Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: May 7, 2013
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic  
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
Source: ARC provided in exchange for unbiased review
*purchases made through buy links support this blog

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey. After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
When I read the synopsis and saw “The Passage meets Ender’s Game” I knew I had to read Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. I am not familiar with Ender’s Game but I am a huge fan of Cronin’s epic novel The Passage. This was an outstanding dystopian that gave me chills with characters I couldn't help but root for. At almost five hundred pages I quickly consumed this as I slipped into Yancey’s world. Three word review: epic, believable, genius.

The prologue set in 1995, gave me chills and immediately drew me into the story. Fast forward to present day when the planet is attacked. Through Cassie we get an account of the events that occurred leading up to the 5th Wave and here our journey with Cassie begins.  When her little brother is separated from her she vows to find him. To survive she trust no one that is until she meets Evan Walker. To fulfill her promise, she may just need to take a chance and the tale that unfolds left me breathless.  

I love mankind's ability to lift ourselves up and survive when all seems lost. Granted not everyone does that. Some close their doors and wait for the end, others end it themselves. Then there are those who find a purpose and continue despite the odds and these are the characters that Yancey brings to life. Cassie is a strong character and her voice rang true throughout the novel.  She is a fighter, even when she wants to crumble and hide. She isn't a skilled survivalist, and heck she can't even shoot, but she promised her brother she would come and with a little luck and kick-ass persistence she sets out to find him.  Along the way she faces conflict and characters who make her question her own rules.  We see growth in her throughout the novel and I would be honored to call Cassie my friend.  From the squad team at Camp Haven to the boy at the first base camp Cassie encounters the other characters and perspectives are fleshed–out. Even the briefest of characters has their own distinct voices. There is a romance and the possibility of a triangle but these do not  take center stage and only deepen our understanding of the characters.

Told from multiple perspectives with outstanding, original world building I could not put this novel down. Yancey is an impressive storyteller and his weaving of events seemed so plausible it gave me chills. It blurred the line between fiction and reality. The pacing was perfect and the author gave me a panoramic view of the world through his characters. I didn't feel rushed nor did I feel we straggled. The details and world description flowed effortlessly from his pen to the pages and allowed me to completely immerse myself. His characters are strong, complex and believable. I found myself rooting for each of them. Yancey brings this tale alive on so many levels from the intense understanding and powerful emotions we feel for Cassie and her family to the horror of what is happening to our world. The waves that occurred are brilliant and the perfect road map for anyone looking to destroy Earth’s inhabitants. Trust, being alone, survival and humanity are all questions raised throughout the novel. Yancey even forces us to see the alien’s position. The tale can be dark and depressing at times but humanities will to survive uplifts you and compels you to read on. This novel positively blew me away. I could not put it down nor could I stop thinking about it and talking about it. It’s a book whose details you will remember a year from now. It’s one that will pop up every time you recommend a book. I lived it, consumed it and still I want more.

The 5th Wave is an outstanding dystopian tales that will quickly distinguish itself from this flooded genre. Yancey has created a world and characters that I will want to visit again and again. This tale can be enjoyed by everyone from teens to adults and has excellent cross-over appeal for science-fiction lovers.

Five cups of coffee before the first wave out of five
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: I Do ... or Die by Donna Cummings

I Do or Die
by Donna Cummings
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Publication date: December 10, 2012
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Source: Author in exchange for unbiased review
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
*purchases through links support this blog

