Mind Games (Disillusionists Series #1)

Mind Games (Disillusionists Series #1)

by Carolyn Crane

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553592610
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/23/2010
Series: Disillusionists Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 904,175
Product dimensions: 4.26(w) x 6.96(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

CAROLYN CRANE lives in Minneapolis with her handsome husband and two daring cats. She enjoys reading and running and loves animals of all kinds. For more than a decade she’s made her living as a freelance writer. This is her first novel, and the first book in The Disillusionists Trilogy.

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Excerpted from "Mind Games"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Carolyn Crane.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Mind Games 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
rabidreaderWS More than 1 year ago
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/>
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. This was something original in a sea of the same. I couldn't recommend this book enough.
Yvette4 More than 1 year ago
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.
alexia561 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
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.
SamG More than 1 year ago
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.
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
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.
xfryx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As someone with a somewhat irrational fear of blood clots, I had to force my way through the first fifty pages. But, I really liked the set up and the overarching plot and the twists and turns. When is good not good? The resolution of the plot was solid, and I actually cannot wait to read the next installment. I did bust out laughing during one of the more steamy scenes. One should not refer to someone¿s privates as a `cucumber¿.
SmashAttack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book opens with Justine at dinner with Cubby, her boyfriend. She is obsessing over a man named Ben Foley, whom she's had a dire run in with in the past and who is currently sitting with a couple across the restaurant. She wants to warn this couple how shady and disastrous this man can be to their life, and she works up the nerve to do so. But not before she has a full-blown anxiety attack. Yes, Justine has a flaw: she is a severe, anxiety-ridden hypochondriac! She's a mental mess! In fact, Crane writes her hypochondriasis so well that you start to wonder whether Crane is a hypochondriac herself. Great writing! After Justine confronts the scumbag and warns the couple, the restaurant's owner walks up up to her and apologizes for the scumbag's retorts. He also offers Justine an odd proposition: "I want to talk about what I can do for you, and what you can do for me. I'm the one who can cure you..." Justine can't easily walk away from this one, so after an odd run in with "the couple," she ends up back at the restaurant for some serious discussion about this so-called cure with the owner, Packard. Packard offers her a grand solution to her hypochondriasis: push that horrific, debilitating anxiety off on someone else! Yes, Packard can teach her how to invade another's energy dimension and feed her fears into their emotional space. Obviously, Packard isn't talking about dousing anybody off the streets with intense, erratic emotions that aren't theirs. No, Packard has a list of criminals who need to be disillusioned from their world of crime in order to become wholesome once more. Packard has created a gang of people, like Justine, who can make that happen. Justine is thrown into this crazy world of evil humans and more evil highcaps, or high-capacity humans. These individual's power grow out their personality as a baby and it¿s a mutation that heightens brain power. Think telekinesis, telepathy, dream invader, memory revisionist, etc. Justine finds herself on a roller coaster ride of events after she agrees to join Packard's gang, and you never really can tell what's going to happen next. Conclusion: 5/5 Stars! Woohoo! This book is one wild ride and a wildly refreshing concept for the Urban Fantasy genre! Kudos to Crane for creating a heroine who uses her mind instead of her martial arts skills (although I do love that type of heroine too!) The world that Crane has created is quite different from your typical urban fantasy novel. There are no creatures of the night, just high-capacity humans with a little extra pep in their step. And I find it difficult to read the characters in this book - you don't know who the hell to trust! It's a psychological thriller/mystery!
