Book-review-2

Jackie Collins Confessions of a Wild Child Book Review

Lucky Santangelo – a name many Jackie Collins fans would know and love. Being the daughter of infamous former gangster Gino Santangelo, Lucky is the fierce heroine of several of Collins’ best-selling novels.

In Confessions of a Wild Child, we are transported back to the wild teenage years of Lucky and learn how she first set out on her rebellious path to success. Lucky is fifteen; smart, sassy and strong-minded, striving to one day follow in her fathers’ footsteps and rule an empire. Her father however has other plans, wanting nothing more than for Lucky to become a lady, get married and settle down. In this prequel and ninth novel in the Lucky Series, we get a glimpse into how Lucky challenged her father and forged her way to independence.

After tragically witnessing her mothers’ death at the age of five, Lucky and her brother Dario spend all of their time at their secluded Bel Air estate. That is until Lucky is sent away to a strict all-girls boarding school. It is here Lucky meets Olympia Stanislopolous and the two become an unstoppable pair, taking you on a crazy ride of fun, friendship and wild nights.

Lucky reveals in her newfound freedom, breaks all the rules and learns the power she holds over boys, love and ultimately, in taking charge of her own life. From sneaking out of boarding school in Switzerland, running away to the South of France and partying it up in Vegas, we share in Luckys’ wild child confessions.

This latest Collins page-turner gives you a deeper insight into Lucky’s character, delving into her innermost thoughts and secrets – including her attraction to an older man, Marco, who works for her father.

Lucky is wild, ambitious, and definitely trouble; far from any ideal sweet and innocent teenager! In Confessions of a Wild Child Jackie Collins does not disappoint – loyal Lucky fans and new readers alike will not be able to put this one down!

Confessions of a Wild Child, by Jackie Collins. Published by Simon & Schuster RRP $29.99

 What are you reading right now?

October 28, 2013

The latest chick lit

The latest chick lit

The Second Assistant
Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare
Pan Macmillan
RRP $19.95

No political science degree could ever prepare Elizabeth Miller has decided to make a life change. From a political science graduate with a job as a congressional intern in Washington, she moves to the world of Hollywood. Her role is second assistant at ‘The Agency’. You may no know their clients yet, but you certainly know who they’re sleeping with! This book examines the outrageous world of Tinseltown and what really goes on. If you loved The Nanny Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada, The Second Assistant is a compulsively readable novel. The authors have cred in Hollywood too – at twenty-three years old Mimi Hare was the director of development for a Hollywood production company, where she worked on such feature films as Jerry Maguire and As Good as It Gets. To be read for amusement not for serious career advice as to how to get ahead in Hollywood. Funny yet very telling at the same time.

RRP $19.95 but only $17.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop


Boy Meets Girl
Meg Cabot
Pan Macmillan
RRP $19.95

Even though Meg Cabot is a New York Times bestseller it is not obviously for this book. Cabot is well known for the historical romances and for penning the popular Princess Diaries series, but in this case she has written about the trials and tribulations of modern day love and life. The book takes the form of a series of emails, phone messages, instant messages, to-do lists and internal memos to tell the story but it quickly wears a little thin. Reminds you of reading through plays in Year 12 cause you had to. This is more of a collection of amusing anecdotes and barbs about corporate life that many of us can relate to, rather than a complete work of fiction. Fun, fluffy and quick is the best way to describe this little story.

RRP $19.95 but only $17.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop


Lucky Stars
Jane Heller
Pan Macmillan
RRP $16.95

Stacey Reiser is another struggling actor that heads for Hollywood to pursue an acting career oh and for another common reason ? to finally cut those apron strings that have tied her to her lovable but meddlesome mother, Helen. But her plan backfires when the widowed Helen sells her house and follows Stacey to tinsel town, invades every aspect of her daughter?s world and drives her crazy. ?If only Mom would get a life,? Stacey wishes after her mother has called for the zillionth time that day to nag her about her clothes, her hair, her lack of a wedding ring. ?If only she?d get a life and stay out of mine.? But how does Stacey handle it when through a strange twist of fate, Helen lands in a television commercial that catapults her to stardom. Now it?s Helen who?s the media darling and Stacey who?s the meddler. Helen then snares what appears to be the catch of the century but Stacey?s mums new beau isn?t what he seems, and it?s up to Stacey to expose his shady past before it’s too late. But it?ll take the acting job of a lifetime to do it, not to mention a whole lot of heart. This is definitely a fun holiday read especially for all of us in crazy mother and daughter relationships. Jane Heller captures the unique relationship that only exists between mothers and daughters and will have you laughing out loud and sending a copy to your mum just for fun!

RRP $16.95 but only $15.26 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop


The Wrong Door
Bunty Avieson
Pan Macmillan
RRP $18.95

It was the talk of the wake. The woman in the red dress. Everyone at the service wondered. Who was that woman? Pete?s dead and Gwennie?s life will never be the same. How could Pete, a young, fit man, leave her now? Their lives together were only just beginning. And pneumonia? It was insane, unthinkable, unbearable. Somehow she struggles through the funeral in a daze, and the mysterious mourner in the tight-fitting red dress barely registers in her consciousness. It?s only later, when spotting a discrepancy in Pete?s tax records, that she begins to wonder. Who was that woman? Clare smoothed the knitted wool dress over her hips. It hugged every curve and she had many, in all the right places. The woman in red is Clare Dalton and she has stumbled into the wrong funeral service. Her brief appearance and signature in the condolence book are all it takes to set in motion a trail of deception, mystery and buried secrets that connects these two strangers in ways they never thought imaginable.

RRP $18.95 but only $17.06 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

June 1, 2004

Book Reviews

Book Reviews

My Sister?s Keeper
Jodi Picoult
Allen and Unwin
RRP $29.95

On the surface, Anna is a normal thirteen-year-old girl. She loves playing sport, talking about boys and hanging out with her older sister, Kate. But what makes her different, is that she was conceived to be a direct DNA match to help fight her sister?s leukemia. From donating blood, to bone marrow, it is a role that she has taken on with unquestioning acceptance. But when her parents start talking about her donating a kidney, Anna demands that her voice should be heard. This book battles with a controversial and relevant issue. How far do you go to save a person?s life? What permanent impact will trying to save the life of one sick child make on the other children in the family? What does it mean to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person? These are the questions you will ask yourself when you read this book. Told through various eyes, you will see all points of view and sample a taste of the dilemma this family goes through. Just one warning ? keep the tissues close by!
RRP $29.95 but only $26.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop


Name Dropping: An Incomplete Memoir
Kate Fitzpatrick
Harper Collins Publishers
RRP $32.95

Kate Fitzpatrick seems to have done everything in life. She?s been an actor on screen and stage, she was a cricket commentator, a Liberal Party speechwriter, a world traveller, journalist. And she?s met some of the most famous and desirable men on earth ? Imran Khan, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Prince Charles to name a few. Ok the last one isn?t desirable but he?s famous? All in all, while reading this book, you can?t help feeling just a little jealous of Kate. And with a title like Name Dropping, you wonder if that?s her intention! But despite all this, it?s entirely fascinating to find out how she managed such a life. She regales us with stories of her life behind the scenes in 18 different countries and how she met personalities such as Germaine Greer, Sam Neill and Brett Whiteley. Even her review is full of namedropping!

