few more favorite quotes and let you get to reading this book, because you honestly HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK.

– A picture is just a picture, but add music and there’s emotion. There’s a story.

– Anything that feels this perfect, needs to be vocalized with a couple of shits and fucks.

– Sometimes I wish my brain didn’t always have to warn me about things. Stupid people seem to live such easy, carefree lives. 

– “He’s seriously hot. There’s something about conductors, you know. All those vigorous movements, kind of like they’re fucking the air.”

– What he said to me is always in the back of my mind, that how we met is proof that there is magic in the world. Those words are always there, making me feel a bit better about living this life full of pain. 

– To be a muse is to be a wonder in someone else’s eyes, flaws and all.

I give this book 10 beautifully blue stars, and put it on my “books that own me” and “top shelf fantastic reads” shelves on Goodreads.

***I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley for an honest review. The quotes are from that version.***


About katiebird

I am a huge reader of young adult, new adult, and paranormal romances. I also have an acute fondness of Robert Thomas Pattinson. I love that I get to share with everyone my love of reading.

2 thoughts on “Katiebird Reviews: Still Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway

  1. Lucia says:

    Great review! This story captured my heart as well 🙂


  2. susanrsm says:

    Your review perfectly summed up my feelings for this story. It’s so unique & beautifully written. I love all the imagery. Jades imagination is so vibrant; her magical thoughts seem almost real to us too. It would make a wonderful movie & Torrance Coombs as the podigy violinst Shane Author… yes and thank you…where did you find him? *swoons* It’s funny I also thought of Jem Carstairs while reading; there’s definitely a similarity between the two characters. Nice musical choice too! 😉


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