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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Fifth Shadow, Phoenix by Alison Ashley

Written in the first person narrative, Katie, a twin, takes the reader on a journey back to her past where she meets her former self and delves into the families history. Involving her twin Ally was not something she wanted but became something that had to happen. Is Katie the only one who see’s the shadow? What does it mean? Does her sister Ally share her psychic powers?  Is Grandad really mistaking her for his sister Kathy or can he see the past and present clearly? 

The Fifth Shadow Phoenix is a paranormal novel with twists and turns that keep you spell bound. Aimed at the young adult audience this book really befits itself to all ages. I was hooked within the first few pages. As the first in The Fifth Shadow series I definitely look forward to more. 

Phoenix has it all. Friends, family, personal struggles and a little bit of history thrown in to a world that has you wondering where the next page will lead you.  Alison Ashley writes with a flow that is really hard to explain. She draws you in with each expressive word to the extent that you leave your current surroundings and become at one with the words. At times I forgot it was 2013 as I was taken back to the war in 1944 and travelled with Katie through her past. Alison Ashley definitely knows how to set a scene giving you enough information to take you there but leaving just enough to allow your imagination to fill in the gaps. She has all the markings of a successful author in a young adult market that can be hard to break. 

The ending of this book left me with that unbelievable sinking feeling and with the tears welling up in my eyes. The fifth shadow Phoenix has one of those endings that leaves you gasping and wanting to scream No!  At the last page I was still seeking more, looking for the next book in the series. I wanted to rush to the book store in the hope of finding it sitting on a shelf waiting for me. What I did do was rush to the room of my 15 year old and thrust the book in his face with excitement recommending he read it. 

Within Phoenix Alison Ashley has shown she is a writer who is able to look outside of the box into the world of paranormal activity and that of our presence today being part of our presence in the past. In her author bio at www.thefifthshadow.com she writes

‘Hi, I'm Alison Ashley, author of the Fifth Shadow series of books.

I live in rural Australia where the sky reaches to unknown worlds and where the spirits roam as freely as my imagination. Quite often, entities will gather around my desk eagerly awaiting my stories and sharing their own.

They helped me write Phoenix, the first in the Fifth Shadow series, and are also helping with the subsequent titles.’

The Fifth Shadow, Phoenix sure has something spiritual about it but not in the scary, crazy sense. With each page it carries warmth and love. The cover alone oozes mystery and the unknown world, with the off white pages speaking of old. The content speaks of being written with love, passion and a desire to share a story that allows you to be at one with the author via the character.

The Fifth Shadow is definitely a series that young adults will be talking about both in the school yard and online.

Visit Alison Ashley’s blog :http://alisonashley.wordpress.com/

Purchase a copy from:  www.palmerhiggsbooks.com.au

ISBN: 978-098715050-9

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet Damage - Rebecca James

'I still dream about Anna London’s house.
In my dreams it’s as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn’t the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage...

When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it.'

In Sweet Damage Rebecca James has produced an edge of the seat read. With mystery, suspense and romance this book is sure to have you turning page after page with tension, wonder and need to know. I had to withhold from turning to the back page to see the outcome.

The cover of this book called me. I had other books to read but Sweet Damage kept looking at me. The cover itself speaks suspense and thrill.  The evil, unknown look on the girls face and the questions she portrays had me wanting to pick Sweet Damage up and open the cover. This is a book that has all the callings of that of a best seller.

Rebecca James writes with a passion for words and the ability to take a single sentence and twist it to leave you wanting more. Sweet Damage is full of unexpected drama and thrill. In Tim and Anna you find two main characters that you instantly relate to and understand. So different, yet so alike, Tim and Anna just seem to befit each other. Then there is Fiona and Marcus, helping Anna organize her life after the death of her parents just because they care, or is there a motive behind their friendship. Tim’s friend Lilla is happy for him when he finally moves out of her house into Anna’s house and encourages him to find his own two feet, or is there a sinister plan. Twists, motives and events take place within Sweet Damage when you least expect them leaving you wondering if life is really as we see it.

Sweet Damage is the first Rebecca James novel I have read. With the success of Beautiful Malice I was aware of Rebecca James but never found myself being drawn to her book. Now I am hooked. I loved her style of writing and found I was lost within the first few pages.  Sweet Damage is one of those books that I would read time and time again. It has a sinister habit of staring at me from my bookshelf. I am sure it calls my name.

