Bishop’s Queen (Titan #8) by Cristin Harber

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“You deserve to hear the truth occasionally. Unvarnished, no bullcrap. I’m in love with you.” – Bishop O’Kane

Sweet, to the point, and oh good God, as sexy as everything that comes out of Harber’s talented hands!

Bishop O’Kane is the new addition to the Titan team – you know, the one that Sugar and Lexi scouted in the previous book? Yup, and he didn’t disappoint! I swear, I was scared he might not be good enough for the original team, but damn, he was, and fantastically at that! He was all business-comes-first, and broody but with a soft spot for kids and strong-willed women – with a sense of humor greatly appreciated from yours truly. Plus, he was GROWLING!


Definitely Titan material, so I guess Sugar was right – AGAIN!

Now, on to Ella. Ella was the famous vlogger that Bishop had to protect, since an obsessed stalker was making her life terrifying to experience, to say the least. Problem is, they once were an item before an incident that cost them both a common loved person tore them apart. I may have liked Ella at the beginning a bit. She was feisty and passionate when it came to her work and her morals. She didn’t mind facing the entire world just to make sure justice prevailed.

And then… she lost me.

See, I can accept someone being uncomfortable with so many sudden changes in their routine, even if it’s for their own protection. But I simply can’t comprehend how someone as brave as her could not put her foot down and demand respect and some kind of privacy from her agent and partner. When it came to those two, she instantly transformed into a mindless doll, a puppet, doing and acting as they told her to! It was annoying at first, and it soon became a pet peeve! Like, congratulations, miss Leighton, you just added a new pet peeve on my list, WOW!


But the problems with Ella’s personality didn’t stop there! Oh, no! The woman turned out to be a downright idiot! Constantly putting others and herself in danger because she refused to accept reality. Never allowing Bishop to do his freaking job. Always putting the poor man in the spotlight for millions of viewers to criticize and analyze him. And of course she was ALWAYS the victim, why couldn’t anyone understand that? But also a fighter, so no thank you to protection! (notice the sarcasm or was it subtle enough?)

Oh, oh, and she DARED to think that the entire Titan team – Jared and Bishop included – was full of mindless, meat-headed, gym-obsessed, happy-finger-trigger gun-totting brutes! Woman, I’ll leave the fact you insulted our dear Boss Man, but what on Earth?! BISHOP WAS ONCE YOUR SWEETHEART, ARE YOU HONESTLY THAT SHALLOW TO JUDGE OTHERS BASED ON APPEARANCE FOR ALMOST THE WHOLE BOOK WHEN YOUR JUDGEMENT HAS PROVEN COUNTLESS TIMES TO BE FAULTY AND KEEP EVERYONE TOXIC AS CLOSE TO YOU AS POSSIBLE?!?!


All in all, the story was great. Packed with action and suspense, and tons of sexual tension. Tension that always delivers the best hot scenes, as Cristin Harber has proved from day one. And while we pretty much know the stalker right from the start, it still didn’t lose its edge as the protagonists were trying to stay out of his radar without much success. The only reason why this didn’t get the fifth cupcake was Ella. I think it was the first time I seriously hated a main character of this series, and I hope it will be the last.

Now I’m waiting for Locke’s story! LET ME TELL YOU, I FEEL THIS ONE WILL BE MY TITAN MAN!!!

“You didn’t change everything. You set the bar. And when you weren’t there, the world fell apart. Now that you’re back, everything, for me, has gone back to as it should.” – Ella Leighton

RATING:

4cupcakes

Mind Waves (Mind Hackers, #1) by Amanda Uhl

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If you could read thoughts, and alter them to your liking, would you abuse that kind of power or make sure to respect boundaries?