May 18, 2004

Revenge of the blondes

Revenge of the blondes

The Dirty Girl?s Joke Book
Karen S. Smith
Carlton Books Limited

Great Jokes About Crap Blokes
Carlton Books Limited

Most girls love a good old dirty joke. Whether it?s to break up a boring afternoon at work, or for your weekly girly breakfast, there?s nothing better than having a cackle at a normally taboo subject. But think about it – most jokes are written for blokes. How many blonde jokes have you heard? Well now we?ve got something to fight back with. The Dirty Girl?s Joke Book and Great Jokes About Crap Blokes are two hilarious books aimed at not just picking on men, but beating them at their own game.


Regular themes in The Dirty Girl?s Joke Book include men?s and women?s different opinions to the same sexual experience, reasons why dogs, cars, bicycles etc… (the list goes on) are better than men and/or sex as well as interesting chapters such as ?shaggy bitch stories? and ?pussy power?. Want an example? “Why is a woman like a TV remote control? Because a man will just sit there pushing buttons randomly until something happens.”

Great Jokes About Crap Blokes isn?t quite as funny as the former but is still a great giggle. It boasts 201 hilarious jokes dedicated to the male species, which, you have to admit, is a rather entertaining subject of ridicule. Just don?t say stuff like this to a naked man and expect him to still be there in the morning: “But it still works – right?” or “Aaah it?s so cute” or even “Does it come with an airpump?”

These books are perfect to give your bestie the next time she breaks up with her bloke. Or you could just use them for your next girlie evening to have a little giggle at your man?s expense. After all those blonde jokes – don?t they deserve it?!

March 30, 2004

February Sexy Reads

February sexy reads
Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop

Sex in the City: The Essential Guide to Dating and Sex for Modern Women
Lisa Sussman
Carlton Books $45.00

This book is not your run of the mill “how to have great sex” it is more like those off the record chats you have with your best girlfriend, you know the ones after a few wines when you really discuss what goes on between the sheets at your place? This book let’s loose about dating, love and sex for single, modern chicks. If you want hints on “how to know if your good in bed” with tips like “There are three essential rules to being good in bed: 1. Enthusiasm, don’t just lie there, moan, giggle, wriggle and beg for more.2. Use lots of spit. 3. Don’t bite his penis (nips, yes; teeth never!) And a whole chapter on the rules of the new modern mating games There is even over 40 pages devoted to the sacred organism! So rush out and buy this book if you feel your sex life needs a little sizzle to it this summer!

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop

How to be a Sex Goddess – Unleash the Power Within
Sarah Tomczak
Macmillan $22.95
“How to be a Sex Goddess” will teach you how to love your body, cultivate your mind, and charm every guy you meet. It will not only change the way others see you, it will change the way you see yourself!
This helpful little book will teach you how to bring out all the characteristics of a classic sex goddess – confidence, grace, strength, humor, charm, loyalty and intelligence. If this all seems a bit much for you, don’t worry this book outlines how it is possible to be all that & more! Think Sophia Loren, Salma Hayek, Audrey Hepburn, Halle Berry and of course Marilyn Monroe, the most glamorous sex goddesses of our time.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop

February 6, 2004

Christmas Book List

Christmas Book List
The Street Guide to Flirting

Andrew Bryant and Michelle Lia Lewis

Allen & Unwin

RRP $19.95

SheSaid Price: $17.96



About the book: We all notice that guy or girl who effortlessly breezes into a room and immediately attracts the attention of every individual there. And they’re not necessarily the best looking, wealthiest or smartest in the crowd. So what’s the secret? This guide shows you how to be the most fabulous flirt.

Perfect for your single girlfriends or someone who needs to learn the subtle art of flirting.

Dead Ringer

Lisa Scottoline

Pan Macmillan

RRP $30.00

SheSaid Price: $27.00



About the book: Lisa Scottoline’s strongest book ever, featuring many of the much loved characters from the wise-cracking all-women Philadelphia law firm of Rosato and Associates. Ace lawyer Bennie Rosato is duelling evil in the form of her own twin sister.

Perfect for anyone who loves a good crime story, and fans of TV crime shows like The Practice and Law and Order.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

Carlotta – I’m not that kind of girl

Carlotta and Prue McSween

Macmillan

RRP $30.00

SheSaid Price: $27.00



About the book: Published to coincide with Carlotta’s 60th birthday, the Balmain-born boy who had Australia’s first sex-change operation and became the legend of the all-male review Les Girls. She is the self-styled “Queen of the Cross”.

Perfect for your friend or colleague who’s smitten with the hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or who loved Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

December 9, 2003

Christmas Book List part 3

Christmas Book List part 3
Life On Air

David Attenborough

Harper Collins

RRP: $21.95

SheSaid Price: $19.76



About the book: David Attenborough tells the stories of the many people and animals he has met and the exotic locations he has visited in his amazing career. After abandoning his career as an administrator of programmes at the BBC in 1973, Attenborough has gone on to become the world’s leading natural history programme maker. This is his story.

Perfect for anyone who’d like to know more about the man who has created such wonderful documentaries as life on earth and The Private Life of Plants.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

Mrs Cook – the real and imagined life of the Captain’s wife

Marele Day

Allen & Unwin

RRP: $21.95

SheSaid Price: $19.76



About the book: While her husband circumnavigated the globe, travelling further than any man had before, in her heart Elizabeth Cook travelled with him, imagining the exotic, the sensory, the strange. Shaped by historical fact, this novel evokes the love and interior worlds of the Cooks.

Perfect for lovers of history and those with an interest in what life would have been life as the missus of our founding father.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

The Xmas Files – the philosophy of Christmas

Stephen Law

Allen & Unwin

RRP: $24.95

SheSaid Price: $22.46



About the book: A philosophical but fun look at the meanings of Christmas myths and rituals, this book asks whether Christmas mean anything anymore. As we stuff ourselves with plumped-up turkeys and gather round the family tree, what real relevance does the festive season have and why do we perpetuate it?

Perfect holiday reading for lovers of something more high-brow, or for those who are perplexed about the nature of this festive season.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

Any She Can Do I Can Do Better

Rachael Oakes-Ash

Random House

RRP: $22.95

SheSaid Price: $20.66

About the book: Have you coveted, envied, admired another woman’s hair, shoes, bag, job, husband, figure or weight this morning? Chances are you’re competitive – not that you’ll admit it. The unspoken truth about women and competition is something previously swept under the carpet like menstruation and masturbation. Rachel Oakes-Ash has the honesty of your best friend with the humour of a stand-up comedian mixed into one hilarious yet very thought-provoking read.

Perfect for you! A great book to get you in the mood for making meaningful New Year’s resolutions…

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

December 3, 2003

Flirting and break-ups books!

Flirting and break-ups – everything you need
The Street Guide To Flirting

By Andrew Bryant & Michelle Lia Lewis

Allen and Unwin

RRP $19.95



If you thought this was a fun little book with a tongue-in-cheek look at the age old skills and techniques of flirting then you will be sadly mistaken. This is a serious book written by two professionals that seriously know how to flirt successfully and use it to get what they want from life. Andrew Bryant is a well-qualified flirting practitioner and runs flirting workshops in Sydney. Michelle has worked in a very successful introduction agency for over ten years so between them these two sure know how to let you in on all the secrets of flirting.

