Monday, July 9, 2012

Alaska Romance Novel Project: Midnight Sun

So, I realize I view the world through a lens of gen x woman in a non-traditional marriage working in two male-dominated industries in America's Most Rugged Frontier, but: this book drove me nuts. This Book is a magical little number called Midnight Sun by Amanda Harte.

This historical romance takes place in 1909 Alaska somewhere on the Tanana River. A new young Lady Doctor, Amelia Sheldon, is coming to Gold Landing to doctor the fine folks! So this should appeal to my love of women-who-dare-to-be-different, right? Yeah, well that was before William Gunning, mine owner and Real Man, decided to stink up the place with his douchy behavior. See, women are only good for bearing kids and being whores. Women just don't have the stuff for real doctoring. Amelia has a spine in the first half of the novel so she pretty much tears ole William a new one. Good on her, yes? Yes.

But they are powerfully attracted to each other. Amelia likes Williams woodsy scent even though he works in a mine. (I would die a thousand times if a romance heroine liked the smell of Anthracite on a man but I am a huge dork.) William thinks Amelia is so gosh darn purty. Also, William has some buried pain and Amelia is Half a Woman.

Turns out Amelia is pretty good at the doctoring. This is especially great since the other doctor, Ben, she works with is a drunk. Thankfully there is a B plot where Amelia's roommate, Ella as the prudish school marm, reforms him. Amelia births all the babies, saves some miner after amputating his arm, and treats all the people--even the poors and the Natives! The nerve Of that Philadelphia socialite, helping the Natives.

William and Amelia fight and eventually dance at amputee's wedding and kiss on the fourth of July during the fireworks. Magical. However, Amelia has sort of been seeing Abe the Lawyer and he seems to think they are courting. William has been visiting a prostitute named June who thinks William will marry her. (haw, haw. Men only marry virgins in these books, stupid June.)

The story is silly enough but a few facts rip me right away from this book:

  • The trees are described as pine (arg not every conifer is a damn Pine.) 
  • William uses sand paper on some project and I actually stop and look up when sandpaper was invented because I am a pedant. 
  • The natives all speak in broken English/pidgin, which upsets me because, ugh. 

Anyway, Amelia gets lost in a snowstorm and William comes after her and they meet in a cabin and share their Feelings. William was a poor who didn't get anything for Christmas while Amelia had all the things but none of the love. They hug it out over some ham and biscuits.

Amelia nurses William through pneumonia and then they're engaged! But, since Amelia is only Half a Woman (she is barren) she decided that they should be engaged for a whole year because she thinks William, the guy who insulted her to her face upon meeting, deserves better. They do get to have sex, though, because why not? So that happens in a book with a very strong, anachronistic anti-abortion message and the lesson that even Alaska Natives are children of God. Yes. Amelia eventually gets a clinic for treating people but then someone burns it down.

The end is where it goes off the rails for me. June delivers a baby she says is William's because he got drunk one night when he was mad a Amelia for being nice to the Natives and wound up in June's bed. Sooo, the engagement is off because that is some crap behavior from William. Then, Amelia kills a patient by giving him too much digitalis. Eventually, Amelia goes to William to beg for his forgiveness and to take her back. The reason? His mistake created a life and is insignificant compared to hers which took one. So, his was a betrayal of their commitment to each other and hers was a mistake that happened in the course of doing her job. Totally the same. Yes.

Then, yes more, June tries to kill herself because she will never have William but Amelia makes her vomit so she lives. June wants to leave because Amelia is staying. Amelia didn't even leave when June burned her clinic down out of jealousy. Amelia is happy about this because she thought someone who didn't like her treating Natives burned down the clinic. Nope! It was petty jealousy, so much better. Anyway, June wants Amelia and William to take her kid and raise him. Then she reveals it wasn't William's after all. He just got drunk and passed out with June. So he is A Good Man. (sound of my teeth gnashing.) Then Amelia gets pregnant after all because this book was designed to push all of my buttons.

