Jennifer Douglas is a literary publicist who believes in the right of equality for all authors. With a vision of a world where positivity is the norm and negativity is long forgotten Jennifer works alongside authors creating a marketing and publicity plan that meets the needs of the individual.

With years of experience in publicity, public relations and the marketing industry, which includes working with Allen and Unwin and Palmer Higgs Publishing, Jennifer has become a well sort after reviewer. To work with Jennifer is to know you are working with someone who will not hold back on being open and honest about your book and its marketing possibilities.

Having undertaken many courses in writing and poetry over the years Jennifer has a vast knowledge in the field of writing and reviewing, being able to provide an efficient, effective and professional service. As a qualified Early Childhood Educator and a home educating mum with over 16 years experience, she has a passion for quality children's books and educational resources.

Having spent 6 years as the founder and managing editor of two magazines, Good Gabble and Rattling Reviews, Jennifer has an eye for marketing and sales, knowing what the consumer is looking for and how to reach them. She works individually with each client meeting their needs and the needs of their product. She has many years experience in critiquing websites, placing herself in the shoes of the consumer who is browsing. Many clients return time and time again knowing they will be receiving an honest, open and non judgmental review or critique. Jennifer prides herself on providing a friendly, non threatening and personal service. Her clients are able to contact her personally throughout the whole review process.

For further information on the services Jennifer offers please visit her website www.jenniferdouglasliterarypublicist.com. This blog is a review base only.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tucker's Natural Crackers

“Thumbs Up For Mr Tucker”

Fresh, wholesome, full of flavour and crunchy are all words that flew across the Rattling Reviews table as we discussed our experiences of trying Tucker’s Natural. From children to adults all were impressed with the gourmet and multi fibre cracker range, feeling that is was a snack or treat that was soft on the palette and

Tucker’s Natural is a product of the Tucker family who have had over 30 years combined experience in the industry. Made in Australia their Natural Gourmet Cracker, Dessert Biscuit and Multi Fibre Snack ranges are 100% natural, handmade, yeast and preservative free. Sourcing only the freshest and finest local raw
ingredients the Tucker’s provide biscuits that are wholesome and flavoursome right down to the very last bite.

We tested our taste buds on the Capsicum & Feta, Tomato & Basil, Four Cheese & Chives, Caramelised Onion, Caramelised Onion & Cheddar and Rosemary & Rock Salt. These were tried with various different dips to suit the individual tastes. The shape and size of the crackers left an impression on our testers allowing for easy grasping and dipping. Those testers who were parents were especially impressed with the elongated biscuits as the thick bottom and thinner top allowed little hands to hold and suck the biscuit without dropping. They also felt confident in providing these biscuits to their children knowing they were providing a healthy snack alternative. For myself personally the fact that these biscuits are yeast free was a huge winner. Being allergic to yeast I know of the hardship caused by trying to find a suitable product that can be eaten by yourself yet served to guests whilst providing taste and appeal in appearance.

From biscuit to packaging we salute you Mr Tucker. With a clear viewing window and descriptive easy to read labeling Tucker’s Natural presents nicely on the shelf and is easy to find. The biscuits are packaged inside a clear plastic dish that is then wrapped in plastic seal to keep them fresh. The outer box is sturdy, coping well with transportation from shop to home. Upon arrival at our office all our biscuit packages still presented as new with no crumpling of the packaging or product. Tucker’s Natural provide clear information on what you, the consumer, are purchasing. We found they provided all that they claimed.

The saddest moment for us when doing this review was when we found that Tucker’s Natural could not be purchased in our local area Before realising this all reviewers where eager to make Tucker’s Natural a regular item in their shopping trolley with staff voting that Tucker’s Natural become a regular member of our weekly meetings. Our enthusiasm for trying the dessert range was soon flattened when we realised this would not be.

Then along came Sam Tucker announcing a solution to our problem.

“We will be selling our entire range direct online by the end of July at www.tuckersnatural.com.au,” says Sam “Our products are available in supermarkets and leading gourmet producers across Australia - if they are not in your local retailer please demand that they stock them”

Tucker’s Natural products can be mainly found in Foodland and IGA stores, with some independent stores becoming stockists. We would love to see all chains of grocery stores Australia wide supporting Tucker’s Natural. To Support Tucker’s Natural is not only to support a product that provides a healthy cracker alternative but is to also support the Ausbuy and Australian made logo.

