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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Teaser!

Book reviews are currently being written on these books. Keep an eye on this page for the reviews.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of the books I have reviewed?

I love to hear from others so please comment.

I Made Lattes for a Love God ~ Wendy Harmer

 'Elly Pickering has a juicy secret. A secret her PR mum won't let her tell anyone because if the kids at Oldcastle High knew that mega-star Jake Blake ( yes, THE Jake Blake, teen sensation and all-round heart-throb) was coming to Oldcastle to film his latest movie, they might just explode with excitement.

Elly is determined to get on set and to get more than a glimpse of her Hollywood crush. But now, thanks to an unfortunate incident involving a car, a huge red handbag and the paparazzi, it looks like Elly has lost a lot more than her opportunity to be close to Hollywood royalty. She's lost her dignity, her job and her best friend. How can she get everything back to normal?'

In I Made Lattes for a Love God Wendy Harmer has included it all. Romance, suspense, humor, reality and the heart-throb, over dramatic world of teenager girls.  Throw in environmental issues and the need to be green, the trials and tribulations of teen friendship and relationships and the use of text talk and you have a book that is sure to be a hit with young females. This is the second YA Novel by  Wendy Harmer following I Lost My Mobile At The Mall, and again we see ourselves on an adventure with Elly Pickering. I Made Lattes for a Love God continues the humorous tone of her previous novel and builds a cult following of a character full of innocence, desires, fun and family. Harmless, realistic reading that allows one to become consumed by the fantasy within.

As a mature adult I must admit that I found I Made Lattes for a Love God a little slow and boring at times but once I rezoned myself into the teenage world I became to understand where Wendy Harmer was taking the plot and the appeal this book would have to the teenager today. As a parent it was nice to see issues of today's society hidden amongst the book, securing it's place in the market. I felt confident that I could hand this book to any young adult knowing that I was providing a safe haven that would encourage  relaxation and reading. 

I Made Lattes for a Love God is about finding yourself in a teenage world. The struggles of acceptance, bullying, friends, dating, love and loneliness, change, family, unity, trust and honesty, all in a non threatening, non challenging environment. In 254 pages Wendy Harmer has achieved creating a journey with Elly Pickering that will leave thought, inspiration and meaning within the reader.

Above all I Made Lattes for a Love God is easy to follow, well written and very Australian. The characters are easy to relate to and realistic. After all aren't all parents embarrassing? Don't all dads have daggy jokes?  A recommended and enjoyable read for any YA novel fan.

Review: Jennifer Deaves

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cool Dogs

They say dogs are man's best friend so this Christmas why not treat your best friend to a gift from cooldogs.com.au.  Nominated for the dog retailer award 2012, they are sure to have all your dogs needs covered.

With a continuous turnover of new and unique products Cool Dogs is an online store that you will return to time and time again. We found their range of products to be vast, covering the health and hygiene of your dog to the leisure and comfort. They have also thought of you, the owner, and your need for products that make your life with your furry friend that little bit easier. There is the car seat covers, saving you time with cleaning or the dog stickers announcing your love for your pooch. Trying to train your dog?  Pop on over to Cool Dogs and check out their range of dog training solutions.

Cool Dogs realise that you want your time with your dog to be enjoyable and that dogs also like a little fun in their lives. With this in mind they provide a large range of dog toys, from plush toys to ropes and  freezable toys for cool summer fun.

After playing with your dog on a warm day it is important to give them somewhere cool to lay and recuperate. We trial ran the pet cooling mat which is perfect for just this situation. Filled with polyurethane foam filler/CMC/polymer absorber this vinyl mat does not need filling with water nor does it need electricity. The weight of your dog is all that is needed. The gel in the mat absorbs the pets body heat sending it out into the environment. Made of vinyl the mat is easy to clean, with a simple wipe of a damp cloth. We did find that it was more appealing to our dogs with thin material thrown over the top as they were not keen on the vinyl feel, with the material giving it the familiarity of their dog blanket. This did not seem to take away from the cooling effect. Although we used this mat in a home environment it would also be  ideal used in the car to keep your dog cool on a long trip or when out and about visiting. The mat folds well making it very portable. The one size fits all, L90 x W50 x H 1 cm, makes this mat suitable for most breeds of dogs. We trial ran ours on a poodle and a labrador and it was a perfect size for both. One concern we did have was that it is slippery if stepped on by a human and can be quiet dangerous. It needs to be placed where it is out of the way of human traffic and especially where there is no risk of children or the elderly walking on it.

