Author: Tara Dairman

The Stars of Summer Blog Tour

April 30, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Book Tour, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2015 9 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Stars of Summer Blog TourThe Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 5th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Foodie Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: All Four Stars

four-stars

It’s not easy being an undercover restaurant critic—especially when you’re only twelve years old!

With her first published review under her belt, Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

All Four Stars series

Early Review – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman {PurchaseMy Four Star Review!}

“Find the best hot dog in New York City.

Leave no street corner unvisited, and no dog untasted!”

Gladys Gatsby is now twelve-years-old and there isn’t anything she’s more enthusiastic about than delicious foods. Since that incident with the blowtorch (it really was only a small fire), Gladys has convinced her parents to allow her more opportunities to improve her skills in the kitchen. Gladys also continues to review for the New York Standard even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to come up with excuses to visit restaurants in the city. Her newest assignment seems to her to be a strange and difficult one: find the best hot dog in New York City. The situation becomes even more difficult when her friend Charissa gives her a summer pass to her parents day camp, Camp Bentley where she ends up in charge of the lunches which she finds to be both exciting and stressful. Will Gladys be able to continue juggling all the things she has going this summer and still manage to somehow the perfect hot dog?

Gladys is back and still just as adorable. The Stars of Summer has our heroine undertaking a monumental task with discovering the perfect hot dog. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration through multiple cultures from Iceland to even South Africa. Hot dogs are shockingly common in far more places than just the United States! Her descriptions of the exotic foods she gets to sample will once again leave you wishing you could share in her adventure of the taste buds. And while her adventures did often feel a bit lacking in credibility (attending an awards show in New York City minus any parents? She is only twelve…) I admittedly found myself so completely lost in the cuteness of it all that it was easy enough to overlook and just sit back and enjoy. The friendships Gladys has developed since All Four Stars are incredibly touching and most notably was the inclusion of the two boy-girl friendships. With multiple secondary yet still well-developed characters, Dairman has managed to bring to life a full cast of characters this time around that will only enhance future installments in this series.

 The Stars of Summer is once again another addition to my well-loved list of foodie fiction stories. In addition to the most appetizing sounding foods, you’re treated to one of the most adorable children in fiction. In addition, there’s a light and charming sense of humor throughout. Most highly recommended.

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This post was a part of ‘The Stars of Summer‘ blog tour.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

Monday, April 27: Katie/Bookish Illuminations
Tuesday, April 28: Aeicha/Word Spelunking and Emma/Awkwordly Emma
Wednesday, April 29: Sylvia/A Baked Creation
Thursday, April 30: Bonnie /For the Love of Words
Friday, May 1: Lisa/Fic Talk
Monday, May 4: Lucy/The Reading Date
Tuesday, May 5: LAUNCH DAY!
Wednesday, May 6: Dahlia/Daily Dahlia
Thursday, May 7: Karen/For What it’s Worth
Friday, May 8: Jen/Pop! Goes the Reader
Monday, May 11: Stephanie/Kitchen Frolic
Tuesday, May 12: Brenda/Log Cabin Library
Wednesday, May 13: Michael/Project Mayhem and Wendy/The Midnight Garden

Image Credits
Author Photo/Tiffany Crowder @ Crowded Studios
Blog Tour Button/Kristin Rae
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Waiting on Wednesday – The Stars of Summer (All Four Stars #2) by Tara Dairman

February 25, 2015 Bonnie Middle Grade, Waiting on Wednesday 0 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Stars of Summer (All Four Stars #2) by Tara DairmanThe Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 5th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Foodie Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer

It’s not easy being an undercover restaurant critic—especially when you’re only twelve years old!

With her first published review under her belt, Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

All Four Stars series

Early Review – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman {PurchaseMy Four Star Review!}

All Four Stars was the most adorable Middle-Grade book ever. Adding in a healthy dose of foodie fiction didn’t hurt matters and I can’t wait to see what Gladys cooks up next!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

July 8, 2014 Bonnie Book Tour, Giveaways, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 6 Comments

Today is my stop on the All Four Stars tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! My review has already gone up for the book and if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you must know that I adored it. It was incredibly fun and definitely a great fit for foodie fiction fans! Below is a delectable excerpt from the book showing Gladys hands on in the kitchen with her neighbor after her parents grounded her from the kitchen. She’s making a delicious dessert for the popular girl at school that she’s not quite friends with in an attempt to win her over.

“There is one dessert I like to make that’s pretty fast, because it doesn’t require baking. Does your friend like nuts?”

“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “She definitely does!”

“Well, then, let’s give this a try!”

Gleefully, Gladys followed Mrs. Anderson into the kitchen. Mrs. Anderson pulled out a battered brown volume called Street (and Dirt Road) Foods of the Malay Peninsula from her cookbookcase and passed it to Gladys.

“The recipe’s on page twenty-seven,” Mrs. Anderson told her. She was already pulling ingredients out of the cupboard–flour, sugar, peanuts. “What do you think?”

Gladys turned to the page and found a picture of what looked like a pancake folded in half over some kind of filling. It might be risky to serve Charissa an exotic foreign dessert–Gladys had been thinking more along the lines of brownies or cupcakes. Then again, Charissa did just buy a pound of baklava. The heading for the recipe said Apam Balik, which small letters underneath translated as Malaysian Peanut Pancake. That might not be so bad.

