Customer Reviews for

Mind Games (Disillusionists Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted April 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love these Mind Games

    This book is GOOD! Carolyn Crane has not only given her main character a new angle, a different flaw than most urban fantasy heroines, but she has worked it, used it as part of the plot. Justine has hypochondria and constantly worries about all kinds of ailments, but specifically worries about something called Vein Star Syndrome. I haven't looked this up to see if it's real or not. I'm happy to just sit back and enjoy the book<br/><br/>Justine is trying to deal with her boyfriend, who is having a hard time dealing with her hypochondria, while she's living in fear of dying when she comes across the owner of a Mongolian restaurant. He get's her involved in a "psychological hit squad", helping to fight crime in mysterious ways. She makes friends and learns to use her own fears as a kind of magical power. As you read you learn a little more about this magical world, mixed in the everyday life. In fact, things come to life, such as kids wearing bicycle helmets while they are outside playing, to protect their heads from telekinetic terrorists, or "highcaps".<br/><br/>One of the things I enjoyed about this book is that I learned about a variety of magical differences (between our own reality and this novel's reality) as I went further into the book. I didn't notice any long, protracted paragraphs of information coming at me (commonly known as info-dumps). While I don't mind a little bit of info-dumping, I recently read a book where it totally took me out of the story so I appreciate the way Carolyn Crane handled the gifting of information in her novel. <br/><br/>(please newer writers, don't info-dump right in the middle of an action scene! Please- especially if you want some of your older readers to stay engaged in the book; we might forget that we are reading an adventurous book, think we're reading a textbook and in MY case, put the damned thing down. Done with textbook learnin', long time ago)<br/><br/>Justine also has some reservations about what she is doing, but throughout the book she's working on these reservations. There's one moment where she almost lets anger take over. It works here. I'm also okay with characters that aren't perfect, because then we would have to be reading about saints, all the time, and we centainly aren't all saints.<br/><br/>More things I liked/loved in this novel - dialogue (wonderful!), humor (throughout the book, but not overdone), the sex fit (sometimes, most of the times, it seems inserted for the sake of having it in there - OMG major punnage there-sorry, I can be a little juvenile at times), and great plot twists. I liked the ending also - it's not completely "happily ever after", but not depressingly "things will never be better". You know people will have work to do, relationships are going to shift around and there's going to be sequels (yay! at least two, it's a trilogy). In fact from the beginning of the book to the end, Justine herself had gone through some changes, at the way she looks at herself and the world, as well as how she views others.<br/><br/>Great debut novel, looking forward to the sequels.<br/>

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fresh Concept, Great Characters and Plot

    This is the story of a psychological hit squad. Members of the squad have special abilities and targets that they "disillusion." The squad is run by Packard, a man with special abilities and secrets. Justine is the newest squad member. My description here is very simplistic and does not even begin to convey how truly good the writing is. The characters are very flawed, yet believable and real. The plot is definitely fresh and new and so enjoyable. Highly recommended! I loved it and will definitely re-read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great start to a great new series!

    Thought that this book was one of the most original, clever stories I've come across in a long time! Loved Justine, the hypochondriac heroine. And the whole idea of a team of disillusionists was incredibly unique! To actually put together a team of people who use their fears to disillusion their targets, basically rebooting them, was very clever. I didn't exactly get how they transferred their fears into their victims, but they had it down to a science and it seemed to work. And the team was made up of ordinary humans, not the mutated 'highcaps' who have special abilities.

    Justine is a hypochondriac, convinced that she's going to die any minute now from vein star syndrome. Her life is an endless round of ER visits, countless looks of pity, numerous broken relationships, and panic attack after panic attack. While she doesn't like the idea of being a vigilante, she can't resist the allure of finally being free from her fear. But little does she know that once she signs up, there's no going back. Being a disillusionist is a lifetime commitment, whether she likes it or not.