According to The Street Guide to Flirting “A good flirt knows how to make anyone around them feel good and a that’s a powerful skill”. Some key points the book makes is that flirting is not just about dating but it is a skill that can be useful in our everyday life to enhance our communication and to enjoy ourselves. According to The Street Guide to Flirting” – If it isn’t fun, it isn’t flirting!

Test your flirting prowess with quizzes like “So how do you feel about flirting?” or “Are you a looker, listener or feeler?” There are also handy hints on marketing yourself, getting noticed, business and workplace flirting, and not forgetting twenty one ways to body flirt! Buy it for a girlfriend for Christmas and you never know, you might help her meet the love of her life by flirting!



Girlosophy – The Breakup Survival Kit

By Anthea Paul

Allen and Unwin

$22.95

This little book is a must have if you are broken hearted from the loss of a relationship whether that be a physical relationship or friendship. Anthea Paul’s Girlosophy – The Breakup Survival Kit is full of helpful hints, positive affirmations, explanations for why you feel so bad and strategies to help you survive this hurtful time. Chapters include: ‘How to look after yourself’, ‘Clear your head’ and ‘Find forgiveness.’

Anthea Paul’s advice helps you to not only get through a painful breakup but to grow and learn from the experience. Through the use of practical advice and suggestions Anthea Paul guides the reader from the depths of despair to the hope and fulfillment of the future in the quickest amount of time.

If you have tried everything to get a friend out of the clutches of heartbreak and no amount of TLC, wine or Tim-Tams has helped then maybe it is time to give her a copy of this book!


The Between Boyfriends Book

By Cindy Chupack

Allen and Unwin

$29.95

Finally an hilarious self-help book for single chicks, this time from one of the writers of Sex in the City! It’s humorous and has a distinctly SITC feel to it! Warning – you might need to sit down with a glass of wine somewhere quiet to read this red velvet covered little gem, as you may feel the need to laugh out loud whilst reading this book. Cindy Chupack makes single girls laugh at their singledom and realise that the best way to survive dating these days is with a good measure of humour. Smug, paired-off readers can benefit from reading this book too, as they are reminded of how lucky they are not to be out in the jungle of dating again!

Some of our favourites bits:

Sexual Sorbet– The first person you sleep with after a breakup; a palate cleanser to remove the taste of a failed relationship.

‘The Hey Baby’ Weight – The Weight you have to be in order to date again and to have random men on the street call out, ‘Hey Baby…’

Looking for love? Check out Oasis Dating and chat to thousands of single guys. It’s free!

November 4, 2003

Book Review : Charm School

Charm School

Kathy Buchanan

PenguinEver wondered how to let a guy down gently? Or how to get your flatmate to pay their share of the bills? Perhaps you’re wondering what’s the best way to turn down a same sex romp? If you are looking for ways to navigate your way through the minefield that is political correctness in the Naughties, then this is the book for you. This little paperback could save your life – well, your reputation at least!

Charm School is a handbook for the thinking woman who wants to enjoy life, be a good friend, be well liked at work and wants success – all at the same time. Kathy’s offers easy to read, no-nonsense advice with a healthy serving of fun – the book may even have you laughing out loud. (Note to self: Research etiquette of laughing out loud alone). Armed with Kathy’s top tips, you’ll glide effortlessly through the stickiest of situations, her wit and wisdom may even help you avoid blush inducing ‘foot in mouth’ episodes. Reading Charm School might even make you more popular with your peers and more desirable to your mate – well, anything’s worth a try!

Must reads are the chapters including “What to do when you’ve gone so long without a boyfriend people are starting to talk”, and “Do you tell your friend if her boyfriend comes on to you?” as well as helpful hints for the modern women in “Modern manners in high society”.

An essential read for anyone who’s ever known the pain of using the wrong fork in a fancy restaurant. And just in case you were wondering, it’s is bad manners to answer your mobile phone while you are on the toilet.

Buy Charm School from the SheSaid Bookshop and save!

October 22, 2003

Cool for Cats by Jessica Adams

In Cool for Cats aspiring music journalist Linda Tyler lists her top ten life changing songs. What are some of yours?The ten songs that changed Linda Tyler’s life aren’t mine at all. For me, it would be The Power and the Passion by Midnight Oil, which inspired me to get involved with People for Nuclear Disarmament back in the 80s, then Helicopter by XTC which got me into music in the first place, and The Nips Are Getting Bigger by Mental As Anything (they were the first rock band I ever interviewed when I was still at school.) And maybe Parklife by Blur, as it came along when I had been working in the music business for years and was utterly fed up with it – but that song got me straight back in again!

If Cool for Cats were made into a film who could you see playing Linda?

Cool For Cats has only just been published so the film rights have not been sold yet, but my cat Henry is crossing his paws.

Your next Astrology book will be one for the boys, were there any particular challenges in writing a book on Astrology for blokes?

Astrobloke has taken me years to write, which shows what complex little beasties men actually are, but it is nearly done, and Penguin will publish it in 2004. It’s everything I ever learned about men, astrology, life, the universe and everything in 20 years of professional stargazing, and it hopefully answers all those questions that women are always emailing me!

What are three things that have made a positive impression on you in the last month?

Big influences on me at the moment are Holy Cow! by Sarah McDonald, which I am reading for the third time (I am putting a quote on the cover of the English version of the book) and good old Triple J, which I have come back to after several months in London, and am thrilled to find is still the most original and creative radio station in the world.

Buy Cool for Cats by Jessica Adams, from the SheSaid Bookshop – and save 10%

October 14, 2003

Anything She Can Do I Can Do Better

Anything She Can Do I Can Do Better By Rachael Oakes-Ash Random House $22.95 Have you coveted, envied, admired another woman’s hair, shoes, bag, job, husband, figure or weight this morning? Chances are, if you are like the rest of us, you’re competitive. Not that you’ll admit it. The truth about women and competition is a taboo subject, something previously swept under the carpet with other no-go zones like menstruation and masturbation. In Anything she can do I can do better Rachel Oakes-Ash discusses this topic with the honesty of your best friend and the humour of a stand-up comedian, all mixed into one hilarious yet very thought provoking read. If you only one read book this year that makes you think twice about how you conduct yourself (OK, a self help book for bitches!) then this is the one for you. “Friendships between females are the most passionate of love affairs.” Oakes-Ash attempts to prove that competitiveness need not be a negative trait that we should neither hide nor deny its existence. The problem as she sees it lies more in “the way in which competition manifests between women that can cause the destruction of female relationships. Women have yet to realise that they can have conflict between each other without losing their friendship and they have yet to discover how to do that successfully without guilt, without silence, and without gossiping behind each other’s backs”. As Molly Meldrum is so famous for saying “Do yourself a favour” and go out and buy a copy of this book and read it! You will want to give it to all your best girly mates in an attempt to discourage your favourite sport “back stabbing and belittling other chicks”. You may even want to give it to that girl at work who is never happy with what she has, and constantly covets what every other woman in the office has! But be prepared to face some cold hard truths. Oakes-Ash doesn’t hold back on her observations of how malicious, cruel and down right dastardly women can be to each other and themselves.” And the sad thing is – she’s right! We are our own worst enemy! Oakes-Ash aims to get us to examine our own competitiveness and try to discover why we compete with other women and what can we do about it. But the good news is “Competition plus oestrogen need not equal cold-hearted bitch.” In writing this essential book, Rachael Oakes-Ash interviewed prominent women including formidable US gossip columnist Liz Smith, Anita Roddick, Julie Burchill, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Nancy Friday, Cynthia Heimel, Tara Moss, Wendy McCarthy, Ann Sherry, Maggie Alderson, Fiona Horne, Deborah Lee Furness and Miss Australia. And in her inimitable style, she shares their experiences, and her own, as well as theories on female competition. A percentage of profits from this book will be donated to the International Women’s Development Agency (an Australian based charity). Buy this title from the SheSaid bookshop and SAVE 10%

September 30, 2003

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem month

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem month
Dead Ringer by Lisa Scottoline, Pan Macmillan



If you want a read that will keep you up half the night to find out what happens then this is the book for you. Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times best selling author whose novels are filled with strong, intelligent women that work in a struggling all-women law firm Rosato and Associates in Philadelphia.

