Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review: Mind Games

Mind Games

By:  Carolyn Crane

Publisher:  Del Rey Books

Publish Date:  March 2010

Genre:  Fantasy

Format:  Paperback, 371 pages - pocket size

Series:  1st book in Disillusionist Trilogy

Recommendation:  Yes! Quick moving Fantasy with mysterious thickening plot, and an amazing take on mental worries.

Book Synopsis:
Justine knows she's going to die.  Any second now.

Justine Jones has a secret.  A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain.  Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine's soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team.  It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal.  With a little of Packard's hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity's worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she's always craved.  End of problem.

Or is it?  In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers.  And while Justine's first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye.  Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets.  With Packard's help, Justine has freed herself from her madness - only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone's worst fears.

First Sentence:
From where we sit I have the perfect view of Shady Ben Foley, dining on the other side if the lavishly decorated Mongolian restaurant.

My Review and Summary:
Justine our main character has vein star syndrome, or so she thinks.  She's a hypochondriac.  While Justine is having dinner with her boyfriend of two months, who seems to handle the hypochondria pretty well.  The restaurant they are in was a spur of the moment place because she saw a man go inside who hustled her father for all his money, causing her father to go broke when she was younger.  Justine being a strong, upstanding citizen walks up and confronts the young couple he is with, telling of his habits with stealing money.  The restaurant owner stops to the table and Justine returns to her table to prevent any problems.  Later when she is paying the bill, the restaurant owner saves her from this mans' torments.  At this time the restaurateur offers to help Justine with her other personal problem, of hypochondria.

Justine goes back to the restaurateur out of curiosity as she knows her friends all go through stages then leave because of her health obsession, and not wanting to loss her current boyfriend Cubby.  Once Justine makes this visit she finds herself with a whole new view of the world she lives in.  We get a better insite into the Highcaps , who have mental powers to do things such as telepathy, and many other things.  And there are energy barriers, and Disillusionists who try to help recondition evil people by breaking them down to rock bottom so they can build up in a better way.

I have to admit I was very curious about this story, and a little weary with the hypochondria angle.  I was afraid it would be over done.  To me it was NO where near being over done.  Yes, Justine had her moments where she was overboard on her worries, but this hit home the worries she really has and the condition she lives with.  These episodes helped give contrast to when she wasn't worried or living in fear.  Then her anxiety moments became a tall-tail for when she needed to zing someone.  I loved the idea of using mental worries to help or hurt us, to help break someone down to understand what they take advantage of and abuse in others and have them grow from this broken state to a better person in the end.  These are a great weapon, to manipulate with.

There were only two times I was concerned the section was going to turn technical and doctory on me.  When the characters started talking of Disillusioning people I was afraid I would get lost in a lot of technical terms, but didn't.  It never went over my head in speech or terms and was very easy to understand, or as we say in lame-mans terms.

I found the book to be a quick, easy read.  I had a hard time when I had to put the book down, as I didn't want to.  I felt I really connected with these characters from the word go.  It had me hooked to see what Justine, Packard, and the other characters where going to do.  And yes, there is that sexual tension between Justine and Packard.  I enjoyed the secondary characters just as much as the main characters.  There is loads of room for these characters to grow in future books.

The world here, is falling apart.  I started to see there were gray areas in what caused this world to be the way it is, and even in fixing it.  There really are two sides to every story.  And sometimes you need the bad to balance the good.

I am now looking forward to book 2, Double Cross, coming out September 28, 2010.  Can't wait!  If you haven't read this book yet, I say pick it up.  It is a fun fast paced fantasy with a new spin on our health worries, and then there are the love issues as well.

Would you like to visit Carolyn Crane's Site?  CLICK HERE.  Maybe her blog?  CLICK HERE.

This book was my own purchase for enjoyment.

This book qualifies for the Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Book Chick City.


  1. I can't wait to read this one! Glad to see you enjoyed it :)

  2. This one really sounds interesting. Yep, glad I have this one on my wishlist!

  3. FANTASTIC BOOK! Can't wait for the next one. :)

  4. this review gets me excited all over again. I've heard so much about this book and the building anticipation for the second, I really need to get my hands on a copy

  5. Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this one.

    From the Shadows

  6. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

  7. Rex Robot Reviews - Thank you for stopping by! Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did when you get to it. :)

    Melissa - Yep, I am glad it is on your wishlist. I think you would enjoy this read. :)

    Smash Attack - Yes! Can't wait for the second book. Not long now! Thank you for stopping by!

    Kika - Glad you enjoyed the review. Oh, and I know the feeling of having to get a book. Hope you do get it and enjoy it. :) Thank you for stopping by!

    E.J.Stevens - Thank you for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the review. I do hope you enjoy Mind Games when you get to it. :)

  8. This sounds like a really interesting book and after reading your review I definitely want to read it. It's been a while since I read an urban fantasy that I enjoyed so perhaps this will be the one ;)

  9. Hey Simcha! :) I hope you enjoy this one. I thought it was fun and a neat twist to a use of something I wouldn't have thought using as a power or a weapon. :) Have a great week and good flight home, I'm not sure when you will be heading back.

  10. I'm flying back Sunday night and I'm dreading that flight with every fiber of my being. Being stuck in an airplane with my three kids is stuff of nightmares. Though I bought so much stuff (mostly books) while here that I might have to leave one of my kids behind and use their seat for my stuff instead :)

  11. Simcha - I hope your flight went well! That is a long time for them to seat still and be calm. My son is 11 and I think he would still have a hard time. Actually, sometimes dinner is just a chore. :) Hope you got everything home easily. :)


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