Why not buy a cool mat and place it in your car on a pet car seat cover? We trial ran two covers, the exclusive seat cover and the general cover. The main difference in the two was that the exclusive seat cover is a cubicle shaped seat cover that protects the sides of your car. A great idea for the dog who loves to hang out the window. One disadvantage we did find with the exclusive cover was there was no way to secure your dog to your car seat belt once the mat was placed on the seat as it covered the seat belts. The general cover allowed for this with velcro spacing holes for the seatbelt/harness. With it being law in most states of Australia that your dog be belted in this was definitely a benefit with the general cover.

Both covers were easy to install, clipping to your car seat head rests, fastening to prevent them from bundling up and moving around. Both covers are waterproof and easy to wipe clean. We included our dogs mats over the cover to allow for comfort. This did not take away from the protect the mats gave to our car. Hooks in our station wagon allowed us to use the exclusive cover over the back, keeping our car clean and allowing us to accommodate both the kids and our furry friends.

All products we tested from Cool Dogs were found to be of high quality and value for money. They were packaged and shipped professionally and on time. They were all as pictured or described on the site, with any questions we had being answered efficiently.

Looking for a party outfit for your beloved companion during this Christmas festive season. Cooldogs.com.au have a great range of hats, fancy collars and outfits that will have everyone admiring your pooch. Why not place a Christmas stocking for your pet under your tree this year?

Check out the great range and specials on offer at www.cooldogs.com.au

Constant Motion - Mikey Wax

Mikey Wax, a pianist, guitarist and singer/songwriter from Long Island New York, is making his mark on the music industry and shows no sign of slowing down. In September this year his album Constant Motion turned 1 year old. With his song, Counting On You, recently featuring on final episodes of So You Think You Can Dance in America and now being used for the trailer of the movie 'Playing For Keeps' starring Gerrard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid & Catherine Zeta-Jones, which has a release date of December 7 in America, the sounds of Mikey Wax are only growing. 

The first time I heard of Mikey Wax was when I saw a post by him on a forum I am a member of, this announcing the use of his song on So You Think You Can Dance. I jumped on line. I had a listen. Liking what I initially heard  I became curious about this artist that is virtually unknown in Australia. Over a month later the album Constant Motion is on my list of one of the most played albums.

Mikey's 'boy next door' image carries through into his pop/rock music. At times rugged and unshaven, Mikey Wax has an appeal that speaks sophistication and style. His music has the ability to make all in the room sway, dance and sing. Easy listening, toe tapping yet boppy, the music of Mikey Wax has a soulful relaxing sound, with lyrics that speak of life and love. Constant Motion is a befitting title for this album, with your body moving in constant motion and your mind traveling with the lyrics.

When Constant Motion landed in my letterbox even my 19 year old was intrigued. “Who is this man?” was her initial comment with “ I must go and find out more” following as she left the room to google this half a face that touched her heart with his sexy demeanour. All this before she had heard the music.

The cover of Constant Motion has that mysterious effect on you. With it's modern layout of simplicity it leaves you wanting to hear what it is all about. The cover opens itself to discussion and an individual perspective on what it is portraying and what is meant by Constant Motion, leading to the music that opens further thought.

Constant Motion is the third album for Mikey Wax. His first album  “Change again”  was released in 2008, ranking on the iTunes top 100 pop albums in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. This was followed in April 2010 by "The Traveler" which received over 10,000 downloads and contributed to Mikey now hosting over 100,000 fans combined via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube. Constant Motion has since been followed with the release of the holiday album “ And A Happy New Year” on 6th  November.

At only 26 years of age Mikey Wax has a bright music future ahead of him. With a growing fan base and popular sound the name of Mikey Wax will soon be one frequently spoken worldwide in the music industry.

Listen to Mikey Wax at www.mikeywax.com

Join him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikeywax?ref=ts&fref=ts

                    Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeyWax

view and listen on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MikeyWaxMusic?feature=watch
All of Mikey's albums can be found on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/mikey-wax/id295368889

Early Start First Dough

* As published in Rattling Reviews November 2012

Early Start First Dough is designed with the little one in mind. Suitable for children 2-4 years it is non toxic,  organic and vegetable based,  allowing for  safe use at an age where the mouth is often used as a major source of exploring. Made by Micador this dough is 100% Australian owned and designed. We reviewed a tub that consisted of 4 x 125gm pastel colours of dough which were all packed in individual bags. We found this, and the fact that the tub is airtight, a great benefit for storage.

We loved the texture of this dough. It is soft and easily pliable. It does not stick to the hands like some doughs but leaves them feeling moisturized. Although organic it does still have the plastic smell to it but we felt this did not take away from the soft feel that is carried through to the pastel colours. This is definitely an appealing looking and feeling dough.

Used time and time again Early Start First Dough lived up to the expectations of lasting. We did find it stuck to the table slightly and felt a need to keep it clear of any carpets, but did not find that this sticking meant we lost much of the product each use. We did not store our dough in the fridge, choosing instead to place it back in the individual plastic bags and then in the airtight container. We found it stored wonderfully and a month later was still as soft and pliable as day one.