The central character is wisecracking self depreciating Bennie Rosato who is struggling to prevent her law firm from folding when her evil twin sister Alice Connolly decides to drop into town. Sound far-fetched? The story cleverly evolves around both the personal and professional battles Bennie Rosato and her eclectic bunch of colleagues find themselves in. So while Bennie is trying to save the firm, her evil twin is trying to ruin her and her reputation in a desperate case of sibling rivalry. Talk about dysfunctional families! Really enjoyable read with just enough drama, laughs, mystery and intrigue to keep you interested till the very end and add to that a dash of romance too!

Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson , Random House



This is a story of how a murder in a small Suffolk town casts its shadow over everyone who lives there.

On a Monday night in October in a small seaside town in Suffolk, a woman is brutally murdered. Her name is Lennie and, thinks her best friend Tess, she is not the type to have something happen to her. Something Might Happen is not a murder mystery. There are clues, false trails, detectives, all the paraphernalia of the whodunnit, but Myerson’s concern is with the effect of the murder on an ordinary community and specifically on Tess herself, her husband Mick and her three children. As the police go about their routine investigation, Tess’s world of nappies, Elastoplast and fish fingers begins to unravel. Suddenly nothing is certain, the mundane becomes charged with significance, established relationships begin to crumble and places that once were safe are safe no longer. This is a novel of extraordinary skilfulness and almost unbearable tension. Julie Myerson creates a world that is recognizable in every detail, so that when it begins to fracture we feel as if it were our own lives that are under threat.


Who Killed Camilla? by Emma Darcy, Pan Macmillan

‘I want her dead in the water.’ Hollywood’s hottest property, Camilla Page, has just wrapped up the shoot of her latest movie and she’s chosen an exclusive Barrier Reef island resort as the setting for her surprise wedding to Australian cameraman, Jimmy Ryder – a man hell-bent on riding the gravy train that’s come his way.

Amongst the invited guests are people Camilla has used as rungs while climbing her personal ladder of success: her long-time agent; the director of her latest film; the ageing leading man; and K.C. Gordon, successful romance novelist whose latest bestseller was adapted for the film – already being hyped as a sure-fire winner, bound to become the biggest-grossing romantic comedy ever.

K.C. eagerly accepts the invitation to what promises to be the most lavish of affairs attended by starlets, heartthrobs and assorted A-listers. But K.C. soon realises the tropical paradise is also home to venomous snakes, some of them human – one of whom will strike to deadly effect…

 

August 26, 2003

Winter Reads

The Facial Analysis Diet

Elizabeth Gibaud

Random HouseCelebrity nutritionist (Kate Winslet is apparently a big fan) Elizabeth Gibaud reveals the secrets behind Facial Analysis, a unique technique that can determine dietary needs, deficiencies and intolerances simply by looking at the lines, tone and texture of your face. Drawing on 30 years experience as a highly successful nutritionist, Elizabeth Gibaud shows how to determine which of her carefully devised eating plans is right for you.

Lines on forehead? Your diet is too rich and oily.

Open pores? This may mean there’s too much acid in your system.

Elizabeth takes the old adage ?you are what you eat? to the extreme. What does your face say about the food you consume?

How to Manage Your Mother

Alyce F Cleese

Random House

If there?s one relationship that most people need to work on, it?s the one with their mother. Affection. Embarrassment. Anger. Love. Your Mum can make you feel all these things, sometimes in the space of a few minutes. And it seems that no matter how together and successful we are as adults, sometimes all it takes is one word from Mum

a frustrated, scolded child.The question is, can mothers and adult children ever learn to set aside their earlier relationship and talk to each other as adults?

Alyce Faye Cleese and Brian Bates seem to think so and have gone to the trouble of writing a book on this very subject. Featuring dozens of revealing stories from well known personalities from politics and show business, the authors lift the lid on this most personal relationship, showing that is possible to improve your relationship with your mother – or at the very least begin to understand it.

It?s my party, and I?ll knit if I want to

Sharon Aris

Allen and Unwin

Funky urban women from coast to coast are getting down to the click clack of knitting needles and getting their cheap thrills at Lincraft or Spotlight of a Saturday. What a funny, thought provoking book! Here you?ll find patterns

knitting simple scarves and even cushion covers, plus your burning questions about knitting are all answered ? Is it OK to knit in public? Should I share needles?Yes. It?s true. Knitting is the new yoga. The repetitive stitching has a surprisingly Zen like quality ? and what?s more hand-made scarves as massive this season. But be warned, it?s seriously addictive.

July 29, 2003

Raunchy Romance Read – Red Shoes and a Diary

From Red Shoes and a Diary by Mia Zachary.”There’s something I’d like to try, if you’re not afraid.”

Meghan inhaled sharply. Was he thinking what she thought he was thinking? She’d written a couple of fantasies about mild bondage, but never dared to try it.

“Well? Are you?” He drew the material leisurely over his palm, then twisted the ends around his fists.

A wild excitement filled her as she glanced from his face to the scarf. Would she try it? Oh, yes. In a heartbeat. The sense of forbidden longing was a complete turn-on. She cocked her head and rested a hand on one naked hip. “Do I look afraid?”

“You look incredibly beautiful.” His eyes, clear and intense, glowed with an inner fire. Admiration and something unfathomable mingled in his expression. Nick draped the scar in front of her face, surprising her by tying it securely behind her head.

She closed her eyes beneath the fabric, unnerved by the sudden heightening of her other senses. The air between their bodies was charged with anticipation. His large hand stroked her hair, his touch light and reassuring, but he didn’t speak again.

The silence was electric. She breathed in the soap-and-water smell of his skin when he swept her into his arms. For a moment she was disoriented as he carried her across the room. He laid her down on the cool bed sheet, then moved away.

Wearing nothing but a blindfold, she suddenly felt vulnerable, exposed. Meghan draped her arms over her waist. She crossed her legs and uncrossed them again. Finally she forced herself to relax. Eagerly awaiting whatever happened next, her heart hammered in her chest.

Unable to see, only to feel, she became acutely aware of the sound of her own breathing, the dampness between her thighs, the soft breeze billowing over her naked body. It was so much like what she’d written – the darkness all around, her lover ready to possess her body and soul – familiar and yet different.

