Title: Heartstrings (Conquest #6)
Author: S. J. Frost
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: 220 pages / 64,000+ words
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by jeayci
Review Summary: A cotton candy-like story, it’s sweet, good for a beach read (especially if you like rock star stories), but without a lot of substance.
Blurb: When violinist, Nicholas “Las” Lamont” would make his treasured violin sing, he could transfer the emotion of every piece to his listeners. That was before his passion faded. As Las performs the last concert on his tour, he realizes his lackluster playing goes against everything he used to love about music and he has two choices; rediscover his love for music, or stop playing.
Quinn Patrick, the leader and drummer of the Scottish rock band, Lions Rampant, lives for music. The instant he and Las meet, Quinn sees in him a man with a beautiful gift, but who’s lost his way.He wants nothing more than to bring back the sensitivity and passion that made Las the virtuoso he is.
The more time Las spends with Quinn, the more he learns about what it is to love music. But if he’s to truly find happiness, he must open his heart not only to music again, but to Quinn as well.
Review: This was an enjoyable story populated with beautiful people. There were no real surprises – except how conveniently everything fell into place – and one bit of blatant stupidity that shocked me. I’ll share what that stupidity was at the very end of the review, so those who want to avoid any sort of spoilers can ignore it. But if you know about it going in, maybe your jaw won’t drop quite as hard as mine did.
I had trouble liking Las at times, finding him disappointingly shallow and thoughtless. I loved Quinn, and feared Las wasn’t good enough for him; a fear shared by Quinn’s best friend (and obvious sequel-bait), Tanner. However, by the end of the story Las had redeemed himself sufficiently for me to appreciate their HEA. And despite feeling a little manipulated, I’m looking forward to Tanner’s story.
Quinn was the perfect man: kind, intelligent, talented, gorgeous, and with a Scottish accent to top it all off. Although I adored Quinn, there were a couple of times I wanted to smack him. I also questioned his musical avocation at one point when he claims to have never been as enchanted by music as he was listening to Las play. I get that it was supposed to be a statement of how moved he was by Las, but I really wondered what sort of musician Quinn was to not have gotten more enchanted at some time or another when actually playing himself. I also thought they were “in love” awfully quickly, but then I dislike Insta-Love. While these guys didn’t do that, exactly, they were closer to it than I am quite comfortable with.
Having spent some time in Edinburgh in January myself, I laughed hard when Quinn implied it wasn’t all that cold. I was there with a Canadian friend who conceded “it was a bit nippy”. He was wearing a leather jacket, while I was bundled up like the abominable snowman and shivering anyway, Californian that I am. So I could easily imagine Quinn’s machismo in the face of such cold. And I appreciated the opportunity to revisit Edinburgh Castle.
I frequently struggled with the head-hopping POV changes that occurred randomly every few paragraphs whenever the two men were in the same scene. For what it’s worth, despite all the complaints of head-hopping in Cut & Run, it’s never bothered me; not on any of my many rereadings. So this is either more egregious than that, or I just wasn’t as into it. I’ve noticed I pay much more attention to technical details when I’m not as engrossed in the story. Whatever the reason, I frequently found myself reading back a few sentences, trying to figure out whose head I was in now.
It was fun seeing the characters from Conquest again, though I think Jesse and Evan get more treacly each time I see them. Overall this was an enjoyable story, good for whiling away an afternoon on the beach.
Now for the spoilery bit. Scroll down for it or stop reading here if you don’t want to see it.
Still with me? Okay, here it is: Las and Quinn bareback after just a few weeks together, no tests, and minimal discussion. Especially considering how much we’re told that Las slept around before Quinn, that struck me as insanely stupid.