What really gets to me is the notion that child bearing makes a whole woman. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and I feel nothing like a woman. I feel like a flatulent barge, so magical it is not. It is interesting from a scientific angle but also kind of awful. You may not agree, but eh, nobody argues with a pregnant lady.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Alaska Romance Novel Project: Chick Lit Edition

This edition we are going to go adventuring with an intrepid screen writer and an Ac-Tor in the wilds of Alaska. The heroine is better-than-average for a romance novel (Read: she is not a simpering idiot just waiting to be impregnated by the Right Man). The cover of this novel is a Scotty Dog, with a bow, leashed to a fricking shopping bag. Neither of which are part of this story*. To Wit:

Look at that shit. A terrible cover for an otherwise alright Graphic Swirler. I feel bad for the writer, Meggin Cabot.

*Crap. Jack's mom had a small lap dog. Well, I stand by my point that this dog is not important enough for the cover.

Anyhoodle, in this Fine Novel Alaska is a tertiary character rather than Front and Center. Lou Calabrese wrote the screenplay Hindenburg. It won her an Oscar. It was a brilliant success. She wrote it for her then boyfriend Bruno (nee Barry). Bruno ran off with his costar who was the paramour of Jack Townsend. Lou got her start writing something called Cop Killer, Jack's starring vehicle. Lou is from a family of cops and Jack is from Ye Olde Money.

They hate each other. Because of the age old Writer vs Actor feud. The Hatfield-McCoys of the smoggiest place on earth. Jack is a mosaic of Hollywood men. Imagine if you put: El Clooney, Mr. Gibson (pre cray-cray racist dayz), and Han Solo in a blender the resulting man-smoothie would be Jack Townsend. Lou is a redhead who dresses frumpy because she doesn't care. Lou always makes Jack do something awful and show his ass in every movie she writes for him. Revenge for his changing the catchphrase she came up with from Stupid to Merely Lame. FRICTION!

I like Lou. Ima say it right here. Heroines with pluck and their Own Minds are my catnip. Plus, she is constantly quoting movies. That, I can for sure get behind because I wouldn't have much to say without movie quotes.

So Jack and Lou are in a helicopter, flying out to the set in the wilds of Alaska. The pilot tries to kill Jack but Lou gets the better of pilot with a flare gun. (GO LOU). They they crash because of birds. (Fact: lots of bird-related plane crashes in the Last Frontier.) Jack hauls Lou away from the burning wreckage. Jack is tres impressed because: A) Lou doesn't cry; B) builds the fire and 3) shoots the bad guy off of a Snowmobile with the pilot's .38. Lou goes pretty far here, but it ain't all the way.

Lou and Jack run away from the Bad Men. Jack can't figure out why someone wants to kill him. Lou thinks it's because Jack Gets Around (he sleeps with everything). Finally, they arrive at a "Ranger Station" were they can dry off and warm up. They are totally not dressed for interior Alaska in winter. They both pass out after a fantastic meal of peanut brittle, saltines and Cutty Sark. Blended whiskey gets Lou around second, but nowhere near All the Way.

Now two famous people are missing so the family calvary comes a-riding up. Lou's retired cop father meets Jack's society mumsie on the flight to Anchorage. The director and other film-humans flit about. Blah. Whatevs.

Lou and Jack are off and running since someone found them at the "Ranger Station." Jack says something about Smokey and the Bandit before he jumps a gorge on a Ski-doo. That's when I liked Jack. Smokey and the Bandit rules the school. They crash, have to walk again, and spend some pages on fifth grade witty I-Like-You banter. Man, they have an awful lot of being attracted energy for two people ill-equipped for winter and Alaska. Finally they find a cabin. I'll call it the Cabin of All the Way.

This hunting cabin has both electricity and indoor plumbing. Shenanigans. Remote cabins are generally dry and may have a generator for limited power. For the Plot, though, it was important to have hot running water. That way, Lou could see Jack in a towel. See?

They eat some venison, drink some wine, chat. Then Jack gets, "Warm for her form," while Lou does the dishes. (Is this a thing anybody actually says?) Oh magical plot point Love Cabin that allows Lou to Go All the Way with Jack. Now, let's go All the Way back to Anchorage where Lou's dad, Frank, is hitting it off with Jack's mom, Eleanor. Septuagenarian Love B-story. Woot. Where's Dorothy Zbornak when you need a wise-cracking broad of a certain age.