The mattress dipped under Nick’s weight and she sensed him shift toward her. When he placed a hand against her shoulder, she startled at the unforeseen touch. She identified the faint smell of cinnamon and waited for the taste of his lips.

His mouth was hot, his kiss soft and drugging. Her entire being focused on his lips and tongue, the only place their bodies met. The heat of his kiss sent flames of lust straight to the juncture of her thighs. A moan escaped her throat.

Then suddenly he retreated, leaving her frustrated. Her earlier inhibition completely disappeared. She reached out blindly, searching for him, desperate for him. Not hearing a sound and fearing he might have left the room, she knew a second of alarm, alone as she was in the utter darkness.

Fantasy and reality merged, intensifying the thrill of the unknown. Then some primal instinct told her of his presence. She pictured him, motionless by the bed, silent and smug. A smirk tugged at the corners of her mouth. He wanted to watch? She’d give him something to watch.

June 10, 2003

Book Review: Misconceptions

Misconceptions

A Novel of Births, Deaths and what happens in between.

Terry McGee

PanmacmillanDr Julia Kent has a busy beachside obstetrics practice, and delivering babies is what she loves doing. This is the story of a successful, single mum that is also performing miracles on a regular basis by delivering new life in the world. With hardly enough time for herself and her teenage daughter, Emma,and her best friend Angie, love is the furthest thing from Julia?s mind, until she meets Patrick. At first Patrick seems to be everything that her ex-husband wasn?t. Like open and honest for starters. But sometimes looks can be deceiving, and just when Julia feels her life is full and happy again and she has finally let go of the past, her life is turned upside by an unexpected arrival – a malpractice lawsuit. Julia needs all of her strength and determination to see that her life both personally and professionally isn?t ruined by courtroom drama. This is a fabulous first novel by an Australian woman; Terry McGee, who herself is a qualifed Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, wife and mother of two children!

by a highly publicised negligence case involving a female doctor, (who by all accounts was of the highest calibre) but as a result of the court case never practiced medicine again. An intriguing story that’s well worth a read.

BuyMisconceptions from the SheSaid BookshopDying for Cake

Louise Limerick

Panmacmillan

This is the story of five women in a Brisbane mothers’ group that share a special friendship. They meet to chat over coffee discussing life and their common connection, their children. All appears to be going well until new Baby Amy disappears and then so does Evelyn, the baby?s distraught mother, who ends up in a psychiatric hospital. Evelyn won’t talk to anyone and everyone in the group copes with their grief in their own way. Joanna is dying for cake, Clare dreams of painting again and Susan wants to turn back the clock of time,

regain all the time she?s lost and Wendy just wants to forget the past. This is a rare insight into the transformation into motherhood and beyond. This novel takes you through the full spectrum of emotions when a tragedy occurs and forces to you to ask yourself how you would react in the same situation. Louise Limerick is a young Brisbane mother of three children and this is her first novel. You?ll laugh, you?ll cry but most of all you will identify with at least one of the women in this powerful first novel.

Buy Dying for Cake from the SheSaid BookshopCasting Couch Confidential

Bessie Bardot and Geoff Barker

Bessie Bardot and Geoff Barker, both models themselves, are better known around the Sydney social scene for how much skin they are showing or how spectacularly their modelling agency went bust last year rather than their literary skills. Suprisingly, their first writing collaboration isn?t half bad. Casting Couch Confidential is a collection of the most outrageous, unbelievable and down-right dirty things that go on in the world of modelling. Based on real-life accounts from models, photographers and industry insiders this is a warts-and-all look at ?the ugly business of the beautiful people?- the modelling industry. Riotous acts of sexual favours, orgies, drugs, and explotiation fill the 340 pages to the brim of this tell-all novel. As Bessie Bardot, 27 (surprisingly, not her real name) said in a recent interview the book will appeal to three types of readers ?Suburban mothers who want an insight into a world they see in New Idea; inner-city people who?ll want to see if they are in it; and hopefully the mothers of daughters who want to get into modelling?. If you thought some people would do anything to be famous, then after reading this you’ll know it?s true!

Buy Casting Couch Confidential from the SheSaid Bookshop

June 3, 2003

Raunchy Romance Read The Boy Toy

From The Boy Toy by Eugenia RileyHis hands slid boldly up her stockinged thighs, until he had hiked her skirt high above her waist. Allison writhed with flagrant suggestiveness.

Expression intense, Pete was staring down at her hips and legs clad in sheer lacy panties, sexy black garter belt and stockings. When he touched her bare inner thigh she arched against him wantonly. “You’re not taking off that garter belt, woman.” He touched her mound through her bikinis and she cried out softly. “I want to see all of that hot black lace as I drive into you.” He tugged at the wispy fabric of her crotch. “But it’ll be a damn shame to rip off these pretty panties.”

His provocative words made her burn. Allison boldly met his gaze, catching his hand and pulling his fingers into her cleft. “No need to,” she informed him.

“Oh sugar!” The look of mingled surprise and naked desire that crossed his face rocked Allison’s world. Eagerly Pete explored her with his fingers, grinning as he found the secret crotch panel that parted in the middle. He whistled. “Why, Ms. Tracy. So businesslike on the outside. But under all that starch, a secret fetish for naughty underwear, eh?”

“Yeah, cowboy, you’ve got my number,” she purred.

He parted the panel wider with steady fingers, making her go deliciously achy inside, leaving her feeling exquisitely vulnerable to him.

His beautiful features grew fierce with desire. “What’s your secret fantasy, Allison?” he rasped. “That a man will see you like this and want you so bad, he won’t be able to wait to tear these panties off you?”

“Yes, oh yes. Don’t wait.” She threw her trembling arms around his neck.

He eased his body downward. “But no man worth his salt would deny himself this pleasure first.”

Even as she wondered what carnal torture he had in mind, he parted the panel wider, and her feminine folds. Then he touched her with his tongue only. In just the right place.

Allison screamed, her hips coming up off the couch. She was so aroused, so tormented, that the sensations streaming through her put her in a panic.

He chuckled. “Easy honey, I just want to get you ready.”

She squirmed. “I-I’m ready. So ready.”

He was undeterred. “Lie still or I’m going to whack that pretty fanny of yours.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh, yes I would. I said lie still.”

May 13, 2003

Raunchy romance read The Boy Toy (contd)

Seething with frustration, Allison managed not to buck again, thought the torture was unbearable as Pete gently flicked her with his hot, slightly rough tongue. Shattering sensations pulsed and peaked inside her, leaving her mindless, almost incoherent. When his index finger began stroking her mound of hair, she sobbed helplessly.”Hot damn,” he murmured, brushing his mouth over the downy fuzz. “Even here, you’re shot through with gold.”

“I – want to be – shot through with you,” she panted.

“I know, honey, I know.” But still he persisted, caressing her with mind-bending skill, then pushing a finger inside her. She moaned and his finger left her, making her feel momentarily bereft. Then she came apart entirely as he shoved in two and began relentlessly stroking her G-spot.

Allison went wild, frantically seeking escape, yet there was none. She was jolted by one uncontrollable orgasm after another, the sensation harder, stronger than anything she’d ever felt ion her life. Pete was devastating her, overwhelming her senses, killing her with a pleasure such as she’d never known before. She was left to sob, shudder, wildly toss her head.

