8 Rated Books Book Discussion Book Reviews Giveaways Joint Review

Joint Review & Giveaway: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

Title: Mind Games

Author: Carolyn Crane

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Spectra
Publication Date: March 2010
Paperback: 384 pages


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 fears.

Stand alone or series: Book 1 in the Disillusionist Trilogy

How did we get this book: Review Copies from the Author

Why did we read this book: All cards on the table, author Carolyn Crane (aka CJ) is one of our blogging buddies. She runs the witty, fun, fantabulous The Thrillionth Page, and so when she offered us review copies of her book, we OF COURSE were thrilled. If also a little scared…


First Impressions:

Thea: Holy hypochondria, Batman! Mind Games is, in a single word, AWESOME.

No, seriously. I’m not just saying that because author Carolyn Crane (calling her by her full name feels so very weird to me) is a blogging bud because in many ways I think we are even harsher on those we know. I was actually terrified to read this book because of the fact that we know CJ. As reviewers first, Ana and I have an obligation to be completely honest, and if Mind Games wasn’t so hot, this would have been an awkward review to write. Thank goodness, Mind Games was not only a decent read – it was a superb one. Blending a mindblowingly awesome original premise with a comic book sensibility, a dash of humor, and a smidgen of romance, Mind Games totally rocks.

Ana: I too, started out terrified, yet hopeful, and I am so SO glad that all my fears were unwarranted. Mind Games delivers in every single possible way: a fantastic, original premise; an incredible protagonist/narrator whose voice I loved; plus a bit of humour and romance; and to finalise the writing was top notch. I knew Carolyn Crane was a good writer from what I saw in her blog in the past few years, I just didn’t know how good she would be until I read Mind Games and it blew my mind away. I am so proud and happy to report that I couldn’t agree more with Thea: this book is AWESOME.

On the Plot:

Thea: Justine Jones is an obsessive hypochondriac. Since her hypochondriac mother’s ironic death of Vein Star Syndrome, Justine has lived her life constrained by her morbid, mortal fear of a vein bursting in her brain. One evening, during a chance encounter at a restaurant called Mongolian Delights, changes the downward spiraling course of Justine’s life. It is here that she meets Packard, a “highcap” (that is, a human with the mutant/psy-powers) with a particularly unique ability to visualize a person’s psyche and to use and channel their neuroses and energies. The leader of a group called the “Disillusionists,” Packard recruits misfits with extraordinary mental imbalances (rage, pessimism, ennui, addictions) and teaches them to channel that negative energy into specific targets. Packard and his Disillusionists are a psychological hit squad, a dream team that reforms criminals with a 0% rate of failure by changing the very way these people think and feel, forcing them to confront the awesome horribleness of their crimes.

When Packard sees Justine’s incredible capacity for fear, he makes her the offer of a lifetime; she will join his team and in return she will not only reform the most heinous of criminals, but she will also be cured forever of the fear that will one day drive her insane. Because once she channels her fear into a hit (a process the Disillusionists call “zinging”), she will be at peace (albeit temporarily). Taking a chance, Justine joins the squad and finds peace in a way she never before thought possible. But, as Uncle Ben would say, with great power comes great responsibility, and Justine finds herself in a tangled web of deceit, betrayal, and passion. Without being sure of whom she can trust, Justine must choose to follow her conscience and her heart.

(Ok, admittedly, that blurb recap was a little cheesy – you get the idea)

Mind Games is at its strongest in terms of its plot. My goodness, what a unique premise this is! We are used to the usual hit squads of mutants with superpowers, of badass fighters, of morally-convicted vigilantes…but it’s a pretty rare sight to have neurotic hypochondriacs and their ilk taking center stage as heroic characters. I cannot even begin to express how ecstatic I was when I discovered that there was not a single vampire, werewolf, fey creature, or witch/wizard/mage in sight. Set in a contemporary city eversoslightly different than our own familiar world (in that telekinesis and other psychological powers are dangerous realities, and even “normal” folks can push and manipulate others’ energy fields), Ms. Crane (weird!) manages to create a fictional metropolis that comes to life in its texture and detail (right down to the city’s heart of darkness, its root of all evil: the dreaded freeway interchange). The power hierarchies and systems of mind powers are believable and fully conceived, coming across beautifully on the page.

