I’ll be completely honest here: I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up for reading and reviewing. Judging by the title I figured it was some sort of spy novel, or any other sort of adventure driven piece.
But the comedy of errors actually began when I started reading The Sting of the Scorpio and wondered why the hell the story seemed to begin right in the middle of a scene. It wasn’t until Chapter Three that I re-checked the Scorpio Rising tour e-mail (more details at the end of this review) and realized I was reading the sequel, which does begin right where Scorpio Rising ends.
And I only had a day left to read and review an entire novel (I was already grotesquely behind schedule. Sue me.).
So I really didn’t have much time to actually enjoy the story, all the while reading a genre – Romance, as it turned out – that I’m not particularly fond of. Didn’t seem like the ideal set up, yet for all the hurdles, I actually enjoyed reading this book. In fact, what started as a lukewarm reading ended with a desire to pick the sequel immediately (not literally, it’s way past midnight and I’m sleepy).
Oh yeah, the story: Alexander Ivanov is a young Russian immigrant in New York with plenty of ambition and drive. His chosen path to glory is architecture, which is not a bad choice considering where he’s at. This kid reminded me a little bit of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character in (500) Days of Summer, which is also a romance story with an architect in the lead. Architecture is sexy, I guess. Anyway, we follow his rise (he’s the title Scorpio, as in the astrology sign) at the same time as Brigitte Dartois’ increasing stardom as a painter in Paris in the 1950’s. Doesn’t take much to infer that Alexander is our MAN, and Brigitte is our WOMAN, and destiny has marriage in store for our heroes.
While the premise and plot follow the usual formula, that doesn’t stop it from being a fun read. In fact, there were several soap operish moments that I bookmarked on the Kindle because I enjoyed them so much. You know, the kind where you go “YEAH, TAKE THAT, BITCH!”. My favorite was the following: Brigitte is (innocently) being lead on by a rich guy who pretends to care for her in order to eventually have sex with her. His even richer wife, the one that holds all the cards in fact, is suspicious and the guy tries to be careful since, well, she holds all the cards and without her he’s nothing. But there’s so much horniness he can hold on before bursting, so he tries to seduce Brigitte and fails massively, but not before threatening Brigitte with taking everything away from her: the apartment, the clothes, the money, etc. Brigitte doesn’t take the bullshit and leaves the apartment after the guy storms out, but he doesn’t realize this until a few weeks later, when he returns to find it empty. In one of those “only in the movies” moments, his wife is right there waiting for him.
“I hope the screwing that whore gave you,” she said, sounding victorious, “was worth the screwing I’m about to give you.”
That’s not the only “TAKE THAT, BITCH!” moment in the novel, but it was the most satisfying. That line is epic.
The novel has no shortage of the obligatory asshole/bitch characters that make life miserable for our heroes (note on Alex Ivanov: he’s not a sweet angel either, he does start as an asshole himself before getting to be more likable, but that positively added a realistic, well-rounded dimension to the character). My favorite bitch was Anne Turner. Anne is the typical sexy woman who feeds on rich men’s riches in exchange for some fuck time with her. The couple chapters where she is prominently displayed were a joy to read. I mean, the way that bitch laid out her plans to trap the richest guy in the story was worthy of the Mission: Impossible team, or at least Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The novel also ends up perfectly with a cliffhanger of hers: Just wait till I find that damned Alex Ivanov. MEAOW!!!
Another aspect I liked about this particular novel was the structure. Instead of having Romeo and Juliet meet early in the story, each has his/her own plot and only near the end do the plots intersect, they finally meet and *swoon* fall in love. Neither has any shortage of soap operish troubles along the way, of course.
In short, considering how Romance is not my thing, reading this was a guilty pleasure. One that I plan to repeat with the sequel. Stay tuned.
But first, a word from our sponsors:
Announcing the Scorpio Rising Social Media Whirlwind Tour!
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Scorpio Rising eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.
What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including 2 Kindle Fires, Amazon gift cards up to $100 in amount, 5 autographed copies of the book, and 5 autographed copies of its recently released sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 23rd, so you don’t miss out.