    Gave this book a 4/5 rating as I thought it was well written, had great characters, an interesting premise, and had a great plot! This was the first in the series, and I'm looking forward to see what happens next! Book two, Double Cross, is due at the end of September. Can hardly wait!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Unexpected and GREAT

    As has been mentioned in an earlier review, this is a book with a unique storyline, unlike any other UF book I've read. Having read so many, often they all seem the same, but this one stood out. Enough so that I'm writing this review. Interesting characters and premise is just the beginning. Since it is quite unusual, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it an unexpected gem. It was fresh and an intersteing new take by a new author on the scene.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the next story, Double Cross, scheduled for release in September.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    unique UF

    Having lived on the outskirts of normality her entire life due to a eccentric father, Justine Jones would like nothing more to be normal. It's why she's worked so hard for the perfect job and the perfect boyfriend, Cubby. But the one wrinkle in her otherwise neat and tidy life is a severe case of hypochondria. Severe to the point of obsession actually. Justine is sure she is going to drop dead at any moment from the same rare condition called vein star syndrome that killed her mother years before. Knowing that her preoccupation with the disease is going to wreck her life but unable to do anything to stop it, Justine simply continues forward until a simple dinner with Cubby changes everything.


    One minute Justine is sitting there, enjoying a cozy dinner at Mongolian Delites and in the next, she's meeting the magnetic and steely manager, Sterling Packard. Not such a chance encounter she'll will soon discover. Packard reveals himself to be a highcap, or a human with a rare supernatural ability - his being able to see directly into the emotions of anyone. After taking a glimpse at Justine's neurotic, illness-obsessed mind, he's decided to recruit her into his elite band of crime fighters called the Disilluosinists. Their specialty is to take down those criminals who the law has a hard time pinning down by debilitating them with each of the Disillusionist's own 'specialty' (aka: their particular brand of crazy). Gambling, hypochondria, low self esteem - the Disillusionists hit hard and enjoy an extremely high success rate. Justine isn't too sure about turning vigilante but as she ventures deeper and deeper into the criminal maze of Midcity, she'll quickly learn that innocence and guilt are not so black and white as she thought.


    To start things off, I have to go ahead and say that Mind Games is unlike any other Urban Fantasy novel you've probably ever read. Ever. It's part sci-fi, part fantasy, a whole lotta noir thriller thrown in for good measure, and multiple parts humor. Hold on people.


    First off, Justine is unlike any other UF heroine out there. Instead of flashing on the scene fists flying ready to take 'em all down, she's a literal and complete mess. Her hypochondria is gonna land her in an institution any day now but it's not until Packard takes a deep look into her mind and sees her willingness to stand up for justice despite her fears does she get a chance to find her own hidden strengths. And then begin to use those strengths. I loved watching Justine learn to develop her abilities while interacting with her fellow Disillusionists. All of whom alternately either gave the willies or had me cheering loudly - sometimes both at the same time. Mind Games is one of those novels that simply defies classification. One thing for sure however, it boasts an impressive twisty, turny psychological storyline (complete with some truly nasty villains) which stunned me with each new revelation and left me clamoring for more. I just knew it was gonna be good. And it was.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    insanely fun to read

    Wow. Okay people, not even kidding: This novel is insanely fun to read. The hours will fly by. I think it might actually be a time machine--it's cool, funny as hell, page-flipping, emergency-ignoring exciting.

    As a man coming to this book from the literary / sci fi / comic book side of things, I have to admit I was surprised by all this, and especially the writing, whcih is tight, crisp and polished. The characters are original, idiosyncratic, neurotic and brilliantly complex.

    I've read a lot of raves about this book that discuss the "gray areas" and it's true--the characters are both downtrodden and highly dangerous. The plot touches important ethical ideas and meaty moral dilemmas, but it doesn't take itself too seriously.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    Wow! This book is so fun to read, you never want it to be over.

    I loved Justine, the heroine - she's smart, funny, slightly nerdy hypochondriac whose life is run by fear. Except deep down, she's very brave, and struggles to do the right thing.

    She ends up being lured into the vigilante life by the shadowy, tortured Sterling Packard, who has mutant powers. Packard's strange vigilante "psychological hit squad" is hired by crime victims to zing their anxieties into criminals. Result: a total collapse. It's a weird idea for a book, but it really works. (The scenes where one of them is fighting a criminal are both bizarre and brilliant).

    I love the world of this book, which is a fictional rust-belt city beleaguered by mutant criminals (and nobody will admit they exist). Oh, and the relationships...I shouldn't say more: There are so many surprises and fun sexy moments in this book - I don't want to spoil it. Just read it.

    Carolyn knocks it right out of the park. YAY!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

    A Fast-Paced UF thriller

    My thoughts...This first book in the Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane. The book started off by setting the stage with Justine's phobias. It kept a steady pace for about the first 75 pages, then it took off full speed and did not stop until the end. The plot is full of nail-biting, edge of your seat suspense. I did not know who to trust, who was crazy or sane, or what was going to happen next. The Disillusionist team takes criminals and transfers their weaknesses to them. For example, Justine the hypochondriac builds up all her fear of an aneurysm and transfers it to the criminal. This causes the criminal to break down mentally and reboot. This definitely leads to some moral dilemmas for the heroine. The plot of Mind Games is very original. It is sure to please fans of Urban Fantasy.