Source more information on the Tucker’s Natural and buy direct by visiting www.tuckersnatural.com.au

review: Jennifer Deaves

Finlee & Me

* As published in August 2011 Rattling Reviews magazine

Based in Brisbane Australia Finlee &Me strive to “ source and provide lovely, useful things for both kids and mum's.

Finlee & Me is the brainchild of Angela, mother to Finlee. As a mother she fully understands the need for quality products that make mothering more pleasurable and invite exploration and development in our children. Sourcing products from both Australia and overseas Angela is able to meet the demands of the busy parent. Finlee & Me is a site that is inviting and welcoming, using a blend of natural and soft pastel colours that leave one feeling serene and relaxed, a place that as parents we often find hard to be.

We found browsing Finlee & Me pleasurable and easy. The layout is gentle on the eyes and easy to navigate. All required information is easy to access with clear terms and conditions and shipping details. Shipping worldwide, Angela provides clear payment details and shipping costs by weight.

The range of products at Finlee & Me is diverse, meeting the needs of parents with children ranging from birth to pre-school. For the parent on the go there is the backpack and lunch bag collection with clothes, blankets and snuggles to keep the little one comfortable. When bathtime comes around Finlee & Me have it covered with their range of baby care products and bathtime fun collection. When feeding a bib from the Bumbkins range will have your little one wowing all with their style. I was impressed to see an organic range of product and muslin swaddling wraps that provided colour and flare.

As a mother of a pre-schooler and a qualified child care worker I am aware of the importance of safe products for the under 5. I found Finlee & Me take the guess work and safety concern out of the quota when choosing a product, laying their stock out online for easy selection,with clear photographs and explanation.

Overall the quality of all the products we tested from Finlee & Me were found to be of highest standard and when put to the test by little ones met their often harsh yet loving treatment without failing. We can proudly say that we would recommend Finlee & Me as the place to go for your next online shopping trip. When you shop at Finlee & Me you know you are purchasing products that have been chosen with love, care and passion for the safety of your little treasure.

Mimi Organic Teething Rattle - Toys, Toys, Toys! Kids just love them but parents often stress about them. Finlee & Me have it covered, from the baby rattle to the early learning, the stay at home and the on the go, even the cuddly toy is not forgotten. What impressed me the most with the range of toys was the environmental consideration, vibrant colours and consideration of safety in design. We test ran the Mimi organic teething rattle and although at first I found the face a little daunting, having what could be seen as only one eye with a cross as the other, I soon warmed to the smooth touch of the wooden handle and the soft clear rattle sound. These rattles have a polyfiber filling with a Kool-Aid dyed felt outer. Made of high quality that is sure to last it is good to see that these rattles are hand washable in mild soap, allowing for easy cleaning and sanitising. This rattle collection retails at $17.99 each.

Balloon Ball - My 4 year old loved the balloon ball and even my older ones where in on the fun. We have had balloon balls in our household before but this one from Finlee & Me impressed me due to the expansion size. These material balloon cases are easy to use and provide hours of indoor, safe balloon fun. Simply place the balloon inside the material pouch, blow up and tie on the end. This produces a lightweight, colourful and appealing ball that will have children of all ages squealing. Best of all should the balloon find the mouth of your little one there is no pop and no small balloon pieces for choking. Cleaning is a breeze as the pouch is fully machine washable. Retailing at only $14.95 these are great placed into the cupboard with a bag of balloons for a rainy day or when visitors kids pop over. With a great range of colours and patterns there is sure to be one that appeals to all.

DIY Family Kit - Arts and crafts is something that all children love to get into. At Finlee & Me there is a diverse selection of items to keep all ages amused. From colouring with crayons, painting at home and art on the go Finlee And Me have it covered. We did a test run on the DIY Family Kit which allowed the whole family to get involved and create a little bit of themselves. This kit includes all one needs for creative fun - 7 blank dolls, 6 paint colours, top coat, 2 brushes, sandpaper and an instruction booklet, all presented in a natural material pouch. Smooth to touch and of different sizes to meet the fine motor abilities of the individual child these wooden figurines are very impressive. As a homeschooling family, who engages in daily activities that must meet the needs of a vast age range, this activity was a blessing as it could be expanded to meet age differences.