In short, I loved it. I loved the world, I loved the well-paced plot, and I loved the originality of Mind Games. That’s not to say that Mind Games is a perfect book – because it’s not. Though Ms. Crane has a strong, well-conceived and fully imagined plot, the writing could be a bit awkward at times with a few odd exclamations sprinkled throughout and one or two questionable almost-sex scenes that don’t quite work…although I should mention that my copy of the book was an early manuscript, and these writing quibbles may not have made the final manuscript.

Ana: The premise of the novel is amazing – I was utterly charmed by it and thought it was not only clever but also unique. I have to echo Thea’s thoughts when it comes to the competent way in which Carolyn Crane weaves the details of the world building in a believable and fun manner. The name of the group itself (originally posed to be the title of the novel, by the way, to wit I say: WHY not, dear publisher? The Disilusionists sound so much better than Mind Games ) , the basics of their “power” and their purpose was a source of continuous amusement but also posed difficult questions about its moral implications (but more on that later) that had me positively salivating with eagerness. If there is one thing I love about my books, is when its plot and characters traffic in a more grey area and as soon as I was done with the book, all I wanted to do was to talk and discuss the outcome and the consequences of certain plot lines. That makes Mind Games stand out in a world inhabited with books that are good but fail to engage the reader beyond its final lines.

Speaking of lines, I mentioned how much I loved the author’s writing. It is along with Justine, my favourite thing about the book, even more than the plot. The prose is engaging, funny, quirky but also, at some points emotional and profound. And with such turn of phrases and one-liners that had me in stitches:

“I’m used to desperate, buddy. Desperate’s my factory default”

“Fashion magazine disease articles. My personal kryptonite.”

Aren’t those awesome? They would make cool t-shirts too.

Having said that, I also thought that a couple of scenes happened in a too convenient sequence: for example, one of the Disillusionists teaches Justine something that only he could do and next thing you know, that was exactly what Justine needed in order to save her own life a couple of days later. Similarly, I thought the connection between Justine and another character towards the end of the novel happened too fast (although not without some foreshadowing) but I fully understand that without that connection that end of the novel would not have been possible at all.

On the Characters:

Thea: Like the plot, the characters in Mind Games are truly awesome. I loved quirky, totally effed-up-in-the-head protagonist Justine – seriously, how often does a terrified, balls-to-the-walls-insane hypochondriac get her own series?! – and despite her neuroses, she’s never annoying or tiresome. In fact, her fears kind of endear her. I loved that she reacted like a human being would – when she finds out she’s been played and lied to, she gets pissed and goes on a rampage and she doesn’t forget about it. How many times have I read a book where a heroine has been wronged *cough*RachelMorgan*cough* only to forgive and forget all about it in the next few chapters? Justine has a backbone and a conscience, and she’s not afraid to use ’em both. And that’s damn cool in a heroine. Heck, Justine might be clawing her deranged way into my heart as one of my favorite UF heroines, period.

And then, of course, there are the boys. Packard is (naturally) gorgeous and sexy in a dangerous way – but he’s not cheesy, nor is he portrayed as a hardass with a heart of gold…because he’s not. He’s a manipulator and he has his own agenda, and I liked that Carolyn Crane does not shy away from that and attempt to create some romance alpha hero with him. There are two other men in Justine’s life, but more on that after the spoiler/discussion break.

As for the rest of the supporting cast, what can I say? I loved them all. Russian realist (pessimist? nihilist?) Shelby adds a dry, welcome perspective that contrasts nicely with Justine’s. Carter and the ambiguous character Simon also add some wonderful spice to the book. One of my favorite scenes involves the squad sitting down together talking about their various mental issues and why their own mental maladjustments are the most severe, and therefore they are the most valuable to the team. It’s delightfully perverse, just as these characters are winsomely bizarre. The Disillusionists make up the coolest psychological hit squad I’ve ever read, that’s for damn sure.