David Jenkins is a Mind Hacker. He can read minds, erase or change memories and thoughts, and generally hack into someone’s head as he pleases. But he’s not doing it for fun. A Government Operative, David uses his ability to ensure the safety of common civilians from criminals. However, lately, there has been a certain criminal who seems to have the same skillset as him – and Grace Woznisky, a woman David is strongly attracted to, has become said criminal’s sick new obsession. Will David be able to protect her, all the while keeping his identity hidden? And how is he going to do that, if he’s on the verge of breaking the one rule he always followed: never get too close to a civilian?

Well this book sure had some interesting plot twists and sidestories to offer. Apart from the X-men kind of feeling – courtesy of the Jenkins family – it was also fast-paced and full of intrigue and action. The main villain kept twisting around and it was nearly impossible to fgiure him out, not until he decided to explain himself – which was rather late in the story, so bonus points to keeping the suspence that way!

The romance was definitely a nice touch, as it was given room to bloom and develop even with the insta-attraction factor giving it a headstart. The only thing that may have brought me down a little was how much everyone – especially Geneva – was hellbent on interfering with David’s decisions when it came to Grace. I mean, sheesh, guys, he’s the strongest member of the team, and he’s damn good and in love, leave the man be!

I’m looking forward to reading more of this series, Geneva’s story in particular – I have a feeling she’ll get a book of her own, that kind of tension I sensed just can’t be ignored!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

The White Feather by Heidi Wessman Kneale

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What happens when you put together a ghost viewed as satanic and a man labeled as a coward? Well, you might just want to read this book and see for yourselves!

James Cowper is a young gentleman who freaks out when it comes to holding a gun. Thus, he is labeled as a coward when he can’t be of any use during the Great War, and lives on being mocked by his village. Unable to keep going on like this, James decides to commit suicide – only to be stopped by the most unexpected person. The village’s resident naked ghost, miss Georgia Palmerton, states she can’t let him take away his life, seeing him as someone very precious to her. With this most unusual ally by his side, James finds courage he never thought he possessed – it’s time for him to get back his honor. There’s only one catch – he has to help Georgia get back to life!

With no small amount of witty dialogues – courtesy of our dear ghost – and beautiful, innocent romance, this book is certainly something else. While ghost romance has become quite popular recently, I found this one to be a much better choice than other titles of this kind I’ve read.

First of all, James is courteous, kind, and definitely much more of a man than he gives himself credit for. It’s true that he found it hard to put his foot on the ground and demand things that were rightfully his, but I don’t believe that was his fault entirely. The poor guy had a whole village making his life hell, and on top of that, a mother who kept trying to coddle him while listening to that stupid aunt of his on the matter. It was literally him against the world!


So it wasn’t shocking at all, when he started showing some major backbone and badass tendencies the minute he realized he actually had someone in his corner. Georgia did him some good – scratch that, she practically made him see that he owned a set of balls, and it was long overdue he used them! Their relationship and teamwork was nothing short of beautiful!

The only reason this didn’t get any more cupcakes was because I felt something missing. I would have liked something more to be completely satisfied, though I’m not exactly sure what….

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

3cupcakes

My Law Man by DeeDee Lane

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OK, fellas, this will be a short one. Embarrassingly so, since I pride myself on somewhat modestly-sized reviews, but I don’t have much to say on the matter, so…


Phebe Brooks is in a tough spot: not only has she had her heart broken, but her cheating ex is also well on his way on destroying her financially, too. That’s until she manages to fall back in time, and meet sheriff Rafe. He’s got all that she needs in a man, and then some. While they try to stop a great robbery they fall in love – but how long does Phebe have till she returns back to her own time? And how can she keep on living after that, now that she’s tasted what true love is like?

I’m not gonna bitch on the insta-romance thing, or the whole “quick, let’s write down a sex scene because we don’t want to write a big story and the page-count is rolling”. Obviously, this being a short read, a novella, it was bound to be that way – and I was looking forward to some fast and sexy western romance stuff, anyway, so that was considered a bonus. No, my problem was something entirely different, something I must admit I havebitched about before.

