Favorite character: Justine.
Synopsis: 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 fear.~Goodreads.
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.