Ana: Unlike Thea, I actually thought that the characters were the strongest aspects of the novel and I fell in love with Justine as soon as the book started. She is an amazing protagonist yes, for all the things that Thea mention (I too, cheered her when she did not forget and forgive easily when she was wrong) but most importantly because she was so messed up. Even though she is eminently good and with a conscience she is also quite self-serving: she knows the reasons why she is with her boyfriend Cubby are not the right reasons and yet she carries on with him. She might see herself as more black and white person but she is capable of many things, there is a degree of darkness in Justine that is explored beautifully by the author in the way she second-guesses herself and her mission and how she feels about for example “zinging”. She is self-aware of certain things but completely in denial about others, one of them being the nature of her relationship with her boss, Packard. She can deny as much as she wants but she has more in common with manipulative and liar Packard than she would ever admit. Seeing how this will play out eventually will be grand.

As for Packard: he is a manipulator, a conniving liar bastard and…..I loved him even if he broke my heart a little bit. I did understand his motivations though and the fact that he was unabashedly unrepentant. He may not have a heart of gold as Thea puts it, but he is not completely bad either.

The other Disillusionists were also great secondary characters and I liked Carter and his anger issues the most. I loved how Justine captures their nature in this sentence:

“I have the brief sense of us as super villains 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.”

Final Thoughts, Verdict & Rating:

Thea: If you couldn’t tell, I loved Mind Games. Really, really loved it. From its irresistible originality to its manic, maladjusted heroine, I loved this book. And I cannot wait for more from this talented new author.

Ana: I loved it and think everybody should read it. Oh yes, please bring on the next book in the series, please. ASAP!

Notable Quotes/Parts: From Chapter 1:

FROM WHERE WE SIT I have the perfect view of Shady Ben Foley, dining on the other side of the lavishly decorated Mongolian restaurant. He’s with an innocent-looking young couple— a pretty girl with dark ringlets and a wholesome blond country- boy fellow. Do they not get what he is?

The last time I saw Foley was maybe fifteen years ago— I was a teen and he was a middle- aged man in drawstring pants, mowing his lawn and ripping off my family. He’s grown paler and thicker, but I recognized his sharp little nose and peering eyes the instant I saw him out on the street.

My boyfriend, Cubby, pulls a hunk of meat off his skewer. He’s been a good sport, letting me drag him here to basically stalk a man. He smiles, all dimples and short blond curls. “Kebabs is a weird food,” he says.


Cubby glances over his shoulder. “Maybe he’s reformed.”

“A man like Foley doesn’t reform.” I glare across the room; judging from his victims’ body language, Shady Ben has maneuvered himself into a power position. Con men are experts at that. “I have to warn them.”

And this is when I feel it— the sensation of prickles raining over my scalp, followed by a suspicious twinge in my head. No!I think. Please let it not be happening right now!

“Justine, is something wrong?”

I put down my napkin. “I have to say something.”

“It’s not your job to save them,” he says.

“But I have to try.”

A wave of wooziness suggests my blood pressure’s dropping. It really is happening, I think with some shock. My condition, known as “vein star syndrome,” is the proverbial ticking time bomb in the head. Once you’re past the point of vascular rupture, no medical attention can save you.

This strange clarity comes over me and I decide not to tell Cubby. If these really are my last minutes, I want to spend them warning these two innocent people, like I wished somebody had warned my family.

You can read the full excerpt online HERE.


We have one AUTOGRAPHED copy of Mind Games to give away to a lucky reader! To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment here, telling us what Disillusionist “superpower” (i.e. hypochondriac’s fear, a gambler’s addiction) you would unleash on Midcity’s criminals. The contest is open to everyone, and will run until Saturday, March 27th at 11:59 PM (PST). Good luck!


Thea: 8 – Excellent

Ana:8 – Excellent

Reading Next: Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes


After reading Mind Games, both of us decided that we simply couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to discuss the book in detail…which means SPOILERS AHOY! After the break, we will discuss everything from vigilantism to Justine’s love life, and we invite everyone else that’s interested to join in.