The freaking fact this book is a part of a series! Why?! Why not inform the potential reader beforehand? I even checked its Goodreads page – I’ve been burned before, so I’ve learned to double-check these things. But there was no parenthesis, no brackets, nothing that would indicate that this wasn’t a standalone story. (and no, I refuse to check on the whole book list of the author when I want to request an ARC, I’m supposed to be non-biased on this and if I take a peek I’ll lose that – I only check whether something is already part of an ongoing series or not)

The result? A whole bunch of WTAF moments, and questions that were answered by other characters in the most unappreciated of ways. By the time one of the female friends of Ms. Brooks mentioned about her own man coming from the past, it was too late. I instantly got online, checked the author, and lo and behold! Won’t you look at that? A SERIES! How did you miss that, Lydia? Oh, that’s right, you didn’t, it just wasn’t there for you to easily see.


All in all, a fast and hot read, but one that leaves you with a sour aftertaste if you haven’t read the previous ones. So unless you plan on reading them before you get started on this one…. I wish you luck!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber

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“So how does a big, bossy, badass of a man decide to go into the army?” – Sugar

On a scale of one to ten, one being I’m good, I don’t need another Titan book, and ten being I can’t get enough of this series, I would say this book categorized me as… well, let’s be honest, A SLUT FOR TITAN! In Lexi’s words: Ten. Ten. TEN!

It was to be expected, though, since, in this book, we get to see what made Jared the man he is today and what really makes him tick. We get to see Sugar being a pregnant badass. We get to see one of the new guys dealing with Russian mafiozi, extra additions to the Titan family, and so many more – and as always, the one and only Cristin Harber does all this in the span of a few pages.


I have to admit, I was torn between being sceptical and excited about the newbies. On one hand, yayyy, new hotties to swoon over! On the other: “what if they’re not good enough to stand by my boys’ side?” and all that jazz. But it appears I was freaking out for naught – Bishop is TOTAL Titan material!

And I sure as hell can’t wait to see him get his HEA with a woman that can click with the team the way all the Titan ladies have!

RATING:

5cupcakes

Books of ’16

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Happy New Year, everyone!!! I know, I know, I should have posted this one daaaays ago, BUT! One, I spent the last day of 2016 getting ready to welcome – ahem, drink away – the new year – you know, hair, shoes, make up, makeover, the works (oi, I’m a girl, I have the right to look nice once in a while!). Two, I ended up puking things I never knew I had eaten after only TWO shots of vodka (wow, I’m getting old). And three… I was lazy! Yeah, I’m entitled to that, too!

Even so, here is the belated list of the books I read and found amaaaazing and totally ‘you-must-read-it’ in the dreaded – and may it never come back – 2016!

  • Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber
  • Damned If He Does by Marcella Burnard
  • The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Burnett
  • All the books in the Hell to Pay series by Jillian David (namely Immortal Flame, Relentless Flame, Flame Unleashed AND the prequel of the series, Flame’s Dawn)
  • Blind FaithTotal Surrender, the two final books of the Sin Brothers series by Rebecca Zanetti
  • The Irish Warrior (Norman Conquest #3) by Ashley York
  • Much of Madness (Conexus Chronicles #1) by S. E. Summa
  • Through the Veil & Children of the Veil, the first two books of the Aisling Chronicles by Colleen Halverson
  • Snow’s Lament (Fairytale League #2) by S. E. Babin
  • Six Points of Light: Hook’s Origin by Kalynn Bayron
  • Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels #3.5) by Ilona Andrews
  • The Perfect Hope (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts

That was all! Unfortunately, due to my part-time job, practise at the nursery, and soooo many personal stuff this year, I wasn’t able to read and review as many books as I would have liked. Still, I can’t say I was totally disappointed with the diamonds I managed to get  my hands on, so I can at least say ’16 didn’t suck completely – book-blogging-wise.

May you all have a great year!

