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Group Reads and Challenges > March Group Read: Valentina by Fern Michaels

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message 1: by Jennefer (new)

Jennefer (jenneferpracticex3) | 444 comments Mod
This looks great! I can't wait to read it!
Valentina by Fern Michaels 1978
Valentina by Fern Michaels
GoodReads rating: 4.12
GoodReads description: VALENTINA: Alluring slave girl, sold into bondage after escaping the perverse, jealous queen she served, then chosen by the ancient leader of the mighty Islams to be his consort - and ultimately his successor.
PAXON, SULTAN OF JAKARD: exotic and strong, a magnificent warrior who hungered for Valentina from the moment they met.
MENGHIS, SHEIKH AL JEBAL: clever and virile, a just wise man who desired to share her soul in everlasting rapture.

Discussion Questions: This book has a bit of a crazy WTF BR reputation, what did you think? Was is too over the top? How did it compare to other BR's you have read? What was your favorite scene? The most WTF scene? Favorite character? If you could change one thing about this book what would it be?

Please be considerate of others and use spoiler tags when revealing key plot elements.

You can now hide your 'spoilers' with the new spoiler tag instead of having to worry about leaving a space or censoring yourself! Just put <*spoiler><*/spoiler> before and after your spoiler (without the *) and your spoiler will be hidden with a link like this (view spoiler) Pretty cool huh! :)


message 2: by Karla (last edited Feb 27, 2011 04:43PM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Well hey hey! Looks like I'm in for (hopefully) more Fern craziness! :D I hope to get this one started by the end of the week.


message 3: by Lorelle (new)

Lorelle | 25 comments I am in on this one too. I just have to wait for my copy to arrive. The more over the top and WTF moments the more I like them...usually.


TheGeekyBlogger Ordered mine :) Can't wait!


TheGeekyBlogger I got mine yesterday so excited to read it!


message 6: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Fine, Karla... first you get me to order Captive Passions and now I see i need to get this one as well. See what you've done to me? :-)

Hi, everyone. I'm brand new here!


message 7: by Noelle (new)

Noelle | 120 comments Hi Dana! That's the problem with this group, you end up buying more books than you ever thought possible.lol


message 8: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Just ordered mine... 4-14 days... good thing I read fast!


message 9: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
And who needs food anyway, right?

Welcome, Dana! Now you go and order that book, missy!


message 10: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger OK I loved the prologue because it was all the over the top, richly descriptive writing I miss from the old Bodice Rippers :) I think it will be my lunch read for the next week!


message 11: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments WOOT! Valentina shipped today and Captive Passions ARRIVED today! I'm already wallowing in Fern Michaels hyperbole heaven... I'd forgotten about Gretchen and all the crushing of bodies beneath hands and heaving thingees... wheeee!!!!

Noelle, I suspect this will be a problem... I'll just have to find a place to store my re-ignited love affair with bodice rippers...


message 12: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I suggest that you build walls to have a place for bookshelves. :P If my house was sturdier, I'd convert the upstairs into aisles of bookshelves once there are no nibbly bunnies to deal with. They currently rule the roost up there.


message 13: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Oh wow, I'm barely into this one (60 pages) and it's crazy! Fern really slanders Queen Berengaria by having her be a sex-mad, bisexual whore, but if anyone reads early Fern Michaels expecting realism or impeccable accuracy, they should just close the book and back away slowly. :D

I'm currently in the middle of a scene where Berengaria has the heroine whipped by her serving-maid lover out of pure sexual jealousy over the Saracen hero and she's getting turned on by it. Fern, you crazy nut! LOL


message 14: by Lorelle (last edited Mar 06, 2011 12:35PM) (new)

Lorelle | 25 comments Okay, I passed page 60 and just hit another WTF moment on pages 88-90!!! (view spoiler) This book is crazy :)


message 15: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Lorelle, omg I know! I had the same image of that guy!