On Disillusionists and Vigilantism:

Are the Disillusionists right in their decision to subvert the law and rehabilitate crooks, or are they in the wrong? Is this form of rehabilitation acceptable, or is it inhumane? Is this form of vigilantism heroic or admirable? Or should they all be locked in their own force-field prisons, just as Packard is?

Thea: I’m pretty sure you know where I stand on the matter (considering we’ve had this discussion a few times vis a vis Batman and Watchmen) – but I’m all for the Disillusionists’ methods. Yes, they are vigilantes in that they subvert the law, BUT the criminals that they are hired to “hit” are those that have hoodwinked the law. They’ve either already had their chance at due process and have gotten off on technicalities, or they are members of the law themselves and are untouchable by anyone else. And the Disillusionists’ brand of rehabilitation is undeniably effective – changing the very nature of their subjects, forcing them to confront their own heinous deeds. Provided that the Disillusionists vet each of their hits and know beyond any doubt that they are guilty of their crimes, I’m all for this method of rehab. It’s more humane and more effective than death, at least in my opinion.

Ana: I am very conflicted about this whole thing. I love reading about vigilantes but I am never ever sure I vigilantism is a true solution or part of the problem.

Yes, I agree that their methods are probably more humane and effective than death, or even better than keeping highcaps locked away. BUT I actually had a sense of dread when read about their methods. I am not only weary of the way they act: is it really morally correct to just hit and zing their targets? How is that a real rehab when the person to be rehabilitated doesn’t even know he/she is going through rehab? But I am also not SO sure that they are truly effective. I mean, yes, there are positive cases but how many of those do exist? Furthermore can Packard and the group continue to do what they do without any consequences to their own sanity and health? In any case, yes, right now, taking into consideration the way Midcity is, they are probably the best, momentarily . How long will it last though until someone breaks down? I am particularly intrigued by a line uttered by one of them: “when is good not good?” . Does that refer to their actions? To the group as a whole or is it referring to one person in specific (Otto??). I simply can’t wait to see where it all goes!

On Justine’s Love Life:

Cubby, Packard, or Otto?

Thea: Oh, I am almost always for the bad boy – it’s a no brainer for me. Packard, for the win! Cubby was sweet but boring and completely wrong for Justine. Otto is…well, too square for me. And although he does have that connection with Justine, I just don’t think he’s right for her. He’s like the ideal that she always tries to emulate; he’s what she thinks she wants, just like with Cubby. But Packard…well, he’s chaos and danger, yes, but he also knows exactly who Justine is and wants her for that.

Plus, I find it hard to take a 6-foot plus dude in a beret seriously. (Like, seriously, a beret in the swimming pool? NO!)

Ana: Do you even have to ask? PACKARD! Even if he did something really wrong, and I hope Justine takes a long time to forgive him; even if I actually really like Otto, beret and all, and actually rooted for him in the end of this book, I still think Packard is the end game. Otto is just another Cubby for Justine, a safe, perfect choice that is not real.

I think their love triangle can be compared to that of Jack-Kate-Sawyer form Lost. (Yes, I am going there). Kate is deep, deeeeep down a good person but she is capable of horrible acts – she is conniving, she is a liar, she is a murderer! I think that her motivation for being with Jack is just like Justine’s for being with Otto (or Cubby) : an attempt to deny the darkness within by being with someone who is inherently good and wholesome. But Sawyer is the one that fully understands and accepts Kate (just like Packard) for what she is AND he may have started out as conniving liar but he redeemed himself without losing his edge.

So yeah, Team Packard for the win!

And that’s it from us, folks! What about you? If you’ve read MIND GAMES, feel free to jump into the conversation!

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  • Jamie
    March 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

    An alcoholics’s thirst. 😈

  • Sarah
    March 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I really want to read this book! All these excellent reviews.

    As for the power, I think giving someone an insatiable craving for alcohol could be pretty addicting and devastating.

  • Jess
    March 24, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I’d like to read it – the premise and world-building sound marvelous, and in UF that’s what tends to hook me. 🙂

    My superpower is worrying! To the point of nausea. Oh, yes. I would fit in perfectly.

