work, so it's refreshing to be on the other side of things. And there's probably no one better to collaborate with for my first blog tour than Wendy (she's an amazing blogger - bookmark The Midnight Garden if you're looking for great reads), who is also a fellow food lover, and someone I had the pleasure of meeting at ALA recently.
Sometimes, timing is everything. My editorial director at work had an extra All Four Stars ARC from a colleague at Penguin Canada, so she gave it to me to read. Of course I devoured it and was so hungry after reading it. (I then passed the ARC to Steph at kitchen frolic - this is how word of mouth starts!) Later, reading the book blogs I follow, I find out that Wendy is hosting the blog tour. Do I sign up? YES! So here we are ladies and gentlemen.
All Four Stars
Written by Tara Dairman
Hardcover | 288 pages | Ages 8–12
All Four Stars is a fun middle-grade read for those who love food and writing - a combination of two of my favourite things. But wait, there's more! New York City, food review, desserts, grand schemes, and humour are also included.
The story revolves around Gladys Gatsby who has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven. Her fast-food-loving parents have no idea and are filled with horror when they find out. They don't know why recipes never work out for them and don't understand why people would want to cook when they can conveniently get take out. Gladys is cut off from cooking (and her allowance) until she can pay for the damages she's caused in their kitchen.
In attempts to have Gladys become more well-rounded after the kitchen accident, her parents devise a list of things she can do. It was so nice to see Gladys develop and grow in her social and school surroundings, to the point where a school assignment leads her to reviewing for one of the largest newspapers in the world. This is where the fun begins as Gladys figures out a plan to sneak into New York City, eat at the exclusive dessert restaurant, write her review, and keep her dream job a secret.
The book leaves you hungry for more so it's no surprise that there's a sequel in the works!
In honour of All Four Stars, I made some crème brûlée to celebrate. Gladys' troubles begin when she makes crème brûlée at home and loses control of the torch - revealing her secret hobby to her parents. The first time I made a classic crème brûlée, I used a tiny kitchen torch which took it's sweet time to melt the sugar. My dad walked in, took a look, and walked back out. He returned with his propane torch and suggested I use that instead. Much to afraid because it was super powerful, I declined and proceeded with my slow little kitchen torch and got scoffed at by my dad. I thought I would share that since Gladys had the opposite reaction from her dad.
This time, I wanted to try something different and made osmanthus flavoured crème brûlée. I felt that Gladys would have liked that extra ingredient.
Take the small roasting pan with the filled ramekins to your oven and set it on the oven rack. Gently pour hot water into the roasting pan - be careful not to get any into the ramekins! The water should reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the custard is set, it'll still be wobbly in the middle. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan. Set it aside to cool in room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours). When your oven has cooled, carefully take out the roasting pan and pour the water out.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the All Four Stars Blog Tour! There are fantastic posts, excerpts, recipes, and giveaways at each stop.
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 and me!
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
July 7th – 10th: Cuddlebuggery, Great Imaginations, Lone Star on a Lark, Log Cabin Library, The Hiding Spot, Fic Talk, Carina’s Books, Karen Brissette @ GoodReads, Book Jems, Sporadic Reads, and The Social Potato Reviews
Win a copy of All Four Stars!
Thanks to our friends at Putnam, we have 8 finished copies of this lovely book to give away throughout the blog tour. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re excited to read the book! Visit each stop to earn extra points, or you can also tweet, pin, etc. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents aged 18 or older, or 13 or older with parental permission. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway copies are provided by the publisher, and photographs are courtesy of the author.