So Jack and Lou ski down the road (?) from the cabin toward some sort of civilization. That civilization is a roadhouse called Bud's Bar. They call for help there. A sheriff meets them to haul them back to Alaska's largest town. Their story of running from the Bad Guys is straight up silly and the Law wants to know who would do such a thing. The most likely suspect is an Environmental Nut who was upset that the State of Alaska allowed the film makers to blow up a part of Mt. McKinley.

Let's let that sink in a minute. The State of Alaska permitted someone to blow up a part of Denali for a movie. I realize that this is make believe wrapped in a cover with a damn scotty dog on it. And there is running water at a remote cabin when a certain percentage of people living in the actual city of Fairbanks don't have running water (permafrost). But this takes the cake. Not that the government of Alaska doesn't prostitute its natural resources but this would be like the City of New York allowing someone to blow a point off of the Statue of Liberty's Crown. So extremely out of the galaxy of the Real World.

So Lou and Jack get back to town and there is Drama and whatnot with one of Jack's previous girlfriends. Even Barry comes up to A-town for some added relationship drama. Turns out the murder plotter (don't watch enough Law and Order to know the technical term) is the director. He was jealous because Jack used to be with the director's current wife.

They live happily ever after. With a story eerily similar to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Evoking Paul Newman is a sure-fire way to warm the cockles of my heart.

Monday, February 20, 2012


There are 4 survival suits spread out on my floor right now. Immersion suit. Gumby. The Oh-Shit suit. One of these:

I put one on and walked downstairs, mostly to see if I could don one in under a minute and to make the dirty fisherman laugh. I made it and he laughed. Success!

They all smell like the worst combination of diesel, mildew, and zipper lubricant. The lobster-boy hands made it very hard to pull the zipper up to my nose. Since I am shorter than the suit, the zipper folds and bends, making it hard to pull up. The hood is very tight, even on my little peanut head. My hair was in a ponytail and I think that contributed to the ill fit. I didn't like being in it at all and had a hard time taking it off. I had to lay on the floor and stretch out far enough that the zipper straightened and I could reef it down.

Three of our four suits were manufactured in the mid-to-late 80's. We have one that was made in 2004. (How we ended up with gear that new I'll never know). Two have supplementary flotation bladders around the middle. I have those inflated to test them. Most of the reflective tape is old and worn. One of the flashy lights still works--woot--the other expired in 1995. (For those playing at home, I was a sophomore in high school when that safety light expired.)

I hope I never have to deploy one of these outside of a drill. The thought of floating in the cold Pacific in one of these orange monstrosities scares me. Knowing that we carry an Epirb, life raft, flares, and these suits is cold comfort. All of these need annual maintenance. The age of our gumbies require inspection every 6 months. (Ha, I wonder if the suit made in 1985 liked watching My Little Ponies too.)

Nothing was every really maintained on Leona or Axel before we owned her. I don't really enjoy fixing things or replacing perfectly good batteries every 6 months. I blanch at the cost of repacking a life raft. It all sort of sucks--like 95% of boat ownership--but it's a necessary chore. Will I be swimming for the life raft one day wondering if the batteries in my emergency light are still good? No.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Alaska Romance Novel Project: The Deadliest Romance part Trois

It's pouring outside and I'm pouring inside--though not bourbon as John Bickerson might have--it's red, red wiiiiiine. Yeah, I realize that making a Bickersons joke is just a wee bit dated. I'm not sure if anybody under 65 years old besides me and my brother actually get Bickerson jokes but I Don't Care. The first (and only) celebrity autograph I have is from Frances Langford. I love old things first and forever.

Well, after that screed are you ready for the Eye of the Storm?
(above from

This is the third and final chapter of the Men of Alaska Megabook. Did you know this MegaBook is 12,625 pages in my iPad? Well it is. Let's ride this bike.