~Lydia~

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Blood Magick (The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts

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“You can’t hide or run from me. I’ll follow you, Finbar, track you like a hound, I swear it on my life. I won’t go back to living without what I love. I love you.” – Branna O’Dwyer

I… don’t even know where to start. I have no idea where this one went wrong, but it sure as hell wasn’t what I expected from a NR trilogy concerning witches…

In the finale of the O’Dwyer Cousins series, we see Branna O’Dwyer and Finbar Burke in ways we dreamed of ever since detecting their chemistry and tension. However, they both know there can never be anything more between them than friendship and companionship against Cabhan. The universe – and what happened between their ancestors – are bound to keep them apart forever. Even so, they’re determined to break the dark curse circling above their heads once and for all, if only to make sure their loved ones will be happy and prosper without any more fears in the future…

Seriously, this series was already kinda… not my cup of tea, but this final book? It just nearly made me break down in tears of frustration! It’s bad enough there was way too much research and talking instead of action, but at least in the other two books I had the couples to take my focus away from that. Unfortunately, such was not the case with Branna and Fin.

Allow me to make myself clear right now: IT WAS NOT FIN’S FAULT! The guy was perfect, and if men like him actually exist, can I please have one? I’ll happily and proudly make him my babies’ daddy! A man romantic, selfless, self-sacrificing, always thinking of the best for his soulmate, even building a freaking house the way she would want, hoping against all hope that she would grace him with her presence and notice what he had done for her! He was a homemaker, and a warrior, and a hard-working good friend, all in one temptingly good-looking package (an Irish one, mind you, so yeah, he was 99% perfect IMHO), and what does Branna see when it comes to him?

His cursed mark!


What on sweet Earth, woman?! The poor bloke was practically melting for you, laying everything he always had and will be at your ungrateful bitchy feet, and you can’t bring yourself to see past what he had no say in or could help with? It’s not like he asked for it!

OK, yeah, she somewhat trusted him after TWO books of everyone around her being on her case to finally do so, but that meant squat to me! She was hard to work with, unbearably bitchy and snappy, and she kept unconsciously blaming him for his connection to the dark bastard they had to deal with – you can’t fool me, I just KNOW she did!

Not to mention that, yes, she was boring! BORING! If she wasn’t cleaning or subtly snapping in her unique “iceberg” way, she was cooking. All. The. Time! And don’t get me started on when she talked to Brannaugh – dear ancestor of hers, can you go die for me somewhere far away from this realm? HOW DARE YOU TALK LIKE THAT ABOUT A POOR MAN WHO WAS DENIED WHAT HIS HEART WANTED THE MOST BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOUR MOTHER CURSED HIM WITH LOOOONG BEFORE HE WAS BORN?!


The only thing that saved this from being DNF-shelved was NR’s awesome-as-always way of writing and her witty, funny dialogues. That and… well, it’s in Ireland! What’s not to love about the place? In any case, I might take a long break from NR, just to make sure that the next time I come back I won’t regret it. It would be a shame, since she’s the one who made me see the beauty of romance in books…

“In my life, you are all I’ve wanted. Above all else.” – Finbar Burke

RATING:

2cupcakes

Treasured by Crystal Jordan

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I suppose not every book themed the way I like it is going to make me all giddy… Well, I’m OK with that, sort of…

The story is about Becca, a young woman obsessed with the Golden Age of Piracy, and who’s in lust with one of the historical faces the current museum display she’s helping put up is hosting, James Morrow. Somehow, while touching one of the swords, she travels back in time – and straight into his arms. Having the same name and face as his bitch of a wife, she gets nothing but cold lust and suspicion from the pirate captain – especially since she’s nothing like the shrew he knew to have married. However, facing dangers and enemies together while at sea makes them get closer than they initially thought…

Seriously, I liked the idea of it all. Time-travelling, and pirates, and a short sexy story of a love meant to be despite the individuals being born centuries apart. And did I mention the pirates? Craaaazy One Piece fangirl here (ha! you lot thought it was about Jack Sparrow, huh? well, he’s a good bonus, too, but come on, who can compare to the Strawhats and, oh, good Lord, to Kid and Law?!), so yeah, the pirate-theme always gets me.