  • Anonymous
    March 24, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I just finished reading (and reviewing) this book and I was also blown away by its awesomeness! 😀

  • willaful
    March 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

    You had me at the musical influences in the last post.

    I’m having trouble envisioning most of the neuroses I know best in a functional way. Anxiety? Overating? Needing to chew all the time? Not being able to wear itchy clothes? Just for fun, I’ll go with obsessive book hoarding. 😉

  • limecello
    March 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Okay, everything I’ve heard about this book is positive, across the board – it’s definitely on my TBR list. As for super power of horridness… Allergies. Like, allergies to everything. Animals. Grass. Dust. Pollen. Ragweed. Nuts. Melons. Mold. :X

  • blodeuedd
    March 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

    The need to check that the stove really is not on. People would get nothing done

    The books sounds awesome, haev had my eye on it for a long time

  • Natasha A.
    March 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Everything I have hard about this book has been great! And your summary makes me want to read it even more!!!

    What would I unleash?
    I would unleash my coworkers ingrained ability to ALWAYS repeat what I am saying, while I am saying it!

  • Christine
    March 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

    So glad you two enjoyed Mind Games! I’m looking forward to reading it… I love the idea that the heroine is a hypochondriac. Too fun.

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I already picked up my own copy last night! 😀

  • katiebabs
    March 24, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Cubby was a wet noodle and Packard needs a swift kick in the balls. Count me on Team Otto the Cucumber!

    The beret is hot and somewhat kinky if he wears it in bed 😉

    Got to love how you see Lost in almost everything you read!

  • Tiah
    March 24, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I LOVE limecello’s idea of being allergic to everything. That would be the worst.

  • Jocelyn C.
    March 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Sounds like an awesome book!

    My superpower would be obsessive habits. I’d love to hit criminals with my obsessive need to check my email 20 times a day. Or my obsessive habit of carrying a book with my every time I leave the house even when I know I will have no opportunity to read it. Or, better yet, my obsessive routine of using the toilet 3 times (no more, no less) in the half-hour before I go to bed. Take that, evil-doers!

  • danielle
    March 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Um…a teddy bear’s cuddliness?

    Please enter me!

  • Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    March 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Ok, I didn’t read the spoiler section, but I knew CJ’s book could be nothing but awesome. Hello, have you read her blog?

    I would love to have the cool superpower called the silencer…making people silent when its their turn to talk would be great…especially in an office or if they are speaking at a convention…they’d have to find new ways to get out what they want to say.

    savvyverseandwit AT gmail

  • Holly
    March 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Along the lines of blodeuedd, I think being obsessed with making sure all the doors are locked in your house/car and making sure everyone else around you was locking their doors would drive you pretty insane.

  • Snazel
    March 24, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t be a very good disillusions any more, but what I’ve still got of an anorexic’s depression and hopelessness might be pretty useful. 😀

    And I want a copy of the book. *adds to cart just in case*

  • Snazel
    March 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    That was supposed to be “Dissillusionist.” I’m too spellcheck happy.

  • Lisa
    March 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I would unleash a fear of spiders (aka arachnophobia) onto the bad guys!

    Please enter me in the giveaway! Thanks!

  • sarahb
    March 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Since so much great evil has been perpetrated by narcissistic egotists (Bernie Madoff and such), I think crippling self-doubt would be just the ticket. I’m SO looking forward to reading this book!

  • Roxy
    March 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    How about acute nervousness? Like for public speaking but instead it happened all the time… just made myself nervous.

  • Amanda Isabel
    March 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    A Dieter’s Hunger or a Free Spirit’s chains

  • Rebecca
    March 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    This book sounds excellent.

    I guess I would “unleash” a worrier’s avoidance. You can’t commit crimes when you’re being avoidant.

  • Maya M.
    March 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I like the sound of a ‘manic,maladjusted heroine.’

    Superpower? The reading-into-the-wee-hours Bibliophile Griteye.

  • Carolyn Crane (CJ)
    March 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Okay, I had to come check what answers people are giving and, OMG, these neurotic powers are so fun to read! There are a few great ideas here where I’m bummed I didn’t think of them and put them in the book now. Oh well.

    Ana and Thea, thanks again SO much for having me!! for this guest post and review extravaganza!!

  • Adrienne
    March 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    hmmmm…my super power/annoying habit would have to be making people stop and pick a weed no matter what they were doing 😀 Since I’m in AZ and this is the FOURTH time I have weeded my yard, trust me, it would stop criminals cold in their tracks!

    Thanks for the give away!

  • miji
    March 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    The book sounds awesome!! all the reviews I’ve read/heard about this book has been really positive.

    Just one?? there are sooo many neurotic powers one could have. ocd’s a good one (many people have mentioned it). one that i personally have is thinking too much. actually, this is kind of the “basis” of alot of neurosis? (Though i know it involves abnormal neurotransmitters, neuronal activity, etc) OCD- youre thinking too much about what you’re obsessing about. Phobias- thinking too much of whatever you’re afraid of.
    the criminal thinking too much and ending up not doing anything

    OK well then i would choose bacillophobia/germaphobia. wouldnt it be interesting to see a criminal start panicking about bacteria and wanting to clean?
    (other possibilities: autophobia- fear of oneself. i dont know how you would solve this other than by killing yourself… pogonophobia- fear of facial hair. ophthalmophobia- fear of being stared at. Carrie Jones’ book Need listed a bunch.)

    I’m looking forward to reading this book~ thank you for the review!

  • Alex Bennett
    March 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    My superpower would be… unleashing OCD to everyone. Because I have it and want others to feel the pain with me! 😈

  • Hannah
    March 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Oh my god what an amazing premise! So excited to read this, I’d love to be entered into the giveaway!

    As for what ‘power’ I’d unleash…wow that’s a toughie, but I’m going to go with over-confidence. Because a criminal who is certain they’re always right is going to be wrong a lot of the time, and they’d be careless because they’re so sure of themselves.

  • Marie
    March 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Great review! I’ve had book on my TBR list.

    I think a totally scary power would be to be able to make someone self-conscious and insecure. That would make any baddie stop or second guess everything!

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy]
    March 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Hey Team Otto here. Packard doesn’t deserve her.I knew you would pick Packard.

  • ritu
    March 24, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Um procrastination? I shud knw since i’ve mastered that skill along with analyzing everything a liiiitle too much. How abt tht? 😛

    Really looking forward to reading that book.

  • sarac
    March 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    How about the inability to focus. Hey is that a bird?

  • heatwave16
    March 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    What I would use against all the criminals is the fear of the dark. That way if they try to commit crimes it would be during the day, and that way they might be easier to catch. 🙂

    I’ve heard some good things about this book, and this just seals the deal for me. It looks awesome.


  • Llehn
    March 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Intent fear of shadows!

  • Jill Sorenson
    March 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Cool, a spoileriffic discussion! How can a guy in a beret be hot? Somehow, Carolyn Crane pulled it off. She freaked my mind! But I agree about Justine’s true match, for the exact reasons you stated. Can’t wait for Double Cross!!

  • John J.
    March 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Hmmm…if I had one power to give them… I’d have to say a rape victim’s pysche. It’s two fold. On one hand, they see a genuine emotionally discharge and countless feelings of horrid self-worth and lack of self-esteem, even tendencies towards suicide. On the other hand, the criminal would also see what they (possibly) do to their victims…a twisted sense of irony. 🙂 Lol I love the plot of this book and whether or not I win, I am claiming a copy!!

  • Lisa Richards
    March 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I’d have the super power of touching a criminal and causing them to grow a social consciousness. They would turn themselves in and admit all their criminal activity and then work to fix everything they had done wrong. Of course, I’d have an on/off switch.

  • Courtney
    March 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I think I would have to go with the worrying one. I think that would pretty much cripple them.

  • Lisa G.
    March 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Great review. It’s on my list. I just can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  • Kaetrin
    March 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I think I would unleash the power of incontinence. Those villains would be in real trouble then. Plus, easily identified by their smell…

    (Not that it is a current problem of mine I might add!http://thebooksmugglers.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif)

  • Kaetrin
    March 24, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Clearly I do have the power of stuffing up the smileys however!!

  • Marg
    March 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Yet another positive review of this apparently awesome book; I’m really wanting to read it.

    I would use Geliophobia (fear of laughter) to incapacitate my enemy. Like that, I’d bring down the bad guy and have a good laugh in the process.


  • Kelley
    March 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    The power of procrastination, clearly something I excel at as I’m doing it right now.

  • Mariska
    March 24, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    humm…what about being so scare and afraid of their shadows, i mean any shadows around them 🙂

  • enyl
    March 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    The reviews are pretty impressive, I trying a new genre, if Mind Games is represenative of the genre, I may well become a fan.

  • Jenn R
    March 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    This book sounds fantastic! My superpower would be major OCD!!

  • Carol Thompson
    March 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Maybe it doesn’t sound so drastic as some others but what about giving all criminals acute Cleptophobia.

    This is a valid phobia as far as I know and would deal with them without any violence.

    See I am a pacifist !

    Please enter me in the giveaway.
    International entry.

    Carol T

  • Cindy
    March 25, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Awesome review ! The book seems really interesting and original.
    Let me see for the “superpower” : what about fear of death ? or of hurting someone ? I don’t know if those have specific names, but they seem pretty disturbing for a criminal mind !
    Thank you for that giveaway !

  • Stumbling Over Chaos :: Pink fluff of linkity (I have no idea what that means, either)
    March 25, 2010 at 1:02 am

    […] on the publication of her first book, Mind Games! The Book Smugglers reviewed, discussed, and are giving away a signed copy of Mind Games (contest closes 11:59 pm PDT, March 27). Discover the ten books that CJ worked on, but were sadly […]

  • Debbie Johnson
    March 25, 2010 at 1:48 am

    I haven’t gotten my hands on this book yet but I can’t wait to read it. I haven’t been able to purchase the book yet but it will be the next book I buy. So far by all the reviews this book will definately meet my expectations.
    As far as the disorder goes I guess I would love to see someone with “OCD”.

  • Bella F.
    March 25, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I’d give the paranoid schizo’s fear a shot as my Disillusionist “superpower” b/c fear is a paralyzing thing & would probably be reeeally effective–think The Dark Knight/Batman when the Scarecrow’s poison gets people and they freak out!

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    March 25, 2010 at 5:41 am

    So, I’m in college in an extremely difficult major and I yet have no idea what I want to do or if I even like my major.

    …I guess that would be plenty of fear to unleash upon criminals.

  • miss m
    March 25, 2010 at 7:48 am

    the team can totally have all of my irrational anxiety attacks. haha.

  • Moonsanity
    March 25, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Oooh, what could fear could I unleash on criminals. I think it would have to be Agoraphobia (fear of being in places where help might not be available. It usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone) Wouldn’t that be a good one? LOL

    I’ve been seeing so much on this book, and I follow Carolyn on twitter, so I’ll try to win, but if not I’ll buy. 😆

  • Shannon
    March 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I’m not sure how this works exactly because I didn’t want to read too much of the review for “fear” of it giving too much away. The blurb you started the post with was enough to hook me! I think you’re saying that they take someone’s fear and turn it around on their enemies? Anyway, if that’s the premise, I’d give them a lovely dose of ironic Agateophobia which is the fear of insanity. Would that make the criminals insane?

    Or, if it’s someone’s fear that they use for themselves, I’d give them consecotaleophobia which is of course a fear of chopsticks. Going from fearing to using as a deadly weapon? Awesome.

  • Scorpio M.
    March 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I would unleash the feeling of unending despair on the criminals.

  • GSM
    March 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Give the bad guys a severe allergic reaction to all things illegal.

  • Sarah
    March 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I cannot WAIT to read this. How about the power of saying bitchy things I regret later? 🙂

  • Michelle M
    March 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I’m so happy to hear this book is so good – I am really looking forward to reading it. I’d unleash the full force power of guilt on criminals – I’m talking Catholic guilt people. The deadliest sort.

  • Cherry Mischievous
    March 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I haven’t read this book/series nor any work of this author yet so I am not real clued in to this “Disillusionist “superpower”” but I’ll play along because I want to get my chance to win and start reading this author’s work so I’ll pick hypochondriac’s fear to unleash on Midcity’s criminals… ‘Coz like this could prove debilitating and debilitating criminals to me is good… Makes less criminals in Midcity, right? 😯 I sooo need to read this book…

    Anyway, re-posted this contest at: http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2010/03/win-mind-games-at-book-smugglers.html

    Twitted: http://twitter.com/cherrymischivus/status/11053946866

    Sidebar: http://www.cherrymischievous.com

  • Barbara Elness
    March 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I was going to say OCD as well, because that can be pretty debilitating, but then I thought maybe claustrophobia or fear of small, enclosed spaces might be a good one. I’ve known people that can’t ride in elevators, or airplanes among other things.

  • Maria
    March 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Heh, I was going to say OCD, since it can range from annoying to debilitating, but it’s not the worst I can do. My superpower would be fear of your every thought (and deed) revealed to everyone else. From your best friend knowing that you secretly think she’s fat in those jeans, to your parents knowing when you had sex (:oops: ) or your boss knowing you hate her/him.

    Basically the fear of your mind being naked in front of everyone. 😯

    The book sounds interesting, I’ll probably check it out, whether I win or not. 😛

  • Cathy M
    March 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Great list of phobia’s here already. A couple more that would be fun to transfer to a crimminal mastermind:

    fear of running water
    fear of loud noises
    fear of bullets (it’s called ballistophobia!)
    fear of metal

  • Christina
    March 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I do care about the environment and doing as much as we can to reduce waste and pollution. However, I think giving someone a huge fear of leaving any kind of carbon foot print would be very debilitating for a criminal.

  • jmspettoli
    March 26, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I would probably unleash nail biting. It’s a nervous habit that if its bad enough it will keep people’s hands occupied.

  • Eva SB
    March 26, 2010 at 9:02 am

    This sounds like such a great book. I’d love to win it.

    I would make all the criminals acutely agoraphobic then they would all stay home and out of trouble.

  • Carolyn H
    March 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I will unleash forgotfulness on Midcity’s criminals.

    Great contest and the author has a great name if I do say so myself.. I needed a new series to bite into and Mind Games looks like it.

    I love series books

  • joder
    March 26, 2010 at 10:02 am

    The ability I’d unleash is saying what’s exactly on your mind without censoring yourself no matter how bad it is.

  • J
    March 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I like the idea of agoraphobia. And if you really didn’t like someone, combine it with claustrophobia.

    The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the contest.

  • Julie Swaney
    March 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I would really love to read this book!!!
    I would have to make them guilty of every little thing.

  • Christine M.
    March 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I guess my “superpower” would be my big-mouth-that-won’t-shut-up-ever! =)

  • morgannee
    March 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    😛 Severe Organizational OCD. Like nothing can be out of place ever at all.

  • Shishi
    March 27, 2010 at 8:10 am

    “Everyone” – does that mean internationally? Because if it does, I’m in!
    And I’d release obsessive-compulsive fanfiction reading upon the world, because that is a drug if I ever knew one…

  • Bad Blogger Take n « Me and My Books
    March 27, 2010 at 9:56 am

    […] her wickedly funny posts.  But it is an added bonus that fantastic reviews are popping up all over the place – I’m very excited about reading […]

  • Spav
    March 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I would make them agoraphobics.

  • The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » Book Review: Double Cross by Carolyn Crane
    September 28, 2010 at 3:21 am

    […] did I read the book: After reading and loving the first book in the series Mind Games, I was really looking forward to this […]

  • The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » Smugglivus Presents: Ana & Thea’s Most Excellent Books of 2010
    December 31, 2010 at 12:04 am

    […] had the pleasure of reading all year) 11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels = WIN) 12. Mind Games by Carolyn Crane (this debut from friend and fellow blogger Carolyn “CJ” Crane rocked my world – I […]

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