Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Here we are at Sunday and it’s time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte, #1)

and listening to

Lessons in Love

This week I plan to read

Portrait of a Murderer

“Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.” Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933, a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.


At approximately 09.00hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; it contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.
At 11.15hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family. He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life!
Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbors a dark historic secret, following a life a lot less ordinary … as a furtive, yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old!
Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government!
Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard … And listened to!!

Deadly Secrets (Detective Erika Foster, #6)

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover. 

On a cold icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a horrific killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

This week I have received only one ARC from NetGalley

The Perfect Mother

But I have received a proof from author June Rousso for a children’s book titled The Little Book of Character Strengths. You may remember I reviewed another title by this author, We All Live On This Planet Together, earlier this year.

I am starting a new job this week which is going to be quite time consuming for the first month or two. So if my posts are a little erratic in the next few weeks, I apologise in advance and ask that you bear with me.

Please don’t be shy about letting me know what you like and don’t like. I love getting your feedback. And I love hearing about what you are reading, or if you have read something that is on my list, what you thought of it.

Have a lovely week and  happy reading.

We All Live On This Planet Together by June Rousso

We All Live On This Planet Together by June Rousso
Reviewed by


How can you shake your fears?
Let’s see what you can do.
First and foremost, remember –
They are not you.
You are much more than your fears,
This is true.

THE BLURB: We All Live On This Planet Together teaches children to focus their attention on inner strengths and the beauty in our world to manage fear while accepting their negative feelings. It shows how letting our fears build can be overwhelming, distort self-image and how we view the world.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read through this book several times, and have shared it with friends who work with children. I think that this book is an excellent teaching/discussion tool, rather than a book for a child to read on its own. After the book has been worked through with the child, I believe that it will become a valuable resource for the child to refer back to.

The ideas are simply put, easy to grasp, and should lead to discussion of the issues addressed quite naturally. The author points out how easily fear overwhelms other things in our lives, how it smothers enjoyment, and provides strategies to help children cope with their fears.

I absolutely love the illustrations, particularly the one of overwhelming fear.

I rate We All Live On This Planet Together by June Rousso ☆☆☆☆

Thank you to author June Rousso for providing me with a digital copy of We All Live On This Planet Together for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

I Made You a Cuddle – words by Ami Muir, pictures by Becky Lazarevic and Sarah Mutande

EXCERPT: This cuddle I’ve made you is one of a kind,
And it’s filled up with all of the love I can find.’

THE BLURB: There are so many things a cuddle can do, inside this book is a cuddle for you.

MY THOUGHTS: It is impossible not to smile while reading this beautifully illustrated children’s book. It is warm, affectionate and a must have on the toddler’s bookshelf.

Illustrated by Becky Lazarevic and Sarah Mutande

New Zealand made 😊


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
by Julie Andrews Edwards

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘I assure you that the Wangdoodle exists,’ said the man. ‘Look it up in your dictionary when you get home. ‘
‘What does it look like?’ asked Lindy.
‘That’s rather hard to describe. It’s a little like a moose – or a horse, perhaps. But with fantastic horns. And I believe it has rather short legs.’
‘Where does it live?’ enquired Tom.
‘Oh,far, far away……’

THE BLURB: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles was the second children’s novel ever written by Julie Andrews, the beloved star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Perfect for young readers who love whimsical stories about magic!

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals—the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”—apart from and forgotten by people.

But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland.

With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire.

MY THOUGHTS: All the times I read The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Edwards to and with my sons, and I never realized that the author was Julie Andrews!

She must have had an enormous amount of fun writing this book, because it is a fun read, but with a more serious undertone – genetics and cloning.

But the greatest thing about the book is that it is magical, not in a Harry Potter kind of way, but in its innocence. This book would never get written or published today. A group of children going off with a strange man they met at the zoo and doing things in his house that they can’t tell their parents about?!

And it is a pity. Because this is a wonderful book. And I was so glad to find it, prized and loved on my son’s bookshelves to be read to and with his boys.

Truly a book for all ages. If you never got to read it as a child, read it as an adult. We all need a little magic and wonder in our lives.

A big Thank You to Brenda, who worked for me many moons ago when my now adult sons were small, and who bought this book for them. It has been treasured and always will be.

The Great Bird Poo War by Coral Vass and illustrated by Lee Wildish

The Great Bird Poo War by Coral Vass
The Great Bird Poo War
by Coral Vass (Goodreads Author), Lee Wildish (Illustrator)

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: ‘Strutting his feathers down Cherry Tree Way,
Little Pukeko went walking one day
When all of a sudden, something went PLOP!
SPLAT on his head! He was covered in slop!’

THE BLURB: When a bird plops on Little Pukeko’s head he declares war – the ground-dwelling brids against the flying birds. Soon all the birds are covered in SPLAT! Who will bring peace back to Cherry-tree way?

MY THOUGHTS: A delightful story with equally delightful illustrations, although around the middle of the story I had to check to see if I had turned two pages at once – there seemed to be a gap in the narrative. If not for this one anomaly, this lovely little book would have received 5 stars.

It will appeal to the littlies because of the subject matter, poo! But it also provides a good lesson on the futility of war and the value of cooperation.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others are also published on my blog

The Old White Truck written by Phillip Percy and illustrated by Dale Percy

The Old White Truck by Phillip Percy
The Old White Truck
by Phillip Percy (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones

Nov 09, 2014  ·
EXCERPT: ‘Every single morning before the birds wake up,
Mr Mills of Venice Street starts up his old white truck. ..’
THE BLURB: The Old White Truck is a quirky and amusingly illustrated snapshot of what makes small-town New Zealand tick. The Old White Truck is based on the real comings and goings of Mr Mills and is a tribute to Mrs Mills’ legendary home made scones!

Making early morning bread deliveries around the town of Martinborough in his old white truck, Mr Mills discovers a most delicious aroma. After delivering the final loaf of bread to the final door, and with growing excitement, he traces the smell back to his own front door.

MY VIEWS: Another wonderful tale from the author of Mr Phelps’ Fish Truck, Phillip Percy and illustrated by his father Dale.

This book follows the old white truck and it’s driver, Mr Mills, as he delivers bread around the NZ town of Martinborough.

This is a lovely toddlers/new readers tale that rhymes, accompanied by delightfully detailed illustrations.

The author and his family live in Martinborough, and Phillip wrote this book after Mrs Mills arrived on their doorstep with a batch of freshly baked scones to welcome them to the neighborhood when they were moving in. Phillip said he ‘wrote this little story to recognize her generosity and to capture a slice of life that typifies living in small town New Zealand.

Smelly Bill Stinks Again by Daniel Postgate

Smelly Bill Stinks Again by Daniel Postgate
reviewed by

‘Bill was clever, tricky, tough,
And nobody was smart enough
To get that rascal in the tub
And give his fur a soapy scrub. …’

That is until the dog-sitter comes to stay. Great-Aunt Bleach is every stinkers’ enemy. Bill calls on his equally stinky pals for help. Can they defeat Great-Aunt Bleach and her shampoo wielding friends?

Another beautifully illustrated book written in rhyme to enchant children. And adults.

I see that there is a whole range of titles in the Smelly Bill series, just waiting for me to buy.