Sep 082015


Montmartre Mysteries
by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
Sally Pane (Translator)

Series: Winemaker Detective (Book 8)
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Le French Book (September 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939474477
ISBN-13: 978-1939474476

Wine expert Benjamin Cooker travels to the French capital, where his is called to help care for some vineyards in Montmartre, a neighborhood full of memories for him. He stops in on an old friend. Arthur Solacroup left the Foreign Legion to open a wine shop good enough to be in the Cooker Guide. But an attempted murder brings the past back into the present. But which past? The winemaker detective and his assistant Virgile want to know more, and their investigation leads them from the the sands of Djibouti to the vineyards of Côte du Rhône.


Benjamin closed the door to his office to speak to the vintner at the Dardanelle de Saint-Chinian estate. The man hadn’t managed to get nature on his side. Benjamin gave his instructions, suspecting that they’d be ignored, and hung up. He poured a whiskey and lit a Honduran cigar, which was a bit too narrow in its cedar sheath. Benjamin knew he had to attack the unanswered letters and e-mail, and yet he let himself be distracted by the city sounds outside the window. For some reason it reminded him of his childhood on the banks of the River Thames. Finally he picked up his letter opener and put it to an envelope marked “personal.” What could it be? The letter was handwritten and signed “a very faithful reader of the Cooker Guide.”Dear Sir,
As an expert in French wines, you’re familiar with our country’s vineyards, both large and small. That includes, of course, the well-known vineyard in Montmartre. But did you know that Paris has other grapevines?
I am not talking about a few climbing vines or espaliered stocks against the walls of a forgotten garden, but a true plot of them, which chance has made me, if not its owner, at least its representative by proxy.It so happens, Mr. Cooker, that a few months ago I was appointed to run the Bretonneau Hospital in the eighteenth arrondissement. This old and beautifully restored establishment was once a children’s hospital. In 2001, it became a hospital for the elderly with 205 beds. Our patients, despite their white hair and unsteady gait, have eyes that light up when they toddle like children down the rows of this vineyard, picking the chasselas grapes.
Unfortunately, this minuscule vineyard is now old, like the patients who love it, and each year the harvest grows more uncertain.Our table grapes suffer from lack of proper care, and many of them seem to be rotting on the vine. It is therefore in desperation that I call a vine doctor to our bedside. In all of France, is there a better choice than you?I do not know if your busy schedule allows you to take a look at what is certainly the smallest vineyard in France (barely one hundred plants) and hopefully prescribe a cure, but your knowledge would be very precious to us. Unfortunately, I do not have the funds in my modest budget to pay your fee. Could I simply call upon your benevolence and skill?On behalf of all of our patients, I thank you in advance and hope to count you among the healthy visitors to Bretonneau Hospital, whose entrance is on the Rue Joseph de Maistre.Yours sincerely,The name in the signature was perfectly legible, but the unusual letter was on plain paper, not stationery from the Paris Hospital system. Benjamin asked Jacqueline to call and verify that the author was, indeed, an employee of the institution.


This is the 8th book in the Winemaker Detective series but I think it can be read as a stand alone.

There are quite a few ways the story could have gone so you’re guessing and changing your mind throughout the book. It’s a short read and there are no lulls in the story, and all the characters are interesting.

I’ve only read a few in this series but wouldn’t mind going back and starting from the beginning. I love mysteries, and one of the biggest draws for me was that the book takes place in Paris.

A very good book if you like mysteries and/or Paris.

About The Authors
alaux-balen Jean-Pierre Alaux and NoÎl Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Ch‚teau Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.

The book was translated into English by Sally Pane who studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado. She has translated several titles in this series.

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 Posted by at 11:03 PM
Sep 012015


Bad Boy Bradley by Nirit Littaney (Illustrated by SugerSnail)

File Size: 2721 KB
Print Length: 38 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: July 8, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B011A505AS

All kids have known someone like Bradley. He’s a mischievous 5-year-old who marches to beat of his own drum and likes to pull pranks. His classmates know him as the boy who always interferes or says something rude, but Bradley may just surprise everyone by the time his story is through.
This charming bedtime story for kids is packed with real-life situations. Through each of Bradley’s actions, and a surprising twist, kids will learn a valuable lesson. Colorful illustrations make the tale of a bad boy Bradley even better for early readers in search of a children’s book that they can read themselves.

I loved this book. Kids have just recently gone back to school and for many kids it will be a hard transition, going from home to a classroom with a lot of other students. For those kids who are a bit “not so nice”, it can be very lonely since making friends for them will be hard. This book shows that if you are nice, nice things happen.

When Bradley’s teacher has a contest to see who can earn the most stars for doing good deeds, he goes from a mean little boy who no one likes to a helpful and nice kid who everyone likes. He wins the contest and picks his prize and everyone is happy for him. He realizes that being nice and having people like you is way better than being a bully who nobody likes.

Illustrator SugerSnail did a great job with the pictures, they are colorful and the way she draws the faces of the children is really cute.

A great book for any child starting school or who is not so nice to his classmates.

This book includes a free creative kit by clicking on a link and leaving your email address

 Posted by at 12:04 AM
Aug 222015


Dave the Brave Sawfish by Nirit Littaney

File Size: 7389 KB
Print Length: 38 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: July 16, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Watch out! If you swim by too closely, Dave, the young sawfish, may just whack you with his nose! No one can deny he has a huge honker, but the thing that stands out about him most isn’t his appearance at all. Swim with Dave through an underwater journey as he encounters a scary situation and proves once and for all that looks aren’t everything.
This bedtime story for kids is the perfect way to send children off to sleep with a valuable lesson to dream about. Vivid illustrations of sea creatures and aquatic animals will captivate little readers and parents alike. Dave is sure to become one of your child’s favorite characters from a children’s book.

This is such a cute book that I think all little ones would enjoy. It teaches that even though we may not look like everyone else, we still are important and matter. It also teaches young children not to make fun of or be mean to other children, or anyone, for being different.

I loved this book! It has such positive messages and the illustrations are adorable. I would recommend this book to anyone who is different or knows anyone who is different. It would be a great gift for any child getting ready to start school.

Illustrator Emily Zierother did an awesome job!

Thanks to author Nirit Littaney for sending me a PDF copy of the book for review



Every Saturday, Booking Mamma hosts a feature called Kid Konnection, a regular weekend feature about anything related to children’s books.

 Posted by at 10:50 AM
Aug 202015


A Remarkable Kindness by Diana Bletter

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062382446
ISBN-13: 978-0062382443

Through a largely hidden ceremony . . . four friends discover the true meaning of life

It’s 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles
to make a home for herself in a foreign land thousands of miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after a divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women’s friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.

I thought this book was very good. I can’t imagine having to go through what these ladies did and while I was reading the book I tried to think what I’d do if I ever was. I enjoyed reading how they reacted to different situations and how they tried to make a life for themselves in Israel.

The book will bring out a lot of emotions in you. I felt sorry for these women at times, but I also felt anger and admiration.

The story and the women are very well written. I loved that they bonded over a circle of life ritual and I also loved learning  a bit about Israel.

I’m not really a fan of this genre, but the synopsis grabbed my attention and I’m very glad I didn’t pass it up.


Purchase Links


About Diana Bletter
Diana Bletter is a writer whose work has appeared ina wide variety of publications, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, with photographs by Lori Grinker, was shortlisted for aNational Jewish Book Award. In 1991, she moved from New York to a seaside village in northern Israel where she lives with her husband and children, and volunteers in a burial circle.

Check out the author at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour Schedule:
Tuesday, August 11th: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, August 12th: Becca Rowan
Thursday, August 13th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, August 14th: Into the Hall of Books
Monday, August 17th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, August 18th: Novel Escapes
Wednesday, August 19th: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, August 20th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Monday, August 24th: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, August 25th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, August 26th: JulzReads
Thursday, August 27th: Bibliotica


 Posted by at 10:33 PM
Aug 152015


Bake Happy: 100 Delightful Dessert Recipes to Rock Your World by Judith Fertig

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Running Press (June 2, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762453796
ISBN-13: 978-0762453795
Colorful, flavorful home-baked treats just say “happy,” and Bake Happy is all about adding a bit of joy back into your kitchen. A sweet baking book that will bring a smile to the dessert table, Bake Happy includes 100 recipes for cheerful cupcakes and cookies, bars and brownies, tarts and turnovers, and delicious cakes that are speckled, marbled, and striped.

This cookbook can be used year-round and will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul. Whether you’re in the mood for creamy chocolate, colorful cake layers, tasty cake batter, or special occasion desserts, you’ll find recipes for Citrus Glazed Sunset Cake, Rustic Cherry Pudding, Secret Filling Devil’s Food Cupcakes, and more. There are also various options for color and flavor combinations, and 30+ full-color photos throughout.

I used to love to bake but since my children grew up I have barely done any baking at all. Sometimes I’ll bake something for Christmas or other holidays or just because I feel like it.

When I saw this book the title reminded me of the fact that baking did make me happy and I wanted a copy of this book asap.

The book starts off with Acknowledgements, Introduction, and The Bake Happy Language Of Flavor. My favorite flavor is chocolate, and from the chart chocolate means risk taking, shoulder to lean on and indulgence.

There are eight chapters in this book:
Bake Happy Basics
Meringues and Souffles
Tartlets, Tarts, Pies, and More
Little Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies, and Pastries
Cusards, Flans, and Bread Puddings
and then the index.

Since my son loves brownies, the first two recipes I want to try is the Marbled Pumpkin and the Venezuelan Spiced brownies. Another one I want to try is Chocolate Chunk Cookies since my kids loved the Chocolate Chip Cookies I used to make. There are also some fruit and other recipes I want to get to soon.

There are “So Happy Together” banners throught the book. One example is from the recipe Chocolate Chunk Cookies that says “Chocolate Chunk Cookies + Affogato”. Since I didn’t know what “affogato” was I looked it up and the definition is a coffee-based beverage. It usually takes the form of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. Some variations also include a shot of amaretto or other liqueur.

There are also variations included with some of the recipes and quotes by different people. One of my favorites was “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats” (Iris Murdoch, novelist).  I couldn’t agree more.

This book is a quick read with 240 pages, and it’s loaded with all sorts of yummies that seem easy enough to make.

If you are a baker or know someone who is, this is an excellent book to add to your shelf. It’s one you can go to over and over whenever you want something sweet. There are many different desserts and they all look good.


Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
 Posted by at 12:05 AM
Aug 122015


No Poverty Between the Sheets by Pauline Kiely

Category: Adult non-fiction, 258 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: A Passionate Pen
Published: March 2012
Available in: Print and e-book (mobi for Kindle), PDF
Content Rating: PG-13 Mature

This book documents the strong ties that bind generations together. When the author poses the question to her Irish Granny, “If you were so poor why did you have ten children?” Says she, “To be certain, there was no poverty between the sheets!” This sassy saga of a large family that is half Irish and half French Canadian captures hilarious voices and comical antics of a vibrant family that is cloaked in love. A horse theme and song lyrics are neatly knitted throughout the layers of generations.


It took me a while to get interested in this book. It might have been because I’d heard such good thoughts about it and heard that it was hilarious, and maybe I just built it up in my mind too much. It could have just been the mood I was in.

But then the book got funny. Some of it was LOL funny and some of it was just snicker funny. It was also just a bit too corny at times.

What I liked about the book was that the family was super close and really loved and enjoyed each other’s company. I liked reading how they interacted and all the crazy things they did, and I liked learning a bit about where the lived. And I liked the photos. They add to the story and make you feel part of it.

All in all I liked the book, but I know many other people who loved it. Read it and see what you think.


Pauline Kiely author pic

Meet the Author:

Pauline Kiely has been an avid student of Creative Writing her entire life. This author has consistently taken various courses and workshops offered at University of Toronto and Trent Universities. A year long memoir course with Susan Reynolds brought out this witty honest voice that shoots straight from the hip aiming for the heart.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 Posted by at 12:05 AM
Jul 302015

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Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom (Book 1: Kingdom Fantasy Series) by Nirit Littaney

Publisher: Nirit Littaney
Pages: 26
Genre: Children
Format: Kindle

Meet Candy, the cute girl who loves chocolate so much she dreams about it at night. Grab some sweets and follow Candy though a Magical Chocolate Kingdom that fills her belly and teaches her an important lesson about limits, after something very unexpected happens in the delicious empire.

Though the vivid illustrations are sure to make your mouth water, Candy’s new understanding is the real treat even you can munch on!

Excellent for beginner’s readers and children ages 3-6. Book 1 in the Kingdom Fantasy series.

Candy is an adorable little girl who loves chocolate as much as I do. But unlike me, she gets to live in a chocolate house, and everything inside including the water, is chocolate! How neat would that be? Well, it’s great for a little bit, but as Candy finds out, it’s not so great to overdo anything. Even chocolate. She soon ends up with a belly ache.

I think all children will love this book, it’s a fun story with a great message of too much of anything is bad for you.


Meet The Author
unnamed (2) Nirit Littaney is a fresh, imaginative author who weaves vivid images and important life lessons into endearing stories for children. After being confined to her bed for years by an incurable illness, Nirit experienced the same triumph of spirit that many of her characters undergo in their journeys through lands near and far.
Nirit’s commitment to personal and physical healing, along with her story-like travels around the world, have inspired her to pen inventive tales for families in search of humorous, insightful bedtime stories. She writes for children in hopes of making them giggle while they also learn a lesson or two.
Today, Nirit lives in Israel with her angel of a husband, who champions each of her new books as if he were the wide-eyed child she wrote them for. When Nirit isn’t dreaming up new characters, she works as a nutritionist, medical coach, and spiritual leader. She is eager to inspire and help others with the lessons her own challenges have taught her—and what better way is there than through books?

Connect with Nirit on Facebook and Twitter

Find out more about Nirit’s books at Goodreads





Hosted @ Booking Mama

 Posted by at 12:07 AM
Jul 242015


Geared for the Grave (The Cycle Path Mysteries #1) by Duffy Brown

Series: A Cycle Path Mystery-First in Series (Book 1)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629532789
ISBN-13: 978-1629532783

Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it’s up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again…

Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss’s father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg and operating his bike shop, Rudy’s Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie’s good turn only leads to more trouble…

After Evie’s arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, Bunny’s brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny’s number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss’s good side, she’ll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer’s plan…

This was my first Duffy Brown book and I loved it! The setting was on an island and there are no cars…only bikes! Sounds like a perfect place to live! The author does an awesome job of making you “see” the town and it’s people. After reading this, I told my kids I want to take a vacation to Mackinac Island. Seriously!

I was caught up in the book from the first paragraph and never lost interest. I loved the town, the people, the way they interacted and the “Fudgies” were a hoot.

The book is full of mystery and twists as Evie searches for the real Bunny killer. I really enjoyed reading about the escapades Evie got into. She was of course my favorite character, but I also loved Rudy, Irma, Irish Donna, and Sutter. Even Evie’s mom,  Ann Louise Bloomfield, the sophisticated, prim and proper lawyer turned out to be quite the character…enter Carmen. And who would have thought that I’d have a soft spot for a member of the mob?

I absolutely loved this book and can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. Wait, I just thought of something. It ended.

I can’t wait for book #2 in this series, and I recommend Geared For The Grave to all book lovers. It had everything I love in a book.


Meet The Author
10929149_788088594561636_8759981557993096947_nDuffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, her license plate is Sherlok and she conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy’s national bestselling Consignment Shop Mystery series is set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries are set on Mackinac Island.

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 Posted by at 12:00 PM
Jul 042015


Sammy Steals the Show by Emlyn Chand
Illustrations by Noelle Giffin

Paperback: 56 pages
Publisher: Evolved Publishing (May 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622531310
ISBN-13: 978-1622531318

Sammy is a talented young cockatiel who loves to sing out of his open apartment window for all of Australia to hear. One day, he watches a reality singing competition with his human friend, Lisa, and knows that if he could just audition, he would surely win. ~ What follows is a masterful escape, an eventful journey to the Sydney Opera House, and an audition the crew of “Sing Your Heart Out” will never forget. Will Sammy take home the title of Australia’s next rising star, or will he find something more important along the way? ~ There’s only one way to find out: join Sammy in his humorous adventure of fame, friendship, and fun, in this edition of the color-illustrated “Bird Brain Books” series for children.

Sammy is a cute cockatiel who lives in Sydney, Australia with his owner Lisa. Sammy loves to sing and all his bird friends keep telling him what a great voice he has. After watching a tv show similar to American Idol, he decides to fly to where it’s taped and audition so that the world can enjoy his talent.

When he gets there he realizes how much Lisa should be a part of his being discovered and that nothing is more important than his relationship with her. So he decides to fly back home. He doesn’t want Lisa to come home and see that he’s missing. He makes it back just in time.

This is a cute short story with the message that nothing is more important than the people you love and love you. I think this would be a great book to give any child.

The illustrations are cute but the cover shows Sammy with two of the three contest judges. I don’t really like the frowny face on the man, especially since this is such an upbeat story. I think the cover would have been much more appealing with an illustration of Sammy and Lisa.


 About the Author
510InnSNc0L._UX250_ From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life: she has published fiction across multiple genres, oversees and contributes as both an editor and an author to the Novel Publicity Guides for Writing & Marketing Fiction series, and loves the written word so much, she even married author Falcon Storm! Don’t forget that she is the founder and president of Novel Publicity too.
The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it—a lesson she has never forgotten. Maybe that’s why she loves writing her Bird Brain Book series for children so much!

Emlyn’s first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads

About the Illustrator
Bio_Pic-Noelle_Giffin_300dpi_760x790-120x120 Noelle Giffin is an illustrator currently residing in sunny Los
Angeles. She loves drawing fantasy
worlds, fun characters, and, of
course, cute, fat little animals! When she isn’t cooing over the
latest adorable animal she’s seen, she likes to sleep, play board
games with friends, and read and write comics.


 Posted by at 6:29 AM
Jun 122015


Hunter: Book 2 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

Category: YA Fiction, 162 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Dickson House
Release date: May 31, 2015
Available for review in: print and ebook (ePub, mobi for Kindle and PDF)
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates: May 18 to June 12, 2015
Content Rating: PG

13-year-old Teodor was taken by the vicious Battle Borgs of Dome and now he must fight to survive.

13-year-old Guy Erma has been offered a chance to fight for his place in the Dome Elite. Only who will be his opponent? Will he face a Battle Borg of Dome?

Once they were heroes. These men died as heroes in battle. Now they have been reincarnated as the fearsome vanguard of the Dome Elite. They are the Battle Borgs of Dome

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. They face the same enemy, the same danger, the same fear -dare they trust each other?


I normally don’t read this genre, but thought I’d give it a try since I’ve been wanting to try different types of books. I’m glad I did.

This story starts where Kidnap left off, and I’d recommend reading them in order. In this book Teodor’s mother, Sayginn, is worried about him and has some difficult decisions to make. Like book one, the descriptions are superb, especially the fight scenes.

We are introduced to more characters and there is more action in this book. The story is past paced and will keep you excited to see what comes next. My favorite characters were of course Teodor and Guy Erma, but I also loved the characters of Sayginn and Karl Valvanchi. Sayginn enlisted Karl’s help in freeing Teodor, and somehow they could read each other’s minds. I loved that.

The author added a few pictures, and there is a section in the back with the meaning of words that you may not know, and bios of characters. That helped a lot.

If you like sci-fi or not, I think you’d love this series. It has plenty of action, suspense and is a fun read into a far away place and futuristic way of life.

I’m looking forward to reading book 3 in this series.


7907957The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest


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Kid Konnection

 Posted by at 8:47 AM