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Mind Games (The Disillusionists Book 1) by [Crane, Carolyn]
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Mind Games (The Disillusionists Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 23 May 2013
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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

“Carolyn Crane’s Mind Games is brilliant…highly recommended if you’re in the mood for a dense and rich urban fantasy.” ~Sacramento Book Review

“Mind Games needs to be on everyone’s must-read-now list. Seriously – not kidding.” ~Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings

Mind Games was one of my favourite debuts this year and a strong contender for best UF series of 2010. ~Book Smugglers

Justine Jones is a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is crippled by fear…until one day when a handsome, tortured mastermind named Packard peers into her soul and informs her that he can help her turn her fear into a crime-fighting power.

Justine resists until she gets a taste of the peace Packard can promise. At first, Justine enjoys being part of the thrilling world of neurotic vigilantes who battle Midcity’s paranormal criminals. Things get complicated when she uncovers certain secrets…and falls for one of her most dangerous targets.

“It has been a long time since I was this thoroughly entertained by a novel.”

“Mind Games was a mind blowing read! I did not want to put this book down, and even lingered towards the end so I wouldn’t finish too soon.
~Simply Ali

“This book is an absolute mind blower--I would recommend it to everyone.” ~Angel Gone Mad

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 877 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,745 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Started off thinking this approach was so cool and different (five stars definitely) - then the story veered - but I still okay, a curve ball or two is great and I still wasn't sure where this author was heading - but so far so good, I was happy to be along for the ride - then I smacked into a brick wall - a love triangle? Another one? And one of the guys wears a beret all the time? How can I take that seriously.
The three stars is for the first 60% of the book - for the last 40% I'd barely award a star. The ending certainly wasn't where I wanted the author to go with this tale - I won't be progressing with this series.
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By DM on 24 December 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting concept and decent writing. Unfortunately the two "romances" are underwhelming.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.1 out of 5 stars 137 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neurotic Superheroes with a Twist 19 June 2015
By Robin Snyder - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting but it wasn’t a group of people with extreme various neuroses and vices being something akin to superheroes. That is what Caroline Crane pulled of here and it was unusual and amazing.

Justine is a mess. At the beginning of this I had no idea how I was going to connect and like a girl with such deep seeded hypochondria so such that every head tingle is going to lead to some vessel in her brain bursting and sudden death. In the first chapter alone she spins herself into a huge panic over it in a restaurant to the point she is sure she only has minutes to live. Her current boyfriend has seen this before and you can tell he is not as concerned as he used to be in the beginning of their relationship.

-- “Do you think you might have time for dessert before you depart for the hereafter? The chocolate fondue looks excellent.”
I exhale indignantly. “You know, even hypochondriacs die of horrible diseases. Sometimes they even die of the horrible diseases they fear the most.”

Like I said she so broken, desperate and spinning out of control. She is also everything Packard is looking for to round out his team of uber neurotics. I loved Packard from the beginning of this story. He has a quality about him where he sees who people really are and accepts all those parts of them. He is a cross between a mentor, a therapist and just hot romantic lead. He also has a tragic past, some huge secrets and a nemesis just to round out his character and make him ever the more delectable.

The chemistry between Justine and Packard is intense and wild and I’m totally on team Packard, but she desperately just wants to be normal and find a nice solid guy. The man she really needs and the man she wants to need are totally different guys.

--“I got it right Justine. Feel into it. Your sense of being a misfit blinds you to what your heart really wants. When you get around solid upstanding men you’re like a bird with tinfoil. It makes you incoherent on a romantic level.”
“My affection is incoherent unless it’s for you That’s the line you’re giving me here ”
“This is real.” He points out the door. “That isn’t.”

In-between trying to figure out and accept who she really is and what she honestly wants Justine is also learning how to use her neurosis for good and not evil. Packard has taught her a way to project it into a person giving them all the fear panic and hypochondria that she normally feels. He has an entire team of people that can do this and they fight the good fight by performing long cons on bad people to break them down and then rebuild them into something better. They are the Disillusionists:

-- "I have this brief sense of us as supervillains from a B-rate thriller. Except we’re more like crime fighters—if there were crime fighters who got their superpowers from being really neurotic, and used them as part of a bizarre and marginally ethical program of criminal rehabilitation."

The team is full of quirky characters with multiple issues such as anger, gambling, big picture world destruction, self-esteem and much much more. It was so interesting to see how they weaved these in and used them to break down the bad guys physiologically before they could be rebuilt.

This is one of the easiest reads I’ve had in a while. I picked it up and since it is UF it isn’t as complicated as straight fantasy. It is so easy to fall into this world and see how works. The story was different and I didn’t guess quite a few things in the story and was surprised by the direction it headed off into more than once. Every character in this is flawed and that makes them even more likable in a lot of ways.

