For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stars so sweet by Tara dairman blog tour: Review & series giveaway!

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Joan Bauer meets Ruth Reichl in this charming middle grade foodie series. 

As the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise:  her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.
~ Goodreads

Penguin * B&NAmazon * BAM * Indigo (Canada) * Book Depository

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review:

It’s always so difficult for me to write my reviews for this series. I just want to spin and twirl and say things like It’s delightful! & call it a day. Not because I don’t have a lot of wonderful things to say about the All Four Stars trilogy, because I do. It’s just that once I set each volume down, I’m so happy (& hungry) that I would rather shove the book in everyone’s hand and say READ THIS, rather than try to come up with the words to explain the love that this series inspires.

A quick recap: Gladys is a pint size aspiring chef and part time, secret food critic for the New York Standard. Her parents don’t know – or understand Gladys’ food obsession. The series follows her as she struggles to meet her review obligations, while doing 12 year old things like summer camp, going to a new school and making friends all while finding time to follow her passion – cooking.

The All Four Stars trilogy is mid-grade but don’t let that deter you. This is a series for all ages. Dairman never talks down to the reader and whether you are 8 years old or 80, you will find something that appeals.

Stars So Sweet concludes Gladys Gatsby’s adventures as a secret restaurant food critic. Things have reached a tipping point with Gladys entering 7th grade, her favorite aunt moving in after losing her job in France, trying to handle her first crush and a job offer that she can’t refuse – but also can’t tell her parents about.

I can’t think of a better book to sit down and read with your kids. It opens your eyes to different cultures, foods, languages and is an excellent jumping off point to discuss diversity, responsibility and relationships of all kinds.

And of course there’s the food! Each book has centered around a certain type of food/culture and I have tried to make a recipe inspired by Gladys each time. Stars So Sweet went out with a bang, foodie wise. There’s French food, bake sales (pumpkin bars, brownies, doughnuts!) Cuban, Salvadoran and Peruvian dishes. Then there’s the challenge her neighbor, and best friend, Sandy, takes on to find the ugliest, stinkiest food.

Since I just purchased a rice cooker, I decided to try a traditional Peruvian dessert – rice pudding – Arroz con Leche. The website LimaEasy had a fun guide to Peruvian Desserts and Cakes. I did a combination of their recipe with my basic rice cooker recipe, adding the orange zest and cinnamon stick for flavor. I hope I did Gladys proud with my farewell recipe.




I’m so sad to see her go but also happy she went out on a high note. Perfect end to the perfect series!



tara-dairman-headshotTara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade foodie novel ALL FOUR STARS(Putnam/Penguin) which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and won a 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. THE STARS OF SUMMER followed in 2015, and STARS SO SWEET (7/19/16) completes the series. Tara grew up in New York and holds 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 family. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Win a complete set of all three All four Stars book!
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Courtesy of Penguin (the publisher will be sending the books to you the winner. – US only
Fill out the Rafflecopter form below - I'll email the winner and announce on this post. You have 48 hours to respond.
You can follow the links to the All Four Stars tour here

20 comments:

  1. SOunds good :)
    As for ride pudding...is that like our rice porridge? Hmmm, must google

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    1. Maybe? It has condensed, evaporated milk with spices. I think every country has a version - just with different spices, levels of sweetness.

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  2. This series sounds adorable! I entered :)

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  3. These sound completely cute and delicious. I wish my kids were still MG-aged!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. It's such a fantastic series for all ages. I absolutely adore it.

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  4. Oh, thank you so much, Karen! This post makes my day. And the rice pudding looks DELICIOUS.

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    1. Thank you Tara for letting be part of the tours for the full series and for sharing Gladys & her adventures with us.

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  5. I've never heard of this series before, but it sounds so much fun! Too bad the giveaway is US only :(. I usually enjoy reading books about food so that part sounds like i would enjoy it. And I like a good MG series now and then. I am glad to hear this was a great end to the series. It's so fun when a series end on a high note and wraps things up in a satisfactory way.

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    1. It's definitely MG but so fun to read even without little ones around.

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  6. I think shoving it in the hands of people and telling them to read it is a legit review. I mean that is what I did before I had my blog. LOL I think I still do that. :) I also love that it introduces people to cultures they may not be exposed to before. More important now than ever. :)

    This looks good and so does the arroz con leche. I don't know if I've had the Peruvian version... I'm curious now. :D

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    1. It is??? I should just do a graphic of that - me pushing a book on someone. There's my review lol

      I had only had the indian kind before. This was sweeter.

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  7. Loving the covers of what do indeed sound like truly delicious reads.

    I can so understand your wanting to simply hand the book over and say read this, I frequently find myself wanting to do just this but instead feel I have to justify WHY they should be reading it.

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    1. I can't think of anyone who this series wouldn't appeal to - young or old.

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  8. Thank you for the great review and contest, Karen!!! It sounds soooo cute!

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  9. I love middle grade reads with big hearts, and this series truly sounds so lovely. I remember a few years back when Masterchef was super popular, kids as young as five were reinacting it in the schoolyard where I was working at the time and it was hilarious to see. Kids love to cook and anything that fosters a love of reading is brilliant. Can't wait to grab the series, damn, wish I was in the US. Brilliant review Karen <3

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    1. Gladys is such a cool protagonist. I adore her. She's so passionate & fearless.

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  10. I read the first in the series and loved it!

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