Used alone or teamed up with dough utensils Early Start First Dough is a great safe introduction to dough for your little one, providing many hours of developmental learning. Strengthening fingers and hands, playdough helps children develop fine motor skills which leads to the development of  muscles used for early writing and scissor use. When interacting with your child there is the development of co operation, communication skills,  colour recognition and maths concepts. With playdough being an activity of relaxation it offers the opportunity as a stress reliever during tired or uncontrollable moments, and what toddler doesn't have these .

Early Start First Dough
is very versatile, lending itself to all age groups. We found the older children, and adults, enjoyed this dough just as much as the 2-4 year age range. This allowed peer interaction and role modeling. Our team of  various aged reviewers squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, scored, raked, punched, poked and shredded this dough time and time again providing hours of discussion, fun and learning experiences. Early Start First Dough lent itself to hours of investigative play and endless opportunities. For our younger audience the joy of touching was often enough with our older audience engaging in a wide range of curriculum activities which included language, maths, and science exploration.

Discovery, exploration and hands on experiences play a vital role in the development and learning of our children. Not only does Early Start First Dough open itself to all areas of development and learning but provides fun experiences and memories that lead to a life long love of learning.

Early Start First Dough
is available online from Modern Teaching Aids,the Online Teaching Resource Superstore,where the teachers shop for teaching resources.  Visit them today for over 10,000 teaching resources covering the areas of Babies & Toddlers, Art & Craft, Maths, English,Science,Explore & Discover, Play and Music & Dance. www.teaching.com.au

Because I Love You by Barbara Toner

' What daughter doesn't need advice? What mother can't give it? Whether she's 18 or 81 a daughter can always benefit from a second opinion on the condition of her soul, her heart, her head, her hair, her cleavage. Also her loves, her hates, her dreams, her debts, her teeth and sexting. No second opinion will be more valuable that her mother's because it will be offered with love tempered by wisdom and in the certain knowledge that without it this daughter will end her days on the streets, in the gutter, with spoilt children, gum diseas and bosom droop.

Barbara Toner acknowledges the universal truth that advice should only ever be offered if sought. She's chosen to ignore it, as any self-respecting mother should, in this heartfelt address to her own three daughters. The result is an indispensable guide to be shared by mothers and daughters of all ages everywhere.'

Because I love you is a beautifully presented hard covered book that has a feminine gentle look about it that is modern, stylish and sleek. From the shelf it will draw your attention, calling you to open its cover and absorb its words, but that is where it started and ended for me.

It is not very often I am drawn to a book by its cover alone. Usually the title will engross me and the back blurb with keep my interest intact, leading to a love of the book from beginning to end, but with Because I Love You by Barbara Toner I was lost at the first page. As a mother of two daughters I will admit that the title is catchy and the back blurb is enticing, what mother doesn't want to hand a bit of wisdom and advice to their daughter, but I am sorry Barbara I couldn't quiet work out what you were getting at with this book or even the reason it was published.

From the first paragraph I was scratching my head trying to work out whether Barbara Toner was being serious or trying to write a book of humour. I was tempted by page 5 to put the book down and declare I could not read it but continued to the end seeking the answer to my questions of who would read this book? What is the book trying to portray? And Why publish this book?

Don't get me wrong Barbara Toner can write. Her words flow beautifully and the overall content makes sense but I found the advice she gave to be condescending and belittling toward her daughters at times. I soon realised that this was Barbara's dry sense of humour. I did laugh a couple of times and I did agree with Barbara a couple of times in jest but this book is not something I would give to my daughters in order to give them advice. Not sure whether Because I Love You is meant to be read by the mother's or given to the daughters. It mentions that this book is a heartfelt address by Barbara to her three daughters. Maybe one needs to know Barbara and her daughters to fully understand it.

When logging the book into Goodreads.com and giving it three stars I noticed that everyone else who had read it had given it three stars or less as well.

Giving it only two stars Suzanne Landstrom writes “ This is a tongue-in-cheek, dry humor sort-of-book. Light reading - not much depth to it - but okay to pass the time with.”

Because I Love You by Barbara Toner is sure to open itself to a bit of conversation as readers discuss how they felt about it and try to work it out. As an avid reader who loves to explore words and travel the journey of a book of any genre it is not often I can honestly say I wouldn't bother but sorry Barbara Toner Because I Love You has just been placed on my list of books to be read if one really has nothing better.

review: Jennifer Deaves

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Earth Greetings

A visit to earthgreetings.com.au is a visit to nature, where you know all products have stepped lightly on the environment, leaving as little of an impact as possible. All products are created from Australian made paper, being 100% post consumer recycled and 100% earth friendly.