ISBN: 978-1-74237-301-0

Read a PDF extract and purchase your copy online at www.allenandunwin.com

review: Jennifer Deaves

Friday, April 12, 2013

On the Ropes by Louisa Isaac

A mother and daughter fight back from heartbreak

On the Ropes is the story of Louisa Isaac and her battle through separation and divorce and into single parenthood. Starting on 18th October 2003 and ending 10th January 2005 Louisa tells of her heartache and longing to hold her marriage together and of her journey to the realisation that divorce is inevitable. On the Ropes is an open and honest account of a woman’s struggles with what life has chosen to give her.

I waiver on my thoughts of this book. At first glance I found the cover a little flat and boring in presentation, being brown and lifeless. For me the journey starts with the cover, it sets my mood before I even open the first page. It is what calls me and invites me to pick up the book and read on, On the Ropes lost me in the first instance. The blurb on the back cover lost me in the sense of the size of the font being small and the colour making it difficult to read. I also felt the blurb was too drawn out and lengthy.

I found On the Ropes a little slow at the beginning and kept wondering why Louisa Isaac felt the need to tell the world about her divorce. Written in the context of a memoir to her daughter I tended to feel it was a personal recollection that should have stayed between her and her daughter. The first half of the book seems a little flat and missing that special something that books usually contain to build the readers intrigue and intensity. Louisa writes well, with flow, easy readability and sense, but for myself she lacked the magic that entwines me with the characters. As a woman who herself has gone through divorce, and the loss of a child, I would have liked to have been able to relate to Louisa more and to the situation she had found herself in. Instead I wanted to complete the book so I could move on to the next. But then maybe, unbeknown to myself, Louisa had tapped into something that was familiar and, although I have very much moved on in life, is still raw within.

Books are a personal journey. For Louisa Isaac On the Ropes is her personal journey and with this she has written with her and her daughter in mind, leaving the reader behind. On the Ropes frustrated me. At times Louisa shows too much desperation toward the need to save her marriage. I understood the underlying messages of her love for her husband, although sometimes I questioned if it was just a fear of being alone, but I wanted to yell at her and tell her she was worthy of more than a man who really did not want her or appreciate her or their child. In a sense this is the way that I connected with Louisa and the other characters in the book but it made for tough, stressful reading that at times lead to me wanting to put the book down and walk away.

There are positive messages within On the Ropes. As the story progresses the reader sees a bond and understanding develop between mother and child. The ‘everything will be ok’ unwinds, the realisation that the lessons learnt are those that will not destroy them but help them grow stronger. On the Ropes shows how divorce effects not only those immediately involved but the extended family unit and how by joining together, opening communication and understanding all can get through and out the other side with sanity and emotions intact.

There are the sad moments. The loss of Louisa’s unborn baby at 37 weeks gestation leaves you feeling deflated and a sense of loss for the family. Those who have not experienced the loss of achild will be left wondering how any woman can cope. Those who have lost will understand the emotions Louisa goes through at a time that emotions are already flowing.

On the Ropes left me compassionate to what Louisa Isaac has been through in her life and sad that any woman has to experience it in the first place, but frustrated and annoyed at the same time. I ended the book with the numb ‘it was just a book’ feeling and was more than ready to place it on the shelf and begin another. My recommendation for On the Ropes is give it a go. It is an easy weekend read that will fill in the hours.

I could have sugar coated my review on this book but feel balance and honesty is always best when recommending to others. On the Ropes is not a terrible book, it just did not grab me in the places I like a book too. You only need to look online for many positive reviews about On the Ropes, with others saying they were ‘unable to put the book down’, ‘Louisa weaves her magical story’ and ‘It made me cry, laugh and sometimes both at the same time’. One reader speaks of the book being that of a ‘private matter’ saying that no details are spared. For me I think this was the issue at hand. On the Ropes is written very much as a ‘private matter’ that gave me the feeling of that of airing the dirty laundry. Divorce and the loss of a child is very much a topical issue that affects many in today’s society and should be shared and talked about but the angle used in On the Ropes left me feeling as though I was snooping on someones personal life, their memoir to their daughter. The vast array of online comments shows that there is a uniqueness and individuality in readers that makes it hard for an author to please all, Louisa Isaac has shown she has hit a cord with some.

Above all well done Louisa Isaac for having the courage to share your story. At no time did you belittle or speak poorly of your ex, something many woman would love to do. You showed compassion and a sense of deep love and understanding. If On the Ropes is to help just one person then it has achieved its goal and found it’s place in the crazy world of literature.

ISBN: 978-0-646-57652-7

Available online: www.palmerhiggsbooks.com.au

review: Jennifer Deaves