Saturday, January 21, 2012
Well, after that screed are you ready for the Eye of the Storm?
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
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
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!