So what went wrong?, you might ask.

Well, the whole thing went from zero to one hundred waaaay too fast. Even for a short story, that was too much. You can’t reach true love from simple lust – and let’s face it, Becca didn’t even know James, yet she was halfway in love with him just because he was hot and knew how to make a woman scream in bed, while James wasn’t even THERE since all he was seeing was his wife acting suspiciously different. A few arguments, loooots of tupping, and BAM! Love is in the air -oh, wait, no, that’s actually the ocean breeze…

It didn’t work for me. Emotionally, that is. Becca was a fine enough girl, and I liked her alright, but James… I’ve had enough of hot guys being jerks because someone wronged them, thank you very much. He may be entitled to it, but it still irked me. Not to mention the adultery! Seriously? Sleeping with other women?


I don’t care how much of a bitch your wife is, sir. I would find it even more acceptable if you simply strangled her in her sleep or threw he off the ship, than to get between another woman’s legs. That’s a big no-no for this family-oriented gal right here, and the fact you actually fell back in love with said wife – or, well, her clone – and decided to finally keep Captain Jr. down there happy with only one female doesn’t mean squat to me. Cheating is still cheating!

Another problem – the freaking back door. Once was enough for me. Seeing it used again – AND WHY THE PEARLS?!?! THEY’RE MY FAVORITE GEMSTONES AND YOU NEARLY RUINED THEM FOR ME!!! – had me cringing. Like, a LOT!

Finally, the whole time-travelling thing. I would have been fine without one single explanation. No, really. I think it would have been way better than what I was given. I felt like I was reading the script of some kind of cartoon. So not in touch with the “pirate erotica” theme the book had going on up until that point.

Of course, no one should forget that maybe Ms. Jordan didn’t meet MY pirate-romance standards. That doesn’t mean she may not reach someone else’s, as the story was otherwise well-written in terms of grammar, historical reference, humor and pace. I’m also after reading other books of hers, in hopes of finding if maybe they can click better than this one.

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

Damned If He Does by Marcella Burnard

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Darsorin Incarri, an incubus, has been content with his routine as a demon – every night, he brings in his quota of sexual energy from five satisfied women. It’s a job he likes – power, females at his feet, and immortality – what more could he want? But when he meets Fiona Renee, a woman who just doesn’t fall in his arms no matter how high he turns the charm volume – and demonic power – on, Darsorin knows he can’t go back to what he’s been doing for so long. Now, the two must find a way to be together and have their happily ever after – since they’ve been denied that all their lives. If only Satan, Darsorin’s boss, was so willing to part with one of his best incubi…

OK, yeah, this sort of reminded me of Katie de Long’s Inkubus at some parts, yet it was also so different in many others.

First of all, the similarities: we have an incubus male lead, who stumbles upon a lone woman that doesn’t want him for her sexual needs only and seems resistant to his advances and powers – also, she sees him as HIM. His own face and body, not just a projection of what she wishes to see. Then, we have the incubus’s higher ups not eager to let said incubus leave their employment. And finally, the seduction of a female lead that doesn’t require just sex – turning the heat on with full blown romance and understanding and humor!

However, Darsorin was a pretty happy incubus up until he met Fiona. He loved screwing many and different women, and he enjoyed all demonic aspects of his nature. Fiona wasn’t someone he fell for – she was a challenge. And once he got past that, he seriously rocked my world as a character. Such emotional growth, and the vulnerability that came with it, the protectiveness, the depth of personality! I was enamored with the guy and how flawlessly he kept changing and becoming a better man through the pages!