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag - Well what can one say about the Dabbawalla lunch bag but Wow! Even the teenagers were impressed and commented on its attractive cute appearance. We found these lunch bags to be of high quality with strong stitching and a quality zipper. They are of a good size that expand nicely when packing and provide two inside pockets and one outer pocket for those little bits and piece. The animal character presentation adds appeal to the younger audience and pazzaz for the older. Inspired by the legendary system of dabbawallas delivering homemade lunch to thousands of office workers in India these bags are fun, versatile and practical as a tote for lunch, snacks, toys or a change of clothes. Dabbawalla lunch bags are made from soft eco-sponge, an innovative neoprene-like fabric that has earned the rigorous Oeko-Tex 100 standard of safety in textiles, an ecological certification process that tests for over 100 harmful substances. The fabric is stain resistant and insulated to help retain food temperatures. These bags are machine washable in cold water. Retailing at $29.95 they offer quality for their money and will impress any child.
Finlee & Me can be found at www.finleeandme.com.au

Dick Smith's Population Crisis. The dangers of unsustainable growth for Australia.

* As published in the September 2011 issue Good Gabble

“We need to aspire to a world where every child is wanted and cherished, and can be well nourished and raised with a decent standard of living; where each one is created by choice, not by accident or coercion or because of a man's power over a woman” ~ Dick Smith.

In his book Population Crisis, The dangers of unsustainable growth in Australia, Dick Smith tackles the debate of Australia and global population growth. Using statistics, facts, figures, studies and good old fashion commons sense Dick Smith weaves his knowledge and lifetime experiences into a journey that opens your eyes and questions the future of our world.

“In 2011 the world's population exceeded 7 billion. Each year we add nearly 80 million people and by mid-century we will require twice as much food and double the energy we use today. Australia will be deeply affected by these trends - we have the fastest growing population of any developed nation. These are the staggering facts that confronted Dick Smith. They set him on his crusade to alert us to the dangers of unsustainable growth. They are the facts that have convinced him that if we are to ensure the survival of our civilisation and the health of the planet then we must put a stop to population growth, now.

As our cities continue their unrestrained growth, as we battle daily on crowded public transport and clogged freeways, and as we confront the reality of water and power shortages, Dick challenges the long-held myth that growth is good for us. But more importantly he offers ways for us to re-invent our economy, to reassess the way we live and to at least slow down that ticking clock. This is a provocative, powerful and urgent call to arms.”

I started this book not knowing what to think and without having formed an opinion. When I first heard the book was being published I was interested but promised myself I would not get caught up in media hype and controversy until I had read the book and been allowed to form my own opinion. Would Dick Smith be able to maintain my interest long enough to have me consider his options and make changes?

Dick Smith you have achieved. I loved this book. From the opening introduction to the final page it flows beautifully, filling the readers mind with not only Australian knowledge but world wide statistics and facts. Dick Smith makes points that are valid and true. He shows he is a man with compassion and good will for the future of not only his own grandchildren but children world wide. Yeah but he has money I hear you murmur. Dick acknowledges this in his book and confesses to his over consumption of goods and services. He accepts we are all human and acknowledges the division between rich and poor and the huge difference between the resources used by rich and poor nations. He discusses his current contribution to the world and his willingness to continuing to contribute. He challenges others who are wealthy to join him.

I loved the humbleness to this book. The recognition of all of us being equal and the support and respect of basic human rights for all regardless of race, religion or sex. Dick Smith is a true gentleman, who, through this book Population Crisis, has gained a new respect from myself. He is compassionate and respectful to others and their opinions whilst questioning their reasons, providing thought and consideration.

Before reading this book I briefly remember hearing mention in mainstream media of Dick's support for Australia bringing in a one child policy, this I did not find to be true within the book.

“ Personally, I do not support coercive control of population, such as China's one-child policy. I support giving women the freedom to control their own fertility; I know they will make the correct decisions, and eventually even men will come to see that family planning makes sense,” says Dick Smith.

He continues to write: “ Nothing in the population trends gives us reason to be relaxed. The question is not whether the world's population stops expanding but what will cause it – women having fewer children by choice, or a series of catastrophes that mean there are fewer women to have any children at all.”

In Population Crisis Dick Smith strikes a balance, leaving no issue unturned. His outlook on the way society views and treats our elderly is one that has been close to my heart for some time. It is about time that we, as humans, embraced our elderly for what they have still got to offer and what they have offered instead of seeing them as a burden on our society who, due to age, do not contribute.

“ We would be much better off finding ways to benefit from the wisdom and experience of older Australians, encouraging them to contribute their knowledge across business, community groups and voluntary organisations. There are a huge number of baby boomers due to retire in the coming decade or so, yet labour laws, insurance requirements and public attitudes do little to encourage their potential contribution. We vastly underestimate the contributions made by older Australians and treat them as a problem to be solved rather than a resource we can all benefit from, “ writes Dick Smith.

