Monday, February 13, 2012

Mind Games

Title/Author: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane.

Genre: UF.

Publisher:  Spectra.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Justine.

SynopsisJustine 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 fear.~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:
My first impression when looking at this cover is that this book is about a kick ass heroine who doesn't take any crap.  I like books like that, but I've been disappointed by a fair share of them as well.  After getting to know Justine Jones, the main protagonist of Mind Games, I realized that the depiction on the cover doesn't remind me of her. You see, Justine is a normal woman. Sure she learned to do something kind of extraordinary, but the great thing about her is that she is SO human. She isn’t an expert in karate, or guns, she’s not a vampire hunter or half-vampire. She’s just smart. Maybe not brain surgeon smart, but she can think on her feet.

I was a little nervous about reading a book about a hypochondriac.  I mean, we've all met them right?  Do I want to read about a whiny, complaining, self-absorbed woman?  However, Justine, while neurotic, is not annoying.  For one thing, she does not *want* to be a hypochondriac.  She does not *want* the fear.  To me, she just came off as someone who is paralyzed by a phobia.  I’m not a hypochondriac, but I understand fear of illness and how it can make you crazy. I understand researching the internet for morsels of information hoping to discover something that may disprove your fear.

What I also love about her is her warm heart. She is more interested in protecting the people around her than anything, even when they’ve done her wrong, even when she could exonerate herself. There are several choices she made that I feel are commendable and I know I wouldn’t have made them. It does not come off as sappy either.

The writing is clear, concise and the story is so inventive and imaginative.  Everything happens for a reason and a purpose.  The characters and the scenes push the story forward.  "Disillusionists." I may have laughed if anyone tried to explain to me what they are before this book, but Crane makes me believe everything in this story. Everyone’s abilities have a purpose and are convincing.  Justine's as well and she discovers what she can do and who she is.

At a particularly tense time in the book, I found myself with thoughts racing through my head as I tried to get to sleep, trying to figure out what was going on.  Worrying about what was going to happen.  I can't remember a book ever doing that to me.  I was thinking, "Oh my God, who is lying?  Is it this person or that person?  What's going to happen?"

I want to talk about the love interest(s), but I don't want to give too much away.  Let's just say there are no typical love triangles...well there are love triangles, but they don't feel like the tired ol' love triangles that a lot of readers are used to.  The sex scenes...smoking HOT!  But again, no bodice ripping cliches (phew).  They are explicit and tasteful at the same time.

This book is a pleasure to read and I didn’t want to rush through it, because I didn’t want my experience to end. There are quite a few surprises, twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat.  I'm looking forward to the next two installments. 




Jen | Book Den said...

My first thought when I saw the cover, too, was she looks like a badass. That's not what most of the hypochondriacs I know look like! ;) I'm intrigued about the surprises and why she looks so badassery.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

oh..i want to read it now...great review!

Anonymous said...

Nice review, Midnyte :-) I probably wouldn't go for this kind of book, but I found it interesting that you mentioned you liked the fact that although she's human and normal (not a vampire hunter, expert, weapons guru, etc), that was a bonus point for you. I don't mind "normal" humans (lol) so long as they're not dumb or don't constantly ask the other characters around them what's going on. I'm glad you really enjoyed reading it! :-)


Logan E. Turner said...

Wow, you hooked me Pam! This sounds awesome. I think it's refreshing to have a protagonist who is normal and smart and that's all she needs. Very cool.

Smash Attack Ash said...

This was a fab review, Pam! I too love Carolyn's epic ability to make you wonder who the hell the bad guy is! WAIT until you get to the end of book 2. OMG. I feel for you. :Þ I still haven't read book 3. Waiting for hardcopy release...

Smash Attack Ash said...

Oh, and you will want to visit me on Wednesday... ;)

Karen said...

This book has so many things that normally turn me off (love triangle anyone?) but Carolyn pulled the whole series off. This is one of my favorite series ever & totally restored my faith that there are good - original UF's out there.

Midnyte Reader said...

@Jennifer: The cover doesn't remind me of the main character. The surprises are great in this book.
@Kimba-Thanks! Hope you get to read it.
@Darkeva- Probably not the book for you, but thanks for reading my post.
@Logan-This book is VERY refreshing and the characters are great!
@Smash-I can't wait to read the rest of the books! And I think I know what's coming Wed.!
@Karen-I absolutely agree with you. Not a lot of books can live up to this one.

Jenny said...

YAY!!!! I so enjoy this series, glad you loved Justine and company as well. I love how tricky the world was, and how I wasn't sure I could trust certain people. Can't wait to see what you think of the second book, I had stress while reading!

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