“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” is Shelby Atwood's personal credo. She’s managed to avoid commitment all her life – no pets, no plants, not even a long-term lease. Heck, she’s had colds last longer than her romantic relationships. How could she be any other way when she has a gigolo for a father? But then gunfire erupts at the latest wedding she’s agreed to be in, and it ends up being the best thing to happen to Shelby’s love life. Detective Ryan Nichols is assigned to the case, and when the shootings don’t stop, he becomes her 24-hour bodyguard. Shelby wouldn’t mind except Ryan is too appealing, too sexy, and too happy to remind her of the raucous bachelorette party when she mistook him for a stripper. Shelby’s plan is simple: find the shooter, have a fling with Ryan, and return to her non-committal life. Unfortunately, the shooter is very elusive. Shelby’s feelings for Ryan are way more than adrenaline-fueled lust. And returning to her normal life is now impossible since, despite her lifelong resistance, she’s managed to put her heart smack dab in the line of fire.
I agreed to read I Do..or Die after reading the synopsis. I love romantic suspense and I sensed a little snark and humor. Cummings delighted me with an over the top witty, and snarky heroine. Then she added a smexy Detective and a cat whose facial expressions made me giggle. Three word review: humorous, romantic, steamy. 

We meet Shelby Atwood dressed as a bridesmaid for her best friends, forth wedding! *yikes* While she thinks her friend is crazy to try again she stands by her and suffers through all her duties. At the wedding the bride is shot at and Shelby quickly moves to her side as she is whisked to the hospital. Here she meets Detective Ryan Nichols and she cannot help but notice he is all kinds of yummy. She is covered in blood, and tries to looks casual as she spews one-liners that have the groom frustrated and the officer smirking. He offers her a ride home and the tale that unfolds is funny, romantic, and steamy. Despite a few issues I enjoyed the ride and found the romance sweet.

Shelby’s life is upside down at the moment and you kind of have to laugh at the cards fate has dealt her, and admire her for laughing it off. She is snarky, and both her inner thoughts and spoken thoughts had me giggling. The more nervous she got the more snarky she became and sometimes it got a little annoying. I wanted to shake her and say be serious. Ryan finds Shelby refreshing, funny, and sexy. When he realizes she is in trouble he helps and I liked the kind of stand-up guy he is. There is sexual tension from the onset but the relationship unfolds slowly. Other characters round out the story and add insight, humor and suspects.

The mystery aspect of this tale is served as a side dish to the romance although it is always present. Instead of working the case with Shelby in tow, Ryan’s partner works it, leaving us feel a little left out. I would have liked to be more involved but the climatic ending for the mystery itself was very believable. But then the author threw in a twist and while I loved the intense scene it felt over the top. I would have preferred the first ending with the climactic scene and throw out that last bit. The romance wrapped up nicely and I liked how it ended. Overall this was an entertaining read and I will certainly try this author again.

Fans of romance with a side dish of suspense, and a whole lot of humor will enjoy I Do…or Die. It offers up a nice light weekend read.

Three cups of coffee out of five
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday # 45 Find out what I am drooling for....

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme
 hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

The Trap
by Andrew Fukuda
Series: The Hunt #3
Publisher: St. Martin
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pre-order*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
*purchases through buy links help support this blog 

The explosive finale to The Hunt trilogy—After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for themselves. But as they struggle to get there, Gene's mission sets him on a crash course with Ashley June, his first love . . . and his deadliest enemy.
It's no secret that I love this series and I am anxious to learn more about the origin and read the exciting conclusion to the Hunt series. Is this new to you?
Read my review of The Hunt book one: Here and The Prey book two: Here

Getting Rowdy
by Lori Foster
Series: Love Undercover #3
Publisher: Harlequin 
Publication date: September 24, 2013
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Pre-order*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

An alpha hero's attraction to the one woman he can't have could draw him into a killer's snare in the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster. Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn't the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distance-including a past that might come back to haunt them both.  Avery spends her nights working for tips...and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy's protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she's finally found...and the passion she's always wanted.
I absolutely love the suspenseful romances Foster delivers and this series has been smoking hot, with strong woman and yummy alpha males. Rowdy has been one of my favorite secondary characters and I am excited to finally get his story. This series new to you? Check out my reviews of book one Run the Risk: Here and Bare It All book two: Here

What book(s) are you Waiting On? 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Release Day Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To
by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limit #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: May 28, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
Source: ARC provided in exchange for unbiased review
*purchases made through buy links support this blog
My review of book one: Pushing the Limits 

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....
"I dare you..."
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does.... Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him. But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
I adored Pushing the Limits with Noah and Echo and was excited to read Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I found it to be a raw, brutally honest portrayal of a dysfunctional family and the depiction of the main character, her emotions and struggles felt breathtakingly real. I quickly consumed this and look forward to the third book Crash Into You. Three word review: raw, emotional, realistic.