First we meet Magda Karlson, an ex-CIA agent who now consults for whoever pays. I.E. she is a Private Investigator. She has been tangled in the web of smuggling involving people outside the major relationships of these Men of Alaska Megabooks. I haven't really recapped that heart-pounding action because I have focused on crab bait and the fact I hate meatloaf. She is intended for Kevin Henderson because he is the remaining Awesome Dude.

Magda picked up Kevin a few years back in Thailand when she was still CIA and he was a Russian Undercover Thug. They had some sort of ethics-breaching sex that somehow got her some huge promotion in the CIA but tainted her so she had to quit. There was Something More to their night of Thai Passion, though, and I can't wait for the sparks to come a-flying offa that thing. Will it happen on a Crab Boat?

Ok, so I know this is a family-friendly blog and all but I have to tell you something. I am married and have spent quite a bit of time on a fishing boat with my beloved. I have never been on something as big and fancy as a Huge Crab Vessel, so my experiences are from the smaller/shittier end of the boat spectrum. Be that as it may, I feel so amazingly unsexy on a boat that all of the Crab Boat Bangin' puzzles me. Everything is cramped. You stink so, so much. Work takes so much energy out of you that you can basically just shovel food into your slackened jaw before sleeping in your clothes. Diesel permeates everything. Gah, it is dang clear to me that the author has never spent considerable time cold on a boat where you actually have to make yourself change your underwear (and then reward yourself with an Oreo for being An Adult). So, reading these was a bit like Sci-Fi for me, so alien were they to me.

Ahem. Golly, I am just full of nonsensical asides tonight, aren't I?

Ok. So Kevin is back working on a boat and Magda ends up have to work for him as the cook/deckhand because plot. (Oh, Magda interviewed Kevin's Mom, Mona, and found some stuff out about smuggling rings. Namely that women are KEY.) FEELINGS, HISTORY, etc. Kevin takes her gun and locks it up and kisses Magda in a manner that makes it clear that she will not get her way by seducing him. He will win at the Mean Kisses game.

Kevin wants to finish the smuggling story. He is somehow haunted by it and is rather single-minded in his efforts to end it. Mona has promised to kill everyone he loves so, you know, his mission is a bit reasonable. Thugs from one of the involved crime families are watching them and he and Magda beat them up. Then they make out behind a building.

I'll say this. I like Magda. She is a fun badass.

So everybody is involved in this smuggling thing. Matt's (from book 2) biological father is a kingpin (or issssss heeeeeee). Magda's older brother is Priest Awesome Forger who used to work for one of the smuggling families. Bam. Strings be getting Tied Up. Somehow, the Priest works on the boat too. They shove off and begin crabbing.

They crab but that takes a back seat to the fighting all the evil doers. (Look, I'm trying to go into more details here but...) There are several fire fights and Magda is a pretty crack shot and ends up saving Kevin's life. She gets shot for her trouble. And abducted. Rape is threatened and Kevin pounds the rape-threatener (?) into the concrete slab.

Turns out the smuggling ring was run by women. By the wives of the crime boss dudes, actually.

Kevin and Magda and Matt and Kelly and Ethan and Charlie all live happily every after.

Whew. I'll have to be careful when I write about The Bachelors of Bear Creek. There's like 4 of them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alaska Romance Novel Project: Deadly 2 Electric Boogaloo

(Look, I tried to find a picture but was THWARTED. Follow this link if you want to see all the explosions and hurt expressions.)

Hello my pretties! Are we all set to visit book 2 in the Men Of Alaska Megabook from the incomparable Jennifer McKenzie? I sure as heck am. Wooo burning shit and a boat and sidelong glances

This book focuses on Kelly Shannon, Ethan's younger sister and Matthew Sands, a coastie (human in the US Coast Guard) running from something and toward Kelly's blond ass--eventually. We open to a grim scene on board The Athena--one Kevin Henderson is at the helm and Pogie and he are recapping The Heart of the Storm for all of us who hadn't read it. Kelly, has just signed up as the cook.

