Mind Games - Carolyn Crane Mind Games has restored my faith in the urban fantasy genre. This book made my head spin, heart pound, and legs hurt when I stood up after laying down reading for so long.

Honestly, this book is worthy of 5 stars. I just had a few personal problems with it that ruined the final star, but I doubt most people would have the same issues. This is a rare and precious book that blends action, suspense, and romance perfectly.

One problem I had is with the names. Crane is an amazing writer, but she has an absolute dreadful taste in names. Justine, Packard, Cubby, Henji, Shelby, Helmut, Otto, Aggie, they're all awful names for characters. There are a lot more unique and beautiful names out there, and I would have found it easy to ignore this issue if it had just been a couple of names, but really, nearly every member of the cast has an awkward name. I'm sorry if that offends anyone named any of the mentioned ones, but I mean all of them as a collective whole; I don't have anything against a name in particular.

I love Justine, but I hate some of the things she did. I understand why she did them, but it doesn't make up for the way she went about it. At times, she reminded me of a petulant toddler who can't understand why she got the trike instead of the bicycle she wanted for Christmas and decides to be annoying just to get back at her parents. On the other hand, I did admire and respect her for fighting back and never giving in, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed. She definitely makes it to my list of top 5 kick-ass heroines.

Our two main love interests are as far from the norm as you can possibly get in UF/PNR. For most of the book, it's impossible to tell which guy is good, which one is simply self-serving, and which one deserves to die. They're both more manipulative and selfish than the other. I hate making analogies between books, because it's unfair to readers who haven't read both books, but the only way I can describe the difference I feel between Packard and Otto is that Packard is like Barrons and Otto is like V'lane. They're both after their own gain, but Packard is still a million times better than Otto. If you've read both books, maybe you understand what I mean. If not, then do yourself a favor and buy a copy of Darkfever.

The action and suspense part of this book is extraordinary. Once I got started with the last half of the book, I literally couldn't put it down. I frantically ate up every word, desperately trying to stay ahead of the action, and failing. This is definitely a book for anyone searching for the long-lost charm that the UF genre initially used to hold but seems to have recently lost.