    One of the best aspects of this book are the characters. Justine, despite her malady is very strong, kick-butt heroine. I found her very easy to relate to because she seemed like a normal person with extreme fears. She made me think there is a bit of hypochondriac in all of us when I considered how easy it would be to obsess over health issues. Each of the disillusionists have a different fear or compulsion that they are unable to control. We also meet several characters called Highcaps. These are people who have extra use of their brain functions. Overall, I found all the characters interesting and memorable, even the villains.

    This is a wonderful start to a new series which I am going to continue to read. Crane's writing style leaves a strong impression and stays with you long after you finish the book. This is a very fresh spin on Urban Fantasy and I would definitely recommend this book to adult readers (there is adult language and situations through out the story). Book two, Double Cross will be out in September, 2010.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Unique and Surprisingly addictive! In my world paranormal roman

    Unique and Surprisingly addictive! In my world paranormal romance is perfect typically i go for vampires and werewolves but I loved this series! This series is nothing like you would expect it takes paranormal to a different places than most of us are used to and it did not disappoint in any way. There is so much to the characters yet your always wondering what really makes them tick. It seems as though so much goes on but in reality the details just take you away and make it so real it makes you feel like your living it. The psychological aspects of all the characters is incredible! This is a must read in my book if you like anything out of the box!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Very interesting book!

    I really enjoyed this novel. This was something original in a sea of the same. I couldn't recommend this book enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Wow!

    I was thrown into this urban fantasy world on the first page, and i didnt know if it was going to work. Stick with it, you wont be able to put it down!

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    a comic book in novel format

    I’ll be honest. I grudgingly started Mind Games by Carolyn Crane. The cover didn’t attract me–no sexy half-clad men on the front, just a kickass gal with a knife. The back blurb wasn’t catchy. Hello? This didn’t look anything like the paranormal romances I loved to read. So, I avoided it. It certainly wasn’t a book I’d pick up in the bookstore. So you might ask why I bought the book in the first place. Well simple, it was recommended by twitter peeps. Stepping out of my comfort zone is hard a times, but I finally gave in and decided to give it a try.

    The first thing I noticed about Mind Games was the first person present tense narrative. Not a style I’ve seen often, so it immediately intrigued me. I have to admit, I didn’t really like the present tense. Each time I picked up the book after a break, I had to reorientate myself to the style. But that’s okay, cause the book itself made up for not conforming to my personal and highly selective preferences.

    The entire book was one big surprise for me. It was like getting on a roller coast without the preview of the previous riders. Each turn was a thrill, and I never knew what to expect. Ms. Crane threw things at me that made me want to read more just to figure out the big picture. It was excellent! And the plot–what can I say about the plot. It was like an onion with each layer being peeled away piece by piece.

    Justine was odd to say the least. She definitely wasn’t the typical heroine with external issues ruining her life. No, Justine’s biggest problem was herself. Her obsession with vein star syndrome made her dysfunctional in so many ways, it amazed me she was able to live life at all. I absolutely loved this atypical heroine. She was refreshing and even a little bit wicked. In this novel, Justine has to dig deep to answer Jordan the Therapist’s question, “When is good not good?” It’s certainly a thin line.

    As for Packard, the conniving bitch, he was a character I loved to hate even as I almost felt sorry for him but couldn’t quite muster the feelings. Throughout the novel, I couldn’t tell if he was a good guy or a bad guy. In the end, I just settled for the thin line, because he certainly walked it.

    I also loved the group dynamics. The disillusionists were like a bunch of kids playing games–immature but full of good times while being naughty.

    Overall, this was a most excellent read! I felt like I was reading a comic book in novel format. Other times, it had me laughing so hard, I couldn’t continue because the tears blinded my vision.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A New UF Heroine that keeps it Real

    At first Mind Games was sluggish to read through, with the constant reminder of the main characters fear of her veins star "illness" I was not sure if I would be able to finish the book, that was until Parker.
    Reading more into the story I really enjoyed Mind Games, because what it brought to the reader was a group of people using their powers to fight evil or redemption from crimes committed. I loved the concept of "touch therapy" and it was a totally new UF angle that had not been present in other series

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Intriguing!

