Tag Archives: putnam

ARC Review – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

13598351Title:  All Four Stars

Author: Tara Dairman

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper–she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

Huge thank you to Razorbill CA/Putnam for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Sometimes you read a book and it just makes you so darn happy. All Four Stars is that book — the one you read that is cute, funny, and with just the right level of spunk. Gladys is adorkable and not your average eleven year old. Let’s face it, not every eleven year out is watching the Food Network and trying to make their own unique creations… unless you’re those kids from MasterChef Junior, than you are just amazing.

But reading this book makes you hungry. This book is also a foodie’s dream because it makes reference to all kinds of high profile ingredients, cooking techniques, recipe substitutions, and I found that completely fascinating as someone who is a nervous cook. G;adys is cheeky and so invested in her hobby and I appreciate her portrayal because she isn’t a child who behaves like an adult, she is very much a kid. I also loved her friendship with Sandy, and who am I kidding/ I just loved Sandy. He’s such a cutie and I loved that he thought Gladdy wanted to cookie his pet bunnies. They have a very sweet friendship, which made me SO HAPPY. There was also so much humour with some of the other characters, and just, this book is FUN.

There was one element in this book I disliked, and that was the portrayal of Gladys’ parents. I found it really odd that they didn’t want to nurture her cooking gifts and feed into her creativity. I disliked that they treated her as though she was abnormal. They just felt unrealistic in sections of the book. Don’t get me wrong, burning curtains, I’d be upset too, but how they handled it? I’m not so sure. Some of how they reacted was justified, other times her parents just felt silly in ways they shouldn’t have. Meanwhile the other adults worked well in the story, I quite loved Mrs. Anderson and Ms. Quincy and loved their positive energy and encouragement.

Other than that one bit, this book is enjoyable and sosososo much fun. It’ll make you hungry, but if you love food and words, you’ll devour this book without much trouble. Check this one out!

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Late to the Party ARC Review – Dreamwood by Heather Mackey

18667913Title:  Dreamwood

Author: Heather Mackey

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Lucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. But upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe.

Determined to find her father (and possibly save Saarthe), Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. As they encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents, and all manner of terrifying creatures, Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwood itself might be the greatest threat of all.

Huge thank you to Razorbill Canada/Putnam for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

Dreamwood is gorgeous, mysterious, and creepy. Just one look at the book’s cover and you get a sense that the world in this novel is beautiful yet deadly. Heather Mackey’s debut about a girl seeking the mystery behind her father’s disappearance and his fascination with the Devil’s wood, is a surprisingly rich and inviting novel to read.

I think what I loved about this novel is how much the mystery sucks you in. Like Lucy, Mackey makes the reader want to discovery the mysteries behind the dreamwood and why people fear its power. Furthermore, she provides minimal hints, only revealing so much at a time. When big reveals in this book happen, more questions generally follow.

I loved how inviting the characters were in this novel, particularly Lucy and Pete. I love how they are developed and the subtleness in there characterization works well here. Also this begins as a boarding school novel (which, I am a sucker for), and develops into so much more. Also the descriptions in this book are so beautifully written that I found myself sighing and rereading parts happily because Mackey made it so easy to feel immersed in this world. Also this book is creepy, has killer trees, ominous vegetation, and to me the descriptions just fed into how vivid this world is.

Dreamwood is a book you read if you want to get lost in a world unlike your own. It’s thoughtful, beautiful, deadly, and it makes you want to follow the path of Lucy and Pete and uncover the larger picture. I really cannot wait to see what Heather Mackey writes next because Dreamwood is fantastic.