Since we all read my awesome blog...blah blah Stabler and Mona were/are cogs in a smuggling ring Kevin and Charlie and Ethan may be killed at some point. Kevin wants to figure is all out and Just Does Not Have Time To Make An Asston Of Money On A Crab Boat. Boo freaking hoo.

Matt and Kelly meet on the plane and they flirt. "handcuffs," he says. "ooh, tee hee." she says. They are whisked off by their appropriate people. Matt jets into a truck and we learn that his former partner (?) Gina is dead and he is wanted for questioning. Gina was involved with the evil one, Ken Stabler. They (the Man) also thinks he has been smuggling diamonds--Conflict Diamonds, actually because why not. Matt is Barbara Kanook's bastard son and he behaves like a complete asshole about his mother's circumstances in raising him. I.E he is angsty and petulant. Matt is trying to get a spot on a crab boat to lay low for awhile. He has to go to the bar and meet with the Grand Poobah of getting-a-job and knower of things. His name is Dutch. Matt gets a spot with Pogie on The Athena. And the stage is set.

In order to keep Kelly from blowing his cover, Matt kisses the holy-moly out of her in front of the other crew. Oh poor Kelly was titillated and really mad. Inner Turmoil! Matt takes a turn at the watch and we are treated to a flashback of when he called himself Matthew Kanook and he said some pretty terrible things to his mother. Bam! We see him try to shed the skin he hated and live as Matt Sands. Zomg, his dad is some frillionaire named Trevor Pollar. Oh the life of a rescue swimmer has not prepared him to face his mother after such bad behavior.

Enough of that. Bleah. Matt describes Kelly as pretty and petite with sturdy arms and an angular nose. The crew razzes them both about their 5-grade romance behavior. Most of the talking happens in the wheelhouse. Except when the verbally spar about their mutual lack of partners. We get a brief break when they kiss while grinding bait. I don't know if you have ever dealt with crab bait, but crab eat the ocean equivalent of road kill. It is not a place for kissin.

Kelly's flash back-o-Rama includes reliving her crush on a guy who died when Kevin was lost to the Russians. (it is not that important, don't worry about it. She has baggage, there you go.)

A storm forces them to tie up in St. Paul. There, Matt learns of that someone could clear his name. Hooray. But then Kelly and Matt and Pogie fight because of FEELINGS and HISTORY. The smuggling and Mona and poor, dead Gina loom large in this fight. Matt, bless his heart, is being a lusty goat during his watch. His mind keeps wandering to Kelly's sweet, sweet ass. Pages are spent describing her pert, melon-y buttocks. I got so tired of reading about this fictional woman's behind

But it's not all crab bait and perky butts, we have a plot to advance! The Athena is boarded by one Agent Fowler and the Coast Guard. Matt hides in some little nook or cranny. Fowler is the Homeland Security Goon who is chasing Matt. There is some flouncing and whoa, The Acting. They never find Matt. He is too well hidden. Kelly goes to retrieve him. Aaaaaaaand now it's graphic time in the frickin' engine room

Diesel engine rooms on a steel ship are loud, greasy, hot, and incredibly cramped. It is not a place to take your pants off. IfyouknowwhatI'msaying. It's a good thing they're down there because they find the bomb. Aaaaaaaa. Get your survival suit and get on deck. Kaaaaaabloooie, buh bye Athena. Only one deckhand died, tragically. It was Dutch's son, Perry. Ethan and his boat pick up the survivors.

It is here that Kelly decides to tell her brother and Charlie that she intends to marry Matt--only he doesn't know it yet. Won't he be surprised when she just cold shows up somewhere in a wedding dress?! Oh yeah Miss Havisham eat your withered heart out.

So now it's clear that everyone is chasing Matt and he's all, "But--the one-armed man." Ha, you have to get squirreled away in some cabin by Kevin. Oh, FYI, Kevin has been on a one-man truth hunt into this smuggling ring. Well, So Kevin drives (HAAAA NOBODY DRIVES TO REMOTE CABINS IN JEEPS IN THE ALASKAN BUSH. Snowmachine? Sure. ATV? You betcha.) Matt and Kelly to some cabin where they can be safe and have a whole lot of sex. (And I mean whoa, nelly that is a huge pile of sex right there in that book.)