The only issues I had with the story is EVERYTHING ESCALATES QUICKLY. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing all of the time but when stuff happens it goes from 1 to 10 in half a page. Sometimes it just leaves me breathless and thinking WTF just happened. Good news is that it resolves out quickly too. There is a bit of a love triangle happening as well. I don’t really like love triangles for the most part and honestly it felt a bit awkward since the guy she is semi swooning over wears a beret (I’m sorry I can’t take him seriously) and has the same hypochondriac tendencies that Justine does. Also this part of the story went from 1-10 in 3.5 seconds as well and I was uncomfortable with it.

Overall I liked that Packard and Justine are both so unpredictable. It made the story unpredictable and I am loving the dynamic of the team of Disillusionists. This is different than most things I’ve read in the UF genre lately but I’m hooked. I already bought the next two books because between the plot of reforming people, Packard’s Nemesis (I hate that dude) and the romantic entanglements I must know how the whole story will play out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immediately engaging, cool premise, surprising twist, just a terrifically fun read 15 February 2014
By Mir - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Told in the present first tense (not my fave tense, but it works for some stories quite well, and it worked for this one), we learn immediately that our heroine is seriously, pathologically hypochondriac. Fortunately, she runs into the man who can use her neurosis for good--or is it for good--and give her relief from her crippling symptoms. Her life starts to really change, and crime-fighting becomes not just life-changing, but life-threatening.

This urban fantasy gives us a Chicago-like city where there are gifted mutants (dream invaders, telekinetics, telepaths, and some even more interesting ones). There is a wonderful narrative pace--stuff happens at a good clip and interesting secondary characters (not very fleshed out, but with great possibilities) are presented. The star off is for the less-flessed out secondaries and for some eroticism that kinda bordered on gratuitous, but some readers want the steam, so there it is. The sexual tension between the heroine and Packard (the crimefighting team's accursed leader) is really well done (for lovers of romance/paranormal romance).

The writer's prose has excellent flow and the dialogue is quite good. REALLY , really enjoyed this, enough that I bought the other two novels in this series after only being 1/2-way into this first one. Good show, Ms. Crane.
4.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING TRILOGY! 28 March 2013
By Larissa - Published on
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I love it when an author surprises me. I mean, there so many Urban Fantasy novels and series out there that it is quite hard nowadays to bring something new to the table. Carolyn Crane does that with Mind Games, giving us a new world and characters to sink out teeth into, not to mention a flawed but likable heroine and different kinds of supernatural beings.

Justine is hypochondriac, obsessed with vein start disease. Her mother was also hypochondriac and because of that, people never listen to her when she complained about pain and illnesses, until one day she died of her worst fear, vein start syndrome. That, along with her father's obsession with bulking up their home for the end of days has made Justine a very paranoid woman, who biggest wish in life is to simply be normal.

In Mind Games we find Justine doing her best to achieve that goal. She has a nice boyfriend and a steady job, if it weren't her attacks of fear and her trips to the ER to get checked out, she could be like any other girl in the world.

Her life changes when she meets Packard, a man who promises that he can save her life by ridding her of that all consuming fear. She then learns that by zinging him, giving him all her fear, she can be normal for the first time in her life. But the effects are temporary and in exchange for helping her, Packard wants her to join his group of disillusionists, men and women that take their mental disabilities like: fear, anger, hypochondria, etc... and give it to the people they are hired to hit. They basically break down that person little by little, emotionally and mentally, until the person is rebooted and ready to be someone completely different than who they started out being.

Packard is a Highcap, one of many people that were born with extra mental capabilities that translates into powers, such as: Telekinesis, Mind Reading and so on. One thing that I really enjoyed about this story was that the villain is never really clear and it makes for such an incredible and interesting adventure.

Justine is a character that I had a hard time liking. She is stubborn, hardheaded and just annoying at times. However, I can understand that her fear of the disease and her single-minded obsession with being normal have blinded her to see a lot of what is right in front of her.

The one thing that bothered me in the novel was the abrupt ending of each chapter, it felt weird. Despite that I really enjoyed the book. Mind Games is a great for Urban Fantasy readers everywhere. A great new world that I can't wait to read more of!

Originally Posted at Welcome to Larissa's Bookish Life [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mindful of Maladies 7 July 2010
By Gecky Boz - Published on
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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.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reading the Paranormal Review 28 September 2015
By Kelly Rubidoux - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All right. This book hooked me and reeled me in. Hard. I don't know if it was the ambiguity that was Packard (I do enjoy characters with questionable morals) or the way Justine was trying SO HARD to be normal, but I enjoyed the crazy of Midcity. Seeing as how the crazy is many and varied, I predict many more enjoyable instances in this world.

So. A hypochondriac heroine. Frankly, Justine is all sorts of neurotic when we first meet her. Convinced she's going to die any moment, she's so busy diagnosing her disorder, she's barely living. And the boyfriend she was clinging to in her attempt at being normal...I wasn't impressed. Especially given how things went with him.

Then we have the disillusionists. ALL of them have issues and they'd learned to channel them and do good. Or are they doing good? That's where the questionable part comes in. Packard is secretive and plays his cards very close to the vest. No one quite knows all the details surrounding him. Which certainly makes him fun to read!

Highly enjoyable with a complex world and plenty of crazy left to untangle. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

-Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal

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