    This was a good book - I really liked the main characters. It got a little confusing at times, though, and didn't always explain what was going on very well. Overall it was a good start to the trilogy.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting concept

    A fresh twist to paranormal romances. The first book is good, but the last 30 or so pages of book #2 is amazing. It will leave you spewing out an unholy list of deragative terms, quickly to be followed a frantic internet search for when book #3 comes out.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    4.5 stars, this is a really great book. Very unique for an urban fantasy, in that the fantasy part is more psychological and less otherworldly. All the characters are very real; none are overly alpha, overly evil, overly good, just normal people with both good and bad qualities. I LOVE the love triangle that gets going and thoroughly enjoyed the juicy scenes. Well done Crane! She set up some really interesting things for the next book that I can't wait for without their being a huge cliffhanger.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quick moving fantasy with mysterious thickening plot and an amazing take on mental worries.

    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.

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  • Posted July 12, 2010

    very good book

    Justine was a over active hypochondriac, she would blow the smallest feeling in her head way out of proportion. She annoyed me at first I'm like just get a grip woman. but then as she started to get involved with Packered and learn she has the power to send all that negative energy she has out in to others and relive her self, i grew to like her better. Justine is a very stubborn loving character. She finds out that Packard has lied to her to get her to help him with his mission to help reboot the criminals they go ofter, Justine still stuck it out and trys to help Packard . She is willing to do almost anything to help save Packard even though she doesn't feel he deserves here help.

    Packard was imprisoned in his Mongolian restaurant for eight years and he has put to gather this elite group to help out people who seek justice. They fight those who have committed horrible crimes but the law cant deal with them. So Packard can see into them and decipher there weakness's and pinpoints exactly witch disillusionist will best help break down this person and sends them in . after the process is complete the person has the chance to reboot and rebuild a new person that is void of the evil that lurked in them before. Packard dose enjoy helping these people and the fellow disillusionist that work for him but he never looses sight of the originally plan to free him self of the prison he is stuck in. I like Packard i thought he was a great character . I was not thrilled with how he treated Justine but i understand why he did what he did and I'm sure any one else in his place would have done the dame or worse. I was just a bit disappointed that i did not get the ending i was wanting i see why it happened the way it did but i wanted it to go another way.. and i know what you guys are thinking well what happened .. but you need to read the book and see what happened.. heee..

    I enjoyed this book allot, it was so very different than what i normally read but it was great i loved the characters and the story line was fantastic i hope to see more in this series there is some things i would still like to see happen. I would recommend this book and i am eager to read more.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Fabulous Read!

    I read several other reviews before I read this book, and they all said something like "Wow, I loved this book. It's such a unique twist!" and I thought, Hmmm...what could be so unique? Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but it really is different. It's an incredible read with an unusual premise. And I don't quite know how to review it without giving it all away, but I'm going to do my bestest.

    Justine Jones is at a good place in her life, if you don't count the fact that she's dying. Or at least, she thinks she is. You see, she's a hypochondriac. She imagines she can feel the symptoms, becomes convinced she's dying, seeks medical care until she's reassured she's not dying, and then she imagines she's having the symptoms again. She knows it's a cycle, and yet she can't break it. While having dinner at Mongolian Delights, she meets the mysterious Packard, who sees what she is and offers a way to escape the cycle...by ''zinging" her fears into criminals, rendering them unable to function normally due to the debilitating worries of hypochondria.

    I loved this book! Justine and her fellow disillusionists were all imperfect people trying to make the world a better place. Using their various neruoses to fight crime was a brilliant and unexpected take on traditional vigilante crime-fighting. I enjoyed the camaraderie between Justine and her new friends, Justine and the criminals (surprisingly), and the many layered relationship between Justine and Packard. Packard's situation was...interesting. The bigger story behind it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what Justine would do.

    Several times I wanted to shake the book and yell "No, Justine, No!!!" ,"Be careful!!" and "OMG!!!" The end of the book, while not a cliffhanger per se, definitely left me wanting more. I can't wait for the next book in the trilogy, Double Cross, which comes out September 28.

    I give Mind Games 5 out of 5 stars; this one's going onto the keeper shelf!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    I had a hard time with this book

    I thought the premise was quite far fetched and I had a hard time relating to the lead character. Anyone who obsesses about dying is hard to like and relate to as a lead character. It was hard to follow all the charcters as well as the plot. I wouldn't buy the next one in the series, and it definately left it open to have more books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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