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Crane has taken the Urban fantasy genre and given it a shake with this creative trilogy debut. Mind Games gathers a cast of psychically gifted neurotics who, under the leadership of the mysterious Packard disillusion their targets in order to remake them into better people. None of Crane's characters are black and white, they all have an ambivelence in motivation and behaviour that is intriguing.Justine Jones is a hypochondriac, convinced she will die of a burst anneurysm as her mother did. Unable to control her fears she lives a life of desperation, wanting nothing more than to be normal. Packard offers her an alternative to her suffering, and Justine unwillingly becomes involved his vigilante squad. Justine is hardly the traditional heroine of the genre, she has limited skills with both her power and the ability defend herself and her motivations are more self interest than altrusic. Her conflicted nature is fascinating though and it will be interesting to see how she develops.Justine's relationships with Cubby, Packard and Otto are equally discordant, her confusion is believable and plays well into the rather murky psychological maelstrom that Crane has created. Though the story is quite dark and even brutal in places, there are lots of tongue in cheek references to comic book/super hero sterotypes which are both amusing and cheesy. It took me a while to recognise the gentle poking for what it was. I think at times it was pushed a little too far, for example the word 'minion' was repeated too often, so that the subtle humor of it was lost and I cringed each time it was used.Mind Games is fresh and orginal and I am looking forward to reading Double Cross.Oh and Carolyn Crane rocks!
LauraLulu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time deciding what rating to give this book. There are some things I loved about it and others I wasn't crazy about. But I'm gonna throw it a bone and give it 4 stars instead of 3 just based on the premise--it was a breath of fresh air to read a new idea in urban fantasy. Sometimes it felt goofy, until you embrace the comic book, dark crime fighter aspect. Code names for the criminals (Silver Widow, the Alchemist, the Engineer, etc), lots of the word "nemesis", and a dark crime ridden metropolis called Midcity. And the characters had comic booky names: Justine Jones, Sterling Packard, Otto Sanchez. At first I thought some of the names were weird, but I could totally picture them in a comic. :)Yes, Justine bugged me at times, but the chick is literally a nut job, and because of that, I'll allow her to make stupid choices that would bug me more with a different protagonist. It will be nice to see her character grow and gain confidence over the series.The author has a tendency sometimes to tell instead of show--one of my big pet peeves in writing. Really, the only time it jumped out at me was when Justine was telling us about the friendship she had developed with Packard. If you want the readers to truly feel that friendship and attraction, you must show us it developing. One little scene here & there does not a relationship make.The twist towards the end was truly great. Not that I liked it, but she was truly playing Mind Games with the reader--and I liked that. I kept going back and forth in my head "Oh crap, should I like this one? Or keep liking that one? Argh!" I was not a fan of the Engineer. I wanted to be a fan, but he was written very strangely. Too cheesy, too fast. And the beret? I couldn't picture him at all, I just kept seeing Che Guevara in my head. But the last chapter definitely saved the book for me. Me likes Packard, evil genius or not.
ReginaR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars. This is such a unique series! I had so much fun reading, there are many places where it is literally laugh out loud funny. The main character is a hypochondriac and Ms. Crane paints her in a very sensitive and amusing manner. Despite her neurosis, Justine is very likeable. She is caught up in trying desperately to be normal but she is also very honorable. The setting is a metropolis on Lake Michigan, but it is not Chicago. Ms Crane has created a fictional city with fictional problems. The premise is so out of the ordinary that it could have been presented poorly, but she really hits her mark! It is a fun series, with an interesting cast of characters whose personalities are well developed. The dialogue between the characters is often funny and/or insightful. There is a love triangle, but it is done in a way without jealousy, without the over bearing possessiveness and male territorial marking that is present in so many UF and PNR books. I can¿t wait to read book #2 and I plan to read it soon despite the fact that I heard there is a horrible cliffhanger. *******SPOILER**********I enjoyed the ending, the resolution and the positive spin the book took. However, I thought it was wrapped up a bit quickly and a bit too conveniently ¿ perhaps the ending should have lasted a little bit longer. I guessed that Otto was the ¿nemesis¿ aka or fka Henji long before his revelation, but I assume we were supposed to figure that out.
elnice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 (including some steamy ones) throughout the book. Book two, Double Cross will be out in September, 2010.