“Trust me, if she likes nuts, she’ll love this,” Mrs. Anderson said, lifting the book out of Gladys’s hands and propping it open against the toaster. “Now, we start by mixing a simple batter. Have you ever used a whisk?”

“Um…” Gladys wasn’t sure how much of her cooking experience she wanted to reveal to Sandy’s mom. “Once or twice,” she said finally.

The next few minutes found Gladys whisking eggs, water, milk, and oil together in a large bowl, then adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Every time she caught Mrs. Anderson looking at her, she tried to mess up a little–hold the whisk at the wrong angle, or change direction midwhip so the batter slopped over the side of the bowl. “Oops,” she said, hoping Mrs. Anderson was buying the amateur act. So far, it seemed to be working; twice Mrs. Anderson left her peanuts on the cutting board to come over and help Gladys get her technique right.

When the batter was ready, Mrs. Anderson heated a frying pan on the stovetop and splashed a little oil inside so the pancakes wouldn’t stick.

“Ready?” she said, passing Gladys a ladle.

“Ready!” Gladys answered, and gently ladled a scoop of batter into the pan. It felt great to be cooking again.

“Wow, you really have a knack for this,” Mrs. Anderson gushed. “It took me years to make perfect circles like that.”

Fudge, Gladys thought. She would make the next one less perfect.

Mrs. Anderson continued to talk as the pancake cooked. “This was my favorite snack when I traveled in Malaysia,” she said.

“Wow, you’ve actually been to Malaysia?” Gladys said.

“Oh, yes, I backpacked all around Asia before Sandy was born,” she said. “But I spent the most time in India, studying yoga.”

India! Ever since Gladys had eaten at the Singhs’ house, she’d dreamed of traveling there. She had about a hundred questions to ask, but just then Mrs. Anderson handed her a spatula and said, “Okay, I think it’s time to check whether the bottom’s finished cooking.” She winked. “I bet you know what to do.”

The bottom of the pancake was a lovely golden brown, so Mrs. Anderson dropped some bits of butter across the surface and spread a thick layer o peanuts and sugar on top. She instructed Gladys to fold the pancake in half with the spatula and press on it.

“Done!” Mrs. Anderson cried,” and Gladys lifted the finished pancake onto a waiting plate.

While she ladled more batter into the pan (in a much-less-perfectly-round shape this time), Mrs. Anderson sliced up the first pancake. “We’d better do a taste test,” she said. One of the most important rules about cooking is that you never want to serve something you haven’t tasted yourself.” She popped a strip of pancake into her mouth. “Plus,” she said while chewing, “it’s no fun to make something yummy if you don’t get to eat it, too!”

Gladys tasted the pancake and thought it was delicious–the perfect combination of fluffy and crunchy, sweet and savory. But would Charissa like it?

{GoodreadsAmazonB&NThe Book Depository}

Talk about delicious sounding, right? I had never heard of this dessert before but sounds easy enough that I may have to give it a try myself! I found a blogger online that has a fabulous step-by-step instruction for doing just that.


Photo credit: Echo’s Kitchen

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Be sure to check out the other fun stops on the All Four Stars Blog Tour!

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             Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace’s Book Blog
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Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman

July 4, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 5 Comments

I received this book free from Book Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara DairmanAll Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on July 10th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Foodie Fiction, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Stars of Summer

four-stars

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?

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

‘Gladys took a bite of her brownie, and 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.’

Gladys Gatsby is a sixth grader that loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen. From entrées to pastries, she loves cooking anything and everything. During her latest kitchen experiment involving crème brûlée and a blowtorch, her family’s kitchen curtains went up in smoke and her family finally put a stop to her kitchen shenanigans. When she enters a writing contest in school, her entry ends up in the hands of the Dining Editor at a prestigious New York newspaper and she’s offered a job as a food critic. Keeping it a secret from her family while still completing her assignment is starting to seem to Gladys like an impossibility.

‘…tender duck breast swimming in a lake of tea-infused gravy, with a side of slender asparagus stalks dipping their tips in at the shore.’

Readers will fall in love with precocious Gladys. Her parents prefer take out, rarely using their kitchen, so Gladys never knew what good food truly tasted like. Her eyes were opened to good food when her Aunt Lydia, visiting from France, took her into the city to show her what a real restaurant is. From that point on, she started keeping track of her food experiences (including the bad ones) in a journal. The descriptions of her family’s attempts at cooking were hilarious and cringe-worthy but her descriptions of her more positive food experiences will have you salivating.

‘Their flavors will send your taste buds on a trip around the world: the Moroccan cake features pistachio and cardamom, the Chinese cake has green tea and sesame seeds, and the Belgian cake has chocolate and… well, more chocolate.’

All Four Stars was completely worth all four stars. This endearing middle-grade story will have your taste buds dancing. Much of the story is spent on Gladys’ use of subterfuge in keeping her parents from finding that she’s still cooking (sans blowtorch) but the rest of the pages are full of delectable descriptions of delicious foods that will have you reaching for something tasty to munch on so having something on hand may be wise.

Stop by this Tuesday for my stop on the All Four Stars blog tour! I’ll have a tasty excerpt for you to revel in. 🙂

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