Her fingernails dug into his shoulders. “Oh God, Pete, I can’t take-”

“Sure you can, angel. Sure you can.” Relentlessly he plied her flesh until she cried out – one, two, three times. Then at last he took mercy on her, sliding his body upward, soothing her trembling lips with his mouth, drowning her with his sex-laced tongue, while her own hand grabbed frantically at his belt buckle, his zipper. With a ragged sound he pulled back, retrieved a foil packet from his pocket, freed his swollen penis and began rolling on a condom.

His grin was wide. “You’re good and wet now.”

“Yeah,” she gasped, boldly staring at his generous endowments. “I’m – ready for the drive shaft to start pumping.”

“Now who’s spouting dirty shop talk?”

Allison didn’t get to answer as his mouth smothered hers again. Despite her being so slick, his entry was far from effortless as the tip of him probed her. Heavens, he was colossal, so hot and rigid. Allison struggled to take him in, her body crying out for him.

He heard her cry and lost control, shoving himself in deep and tight. Both of them groaned convulsively. The sensual rub of her underwear only heightened the delicious torment.

He rested a moment, breathing hard. “Still think I’m a scrawny little runt?”

Allison was riding a wave of sizzling, purest ecstasy, arching against him to enhance the shattering friction. “You’re definitely big where it counts, cowboy.”

Then he was thrusting hard, pounding into her, lifting her hips up off the couch. Allison wrapped her long legs about his waist, arching greedily to take everything he could offer her. The rapture surging inside her was so powerful it almost hurt. She sobbed as she climaxed again and again, and then at last…

With him.

Pete knew he had her now. Allison was taking her pleasure wantonly-deep, hard, one scorching pinnacle after another. She was a wildcat in his arms, but also totally vulnerable and open to him. The look of primal abandon in her eyes was almost more than he could bear. And the sight of her in the naughty black lace sent him spiralling upward on a searing erotic ride such as he’d never known…

****

4 Blaze titles are released every month and are available at retail stores, newsagents and selected bookstores. Each title retails for $6.95.

May 13, 2003

Raunchy romance read The Diva Diaries

From The Diva Diariesby Karen Anders.He took the ends of her shirt and jerked it up her body, baring her breasts to him, lifting her easily, his biceps bulging from the weight of her. She brought her hands up to clasp his wrists, sliding seductively over the smooth hair on his forearms until she reached the tight, rounded muscles. She tested his taut skin and felt the strength of him pulsate into her fingers until the maleness of him seemed to seep into her blood and burn.

For a moment of heated silence he just stared at her. Then he caught a nipple between his teeth. He licked and sucked until she arched in desperate, aching need, causing little frissons of heat to explode in her stomach. It was a sensation that reached into the core of her, stabbing so intensely she was afraid she was beginning to unravel.

Finally, giving in to her need to touch him, she ran her hands through that endearing head of hair, liking the soft feel of the strands against her fingers. Enjoying it so much she did it again, much more slowly. Her knees went weak. Desire rushed through her body, hot and thick.

“Damn,” he whispered raggedly before his mouth was on hers, urgently pressing her backward, grabbing her around the waist, bowing her over his arm. Soon, his hands were deftly at her jeans and underwear, and she stepped out of them.

At last, she knew what it was like to be really kissed by him. This was why he kept such a firm control over himself. He had found a well of passion that he hadn’t realised existed. It reached out and engulfed him as easily as a tidal wave engulfed an island with an unrelenting force. The same force that crashed over her.

The heat of his mouth seared every other kiss she’d ever had permanently from her memory. As kisses went, this one was off the scale. There was no point in grading, where Sam was concerned.

He deepened the kiss, his sensuous lips flexing over hers in an urgent fierceness that left her breathless. She felt him spread his heavily muscled thighs to give him better balance. He slid his big hands over her buttocks, jerking his hips against him. The pulsing heat form his groin reached out to her, made her groan into his soft lips.

April 8, 2003

Book Review : Sacking the Stork

Sacking the Stork

Kris Webb and Kathy Wilson

Pan Macmillan ($30)”Sophie presumed ‘making sacrifices for your children’ meant giving up Bloody Marys and champagne for nine months.”

Sacking the Stork is a funny yet poignant story of what happens when Sophie, the busy Sydney marketing executive, discovers she is pregnant – and has already broken up with Max, her boyfriend of two years. Her support group comes from an unlikely bunch of friends that meet weekly for coffee at a King Street cafe. The book follows Sophie’s pregnancy through to single motherhood and beyond whilst still keeping her sense of humour. This first novel written by two sisters from Brisbane is a brilliant read if you like books with central characters you can relate to. Makes you want to write a novel or have a baby or do both!

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop.

Confessions of a Reformed Dieter

A.J. Rochester

Bantam Books ($29.95)

Imagine being approached in the street and asked to appear on a television programme about obesity? This is exactly what happened to A.J. Rochester – who until this point didn’t think she

with her weight. Confessions of a Reformed Dieter tackles the growing concern that is obesity with a large serving of humour and a side serving of self-depreciation. Follow A.J through her miraculous transformation, dropping eight dress sizes along the way and in the process getting her life back. Confessions of a Reformed Dieter is peppered with painfully honest diary entries, low-fat recipes and entertaining lists. “Alternative list of things to do when craving crap food: 1) Poke eyes out with a blunt stick.”

It’s an inspiring account of one woman’s mission to liberate her self from 40 kilos of excess baggage – and proof that you can do almost anything if you set your mind to it. Now get off your arse and get on with it!Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop.

And What Have You Done Lately?

Cornelia Frances

Pan Macmillan ($30.00)

Her stern voice and

red hair put the fear into generations of TV viewers, her roles as the malevolent Barbara Hamilton in Sons and Daughters and the resident bitch Morag in Home and Away making her one of the most recognisable faces on Australian television. In recent times, she’s made her mark as the scathing host of cult TV game show The Weakest Link, but there’s a lot more to Cornelia Frances than bitching, back-stabbing and conniving. And What Have You Done Lately? is the story of her life, a natural and endearing narrative highlighting her career from the early days in London theatres (and her famously during down lunch with screen legend Dirk Bogarde) to her move to Australia and her enduring appeal as an Australian TV icon.

A must-read for anyone fascinated by those who have a dream to tread the boards – and the talent to keep doing so for decades. Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop.

March 25, 2003

Book Review: Spellbound

If you have read any of Jane Green?s previous five novels then you will love her latest offering Spellbound. She never fails to entertain the girls at SheSaid.

Jane Green writes fresh, funny, heartwarming novels for woman of today. Her central characters are always female and they remind you either of yourself at some point in your life or at least one of your closet girlfriends. She has a way with words that really draws you in and makes you feel like you know the characters. You totally sympathise with them as they go through the trials and tribulations of life, love, sex and even marriage.Spellbound is an easy read that?s hard to put down. It?s as if you are, as the title suggests, somewhat spellbound by her storytelling. Alice, the main character is married to Joe Chambers, the handsome, successful banker. (Don?t we all wish!) They lead a charmed existence in London, attending all the best parties and openings, and being photographed for the social pages. Secretly, Alice dreams of a quieter life with more QT (quality time) with her gorgeous, rich husband. She?s is also wracked with self-doubt and sometimes can?t help but pinch herself that Joe chose to marry her ?plain old Alice?.

