Graceling

graceling2

Holy crap this book was amazing! I was so hooked and hated to put it down. Graceling has done what only one or two other books have achieved this past year: worked its way to my Top 10 List!

Katsa is born with one green eye and one blue eye. In this world of seven kingdoms, when a child is born with two different colored eyes they are Graced. The Grace is different for each person. For Katsa, she is Graced with being an expert killer (not a well received Grace eh?) Her uncle, the king, uses her to kill and torture those who’ve wronged or angered him, or just to make an example of people.

While out on a mission, Katsa meets Po, a Graced prince from a far kingdom. She never expected her life to change from meeting him, nor does she expect to learn truths about her Grace.

A horrible secret is discovered about a King of another kingdom. This secret could destroy all seven kingdoms. Katsa must do everything in her Grace to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Along the way, everything she knows about herself changes.

If you liked Hunger Games, I think you’ll like this book, and vice versa.

Visit the author’s blog at www.kristincashore.blogspot.com for more information!

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 641 Project: Jeff Henderson

jeff and kids

At age twenty, the only cooking Jeff Henderson knew was to make crack cocaine.  Some 10 years later, he had learned to cook dishes worthy of fine dining restaurants with a skillset that rivaled any culinary school grad’s.

Henderson tells his story in his autobiography Cooked.  Henderson was one of many at-risk kids growing up in South Central Los Angeles in the 1970s.  He came into a life of petty crime at a young age; in his teens, he was taken under the wing of a drug dealer, who mentored him in the world of drug trafficking.  Henderson quickly rose from peddler to cocaine dealer, making a name for himself in the trade and making hundreds of thousands of dollars per week.

It all came to a crashing end when, at twenty-four, Henderson was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to twenty years in federal prison.  He spent his time in lockdown in reflection and self-discovery, and discovered a passion for cooking.  Using his penchant for learning and perfection that made him a success in drug dealing, Henderson learned how to cook and rose through the ranks of prison kitchens, eventually heading a kitchen in a Las Vegas penitentiary.  After his release, Henderson again worked his way up through the kitchens, this time in gourmet restaurants and five star hotels under the tutelage of some of southern California’s best chefs, acquiring skills and knowledge often learned only in culinary schools.  The ex-con cook eventually landed the executive chef position at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas – the first for an African-American – and later at the Bellagio.

Cooked is an entertaining and engaging read.  The intriguing rise-and-fall-and-redemption story also gives perspective into the personality of a working chef.  Henderson shows – at least for the non-schooled chef – the kind of drive and dedication needed to succeed in the culinary world.  In doing so, he gives a glimpse into what goes on in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants: The competition, politics and reasons for the high turnover.

Cooked is not just the story of the rise of a great culinary talent, but a redemption story.  As Henderson sees his true potential and realizes the harm he has brought to his community, he aspires to become himself a better man.  It’s not an easy journey, as he often falls back on his “street” habits to earn respect in competitive kitchens.  But Henderson transforms from a man in pursuit of ill-gotten gain to a man who earns respect – despite his past – through a pursuit of excellence in the kitchen. 

*****

Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras and the cookbook Chef Jeff Cooks are available through PINES.  Ask a librarian for assistance.

Learn more about Chef Jeff Henderson and his activities at his website.

Read or view an interview from the Tavis Smiley talk show.

Try some of Chef Jeff’s recipes from the Good Morning, America website.

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

What I Saw and How I Lied

Zomg read this book!

When Evie’s father returns from WW2 their family is looking forward to getting back to their normal routine. But when Joe starts receiving mysterious phone calls, he gets tense and takes the family to Florida for a vacation.

While there, Evie meets Peter, who served with her father in the military. The two of them start to spend a lot of time together. Even though Joe does not approve of Peter, Evie falls in love.

Secrets and lies start to reveal themselves and Evie is suddenly caught in the middle. A boating trip one hurricane-y afternoon leaves the family in the middle of tragedy and scandal.

In those few weeks, Evie grows up, no longer the innocent fifteen-year old girl who came to Florida. Instead she is now a woman with difficult decisions to make. She must choose  to be loyal to the man she loves, or to her family, but not to both. The decision she makes will change the course of her life forever.

I thought this was a fantastic book! Truth be told, I started reading it based on the title. The inside jacket gave no indication as to what she saw and I wanted to know what she saw and how she lied. WOW! What a shocker it was…I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming.

So yeah, if you’re looking for a bit of intrigue with your romance, grab this book, find a quiet place, get a drink and snack and knock it out!

Till next time…

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Name Our Bears Contest

Can you help us find a name?

Can you help us find a name?

Our two cute and cuddly brown bears are in need of a name.  They were donated to the Headquarters Library and we were glad to give them a home.  However, they arrived nameless.  Come by the children’s department of the Clayton County Headquarters Library and visit these lovable, library friends and suggest a name for each of them.  Take some time to think about the best name that fits each of them.  Turn in your suggestion at the Youth Services desk.  All entries will be judged by library staff.  The winning names will be displayed with the bears all summer long!  Name suggestions must be submitted by Saturday, May 16, 2009 and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 18, 2009.  Only one submission per child.  Everyone needs a name, right?

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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