raboyer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Malicious MaladiesThis book gets a 4.5 out of 5 gnomes, it is highly recommended and well worth reading.>This book has a great concept that will really speak to anyone with neurotic tendencies, which is just about everyone. Warning, you may become more of a hypochondriac after reading this book. I was drawn in by just reading the back cover.Justine Jones, what a great name I've always been a sucker for alliteration in names, is not your typical kick butt type of woman but as the story progresses she finds herself letting go of her hypochondria related fears.Having a group that can project their fears and insecurities into criminals by "zinging" them or pretty much drilling a hole in their aura/energy field with their minds and then releasing their own fear or insecurity into the person is a very interesting way to fight crime and disillusion the person thus making them change their ways. The range of disillusion talents really makes you think more of how you act and what your own neuroses might be. Some of the others make people want to drink, gamble, or make them fearful of natural events or things like the big picture saying things like oh oils not the problem water running out is the real issue.Packard, the leader of the Disillusionists is a "highcap", what the author calls anyone with psychic powers, who can see the structure that makes up someone like their greatest fears and why they make certain choices. Packard picks the people that the team goes after by seeing exactly how to disillusion someone. So it can be a two step or more process. Step one, Justine gets sent after someone who¿s afraid of health issues so she then magnifies the fear of whatever health condition they are afraid of. Step two is to make the person gamble or risk away all their wealth so another disillusionist comes in and makes the person gamble away their wealth and possessions. Packard recruits Justine and they have a very palpable chemistry between them but of course she has a boyfriend and other complications and romantic entanglements ensue. Of course there¿s the kind of cliché fact that Packard didn¿t tell her everything about the zinging and about himself so this makes Justine unsure of her feelings. Packard¿s nemesis who can interact with the architecture of a building is not as fleshed out a character as he could be but I personally can¿t wait to read more about him. I'm not sure I agree with her choice in the end but it has one heck of a conclusion. The book ends on a pretty positive note and I am indeed looking forward to the next book.
MelHay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in The Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane. The premise to this book just sounded so interesting I had to give it a read. I am glad I did, there are some very creative and interesting things in this book and it is looking to be an interesting series.Justine is a hypochondriac, and she has it bad. She is constantly convinced she is dying, constantly in the emergency room, and constantly driving her loved ones away because of her fears. She has a great boyfriend named Cubby and she is trying to make this work...the problem is that her hypochondria is getting worse and if it keeps getting worse then she may be institutionalized. Enter Packard, he is a redcap that can detect people's psychic compatibility. He can "see" Justine's problem and has a solution for her; she can get rid of her fears by using it as a weapon. She can thrust her medical fears into criminals, causing them to destabilize and become disillusioned. Packard's got a team of Disillusionists set up and he wants Justine to be part of it; after trying it out and being fear free Justine is tempted to take Packard up on the offer...the problem is there is a lot more going on with Packard and his Disllusionists than Justine is originally led to believe.The big thing this book has going for it is creativity. This is an absolutely unbelievably creative idea and the storyline is unlike anything I have ever read about before. I mean the idea of using phobias, obsessions, etc as a weapon by thrusting them into criminals is interesting and clever. Crane does an excellent job bringing this idea into play. What is really masterful is that beyond the Disillusioning that the characters do to criminals, Justine finds herself wrapped up in a Mind game of a different type. This book ends up with a plot that is layers over layers of mind games and it is very clever.The characters are interesting too. All of them have weird psychosis they are dealing with, so the conversations between the Disllusionists are pretty darn funny. I mean when you get a hypochondriac, an obsessive gambler, a person cursed with ennui, someone convinced that world conspiracies are always in play, and someone chronically depressed together in a room...it sounds like a bad joke...and to be honest it is hilarious at times. All of the characters have some depth and are in general interesting and pretty likable.The book was easy to read and well-written. There wasn't anything spectacular about the writing style, but it sounded natural and was a good, quick read. The main story presented in this story is wrapped up well and some threads left open for the next installment.There were a couple things that I didn't like about the book. For one none of the characters really grabbed me as a reader, I had trouble relating with them and really getting involved with them. Justine was a bit...well...skanky for my tastes. She immediately thought every guy she meet was delicious and yummy and she wasn't shy about giving the guys a piece of the action. Then she complained a lot about trying to be faithful to her boyfriend. I personally like my heroines a bit more honest...I mean if they are skanks that's fine but at least don't make them complain about how they can't help being skanky all of the time. Overall this was a great new series. It is incredibly interesting and creative, the plot was masterfully woven. I thought the characters left something to be desired and had trouble relating to Justine's character. Given that I will still definitely be reading the next book in the series because it was just too interesting of a book...I have to see what happens next.