Earth Greetings is the brain child of Heide Hackworth, a Creative Director from Adelaide, South Australia, who decided to try out a creative idea publishing her nature-inspired designs on to greeting cards. This lead to  a vast range of paper products, from gift cards and wrapping paper to stickers, party invitations, notebooks, writing sets and pens.

With Christmas upon us we trial ran a box of  Earth Greeting Christmas Cards. The box consists of 10 blank Christmas cards, 2 of each design, with envelopes. The cards are printed carbon neutral using vegetable based ink which maintains a rustic Australian countryside look with simplicity. The natural brown undertone sets the scene for a soft relaxed card that opens itself to a message of Christmas love. Simple greetings of Joy, Season's Greetings, Peace on Earth, Peace and Season's Tweetings, for a bird based theme, allow a non denomination blessing suitable for all your family and friends. With the envelope being the first thing one see's when they receive their card it is nice to see the recycled message put forward in the initial presentation, with the envelopes being made from brown 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

With an Australian theme of native fauna and flora, Earth Greetings Christmas cards lend themselves nicely to being that of a card to be sent overseas. When you send an Earth Greetings Christmas card you are not only sharing a little piece of nature but are showing the rest of the world that we are environmentally friendly and care.

Earth Greetings not only produce an Australian made, earth friendly product but are donating part of their sales to Trees For Life. For every box of Christmas Cards sold $1.65 goes to Trees For Life, leading to the planting of a tree. To date Earth Greetings have planted 27,000 trees through sales of these cards. Trees For Life grow around 1 million seedlings every year and protect over 3500 hectares of native bushland. Find out more about Trees For Life and how you can help at www.treesforlife.org.au.

Above all we found Earth Greetings Christmas Cards to be beautifully boxed. They are a high quality product that presents nicely. The envelopes are a good size in relation to the card with the card sliding in and out with ease. When purchasing your greeting cards, and other paper products, from Earth Greetings you are shopping with a guilt free conscience, knowing you are caring for mother nature in the best way possible, paying her back for the beauty she provides us daily.

For further details and to find a stockist near you visit: www.earthgreetings.com.au

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Masha by Prep

* As published in Nov 2012 Rattling Reviews Magazine

What!” I hear you saying, “Someone is actually marketing an appliance that mashes potato.” These were the thoughts of those in the office when we first heard of Masha by Prep. We were skeptical so I quickly made contact with Ian at prepstore.com.au. I must admit I became a little excited when he said he would gladly send me a Masha to try, there was a sort of mystery about this product that we could not explain.

What an amazing little unit it is! The box states 'Perfect mashed potatoes or vegetables in seconds' and so right they are. We set about mashing everything we could think of  and with ease and success each time. 'Consistent results with no lumps' they say, and again so right they are. We were amazed at how smooth each product became in such a quick time. The Rotor-Cone technology makes mashing food effortless, with no need for force or strain on the wrist. This product is ideal for the elderly or disabled. It is simple to use with the push of a single button that is perfectly positioned in relation to grip.  The ergonomic design, non-slip handgrip and balanced weight distribution makes the Masha by Prep safe and user friendly.

Better still Masha by Prep is easy to clean. All one need do is turn it off at the power point, remove the mashing head by the simple press of a button, which again requires no pressure, and rinse. The rotor blade can also be remove from the mashing head by simply rotating it anti-clockwise. Reassembly  is as quick and easy as the cleaning process. It is mentioned online that the Masha head and rotor blade are dishwasher safe. We did not test this but feel that this is just another added bonus that makes use even easier. We found this product to be as easy to use and clean as seen on the online video. There   were  found to be no catches, gimmicks or false advertising.

The Masha by Prep is  a perfect unit that took us by surprise. It is important to note here that we made contact with Prep seeking a Masha to review  and were not paid in any way to write this review. Our interest in the Masha lead us to discovering an appliance that is versatile, easy to use and is quickly becoming one of the most used appliances we have.

From mashing potato, pumpkin, carrots, avocado, banana, apple and pear, we ended up with mashed food that the kids loved and adults were amazed by. Making smooth vegetable soup was a breeze. Do you have a baby? Grab a Masha and say goodbye to the store purchased baby food. Starting baby straight onto home cooked healthy meals has never been easier. The Masha eliminates all lumps leaving food a smooth consistency every time, and all in a matter of seconds, leaving you free time to spend with your precious one. Mash a batch and  pop it in the freezer, saving money, time and leaving you with a guilt free conscience, knowing you are feeding baby only the best.

Designed in Australia the Masha by Prep retails at $69.95 and is available online or from Harvey Norman, Myer or Big W. The Masha is a product that is designed to last making it the gift that just keeps on giving.

Find out more online at: www.prepstore.com.au

Masha by Prep  

review: Jennifer Deaves

Photography: Sam Lo Photography