Meanwhile, Alice?s best friend Emily is leading the 30-something single life that Alice always imagined would be hers, instead of this fantasy life as the fabulous wife of Joe Chambers?Then Joe is transferred to New York and Alice finally gets her dream house in the country. But like most things you dream of for a long time, this comes at a cost.

Spellbound follows Alice?s journey of self-discovery. It?s a universal story about the ups and downs of life and relationships, told by Green with warmth, laughter and even a little sadness.

A great holiday read or a book to send a girlfriend that needs cheering up! A book that ensures you feel happy with your lot in life regardless of what that is at any given time. Well worth a read!

Buy Spellbound from the SheSaid Bookshop.

February 11, 2003

Book Reviews: In the name of love

Every Women’s Luck Book

Icon PressSince the dawn of time, women have consulted the mystic forces of the universe in a bid to uncover the identity of their true love. Tea leaves, palm reading, horoscopes and more have all been called upon to offer up clues that will lead to your perfect match. Every Woman’s Luck Book (Icon Press), originally published in 1930, is a compendium of quirky fortune-telling techniques, ranging from dream analysis to birthday forecasts to numerology. Subtitled What Every Woman Needs to Know to Choose a Husband, this facsimile edition of the original 1930’s edition is a charming book that catalogues the lengths our foremothers went to in an effort to get one up on fate.

Every Woman’s Luck Book has it all from handwriting analysis to Lucky Birthday Forecasts – ‘Will you be luck in love – Will you be wealthy, or will your greatest riches be in happiness?” (Apparently, my having too independent a spirit may spoil my chances if I am not careful. Spooky!)

A quaint reminder of a time when saying I do actually meant something.

Buy

Bookfrom the SheSaid Bookshop.Hot Love – How to Get It

Tracey Cox

Tracey Cox is a world authority on sex and relationships. Hot Love is packed with pearls of wisdom on the modern dilemmas of dating, sex and the single woman. Bursting with top tips on everything from flirting to broaching the topic of less than satisfactory sexual style, this pocket-sized guide is a cheeky but informative look at love. There are some real gems in here…Apparently ‘Thrusting a cold, frosty beer into an unsuspecting male hand while saying, ‘Hi, my name’s Lucy,’ will be seen as highly impulsive and wonderfully eccentric.’ I’d try that one out myself, only my name isn’t Lucy.

Other great snippets of advice cover things like one-night stands: “A stranger in your bed, who doesn’t really care about you and you’ll never see again, isn’t the person to pour out your troubles to.”

Love is like a Wonderbra for your love life. If you’re in need of a bit of a lift, don’t miss this book.Buy Hot Love from the SheSaid Bookshop.

The Book of Love Answers

Carol Bolt

Hold this velvety red tome in your hands and ponder a question regarding love. From the $64,000 question ‘Can I be sure that he’s the right one for me?’ to the everyday ‘Should be go out on another date?’ The Book of Love Answers is a modern oracle that can help make sense of what is surely one of the most confusing subjects since calculus – love. Open the book at any page and you’ll find inspirational wit and wisdom to guide you through the most trying times.

Buy The Book of Love Answers from the SheSaid Bookshop.

January 14, 2003

I’m a Believer by Jessica Adams

I suspect that even Jessica Adams herself could not have divined her eventual foray into the world of fiction. A student of philosophy and scriptwriting graduate from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the extent of Jessica’s early literary ambitions was writing for a rock mag. Her obsession with astrology was soon unearthed and before long she was writing horoscopes. The rest, they say is history, with Jessica penning Astrology for Women before crossing the fence into fiction territory, turning our Single White Email and Tom, Dick and Debbie Harry before long. Her most recent work I’m A Believer is about a guy talks to dead people – namely his recently deceased girlfriend who appears to him soon after she’s shuffled off her mortal coil. It’s an emotional, goose-bumpy tale of love and letting go.SheSaid chatted with Jessica about London lads, pet psychics and channelling Chinese spirits.

The central character in I’m A Believer is male. What preparation was required to get into character to narrate your new story in a male voice?

None at all actually. It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. I’ve known so many men like Mark Buckle in my life – completely cynical guys in their thirties – so it was really easy to get his attitude and his words. I went into a pub in London after I finished the book and I saw at least 3 guys that were like Mark Buckle. He’s a typical London male – he’s going bald, so he shaves his head, he likes football, he likes going to the pub, he’s quite clever, he’s very funny, but he believes in absolutely nothing. They always seem, to me, quite stunted. They have their jobs, they earn their money, they’ve got their relationships, and they don’t really “get it” beyond that. So where something goes wrong in their life they hit the wall.

They can make you laugh, for about half an hour, but if start to go into any further into anything, anything remotely serious, or to do with emotion, they just can’t do it.

I’ve heard that you’re also working on some celluloid pursuits at present!

My agent got me an offer from a producer in New York (he was connected to Forrest Gump) and he wants to do a film on pet psychics. He’s asked me to write a treatment for a screenplay which I’m currently working on. There is a pet psychic in America called Sonya and she’s famous. He wants me to use my psychic experience as well as my screenwriting experience (She’s worked on The Secret Life of Us) to create a film about a cable pet psychic show. It will probably be a comedy though, it’s not going to be serious.

Speaking of psychics, you’re into channelling – tell us something about that part of your life.

I was doing some this morning actually. I bought through two of my guides. I work as a trance medium, I have three spirit guides who regularly come through me and I haven’t done it since I left England. I thought I’d better check back in.

Do you call on any of your spiritual guides for advice when you’re faced with making a big decision?

When I have a big decision to make, I’ll going into a light trance and will bring through my guides. I have a Chinese guide called Huang Lee. He died hundreds of years ago, but he has an extraordinary grasp of philosophy and ethics and also, he’s quite good with practical questions like career, love, whatever. So I will pose a question to him and as he speaks through me I will actually hear it, so it’s almost like being in two places at once. I’m talking in a very clipped Chinese way, but I can also consciously hear what he is saying. I love the way that he looks at problems, he looks at them so philosophically. Then when you finish, and you shut down and you come back into the real world again, you can take what he’s told you and you can use it.

Huang Lee comes through a lot when I’ve been reading for clients who are going through a divorce or going through bankruptcy or whatever it is, and he will give this wonderful 15 minute talk on the issue and he will give people the bigger picture. That more than anything else seems to put their minds at rest. He is a very talented guide for me to have.

When I do reading, I reunite the person I’m reading for with someone who has died. Then, inevitably, they have a question for me because they are facing some problem – maybe they want plastic surgery, but they’re not sure they should get it done. Maybe they owe the bank $50,000 and they don’t know how they are going to pay it back. I bring through Huang Lee to look at those issues and he gives them good practical advice. He might give them some really good advice about the future. He’ll also come through with his philosophical angle on it, because of course he’s coming from hundreds of years of experience and he’s also looking at your life in terms of your long-term future. So that’s quite interesting.