In this second book we get up close and personal with Beth Risk and the drama she faces on a daily basis as she tries to take care of her mother. When the cops are called, Beth takes the heat and is whisked away to her Uncle’s home. A new school, the loss of her friends, an Aunt who doesn't want her and the need to protect her Mom have Beth looking to escape. She meets Ryan Stone; high school athlete, and dropped dead gorgeous. He’s able to get under her skin and begins to peck away at the carefully constructed wall she has built around herself. The tale that unfolds was bittersweet as Beth learns she is not her mother’s keeper.

Beth is angry, loud, fouled mouthed, and broken. Despite being annoying at times, I couldn't help but love her. She loves her friends Noah and Isaiah and works so hard to take care of her mother. She has been abused, and taken advantage of. She dresses in black, even dyes her golden tresses black. She smokes pot and drinks just to escape and dull the pain. I knew someone very much like her in high school.  Her emotions, fears and reactions rang so true.  Her self-esteem is a mess, she is snarky and attacks when her emotions threaten to surface. Isaiah and Noah are present in some scenes but this is really Beth's story. They realize she needs to be separated from her mother. Her interaction with Isaiah are emotional and felt very surreal. Ryan is a guy who looks like he has the world in his pocket. He is a good kid trying to please everyone. Athletic, with a killer smile you cannot help but like him. He has family secrets and the perfect nuclear family you see isn't the one that reveals itself within the walls of their home. The romance was slow to build and I enjoyed watching it unfold. I felt all of the characters were fleshed-out and the secondary characters in school are the classic ones that seem to creep into every story. We get the mean girl, who does catty things, the well meaning friends and the classic sidekicks.

While the romance takes a lot of stage time, there is a lot more to McGarry’s story. She addresses some really big issues, like homosexuality, drug abuse, physical abuse and the effects these play on children and families. The tale focuses on Beth and her issues and this was well done. Beth is broken, has abandonment issues as well as trust issues. I loved seeing her grow, and trust. There are some raw tender moments throughout the novel and not just between the couple. The romance developed slowly and there is some heat, but it was discreet. The interaction between Beth and her Uncle touched me, as did a few other events. Overall, I think McGarry delivered and while it isn’t always easy to get all warm and fuzzy about Beth you have to appreciate what a realistic character the author created.

If you loved Pushing the Limits then Dare You To is a must read. While the two books are connected Dare You To would work well as a standalone too. These novels push the YA envelope and I would recommend this for more mature young adults. The next book Crash Into You will be published November  26, 2013 and share Isaiah’s story.

Four cups of coffee out of five
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie

Surprising Lord Jack
by Sally MacKenzie
Series: Duchess of Love #2
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Publication date: March 5, 2013
Genre: Adult Historical Romance 
Source: Publisher for unbiased review
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
*purchases made through buy links support this blog

One naughty little masquerade can't hurt… Unladylike Behavior- Frances Hadley has managed her family’s estate for years. So why can’t she request her own dowry? She’ll have to go to London herself and knock some sense into the men interfering in her life. With the nonsense she’s dealt with lately, though, there’s no way she’s going as a woman. A pair of breeches and a quick chop of her red curls, and she’ll have much less to worry about… Jack Valentine, third son of the famous Duchess of Love, is through being pursued by pushy young ladies. One particularly determined miss has run him out of his own house party. Luckily the inn has one bed left—Jack just has to share with a rather entertaining red-headed youth. Perhaps the two of them should ride to London together. It will make a pleasant escape from his mother’s matchmaking melodrama!
When I requested Surprising Lord Jack I was intrigued by the synopsis.  A girl disguised as a man who ends up sharing a bed with a Duke? I am all in! I didn’t realize at the time that this was book two in the Duchess of Love series but I am delighted to report that this works as a standalone. From the very first page MacKenzie had me swept up in Frances Hadley's story and I enjoyed every minute of this delightfully captivating and suspenseful tale. Three word review: Funny, romantic, suspenseful.