Whilst writing this book Dick Smith spent much time with many influential people, listening to their opinion whilst basing his own, collecting studies and weighing possibilities.

“In this case I have sought opinions from some of the smartest people in the world, and have benefited from the wisdom of those who in many cases have spent their professional lifetime investigating complex subjects,"  writes Dick Smith. “ All I can add is a small measure of commonsense and a dose of scepticism.”

At times he is opinionated but never naive. He is open and honest and knows that he has opened himself to judgment and controversy but he is realistic. Like all of us Dick Smith is a family man first and foremost and his love for his family shines through in this book. It is for the future of his grandchildren that he felt the need to speak out and voice his opinion in the hope that all would listen.

It is not very often that I am completely and utterly passionate about a message in a book but within Population Crisis I have found this. This is a book that should be a compulsory read by all, especially our politicians who have the power to make a change on our behalf. If you care about your children and their future, the future of their children and the future of our planet then I urge you to read Population Crisis, The dangers of unsustainable growth for Australia and find out what we, as a nation, can do to help.

Dick Smith has inspired me to make changes and left me wanting to read this book over and over, absorbing every word until I know I have got it right. He has definitely left a subject of passion in my heart as I source the further readings suggested in the back of the book.

“ For all my wealth, my aeroplanes and helicopters, I am never happier than when bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, or camping on some wonderful outback riverbank. Of course there is nothing wrong in aspiring to a better quality of life, but ask yourself how many of the modern-day gadgets we accumulate really bring us much lasting pleasure. Family, friends, community, good health and a sense of purpose remain the foundations of happiness, just as they always have. Our addiction to growth often takes us further and further away from these basics” ~ Dick Smith.

Published by: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 978 – 1 – 74237 – 657 - 8

review: Jennifer Deaves

The Power Of Good - Mark McCrindle

* As published in August 2011 issue of Good Gabble.

"This book provides many examples of the power of doing good works, the betterment conferred in so many different ways and, on occassions, leading to the saving of lives." ~ Tim Fischer AC - Former Deputy Prime Minister

“Seventy short, heart-warming stories of acts of kindness by strangers with contributions by prominent Australians, including comedian Jean Kittson, writer Peter FitzSimons, news presenter Tracey Spicer, Youth Off the Streets' Father Chris Riley, media personality David Richardson, Wayside Chapel's Reverend Graham Long, politician Pru Goward, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, and many others.”

The Power Of Good by Mark McCrindle provides a quick feel good pick me up, great for reading at times when you need a lift or as a reminder of the good things in life at the end of a tiresome day. The short story content allows the reader to grab a bit of positivity on the run or read from front to back in novel
style. I enjoyed this book but my attempt to read it as a whole left me feeling bored of the content as the stories seemed to become rather flat after reading a few in a row. I would have to recommend the 'grab a short story' reading format.

My initial questioning when reading this book was why it is full of stories by celebrities and people of high society. What about the everyday citizens? Of course this does not take away from the feel good message and recognition of kindness that this book celebrates.

For myself the most interesting part was the first chapter titled The Power Of Good. This chapter opened my eyes to facts and figures on studies done on media reports, random acts of kindness, Aussie character and global positivity.

As the managing director of a magazine that reports on all things positive it was interesting to read that a recent survey done by Australiapeaks.com found the 95% of people agreed that the mainstream media reports more on negative than positive news with 93% feeling that this gave the impression that there was more evil than good in the world. Statistics show that 86% of Australians say they have gone out of their way to help a stranger in need and 6.7 million Australians help a stranger regularly.

Motivation or reason for doing a good deed was also interesting with findings that 59% say they have done something nice for a stranger “just for the sake of being nice”, with 75.4% of those who haven't shown kindness for the sake of it say they would be prepared to should the opportunity arise. Lets hope this book
only encourages these figures to rise.

It is great to see a feel good book that celebrates those that take a little time to show compassion for fellow man and ask for nothing in return. This book is a true celebration of the good of man kind and will surely lift spirits and inspire hope.

The Power Of Good encourages all to leave their stories of good deeds online at www.thepowerofgood.com.au. More information on the book can also be found at this site.

ISBN: 978-1922665226
Published by: Hybrid Publishers

review by: Jennifer Deaves