The bad people find them and they have to go and meet a Magical Native Relative and mush to a ranger station for help. Because everyone knows how to run a team of dogs. "Help" comes in the form of Kevin and a Witness-protection priest who is also Captain Master Forger. Priest Forger helps smuggle Kelly and Matt back to Dutch Harbor with the help of a herd of little old ladies. Have you ever noticed how little old ladies get their way? Don't sass the little old ladies!

Matt and Kelly wait for a special meeting of People With Info--I think there is a video tape of Matt Not Committing A Crime too--in the basement of a Bar. Kelly and Matt must like uncomfortable spaces because they bless the basement with their special brand of love.

Guess who is innocent? No, really, I'm sure you can figure it out. I'll wait.

Yay, you smart people! Matt is totally cleared of the charges and Agent Fowler gets put in his place and Charlie gets to put a surprise wedding for Kelly and Matt. She was just itching to get Kelly back for her own surprise wedding. Nothing like a super-fun revenge wedding!

As far as the plot of Intrigue--Mona gets indited and sent to jail and there are some names dropped by dying people. Blah, I know a good recapper would be thorough but I am not at all dedicated to that.

Book 3 next--Eye of the Storm. Kevin gets a little something something and finally (finally) solves this mess!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alaska Romance Novel Project: The Deadliest Romance book I

Crab fishing is the setting for this trilogy of good time romancin' fun. Ever since the Mike Rowe-narrated super reality show about rich boat owners and their hard-working crews captured the imagination of Real America, Crab Fishing has become A Thing. The Deadliest Catch is a super-successful reality show on Discovery that has spawned books, T-shirts, and an XBox game. And now not one but THREE frickin' romance novels. Whoa.

That thar is just the cover of the first novel. Yep. That's what a crab fisherman looks like. All waxed chest and jeans. Snort. These books are firmly in the Graphic Category. Debbie Macomber this ain't.

Book 1: Heart of the Storm

Charlene (Charlie) Henderson comes from a fishing family. Her dad, Bull, was such a crab fishing legend and her brother, Kevin inherited the boat. Charlene's mom, Mona, painted with a 6-inch Icy Bitch Brush, hates the fishing life. Charlene and Kevin grew up with another fishing wunderkind Ethan Shannon and his sister Kelly. They live in Anacortes, WA but fish the Bearing Sea--like most of the exceptionally wealthy fisherman. Charlie and Ethan have a history. There are FEELINGS and A PAST and they were separated by FISHING.

Well, at some point Kevin and The Daughter of Norway went missing and Charlie wants to get to the bottom of that. After interviewing a guy in prison she's off to Dutch Harbor to find her brother. Someone shoots at her plane on landing and she tells Ethan about it when he meets her at the airport. Gone was the tomboy and here was A Woman, Ethan thinks bitterly. He's pretty pissy about the way their relationship. They have feelings at each other--Charlie tried to make Ethan choose between fishing and her. He picked fishing, she left. He was upset and sad and went fishing. She feels bad but still looooooves his stocky-framed, chain-smoking self.

Yeah, these book has a lot of Angry Kissing and flinging the wimmins about, so be advised.

After allowing her to work onboard The Celtic Rose as the gender-appropriate cook while they fish and then run out to some place in the Russian part of the Bearing Sea, Ethan kissed her aggressively. Charlie has to practice putting on her survival suit so they can pass the Coast Guard inspection so they can fish. Charlie stops off at the local dispenser of wisdom, Barbara Kanook, to say hi and get some clothing and they're off. Ethan's butt is perfect, whatever than means, and poor Charlie has to look at it every time he climbs a ladder.

Philip (Pogie) Crane, Jamie Taylor, Gabe Hernandez, and Cal Hendricks round out the crew and they shove off. Wooo, life at sea. Charlie is a puker and vomits copiously the first night they are out. She rallies and makes my least-favorite meal of meat loaf. The crew loves her cooking and all develop crushes on her. Because she is the only woman and she feeds them.