I'm up to pg 170ish and the WTFery has slowed down a bit, but I'm sure it's going to pick up again once (this one thing happens) and Valentina could conceivably be tossed to the wolves of Fate again.


message 16: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger I am just getting to it ---I took the weekend off reading but I love that about Fern Michaels! She is just so unapologetic saying this is my story and the realism is out the window LOL


message 17: by Lorelle (new)

Lorelle | 25 comments Something about Valentina and this story reminds me of the heroines in Beatrice Smalls books. She has these women who endure tradedy after tradedy and become strong and successful at what they do. Even right down to her perky breasts.


message 18: by Karla (last edited Mar 07, 2011 10:34AM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I had the thought about Bertrice Small's heroines as well, esp. with Valentina becoming a trusted factotum of the old emir and ruling the roost and having a vast array of convenient knowledge that holds her in good stead for her mission. Of course, there's also Fern's trademark from Captive Passions of "Heroine is able to pull the wool over the eyes of everybody for an insanely long amount of time."

Yup, realism is totally out the window!

I must say that the love triangle with Valentina/Menghis/Paxon is interesting. And how ironic is it that the more warlike brother is Pax (Peace)? I have a feeling I know who'll she end up with in the end, but not going to commit myself yet. :D


message 19: by Lorelle (last edited Mar 07, 2011 11:43AM) (new)

Lorelle | 25 comments I haven't gotten that far yet. I am on page 216 and (view spoiler) This is my first Fern Michaels book and I just so happen to have Captive Passions waiting in the wings. I am enjoying her book so far and I have been wondering when Menghis would pop back in the picture again....


message 20: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I've only got about 30 pages left. It's excellent - a more serious story than Captive Passion (like that would be hard to do! LOL). I certainly wasn't expecting the love triangle to take the turn it did - a sort of vicious turn!

I do think the panthers were superfluous, though. Not really sure why they were even included, although the contrast of black and white served as heavy-handed symbolism of the personalities of their owners. :P


message 21: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
OK, I'm done!

Discussion questions:
This book has a bit of a crazy WTF BR reputation, what did you think?
I think it maybe front-loaded the BR craziness. After the one-third point, it dropped off on the WTFery. The OTT stuff did set Valentina up for what she was searching for the rest of the book - looking for love and stability and someone she could trust.

Was is too over the top?
Since I've read Captive Passions which had some BDSM and gang rape, this one didn't seem very OTT at all. There was lesbianism and sadism, however. So Fern kept it somewhat fresh! LOL

How did it compare to other BR's you have read?
I think the story was a bit out-of-focus at times with the two brothers as part of the love triangle. There is sometimes that mushy middle where nothing seems to happen, and this book was no different. Only this time, it was because the heroine suffered from having an extra hero to agonize over.

What was your favorite scene
Probably Menghis' decision to defy fate. Won't say more. Don't want to give it away. :)

The most WTF scene?
I should say "Berengaria getting turned on while Valentina's getting whipped" but it wasn't that. It was (view spoiler) I thought it was pretty inventive way to create the origin of that historic deed of Richard's while tying it into the plot in a very OTT way. I can hear historians and HF fans screaming in anguish, but tough. It was ballsy of Fern.

Favorite character?
Maybe I'm campy, but I really liked the Emir and his old friend/servant. Those two were old Hollywood character actor comedy awesome.

If you could change one thing about this book what would it be?
I wouldn't have shot my WTFery wad so early on. I couldn't help but feel like too much fun stuff had been jammed into the beginning of the book.


message 22: by Lorelle (new)

Lorelle | 25 comments I absolutely agree that she shot her wad too early! God, you made me laugh! What I want to know is how the Fedawi seem to know what is going on hours away immediately, as if they all communicated by cell phone. I was bothered by the way Valentina put all those Bedouin's in mortal danger. The old Emir and his servent were sweet, but my favorite character was Menghis, Sheik Al Jebal.


message 23: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
I assumed that the fedawi abroad were able to be communicated to psychically from the "Old Man in the Mountain" when he's in that trance on the throne. Also, the drugs they take might put them on a higher plane of consciousness and communication with each other.

Just a shot in the dark!


message 24: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Whimper. I'm still waiting for my copy...


message 25: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Hope it arrives soon! I've got some books lingering in the postal pipeline too. :(


message 26: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Did I mention *whimper?*


message 27: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Have faith! It'll get there! :D


message 28: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Just got my copy!!!!


message 29: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger WOOT Dana :) I am hoping to finish this week :)


message 30: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments I'll be catching up with you all as fast as I can...


message 31: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Oh wow, I'm barely into this one (60 pages) and it's crazy! Fern really slanders Queen Berengaria by having her be a sex-mad, bisexual whore, but if anyone reads early Fern Michaels expecting reali..."

