Wednesday, July 9, 2014

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman Blog Tour Review

I'm really excited to be a part of the blog tour review for All Four Stars by Tara Dairman.  Be sure to check out all the other tour stops, plus don't miss out on entering the giveaway!

18289482Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: July 10th by Putnam Juvenile
In exchange for an honest review, an ARC was received from the publisher for free via NetGalley. 


Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

I loved the premise of a girl who has a secret life filled with cooking.  One that isn't just a hobby, but a true passion.  From reading cookbooks  to "rolling her own sushi" and keeping a journal of all her reviews, Gladys was such a fun character.  I loved how she wasn't hindered by the thought of trying new things, instead she seemed to relish it.  I so wish I had a child like that.  I found myself giggling at Glady's parents with their idea of cooking consisting of take out, microwaving and lowfat/sugar free meals.  One of the things I most enjoyed was how Dairman incorporated dishes and spices representing other cultures, giving the reader the feel of the flavors, textures, color and almost the aroma of the dish. Plus she even has recipes for foods inspired by All Four Stars on her blog, I want to try the Bluebarb Crumble it sounds delicious, here's a link to some of the others,  Another aspect I enjoyed was when Gladys finally lands her first review  and has to find a way to get to New York to complete it,  I appreciate that Dairman didn't just have her sneak away from home and hop on a bus, instead she gave Gladys the chance to figure out alternative ways to get there.  Even though she kind of does sneak away a little once she gets to New York.  And, how cool is it to find a girl that keeps a journal filled with all of her positive and negative food reviews? I especially love the distinction between

  "The pork chop, though burnt around the edges, still oozed blood from its center.  The peas, which had been microwaved past the point of bursting, arrive at the table in a soggy, mushy state fit for a baby"
and when Gladys is taking a bite of a brownie
 "... a slew of flavors flooded her taste buds.  The sweet, melty butterscotch offset the bitterness of the chocolate, and the hint of nutmeg gave the whole thing a kick."   
One of my favorite characters was Gladys teacher, who recognized that Gladys entry into the writing competition lacked  passion and suggested that she rewrite her entry, just wonderful to have someone see your strengths.   Gladys was such a fun innovative character with a flair for metaphors and descriptive writing, who I really enjoyed reading about. I just loved the beginning when Gladys tries to make creme brulee, I was laughing out loud.  All Four Stars was very light, flavorful with just the right mix of adventure and humor, I can see both adults and children enjoying.  It will certainly satisfy your inner foodie. 


Enter to win a copy of All Four Stars by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. 
You can win 1 of 8 finished copies thanks to Putnam. 

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents, age 18 or older, or 13+ with parents permission.

Thank you Wendy at The Midnight Garden for introducing me to this wonderful book and having me on the tour! Check out all the stops:  

All Four Stars Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 1st            The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd      The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd          For What It's Worth
Friday, July 4th               The Spirit of Children's Literature 
                                      A Baked Creation          
Monday, July 7th            Epresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th            For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace's Book Blog
Review stops, July 7th – 10th:  CuddlebuggeryGreat ImaginationsLonestar on a Lark,
 Log Cabin LibraryThe Hiding SpotFic TalkCarina's BooksKaren Brissette @ GoodreadsBook JemsSporadic ReadsThe Social Potato

About the Author:
Tara Dairman is a novelist, playwright, and survivor of the world's longest honeymoon (2 years, 74 countries!) Her first middle-grade
novel, All Four Stars, will be published on July 10, 2014 by Putnam/Penguin. Tara grew up in New York and earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College; she currently lives in Colorado, where she teaches writing to students aged 6-13.

Keep up with all of Tara's latest news on
her websiteTwitterGoodReads, and Facebook.

                           The All Four Stars Blog Tour is hosted by 

TMG blog tours


  1. I really enjoyed this one a lot too. My review goes up tomorrow prior to my tour stop. I also loved her teacher and was glad that she had her. Fantastic review!

  2. After her parents, I was glad she had her teacher too. I'm excited that Tara is working on another book with Gladys at camp.

  3. This sounds incredibly fun!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(dot)com

  4. She did such a wonderful job with the food descriptions! I got so hungry when I was reading it. I'm glad you really enjoyed this one too. It was so fun!

    1. I enjoyed all the posts, especially the ones featuring food and NYC :)

  5. YES! I love that the author didn't take the easy way out, and figured out a surprisingly plausible way to get Gladys where she needed to go for her review. I really liked the teacher as well (how lovely to be appreciated by someone who plays such an important role in your life), and the quotes you chose make me crave chocolate like crazy right about now.

    Thanks so much for being a part of this tour, Brenda. I'm glad you enjoyed the book, and my apologies for dropping in so late. Lovely review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. No worries. Seriously, I know how hectic things can get! It was tons of fun participating in the tour and catching all the stops. Thank you for including me.

  6. This sounds darling. I love the cover.

    1. Yes, it is so darling and food, lots of food references :)