Frances escapes her childhood home disguised as a lad and heads off to London to request her dowry and escape her Aunt’s dastardly plans to marry her off.  When her horse becomes lame she is forced to stop at an inn. The inn is full except for the room reserved for Valentine family. Since the family is hosting a ball, the landlady takes pity on the poor lad and offers him (her) the room. Exhausted and fearful of being discovered she climbs under the covers fully dressed and promptly drifts off to sleep. When Lord Jack shows up requesting his room, he discovers it is occupied. When the landlady informs him of the young lad, Lord Jack agrees to share the bed and see that the lad safely arrives in London. The tale that unfolds while predictable was fast paced, romantic, and completely enjoyable!

Frances is twenty-four and has lived with her Aunt since her mother’s passing at the tender age of twelve. Her twin brother went off to London and her father traipses the world studying flora. Both have shown no interest in her well being. I instantly liked Frances and the more I discovered about her the more I liked her. She is smart, quick witted, naïve, and slightly damaged. Her past has left her with a lot of misconceptions and watching her sort things out was a pleasure. Lord Jack rumored to be a rogue is handsome, caring and a humanitarian. He is honorable and you cannot help but fall in love with him. The interaction between the two of them was quite enjoyable, and as their relationship developed it felt sweet, passionate and genuine. I adored Jack’s parents especially the Duchess. (The Duchess of Love).

I will admit to loving this type of plot where a girl trying to escape ends up being ruined unless the man who accidentally became involved steps in and does the honorable thing. MacKenzie added a few twists to make the tale fresh and I loved it. There is also a murder mystery threaded into the tale. Lord Jack and his friends are working to solve the case and guard the woman as well. It added a nice suspense level to the tale and I loved guessing whodunit. Shakespeare a clever dog won my heart and I enjoyed all of the secondary characters as well. The tale flowed wonderfully and the romance developed slowly. I plan to go back and read book one Bedding Lord Ned, which deals with Lord Jack’s older brother and will continue the series.

Fans of historical romances will find Surprising Lord Jack the perfect escape for a rainy afternoon.

Four cups of hazelnut coffee out of five
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Sunday Post #57 ~sharing blog news and book haul

The Sunday Post ~ 57th Edition
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 
I hope those in the US are enjoying their 3-day holiday weekend. We are grilling out with our peeps. If you are taking part in the Clean Sweep Challenge this is the final week to read those ARC's! I have a hot lineup this week and you stop back and check them out! 

Last week on the blog we brought you
This week on the blog look for
  • Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie (review)
  • Dare You To by Katie McGarry  (review) 
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • I Do..or Die by Donna Cummings (review)
  • 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (review)
  • The Night is Watching by Heather Graham (review) 
Around the Blogosphere 
New arrivals to the Caffeinated Cafe
For Review

The Forever of Ella and Micha
by Jessica Sorensen 

The Best Man by Ana Blaze
thanks to Entranced Publishing 

Along the Watchtower by David Litwack
thanks to author and CBB Blog tours 

Altered Frequency by Joya Fields 


I am part of the Bella Andre "Summer of Love" blog tour and will be
reviewing the first three books in her Sullivan series one each month. As part of the kick-off, we are giving away a beach bag filled with goodies, and they sent me one of my very own as a gift! Thank you BookTrib, Media Muscle, and Harlequin!!! Jealous? Don't be because one of you can win it too! Click HERE to enter! 


Follow on Bloglovin

That's my news what's new in your world? 
*leave a comment and I will stop by*

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

How The Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips and Tricks #10 Reviews

What Do I Include in My Review and What Do Publishers Like to See?!?

What things should I include in my review post? 

First and foremost, regardless of how you structure your reviews, you want to add a little bit of yourself. As you grow and find your niche this will become second nature. What you ultimately want to achieve is to share your feelings and thoughts to help others decide if they will like or dislike the book. How you do this is entirely up to you! Some like to be snarky, some like to break things out into likes and dislikes and some like to add images, exclamation points and humor. 

