A MelanieM Review: Optical Illusion (Paint #1) by Emma Jaye


Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

optical-illlusionSmile, wiggle, lie, apologise, and run for the hills.

That’s the formula Chris has used all his life, but this time, he has something he’s never had to lose before, a family that cares. The problem is, his new brother’s very edible friend isn’t fooled by his act. If his secrets are revealed, they won’t want him and he has nowhere else to go.

Thanks to a suicide bomber, ex-military police sergeant Jase Rosewood is back in the English countryside. His plans for quiet recuperation are ruined by the effervescent, go-go dancing twink who has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Luckily for the gullible Matt, Jase can smell a liar a mile away, and Chris Bacon, if that’s even his name, stinks to high heaven. Assigned ‘Chris-sitting’ duty while Matt’s on honeymoon, Jase has a week to discover what is hidden beneath the bright camouflage. It’s a job, just like any other, so why does it feel so different?
Unfortunately, Jase isn’t the only one drawn to the boy who can’t stay still, but instead of wanting to reveal his true colours; they want to dull them forever.

Contains issues of physical abuse, but not between the central couple.

What an incredible story.  Emma Jaye, a new author for me, has written an angst filled, gritty book almost guaranteed to make you run through a range of emotions, not all of them welcome.  I was very surprised by the shift in tone and feel of the story from the beginning.  I was really expecting a different story than the one the author delivered.  From the blurb, it comes off  much lighter in theme and tone.  Not  so.  This is a dark story in almost every aspect and those expecting a light romance will be not only disappointed but find it  overwhelming in its pain and mystery at points. There is a gang rape.  Well handled, not as graphic as it could have been but its there. And the aftermath on the character is realistic and horrific.  But lets back up. I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Jase Rosewood…layered complicated man, home with his planned career gone and his future uncertain meets Chris while at his best friend’s wedding.  A best friend who he used to be in love with.  Oh the complications.  But that’s all very straightforward because Chris Bacon is a Rubik’s Cube of a character.  He’s really beautifully written.  Jaye take’s her time showing us and Jase one side, only to start ripping that to shreds the next, unveil another, then that one is gone too.  Its done  with such angst, pain, and vulnerability on the part of Chris that our heart just bleeds for him and Jase, and all around him.  His past has  taught Chris one thing, his present is trying to show him another is possible and Chris can’t believe in a future for himself.  Its heartbreaking.  As much as Jase tries to protect Chris, and Chris wobbles between his past and present, the reader is caught up in the author’s scary storyline and both their lives.

There are any number of mysteries here.  A relationship between Jase and Chris that tries hard to find itself, an almost impossible feat given the characters and the circumstances surrounding them.  Things that I cannot go into because this whole book is one big spoiler, one small mention can lead to you knowing what’s coming in the next.

But my biggest disappointment is that cliffhanger ending.  Its why this book didn’t get the 5 star rating it probably deserves.  I have rated other cliffhangers higher but those were serialized stories, meant to end in such a manner.  Not a novel.  A novel, for me at least, comes with a certain expectation of at least some ending, even though you can see where another story will pick up.  Not a ending like this.

The second book, Blank Canvas, is out.  Boy, am I going to approach that one with trepidation and a ton of curiosity.   I need to know what happened here but I’m afraid to know what this author will do to these outstanding characters and my heart in the process.  She’s really that good.  I guess I’ll be finding out.  I must know.  That means you will too.

So who should read this story?   Those who love their romances dark, angst filled and hurt/comfort.  This is not for those who like sweet, light romances.  Emma Jaye is a new author and this is a terrific story.  Take a chance on it if it sounds like the type of love story you like.  I highly recommend it.  I’m on to book two.

Not crazy about the cover.  Could have been so much better.

Sales Links





Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 333 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Purindoors Publications
Original TitleOptical Illusion
Edition LanguageEnglish


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