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
O..M..G! MIND GAMES was so much better than I thought it would be. I read many glowing reviews, but the book kept going to the bottom of Mt Git'r'Read because of one little quirk of mine...I have low tolerance for hypochondriacs and the main character, Justine, is a raging HUGE one. I kept thinking that it would get to me and I would throw the book across the room or not be able to get past it. I am so pleased that I was very very wrong. The hypochondria was handled very well and watching Justine learn to control it and use it as a weapon was intriguing as hell. The premise of the team that Justine works with was just so cool. Each member has a problem that they have learned to control and utilize to put away criminals that the law can't touch. Yes, that's vigilante-ism, but it's Urban Fantasy that takes place in an ambiguous time, so it seems like a good thing to do. It has also been a while since I've actually read through the sex scenes in the books I read that have such scenes. I usually skim past as they can be written in rather uncomfortable phrasing or unbelievable positions. I can suspend belief in fantasy and paranormal, but refuse to do so with the between the sheets action. Whatever that makes me, there it is. All that said, I read each and every sentence in the scenes between Justine and her two men. Holey McCrappe, Carolyn Crane writes superbly smokin' sex imagery.Five sparkly didn't think I'd like it, but damned if I didn't dig it a lot diamonds......
thehistorychic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I Loved: I never knew what was coming! It was truly like being on a roller coaster without knowing which way you are zig zagging. The last 15 chapters were fantastic and very well written!What I Liked: I really liked the interactions between all the characters. I felt that Justine's journey was both real and well paced. I never felt like I was missing part of the story even though there was a lot going on.What I thought was So-So/Didn't Like: Not a darn thing. It delivered from start to finish. If I can make a request: MORE SIMON!Why I gave it a 4: This is one of those books that was almost a 5 for me. I think the only reason I held back were Packard and Cuddy. I won't say what 2 scenes because of spoilers but that was just a personal thing.Who I would recommend this too: PNR, UF, and Mystery/Thriller readers who don't mind a little suspension of reality
DonnerLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like Mind Games. I've read so many great reviews of this book on a variety of blogs. The story concept is unique and original. Unfortunately the book just didn't work for me overall. Maybe I didn't read the description closely enough but I didn't realize that the novel would, in many places, read like a superhero comic book. Now I have nothing against superhero comic books when that is what I sit down to read but I didn't expect it from a novel. The characters throw around the word 'nemesis' a little too often until it almost sounded like a joke to me. Two of the characters even have a conversation over dinner about what their mottoes are, as if they really are superheroes. Character's names ranged from comic book style to regular folks to just plain silly.Mind Games is a dark book and that was enjoyable. Justine faces many moral questions as she realizes things are not as they first appeared and the concepts of good and evil are frequently tangled closely together. Often, there is no right choice even when the path seems clear enough in the beginning. Of course out of this tangle comes the inevitable love triangle where Justine has to choose between two sexy men who both claim to be doing the right thing. I realize I may be one of the very few readers on the planet who would enjoy a good novel without this added sexual tension in there but seriously, the whole love triangle thing is really old. It has been done so many ways and I didn't feel that Crane added anything new to it at this point in the series.While I did enjoy some parts of the book, I didn't enjoy it enough to continue on with the series.
vampiregirl76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another book I've been highly anticipating and it didn't let me down. I loved very minute of it. Mind Games is action packed and full of thrills and chills that keep you turning the page. Dangerous and original new world. An Urban Fantasy delight. I thought Justine was a great heroine, and her hypochondria makes her even more special. Carolyn Crane has created an intense and exciting debut with the most intriguing characters. This is a book not to be missed.
