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My hobbies include just about anything, really...except reading, I hate reading! Kidding of course, reading is my favorite hobby! I love not only reading, but creative writing as well. I'm currently working on a novel about a group of paranormal social workers who try to help creatures like themselves cope with being different while also protecting humanity from the more malevolent beings. Other hobbies include music, yoga, comedy clubs, movies, and video games. I read from just about any genre, but my favorites are fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels (that's what us comic-book geeks call them to try to sound more sophisticated). In my secret identity, I work as an accountant for a nonprofit organization . I know...accounting and creative writing don't exactly go together...what can I say, I'm full of contradictions! My rating system: 5 STARS - I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't wait to finish it, yet I also never wanted it to end! 4 STARS - I liked this book an awful lot! It would have been perfect, except for some minor issue or issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. 3 STARS - I liked this book, but found it somewhat flawed. Probably would not read again, but might still give the author and/or series a second chance. 2 STARS - Overall, a disappointing read for me. It had its moments, but sadly the bad outweighed the good. 1 STAR - I hate the part of my brain that convinced me to read this book!

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Queen and Country: A Gentleman's Game
Greg Rucka
Double Cross - Carolyn Crane Many times in a trilogy, the middle book is the one that suffers the most. Since the first book deals with establishing the characters and storylines, and the final book wraps everything up, often times the middle book can feel like it’s just padding the clock. I can assure you, that is NOT the case with “Double Cross”!

I was a big fan of “Mind Games”, the book which introduced lovable hypochondriac Justine Jones and her bizarre compatriots in The Disillusionists. That book didn’t take itself too seriously, as it featured colorful villains right out of a comic book and hysterically funny banter between Justine and her co-stars. However, things are a lot more serious this time around. In the very first chapter, a dream invader gains access to both Justine’s and Disillusionist leader Packard’s minds, leaving them in constant danger of having their deepest secrets exposed, as well as potentially falling under the dream invader’s control. In addition, some of the people closest to Justine are being targeted by a mysterious trio of killers. Add to that Justine’s love triangle with two men, neither of whom she’s sure she can entirely trust, and there’s no denying that the stakes are much higher this time around!

There were many things I liked about this book. While the humor and action present in the first book make a comeback, Carolyn Crane takes more chances with her writing style this time, and it definitely pays off. Due to the dream invader lurking in her mind, there are moments where Justine is experiencing memories from Packard’s point of view, but since the entire book is written in first-person, that means the events are narrated by Justine narrating as Packard! Brilliant! Also, there is more backstory revealed, which adds depth to the already-compelling cast of characters. And while I felt the love triangle was a bit rushed in the last book, I thought Crane did a much better job with it this time around, as Justine’s relationships with both Packard and Otto are key to the story playing out in “Double Cross”.

And then there’s that ending…WOW! I don’t want to say anything specific, I’ll just leave you with this piece of advice…when you’re about to finish “Double Cross”, make sure you have a copy of “Head Rush” readily available, as chances are you will want to immediately start the next book to find out what happens!

So, while there’s less humor and action this time around, a deeper story, more fleshed-out characters, and shocking twists make “Double Cross” even more enjoyable than its predecessor. I’m left with only one complaint…why is this a trilogy when I would much prefer it to be an ongoing series?!?