Yeah, read this bit over the weekend. I have to say, it's all over the place, with enough characters to make my head spin...Valentina reminds me of a sexed up Melanie Wilkes so far, she's just so dang good hearted... I hope this changes!


message 32: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Sexed-up Melanie Wilkes! Now that's a first. :D


message 33: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Sexed-up Melanie Wilkes! Now that's a first. :D"

She's just so dang sweet and pliant about now... But jeez, Melanie never got ...er... well... I don't knwo how to do one of those spoiler thingees so I can't say...


message 34: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments AND she is constantly talking in a throaty voice or laughing throatily. Okay, yes, I obsess on very weird things... :-) ANd I think I'm in the mushy middle.


message 35: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
The husky/throaty voice is in Captive Passions, too. I picked up on it also and obsess about things like that! :P


message 36: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "The husky/throaty voice is in Captive Passions, too. I picked up on it also and obsess about things like that! :P"

I'm so glad it's not just me! I mean, Valentine laughs or laughs throatily three times on one page and this is while she's talking. I'm trying to recreate it and people at work are looking at me funny...


message 37: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments I bet you like having your hair grabbed/played with, yes? Although I wonder if Fern likes it when people laugh throatily...

Still trying to make that work and it just ain't happening here... maybe if I gargle with salt water...


message 38: by Karla (last edited Mar 23, 2011 12:46PM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Whenever I saw the throaty or husky voice described, I thought of either of these two ladies:
Elizabeth Ashley


Brenda Vaccaro
[image error]

And I was NOT expecting to get screencaps of a sex scene between Vaccaro and James Franco when I just googled her. O__o Good Lord!


message 39: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments HAH! How about Brenda Vaccaro in ZORRO THE GAY BLADE? Talk about throaty...


message 40: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
EXACTLY! Love that freakin' movie more than I can say. :D

"Roads? What do the people need roads for? They never go anywhere."


message 41: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments "SWing your HIPS... flap your wreests!..... and talk lak a sissy boy!"


message 42: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Not to turn this into a Zorro the Gay Blade quote thread or anything.... :D

"Know me? Sink me! We were once womb-mates!"




message 43: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments hee hee... okay, I'll be good now too. But this movie was my go to cheer up flick whenever life got really sucky... and it had throaty laughter, by thunder!

And with that, I bring us back to Valentina. And I will now refer to all of you as 'little pigeon.'


message 44: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
It is a very "happy place" movie, that and Love At First Bite - and they both star George Hamilton, oddly enough.

Thanks for mentioning little pigeon. I'd forgotten that. :D


message 45: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger LOL LOVE that movie :) It is one of the few "campy" movies that I enjoy.

Valentina: Overall I did enjoy it. I even "bought" the mousy gal she was in the beginning because I am kind of used to my BR leading ladies starting out that way. This won't go down as my favorite BR of all time but it was an enjoyable WTF, WTH read :) Seriously, I think part of enjoyment comes from just how far they will stretch historical figures into something they totally were not!


message 46: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments I have to confess I'm now flipping through the book at random. Part of that is I'm so tired by the time I get home and take care of cat stuff (one of our cats is ill so we've been doing vet trips and such) that my focus is wonky, but I am finding the story kind of meandering and disjointed. ALthough again, that may just be the state of my brain.


message 47: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger That was me with last months read! I think a lot has to do with if a book hits you when you are in the mood for it :)


message 48: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments I suspect you're right. And I had such fun re-reading Captive Passions... maybe it was our Sea Siren always screaming about cutting off manhoods...


message 49: by TheGeekyBlogger (new)

TheGeekyBlogger LOL---I am always in the mood to hear that (I work with all guys)


message 50: by Dana (new)

Dana (dana_fredsti) | 50 comments Felicia wrote: "LOL---I am always in the mood to hear that (I work with all guys)"

Just laugh throatily and hold a knife up when you threaten 'em.


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