To Win the Prizes:
- Purchase your copy of Scorpio Rising for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
- Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
- Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
- BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
…And I can win too!
Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.
The Featured Events include:
Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of Scorpio Rising or its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!
Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest!A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Looking for a read that’s full of love, drama, and betrayal? Scorpio Rising has been reduced to 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA2s #whirlwind
Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Scorpio Rising book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?
Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Scorpio Rising book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs.
Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a Kindle Fire! Two are up for grabs! Visit Monique’s website to leave a comment on any of her posts and sign-up for her author newsletter. One person will win for each method, so be sure to do both.
Remember, it’s all about the books!
About Scorpio Rising: Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes. Alex Ivanov is the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves. Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser. Monique Domovitch’s debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About The Sting of The Scorpio: In Scorpio Rising, Monique Domovitch presented a compelling tale filled with colorful characters and the manipulation of power, ambition, and greed. Now she gives us its spellbinding sequel, The Sting of the Scorpio, where Alexander Ivanov returns to New York with his new bride, Brigitte. The real estate industry is ripe with opportunity. Blessed with irresistible charm, ambition, and the single-minded obsession to succeed, Alex plots and manipulates his way to almost mystical success. Everything he touches turns to gold, but it’s never enough. When a hostile takeover bid leaves him struggling to save his beloved company, he suspects those closest to him of plotting his downfall. Brigitte, the beautiful redhead who abandoned her country and her career to become his wife, feels alone. In return, Alex has betrayed her time and again, each indiscretion cutting deeper into her soul. Brigitte’s son, David yearns to be an artist, but Alex’s plans leave no room for such frivolous goals. He grooms a reluctant David to become the heir apparent until a devastating tragedy attracts the attention of another young man. The Sting of the Scorpio is a rich tale of a man at the mercy of his own greed and a woman bound by her need for love. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the Author: Monique Domovitch began writing at the age of fifty-five. Two years later, she has two self-published novels—her Scorpio Series—and a three-book deal with Penguin, for books she has written under the name of Carol Ann Martin. Never seen without her laptop, Monique and her husband travel the world and divide the rest of their time between their homes in British Columbia and California. Monique loves to hear from readers! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
Ahhh, great review, Sam. I love the rawness and personability of it. I really gravitated toward Ann’s character too and wonder what that says about me. Similarly, I identified with Alex most, and I just thought it was awesome how the characters didn’t meet until the end. You know they’re going to and the wait totally builds suspense.
Would you do us a kindness and cross-post this fabulous review to Amazon and Goodreads to help up exposure for the author? BTW, the genre is actually literary fiction, but tomato, tomato (imagine I said those two words differently).
Of course I’ll post this in Goodreads and Amazon. And Shelfari for good measure. 😉
Amazon refuses to publish this review, even a heavily edited form of it for length. I did manage to post it in Goodreads and Shelfari.
Why is Amazon so mean, Sam? WHY?!
I don’t know. Maybe Anne Turner is running Amazon now.
I also posted the complete Tour Notes, didn’t realize it was several pages of html.
ahahahaha, you are too funny. I hope you’re reviewing my book next week, kiddo. Anne has no business at Amazon. She must have worked her way into somebody’s pants :-X
Oh, and I saw you wanted to access my former blog on wordpress. I’m self-hosted now at http://www.emlynchand.com if you’re trying to cyber-stalk me, dude 😀
Actually, I just wanted to see your blog, I thought I had seen it already but apparently not.
Wow! You are the MAN, Sam. I am thrilled that you liked my novel and especially that you fell for my favorite line, “I hope the screwing…” and my favorite bad girl, Ann Turner. Did you know that I can predict the future? I predict that you will like the sequel even more.
All my best,
I like that you like that I liked your novel, but as far as predictions go, that was an easy one to make.
Thank you for the cool review!
great review! I love guilty pleasures
I just loved the strong characters, with their need to succeed, both with talent, ambition and goals. I love their personal history’s and the way they meet and all the people that hurt them along the way, but helped made them stronger individuals! I couldn’t wait to reach the end and now I can’t wait to read the sequel “The Sting of the Scorpion”! Fabulous job Monique!