Charlie and Ethan reminisce about their past naked times. They are frustrated and sleepless. They meet in the galley, both needing a cup of coffee. I wonder what will happen??? Nothing yet, sillies, we aren't that far into the book!

Blah blah, talking to the crew, moving pots. Bler Bler things. We find out that Pogie has a thing for Barbara. Kelly, Ethan's sister, is going to school for marine biology. Charlie takes a turn at the helm and lets Ethan sleep. Charlie keeps bugging Ethan to get to Some Island where her brother was last seen--ignoring that they would be entering Russian waters without permission and diesel on a crab boat runs more than $10,000 per day. (That is not an exaggeration.)

A Very Bad Man named Ken Stabler behaves like a Douchebag with an agenda while they offload in St. Paul. He had something to do with her brother's disappearance. Dun dun Dunnnn. Pogie tells her that people think Kevin and Ethan were running drugs or something and that's why everyone treats Ethan like crap and don't care about Kevin's disappearance. Is this the place to tell you that fishermen are the gossipiest bunch of old biddies on the face of the earth? Because they so totally are.

And now we have the Graphic Portion of the Heart of the Storm.

Nobody wants Charlie to just sleep with Ethan and leave. That would ruin him, they say. They explain what It Means to be a fisherman's wife. (It means shitty work with little to no pay. No way to talk to your partner for days on end. And owning a piece of glory.) FEELINGS oh the FEELINGS.

Suddenly, deckhand Cal mutinies and takes over the boat. Oh noes! And here comes Ken with a pile of Russians to take over The Celtic Rose. Cal is Ken's toadie and they are meanie means bent on stopping people from learning about Kevin's disappearance At All Costs! Like all evil masterminds, Ken spills his copious guts and tells of his evil tale of evil. Ken is a federal fisheries observer who dabbles in smuggling. Go, Ken, make that GS-9 work! There is tussling and some noses get broken. Charlie is stuck in "the stateroom" and sees a hulking blond man with violet blue eyes. Kevin's eyes. Holy shit, it's Kevin and he's speaking RUSSIAN. WTF, indeed.

Kevin is working with the Russian DEA, or something I can't really be bothered to care that much, and has infiltrated a the Ivanisovich mafia outfit. (I want to call him Ricky Sargulesh because I love Party Down so, so much.) Kevin, Ethan, the good crew members, and Charlie fight off the pile of evil Ken brought on board. Ken has placed illegal guns onboard The Celtic Rose and was intending to meet Ivanisovitch's boat for an illegal trade. Kevin wants to catch Ivanisovitch, so onward into the night they go.

Meanwhile, Charlie has learned that she loves both Ethan and the Sea. The only reason she thought she hated it was because her mom told her to. Mom is bitter awfulness, yes?

They steam into the night toward danger although they alerted the Coast Guard and the Russian Coast Guard. They meet the Russian ship and there is gunfire and stuff! Ethan gets shot and Charlie has to drive the boat. (Also? in order to run a boat that size I believe one needs a captain's license. It's not a Lund.) A rogue wave smashes the radar and the radio so they are in the dark. Ethan is bleeding every damn place, but they make it to St. Paul island to be medevac'd.

Everybody meets in the Hospital in...Juneau? Um, no. The biggest hospital in Alaska is in Anchorage but for really serious stuff people go to Seattle. This has been your friendly Bullshit Romance moment, love MuskegHarpy.

Mona shows up and is pissy and awful to everyone because she has exactly 1 dimension. Turns out that Mona told Ethan to take a hike and Charlie was better off without him. Mona! Kelly, Ethan's sister, is nicer and all, "I love you Charlie. You're so great. I missed you. Woot!"

There is a reason Mona suck so much, turns out she is in on the smuggling and Ken Stabler, nee Dillard, is her brother. Dun, Dun, DAAAAAAAA! Icy Bitch is a criminal, too. She will try to kill her kids at some later date.

Ethan, predictably, recovers from his injuries enough to ask Kevin for Charlie's hand. Kevin goes and runs the boat while Ethan recovers in Anacortes. Charlie and Ethan just don't want to be apart ever again and Charlie finally decides that she likes fishing after all. They get back out on the boat and Charlie is puking again, only this time it's because she's knocked up! Yay! nothing like morning sickness on a huge, vibrating, diesel-powered, steel beast.