Now, off to talk about Fiona. Oh, boy, allow me this one moment of existential pleasure: AN ASEXUAL FEMALE LEAD!!! THERE IS A GOD UP THERE AFTER ALL, AND HE SO CARES FOR US SEXUALITY MINORITIES!!!


I mean, OK, I’m not asexual, but there was a good part of my life I actually thought I was – until I finally found out the brilliant term of “demisexual” and I saw the light! I feel for Fiona so much – all the pressure from her family to act as a “normal sexually” woman, to find someone, to try harder to change herself. I truly admire how she stood up for herself and didn’t budge one bit.

Which makes the romance in this book so much better than most things I’ve read this year. We’re talking about a couple that couldn’t be physically intimate the way most couples do. Darsorin still had urges, but he soon learned to channel them to something else, and focused on truly romancing Fiona, in all the right ways – if you ask me. Using his humor, and understanding, and being beside her when she needed him the most. Being honest and protective in his own way – the dick pic to that creeper honestly had me howling with laughter – and he was plain adorable in his efforts to make this work for both of them.


That doesn’t mean, though, that Dar was the only one working hard for the blossoming relationship. Fiona was busting her ass off, too. She was desperately searching for a way to free the man who had unconsciouly become so important for her, even going as far as challenging the devil himself, face to face. And the brief moment that she almost backed down was when she feared for Darsorin’s safety. She was selfless, interesting, with many hobbies and things to do – it felt so real reading about her life and habits, like reconnecting with a good old friend. Plus, even when she knew she couldn’t get any pleasure from sex, she still tried, if only to give some relief to her beloved incubus.

We’re talking about a relationship starting from scratch, developing into something real, touchable, and quite honestly, idealistic. A relationship that should have been the IDOL of all relationships, fictional and real, that every couple should go after. And Marcella Burnard managed to show that, along with tons of supernatural stuff, funny dialogues, suspense, historical bits, and dramatic twists, in the span of a book.


I don’t know about you guys, but since there’s no series connected with this one, I’m content to say I’ll be reading more of Burnard’s work in the future. If she can do justice to romantic literature like this, you bet I want to know what more she can offer in the romance genre!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Barnett

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Holy sweet pinata of Santa Maria!!!

*stops to take a breath*

OK, OK, that was one heck of an opening, but hot dang, was this book a shock to my senses or what?!

Dr. Simon Bell, one of the finest in London, visits an acquaintance of his to ask for a cure – his sweet wife Sophie is slowly dying from cancer. Said acquaintance, an apothecary going by the name Gaelan Erceldoune, is a bitter widower who didn’t have the chance to save his own wife, one year prior to Simon’s visit. He claims he has a cure, but it results in Sophie’s death. Simon, not willing to live without his wife, downs the potion he gave her – only to become immortal. Now, the two of them must find a way to reverse his immortality so that he can finally die in peace.

Admittedly, this was only HALF of what I wished to write as a summary for the book, but I’m trying my damnest here to not give away any more spoilers, so bear with me. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I can say a lot of things I want to say without treading in dangerous spoiler waters, so I’ll keep it at a minimum.


Let’s start with what didn’t work for me in the story: hmmm, NOTHING! Everything was absolutely perfect. The timing, the pace, the plot twists, the characters. Even if I hated some of them – I’m looking at you, Simon! – I couldn’t help but be sucked in what was going on and keep turning the pages to see the rest of it. Some of the twists were predictable (YASSSS, MY SHIP WAS CONFIRMED!!!), some others not, yet the book still managed to keep me intrigued to the very end – dear Mrs. Barnett, that last scene freaked me out and I almost started crying until I realized what really took place, my poor heart nearly stopped!

There’s only one last thing left to be said: go read it! ASAP! It may confuse you at first, but you’ll learn to love it before the second chapter is even done. Besides, if that, too, fails, there’s always Gaelan – the man was a delicious shot of bitter and cynical awesomeness, and you can’t help but love him to death!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes