by Carolyn Crane
Paperback: 384 pages
Available: March 23, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
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 onMidcity’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.
FV: Amy, I’m so excited to be chatting about Mind Games by Carolyn Crane with you. I’ve heard great things about this book and I’ve had it on my TBR for quite a while. Now that I’ve finally read it, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. I think the only upside to having waited so long is the torturous wait for the second book in the series (Double Cross) doesn’t seem as bad.
Amy: Yes, I’m kicking my self as well for putting it off due to my usual lack of interest in Urban Fantasy. But thanks to Carolyn Crane I have a new outlook for the UF genre!
FV: You’ve said that Urban Fantasy is not really your thing and this is the first one you’ve made it all the way through. What were your first impressions when you first started to read? Why was this one different for you?
Amy: I think so much of why Mind Games clicked for me was the action started right from the first page and reminded me a lot of how romantic suspense stories start. And, the world building happened in slow increments within the action that I was not bored trying to soak in a new world order.
FV: I agree with you on the world building for sure. I was immersed in Carolyn Crane’s world before I even realized it. It was such a natural introduction and I absolutely loved the uniqueness of it.
Amy: Also, a lot of UF writers have no incorporation of m/f romance or sex. I need an inkling of smut or at least sexual tension between characters to keep me riveted to a story and Carolyn Crane delivered that which was a major plus for me!
FV: While I don’t always need romance in my urban fantasy, I do enjoy it. I loved the romantic tension in Mind Games, I was on the edge of my seat and undecided for most of the book. I think this story had a good balance of romance, mystery and suspense.
FV: Most urban fantasy stories seem to be written in first person. Mind Games was written in first person, present tense. I’m a fan of first person POV, but I admit, I’m not used to first person, present tense and I found it distracting at first. I think it took me about eight chapters before I quit thinking about it. How did you feel reading first person, present tense?
Amy: First person definitely gives the story a unique vibe but it really didn’t bother me all that much. However, I would have enjoyed a look into Packard’s mind and emotions.
FV: I really didn’t mind not having insight on the thoughts of the other characters. I think it really added to the suspense and not knowing how to feel about Packard. I know not all people feel that way about first person POV though.
FV: Let’s talk about our heroine Justine. She’s a thirty-something hypochondriac of epic proportions. She fears she has vein star syndrome, a disease that killed her mother. Although hypochondria is really nothing to laugh at, Justine’s character is quite funny. Her internal dialog and paranoia made me laugh constantly. I’m not proud of that, I blame Carolyn Crane. It was just so funny darn it. What are your thoughts on Justine?
Amy: I think Carolyn Crane was brilliant in choosing hypochondria as the vice for Justine. I loved and laughed as well at her constant paranoia as it reminded me of some real life people I know! I enjoyed Justine’s brassiness yet sensitive nature. She felt very real and a character that could totally be your best friend.
FV: What about our hero Packard? What was your impression of him? Did you fall for him right away?
Amy: First impression was definitely a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” and I ultimately believed Packard was for all parts out for himself. But as the story progressed and you began to see the underlying tings of jealously he had toward Justine’s boyfriend and the protectiveness he formed towards her it definitely changed my over all view of him. Ms. Crane was also great at conveying the innate vibe that Justine and Packard felt off each other whenever they were together in a room. That intense chemistry between the two added to the sexual tension and I loved it.
FV: Oh yes, the sexual tension was out of this world. Nom, nom. <—That’s an official book review term, true thing.
FV: I found myself to be quite distrustful of Packard throughout most of the book. I wanted to trust him and understand his motivations but there always seemed to be a wrench thrown into the works just when I was ready to get on board with the plan. He seemed to be manipulative however, it was hard to fault him considering his reasons for his behavior.
Amy: I found Packard to be a bundle of emotions and as hard as he tried to adjust to his circumstances it was always his “Achilles heel” so to speak. Without giving away spoilers, it will be very interesting to see how Packard evolves in the next book (Double Cross) given his changing environment.
FV: Is it September 28th yet?
FV: Did you have a favorite scene?
Amy: Yes, but I can’t reveal it without spoilers lol.
FV: Me too! Let’s just say my favorite scene involved a hot tub and a cucumber reference. 🙂 There is so much brilliance to discuss in the book it’s impossible to do it without spoilers.
Amy: I really enjoyed the whole concept of Mind Games and can’t wait to get my hands on Double Cross to see what’s in store for all of the characters!
FV: I’m totally with you there Amy. Mind Games has a firm spot on my top ten favorite urban fantasy’s of 2010 and I can not wait to see what’s next for Justine and others.
Amy’s favorite quote:
(There were too many to list but here is one of the steamy quotes:)
“He kisses up my neck, lingering tantalizingly over my ear, doing warm breathy things that feel illicit, especially once his tongue gets involved. Then he bits down on my earlobe, hot and sharp, and a swoon moves through me, like unexpected sunshine on my stomach.”
How much and how fast can I get that? Lol
FV’s favorite quote:
“When you get around solid, upstanding men, you’re like a bird with tinfoil. It makes you incoherent on a romantic level.”
Amy and FV’s Rating:
Other books in the series:
Double Cross (September 28th, 2010)