September 10, 2002

Book Review: A Woman’s Guide to Sex,Optimism & Surviving

There are some things in life that you have to learn the hard way – through experience, trial and error or just plain making a mess of it. For instance, do you know how to throw a punch? Ask your for a raise? Or possibly one of the most important questions of all – do you know how to get a great haircut every single time? If you answered no to any (or all) of these questions, never fear. Helen Hawkes is here. Her book SOS: A Woman’s Guide to Sex, Optimism and Surviving the 21st Century is the perfect how-to guide for the modern woman. If you want to find a date in a foreign city, change a tyre, dump your partner, or survive office politics, this handy guide will see you throughSheSaid chatted with Helen Hawkes about living your life and surviving the 21st Century

How did the book come about?

The book came about because I realised that I’d had to do a whole lot of things myself and that no one had ever told me how to do them. I thought “Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of guide that actually told you things that your parents might not have told you – how to get a raise, how to dump a boyfriend.” I don’t remember my mum ever having given me a talk about how to get a raise. Having done all those things myself, I thought it would be a good idea if I put the things I know into a book and then I’d go to other experts – and you’ll see them in the book – and get them to share their knowledge on their specialty.

I think women spend so much time working on making the relationship work. If they put all that energy into making their own lives work and being happy, we’d be in a much better place.

What’s the secret to surviving the 21st Century?

Belief in yourself. It depends on what sort of field you’re in or where you live but it’s a pretty tough place for women still to nurture their dreams and their ambitions, to really value themselves. Because people always try to put you down, or say you can’t do it, or it’s not possible. You’ve just got to dig your heels in.

In day-to-day life, earning your own money, possibly trying to find a successful relationship, and just being happy, that’s all stuff the requires enormous energy and a commitment to really believing that you can. I don’t think it’s easy for women today. I think we’ve got a lot more advantages than we used to but it’s still tough.

There are still a lot of male dominated professions where women. If you’re in a job where it’s the men that are getting the fun jobs or the higher salaries, you’ve got to go in and say “I can do that job!” or “I want more money” and that’s hard to do.

Is there any one thing you think is particularly challenging for women these days?

Relationships. Women have got so much more now – an option to work – if they want – they still have the option to have children. And somehow we’re supposed to miraculously combine that with a high-powered career and still maintain a house and be, supposedly, a great cook or a demon in the bedroom, or whatever.

All my single friends say they’re fussy. The truth is that they are because they’ve got everything themselves and they think “How am I going to get a man to fit in with that?” or “How am I going to have a successful relationship?” it’s really tough. They want men that can communicate, and that are sensitive and all that stuff and yet they want men that can earn a good living and also be manly. It’s a really difficult combination.

August 20, 2002

“I was a receptionist in a brothel!”

Like many of us who have experienced unemployment, Always Greener actor and former Play School presenter Merridy Eastman turned to her local Centrelink office for assistance. They found her a job as a receptionist. The catch? Working nights in one of Sydney’s busiest brothels.There’s A Bear In There (And He Wants Swedish) is Merridy’s account of her time in front-of-house for a bunch of colourful women of the night. And while Merridy’s real-life experience with deviant sexuality was confined to the forbidden love between Big Ted and Jemima as seen through the ‘arched window’, her time as a receptionist in a brothel exposed her to much, much more. From nervous first-timers to celebrity couples Merridy ushered one and all into the mysterious world inhabited by women who make a living from having sex with strangers. Here she learned words for things she?d never conceived of in her wildest (and we mean wildest) dreams.

There’s A Bear In There (And He Wants Swedish) is an intriguing peek behind the red velvet curtain and into the seamy and steamy taboo world of sex-for-hire. A funny and insightful sojourn through the secret life of the world’s oldest profession garnished with delightfully honest snapshots of those gainfully employed in it?

SheSaid was swept up in the media feeding frenzy surrounding this wonderful book and had a nice chat with Merridy…

Writing There’s A Bear In There (And He Wants Swedish) is a big departure from acting. How’s it all going?

The interest is pretty huge which is great, I guess if you say Play School meets brothel’ to people they become interested immediately. The Play School reference is also there to illustrate how out of place I felt in that environment.

What would you say in the most important lesson you learned through your time in the brothel?

Definitely just to leave behind preconceived ideas of sex workers being ‘damaged victims’ who have no choice in that career path. They’re not all drug abused, or sexually abused women ? the bunch that I worked with ? generally speaking, were quite a bright, funny bunch of girls.

Do you think there is any truth to the stereotype of the ‘hooker with the heart of gold?’

Not really. There was some great girls with big hearts and very tough exteriors, but they came in all shades, colours, sizes? They were complex people just like the rest of us, and very real people, just like the rest of us. I feel ashamed of my unconscious prejudice that I did walk in there with. I didn’t realise that until I was there for a couple of weeks and I was shocked at my misconception as much as anything else.

Do you think that working in that industry will affect your ability to get work in children?s television again?

Yes, I think it will. I don?t think Play School will ever have me back. Not that they would have anyway, I mean, they got rid of me in ’89 or so. They were terrific, they were wonderful people to work for but I think I’ve probably stuffed that now, I’ll have to give that up. Say goodbye to that forever, which is a pity, because I wasn’t a sex worker, I was only a receptionist. But I’m sure the label will stick.

Did you manage to maintain friendships with the women outside of the working environment?

Towards the end there we tried, Sapphire and I, but what generally happened, was that they had an obstacle to overcome. When I bumped into them in the street, they would ignore me, most of the time, I think out of consideration for me. They wanted to protect me from having to make up some lie to my friend when I introduced them. The Marilyn character, she lived in Coogee (Sydney) for a while and I used to see her all the time. At night at the brothel we?d be great mates, but in the street, she?d pretend that we hadn’t seen each other. So as far as keeping in touch goes, they didn’t really return calls in the end, so I let it go.

When I was working with them, I didn’t know I was writing a book, I thought I was collecting material. I had to write it down, what was happening to me. Everyone I talked to said ‘You’ve got to write this down!’ It’s great stuff, it was very interesting, very funny. And it’s illuminating.

Buy a copy of There’s A Bear In There (And He Wants Swedish) from the SheSaid bookshop.

July 23, 2002

Book Review : Urge

As a practicing sex therapist, Dr Gabrielle Morrissey was always referring her patients to books to help them have a greater understanding of their various performance problems and sex-related issues. Acutely aware of the ever increasing range of titles available in the sex-self-help genre, Gabrielle dreamed of the day when she could recommend a single, easy to follow bedside companion covering sexual health, relationships and fascinating tit bits about bits, bobs and what to do with them. Rising to the task, Gabrielle put her years of clinical experience (and the odd personal anecdote) to good use wrote her own book. ‘Urge’ is a saucy little number designed to entertain, inspire and educate on all things down under? Jam-packed with sexual trivia, fascinating sex terminology and hilarous/amazing/just plain scary personal accounts, this book is a must for everyone who has ever had sex!Ever wanted to know the average length of a penis? You’ll have to get ‘Urge’ to see if he measures up! Want to know more about multiple orgasms, one night stands, celibacy, safe sex, fantasies and sexperimenting? This is the book for you. But be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted? ‘Urge’ is a no-holds barred romp through the bedroom and out into the wild world of truly liberated, luscious and loving sexual experiences. Read it on your own, explore it with your partner, dissect it with your best girlfriends at your next girl’s night in?

Read our interview with Dr Gabrielle Morrissey ? everything you wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask).

By Sally Schofield

Buy Urge! from the SheSaid Bookshop.

June 25, 2002
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