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Posted September 28, 2012
“The author said that this book is emotionally charged. Well, I just have to say is that it is sooo true! And SO MUCH MORE! I cried, got scared big time, troubled, and most importantly, it got me curious. Curiosity that made me finish the book in one sitting. I also loved Sean and Nicole - they are so good together.” – Ara of My Book and My Coffee This book, Skin Games, was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. As you probably know, I have a great interest in crime and thriller novels as well. I really don't know why. Before I start my review, I just want to remind all of you that Skin Games is a crime drama. The book includes violence as expected. Let’s talk about the story. To tell you honestly, when I started to read the first chapter of the book, I was a bit confused. I had to check the book description again to see if I have the correct book. I did, so I continued reading. After the first chapter, the confusion turned into curiosity. I became really interested to know more. After the second chapter, I found myself smiling and feeling excited to continue reading. The way the author wrote the story flow was a bit out of the ordinary but it’s rather appealing. I like it. It was really detailed. It’s a story. *hint hint* :) Sean O’Donnell is the main character in this book. I actually don’t know if I will like him or not. He’s one of those bad boys that you’ll love and hate… but you’ll love him because he’s a man of his word. I mean, one way or the other, you’ll really love him because he’s a man with ‘balls’. He’s a donkey (you’ll get that reference too when you read the book *wink*) and when he says that he loves you and he’ll stand by you, he will – even though it means that he’ll take a beating. And not just a beating, a super painful and deadly beating. He is one of those bad boys. But wait, define “Bad Boy”, right? He’s not one of those hoodlums that just wanted to have fun and kill people. He doesn’t have a license to kill, no, he’s not 007. He was once a young, innocent boy once who, under challenging circumstances, needed to grow up and fast because he just needs to. He needed to be strong for his mother. He was a teenager who was led to a certain path. And now, he’s the bad boy who fell in love with the mafia princess. Bad boy + Nice girl with super duper bad boy father = I don't even want to answer. The mafia princess, Nicole, falls in love with Sean, too. She’s really cool and I felt that she’s a bit clueless. Anyway, it’s like Romeo and Juliet all over again. Although, this time, Juliet’s father is worse than ever, and I mean to the highest level. Bad, bad, bad. In all fairness, I really felt Sean and Nicole’s connection. They simply clicked. The author did a good job in writing their love for each other. I was in. I don’t want to divulge any more information as I think it will be giving too much already. :) You have to read the book in order to know what happened next. I actually didn’t expect the ending to be that way. I wanted it to end differently but the way it ended was somehow realistic. And I can understand that. To all my friends, followers, readers and visitors, if you have an interest in crime drama / crime thriller books, then you should really read Skin Games. It’s a very good read for me. I’m giving it 4.5 stars.
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Posted March 13, 2014
Adam Pepper is good. Skin Games is the third book I have read by him, and, like the other two times, I was immediately pulled in by his prose and the way he can set the tone to a story. Skin Games starts of with a couple of mob enforcers harassing a restaurant for protection money. The daughter of the restaurant owner is told to go to a man she knows as Mr. Skin for help, but she wants to know why he is willing to help her. From here we have a narrative within the story told by the central character, Mr. Skin, or Sean as we are soon to learn. It is a brutal story told in a very matter of fact, almost emotionless, way. With this, Pepper is able to explore several characters that really are not good people, but perhaps they were made that way by their circumstances. We have Sean who was abandoned by his father and then progresses into worse and worse life choices, but for him this is a natural progression. Sean's mother is perhaps the most sympathetic character doing what she thinks she has to in order to survive, then there is Nicole. Nicole, while not outwardly bad, is very self centered and manipulative; she doesn't seem to grasp how her actions will affect others.
What I like most about this book is it's straight-forwardness; Pepper never once tries to use his role as the author to push his own opinions of the characters on the reader. He simply lays them bare and we see everything through the eyes of Sean and it allows the reader time to think and form their own opinions. What actions are ever justified when you are trying to find a way out of poverty, when there are no other role models other than gangsters? It is an interesting story format to use; Pepper delivers an entertaining and dark read but at the same time seems to have put forth something that begs to be thought about once you are done. The novel simply is; the reader can get out of it whatever they choose. It can be something that lends fodder for debate about poverty and crime and it's effects on the community, or simply an entertaining, easy read. The choice is yours.
Posted August 18, 2013
Posted March 23, 2013
Sean O'Donnell is an excellent protagonist. He has a strong character, but he is not perfect. He makes bad decisions. On the outside he is the classic "bad boy," but when you understand why he does the things he does, lines get blurred. At times during the story, I was not sure if I should love him, hate him, or just feel sorry for him. But, Sean is a man of his word, always keeping a promise no matter the cost. But when he falls for the mob boss's daughter, things get rough.
Disguised as a crime novel, this romance was excellently written, fast paced, and easy to follow. Though there may not always be a happily ever after, vengeance is almost just as good.
Posted July 13, 2012
Not quite what I was expecting, but a great story nonetheless. I went in thinking it was going to be about some really violent mob guy, and it was, kind of, but it's also a love story. Great characters and very entertaining.
I actually think it might have been a little better without the parts about Maria, I found it hard to believe a person would just sit down with a stranger and tell their entire life story like that - but the life story itself was a really good one. Looking forward to reading more by Adam Pepper.
Posted July 4, 2012
After a couple of thugs burn her families' restaurant to the ground and kill two co-workers, Maria seeks revenge. She locates a mysterious man known as "Skin" but needs to be assured he's the right man for the job. Skin then tells Maria his life story, which takes up the majority of this engrossing mob tale from Adam Pepper.
Skin's real name is Sean 'Shamrock' O'Donnell, the son of a tough Irish father and an Italian mother. When his father leaves them, Sean becomes the man of the house and does whatever's necessary to help support his mother. The rough streets of the Bronx lead him to a life of crime, eventually getting him involved with the local gangsters.
Trouble starts at a mob party when bull-headed Sean becomes infatuated with Nicole, who happens to be the daughter of head crime boss Mario. They begin dating and quickly fall head-over-heels in love. Mario begins to send Sean out on set-up missions, hoping Sean will get the message to leave his daughter alone or be eliminated. But Sean proves too tough for his schemes.
SKIN GAMES is a study of friendship, love, and the power of true self-resolve. Pepper's realistic first-person narrative makes this a compulsive page-turner full of gritty-violence, seedy characters, and a satisfying conclusion that will leave you thirsting for more.
Similar to GOODFELLAS yet with its own voice, SKIN GAMES is a fine example of a self-published novel that's on par (or better) than anything in the crime/thriller genre coming from big house publishers. Mob fans DO NOT want to miss this.
Posted May 24, 2013
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Posted August 5, 2013
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