The latest in the Scot Harvath series (until Rising Tiger becomes available on July 5), Black Ice takes us along with Harvath to new and exciting places. I loved the setting for this one! Black Ice is set during the summer in Oslo Norway, with excursions further north into Kirkenes, Tromso, and Svalbard, which is as close as most of us will ever get to the Arctic Circle. It’s as close as I would ever want to be, but it was fun to visit it through Harvath’s perspective from the warmth of my patio.
While enjoying his best life in Oslo, with his girlfriend—the lovely and lethal Solvi—Harvath spots a man who shouldn’t be alive. Why? Because Harvath assassinated him years ago in Hong Kong. Harvath knows what he saw, and that it can’t mean anything good. In true Harvath style, he can’t let it go, but interrupts his perfect summer vacation to find out how and why this man is still alive and in Oslo. His investigation leads him further and further north as he and his team try to uncover what Chinese operatives are doing in the Arctic Circle, what it means for the U.S., and how they can stop it. As always, Thor cleverly entwines fiction with the real-life geopolitical landscape. Once you start this one, you’ll find it hard to put down.
Klinker Brick’s Old Vine Zinfandel pairs well with this installment of the Scot Harvath series. Dark crimson in color, it’s a bit jammy without being sweet, and earthy with just a touch of smoke. Enjoy and happy reading!
On the eve of the release of Barack Obama’s memoir (part 1), I want to take a few moments to reflect on Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. If you have not had the opportunity to read it yet, I highly recommend doing so. It would also be a wonderful Christmas gift for any woman in your life.
Ms. Obama’s story is captivating in its relatable nature for all women who struggle with work life balance and in her telling of the life of an extremely exclusive group—First Ladies of the United States of America. I found it to be a story of resilience, hope, and courage. I keep it on my bookshelf for inspiration, and believe it belongs on every woman’s bookshelf for the same reason.
She describes growing up in a working-class family in Chicago and how she managed to climb the socioeconomic ladder through the determined efforts of loving, hard-working parents combined with her own intelligence, work ethic, and drive to succeed. Ms. Obama talks about achieving her definition of success, only to have to redefine it according to evolving values that included a family of her own. Seeing Barack Obama through her eyes prior to his political rise and in his roles as husband and father was both insightful and intriguing as was her perspective on their road to the White House and her experience as First Lady. Her story concludes with her description of their transition from the People’s house that had been their home for eight years.
So many women can relate to Ms. Obama’s struggle to retain her own identity separate from her husband and family and to maintain some semblance of work-life balance. In a nod to her courage and sparkle, I recommend Valor Cava—a Spanish sparkling wine—to join you and Ms. Obama as you share her journey. It can be a bit bumpy at times, but overall, it’s a true joy ride.
Enjoy, and happy reading!