Lavinient on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I like most about this book is Justine's "superpower". She is recruited by Packard and his group of "disillusionists" to use her hypochondria against the evil in the city. Justine and the other disillusionists push their own worst aspects - anger, fear, lack of self-esteem, alcoholism, gambling, etc. - into that criminal until they are completely broken down. The idea is they will build themselves up to be better people. Sometimes this can take months, depending on ho...more What I like most about this book is Justine's "superpower". She is recruited by Packard and his group of "disillusionists" to use her hypochondria against the evil in the city. Justine and the other disillusionists push their own worst aspects - anger, fear, lack of self-esteem, alcoholism, gambling, etc. - into that criminal until they are completely broken down. The idea is they will build themselves up to be better people. Sometimes this can take months, depending on how strong that criminal is, to disillusion him/her.The story itself was really good. Justine ends up having to make some tough decisions, especially after she finds out certain people have not been completely honest with her. Crane's world building is interesting. Psychics (or highcaps as they are referred to in this book) are pretty much known to exist, but they must hide from society since they are so much feared. The author gives some information about this group of people, but not a lot. I hope she reveals more in the next book - which I am very much looking forward to.
Readingfanatic1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is absolutely no way to describe this book. It was crazy, exciting and "mind" blowing. You think you have predicted what is going to happen (I thought I was so smart) and then the author throws you yet another curve ball. The bad guys act in ways you expect until you don't know who the bad guys are any more. The "heroine", Justine, a hypochondriac, who uses her health fears to paralyze other people as part of a psychological hit squad, goes from very predictable to down right "I can't believe she just did that".As I said, there is not much you can write about this book since the story itself is so unusual. The most important part is that it is amazing to read.
FantasyDreamer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mind Games is Carolyn Crane¿s much anticipated, debut Urban Fantasy novel and the first book in The Disillusionists Trilogy.Coming from a dysfunctional family, it¿s not surprising that Justine Jones has some serious issues of her own, hypochondria. Her deep seated fear is that she has a blood vessel about to burst. She just knows that the tingle she feels on her scalp is sign of the life threatening blood vessel on the verge of bursting, even if none of the doctors she frequents can find any medical proof of her condition.On a celebration date with her boyfriend Cubby, Justine meets the strikingly good looking Packard who immediately recognizes her hypochondria with his own special insight. Justine recognizes Packard as a highcap, a person with unexplained special abilities. Packard offers Justine the opportunity to weaponize her fear against some of the vilest criminals in Midcity while alleviating herself of it at the same time by joining his vigilante group of extraordinary disillusionists. Is fighting the crime wave that has engulfed Midcity as black and white as Packard and his team of disillusionists have made it out to be?When I first heard about Mind Games, it immediately claimed my attention with a hypochondriac heroine. I was curious how a heroine with health phobias would play out in a genre saturated with the usual mixing of vamps, shifters, witches and zombies. The creativity of the plot was beyond anything I would have imagined, Mind Games turned out to be a breath of fresh air in the Urban Fantasy genre. It was full of dangerous and wicked suspense that took off in directions I didn¿t see coming from start to finish. I found this story to be full of scenes containing action, paranormal mystery and relationship intrigues threaded throughout the entire novel, and those scenes were ¿sit on the edge of your seat¿ tense.The characters are all so original with personalities that add a quality of realism to the story. Justine Jones is an optimistic, who puts a lot of faith in good always prevailing over evil. Justine also just wants be an average, normal person without phobias. Packard is mysterious man, and deviling through the mysteries surrounding him is one of the main draws of this story. Then there¿s Chief Otto Sanchez, and he is what I would call a debonair man with a flair for theatrics, his character is one you can¿t help but like even when he calls criminals ¿evildoers¿ in such a dramatic fashion.Mind Games needs to be a on everyone¿s must-read-now list. Seriously ¿ not kidding.You can bet Double Cross, the next book in this trilogy, is at the top of my most anticipated books list now.
Mardel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 bookJustine 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".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. (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)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.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.Great debut novel, looking forward to the sequels.