All that's left is surprising Charlie with a wedding once they were back in Dutch Harbor.

Tune in again for Book 2 of the Alaska Man trilogy: Edge of the Storm--it stars a Coastie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alaska Romance Novel Project: Manhunt

Know what? There are a lot of men in Alaska. They make up slightly more than 50% of the population. They are all ruggedly handsome float plane pilot, big game guides with perfect 5 o'clock shadows and devil-may-care attitudes. Yep, Alaska is the Hometown Buffet of elligable men for high-falutin' female executives. If romance novels are to be believed, at least.

World, I give you Manhunt, by Janet Evanovich (best selling author).

Oh, Alaska, where love Norman Rockwells out of every Thomas Kinkade cabin. Le sigh.

Alexandra "Alex" Scott quits here super-busy life and righteous condo in in New Yawk for a hardware store and cabin in the Fairbanks area. (Disclosure: I have never been to Fairbanks so this novel could be set in Spain for as much as I know about the place.) Bruno, her enormous rottweiler, and she make for the Banks of the Fair in a totally inappropriate BMW sports car. The meet-cute consists of Alex just about drowning off the ferry dock in Juneau and Rugged Stud Michael Casey, just goes by Casey, saving her stupid ass.

Know what? Turns out that they are neighbors up a completely isolated private road. WHOA.

The cabin Alex bought is nothing more than an unkempt shack in a thicket. She has a "half bath on a path" for her bathroom. Alex and Casey bicker the way two people destined to be together always do in books like these. Alex is determined to stay on her property, in the tent she brought, despite the lure of Casey's house nearby. I like her moxie. Go Alex! Casey eventually leaves her alone and Alex freezes her balls off in her tent--until Casey returns to keep her warm. After such a rough night, Alex succumbs to the allure of a shower and goes to Casey's house.

Alex tells Casey that she traded her life of glamor for a shack in the woods because her biological clock started screaming, "PUT A BABY IN MY UTERUS RIGHT NOW I AM ALMOST 30 AND I AM MUCH LESS PICKY." You know? That. Since Alaska has many men, she though her odds would be good. Nobody told her about the goods being a bit odd up here. Casey explains that he has no plans for any kind of relationship, because that's how guys in books like this are.

They are very attracted to each other and banter cutely through several home improvement projects. A shopping trip to town includes the purchase a leopard fur toilet seat, perfect for 30 below trips to the outhouse. After toilet seat shenanigans, they visit Alex's shiny new store. It is a man-cave sporting goods store that is a wee bit dank and dingy. The manager is a crusty old crank that is what is amazingly fantastic about Alaska. We love our crusty cranks.

Alex fixes up the old shack and makes it livable. I totally feel her about having to sand and varnish. Sanding suuuucks. She and Casey finally give into their attraction after she cleans his house and fixes him dinner as a "thank you" for putting her up and helping with chores. Casey becomes distant after because he has some Feelings for Alex, she is something like Heartbreak City or whatever. Before he becomes a complete douche, he arranges for contractors to fix up her outhouse. Contractors that are would-be suitors for the lovely Alex.

Alex only has eyes for Casey and Casey becomes a jealous bonehead because he is fighting his confirmed bachelorhood. And his baggage. Oh, sweet WXtex duffel, the baggage. Casey knocked up some lovely young thing from the lower 48 and she couldn't cut it in AK and they got divorced. Alex is just the same, even though she made fried chicken and biscuits over a woodstove and uses an outhouse. Well, until she burns it down. Then Casey convinces the codger Alex bought the cabin from to come back and take it. Alex has no choice but to move into a tent in Casey's living room. See, Casey wanted Alex gone but instead she gets closer. Logical!

Aaah, will they get together? Alex has to date a dog musher named Bubba for awhile and shoot a hole in Casey's ceiling with a .44. Casey confronts his shitty behavior and realizes that Alex is speshul and perfect and totally wife material. YAY!