FTC Guidelines: If you received a book/arc you must clearly state this in plain sight on your review post. Any buy links? Be sure readers know they are supporting your blog when they make a purchase. Read the rules: HERE

The following are a list of suggestions based on questions I posed to readers:

The basic things readers like to see in a good review:

1. Why you bought book or decided to review it
2. A brief, spoiler free synopsis in your own words
3. Character analyses
                a. personality (alpha, kick-ass, brat, whiny? we want to know)
                b. did you connect with them? why or why not?
                c. character growth
                d. did you like or dislike them? Give reason why.
It's so important to back up your statement when analyzing a character. To simply state you like or dislike a character doesn't really help the reader determine if they will. For example I love snarky, bad-ass, headstrong characters and you may prefer soft spoken, moody, flawed characters. By sharing the why, you enable readers to decide for themselves. 

4. Romance
                a. is there one?
                b. is it insta-love or a triangle?
                c. did it feel real to you?
                d. is it the main focus or a subplot?

4. World-building
                a. is it detailed? 
                b. did it feel plausible?
                c. was it show or tell?
                d. setting
                e. genre 

Was it an information dump, or slowly revealed? Did the author paint the world for you or smother you with details about chairs and wallpaper? Was it believable? Is it the same old troupe or did the author add their own voice to it? What worked? What didn't. 
5. Flow, Author’s writing style
                a. where you jarred from the story by anything?
                b. was it slow, fast paced, did the middle suffer?
                c. did the author make you connect with the characters & setting?
                d. point of view (multiple?)

Hmm, how do I know what POV the book is from? Here is a simple guideline:

First Person: told from future, present or past tense, the author uses terms like I climbed the hill, we climbed the hill. 
Second Person: generally found in non-fiction, like manuals the author uses terms like you lose or you all lose.
Third Person: this is the easiest to identify as the narrator isn't present in the tale and the author uses terms such as He climbed the hill, she climbed the hill, they climbed the hill. 

6. Would you recommend it?
                a. why or why not
                b. to whom

7. Honest opinion, be trustworthy and state your true assessment. 

Honesty is what people crave more than anything. They want to discern your tastes and know how theirs align with yours. Remember not everyone is going to love or loathe the same book, so if you loved it say so. If you wanted to smack it against the wall and scream; tell us why.

Things Readers Do Not Want to see:

1. Spoilers – readers want to experience the book for themselves 
2. Dishonesty, Plagiarism etc
3. No synopsis by publisher or recap by reviewer
4. Author Bashing - maintain professionalism and don't make it personal     
5. No cover 
6. A recap with no real opinion

Spoiler? A spoiler to me is any information regarding the plot that is not revealed in the synopsis. If you want to talk about something specific by all means do so but either give fair warning or be vague.

A vague example: The author brought up social issues regarding racism and made me reflect on my own opinion.

Readers said after they have read the book they love spoilers, but before they want clear warning if you have them. 

Extras that Readers love to see added to the post:

1. Links to Goodreads
2. Buy links
3. Book trailers
4. Series- yes? no? What book is it? 
5. information on next book or previous book
6. If you like (insert author or book) then you will like this.
7. Genre and age group

Things Publishers and Authors Like to see:

I emailed a few authors and publishers to find out what they like to see in a review and here are a few items:

1. General book info: cover, title, synopsis, publisher info, release date, genre
2. Honest and spoiler free review
3. author links/publisher links
4. Goodreads button
5. Buy links
6. A review posted within 2 weeks of release date before or after (for ARCS)

Again these are suggestions! Mold your reviews to fit your personality. Find your own voice and format. 

Do you have a question or tip you'd like me to discuss?
Please email me or leave the question in the comments below.

Clean Sweep Challenges 

Saturday May 25th 
9am (EST) Lola @ Lola's Reviews
4pm (EST) Jenn & Mary @ YA Book Twins

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