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Review: LIARS, INC.


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Title: LIARS, INC.
Author: Paula Stokes
Release date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

LIARS, INC. is a tension-filled, edge-of-your-seat read that sets the stage right from the start with a scene that will leave readers wondering not only how things got to that point but where they’ll go from there. It’s a story that involves a missing boy, a murder or two, a possible kidnapping, a potential frame-up, a number of suspects, a whole bunch of secrets, lies, and betrayals, and a host of hidden agendas.

It’s a story filled with all sorts of twists and turns that will keep readers guessing and plenty of excitement to keep them riveted. It’s a story that will have them wondering if anyone is innocent or if no one is.

Max Cantrell never really appreciated just how good he had it. Not until everything started falling apart. When his best friend Preston went missing he didn’t think anything of it. At first. But when it starts to look as if Preston’s not just hiding out, that something happened, and that someone’s making it seem as if Max had something to do with the disappearance, he’s determined to find out what’s really going on.

If only he hadn’t covered for Preston, hadn’t lied to the FBI, hadn’t been a part of Liars, Inc., he might not have been their prime suspect. But if he can find out what really happened and who’s actually to blame, it might not be too late to convince everyone of his innocence. He’ll just have to do so before they catch him or before whoever really is guilty does. Because he’s not ready to spend a life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit or have it end early because of one stupid mistake.

Paula Stokes did a masterful job creating, establishing, building, and presenting the mystery in her story. It was gripping. It was suspenseful. It introduced doubt and distrust. It created and developed suspects. It offered theories and motives. And even with the story beginning in the middle, it flowed beautifully.

She gave readers a few interesting, if not always likable and rarely trustworthy, characters to get to know. She chose an unreliable narrator to tell the tale. She ordered her story in a way that teased an outcome at the outset. And she slowly revealed the key pieces of information leading up to what can only be described as a jaw-dropping conclusion.

LIARS, INC. is a fast-paced and thrilling mystery that checks all the right boxes – engaging storyline, twisty-turny plot, not-instantly-solvable puzzle, fantastic writing, great characters, killer ending. It’s a story that will grab from the get-go and will keep readers hooked until every last question has been answered and all is revealed at the very end.

The Rating


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Author: Jeanne Ryan
Release date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it’s too late.

Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.


NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

CHARISMA is a fascinating, chilling and immensely entertaining story that invites readers into a world where an untested gene therapy drug promises amazing results but unbeknownst to its recipients comes at a deadly price. It’s a story that reveals a likely and not-so-far-off future where one’s personality can be radically altered with a single injection. It’s a thought-provoking and gripping and utterly compelling read that will have readers debating the pros and cons of the scientific advancement.

When Aislyn Hollings is offered the opportunity to be a test subject for Charisma, a gene enhancement drug that is guaranteed to be life-changing, she is eager to accept. Her debilitating shyness has kept her from living the life she wants and she’s desperate to be someone who is not afraid of everything and everyone all of the time.

But when she starts to suspect that she’s not the only one to have been given the dose, or even the first one, her enthusiasm begins to wane. That is, until she finds herself becoming more confident, taking more risks, being more social, feeling more normal.

However, when some of the people she believes had their personalities altered by Charisma start getting sick and falling into comas, and the doctor who administered the dose stops responding to her texts and calls, Aislyn decides to break her silence, find out who else might be at risk, and begin a frantic search for a way to reverse the effects before the same thing that happened to them happens to her.

Jeanne Ryan penned an absolutely thrilling and heartbreaking and riveting story with a heroine who is incredibly sympathetic and smart and – with the help of Charisma – determined. Her story offers food for thought about the merits of gene therapy, about the risks, about the potential for its use in non-essential treatments, about its potential for use in life-saving situations. And it does so in a way that is engaging and interesting and hugely exciting.

CHARISMA is filled with twists and turns, frightening and tragic outcomes, captivating and likable characters, and appealing between-the-chapter tidbits. It is a suspenseful page-turner that combines science that is not entirely fictional, mystery and romance into a story that is positively enthralling.

It is a provocative read that will prompt discussion and debate and will keep readers thinking about it long after the story’s end.

The Rating


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Book Teaser Blitz: SWEET by Tammara Webber


I am so excited to be able to share the first official teaser from Tammara Webber’s SWEET – a Contours of the Heart novel that can be read as a standalone.

I love Tammara Webber’s writing and I adore this series and I cannot wait to meet Pearl and Boyce next month when SWEET releases on April 27th.

First is some information about the book. The teaser graphic follows. What do you think about SWEET? And how excited are you for its release?



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Title & Series: SWEET (Contours of the Heart #3)
Author: Tammara Webber
Release date: April 27, 2015
Formats: Paperback, eBook


He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient; now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:


The Teaser


About Tammara Webber


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of EASY and BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart series – NA), as well BETWEEN THE LINES, WHERE YOU ARE, GOOD FOR YOU and HERE WITHOUT YOU (Between the Lines series – YA/NA).

I’m a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I’m Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.


Other Books in the Series

Easy Cover

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Title & Series: EASY (Contours of the Heart #1)
Author: Tammara Webber
Release date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 336
Formats: Paperback, audio, eBook


Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth – and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.


Breakable Cover

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Title & Series: BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart #2)
Author: Tammara Webber
Release date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 368
Formats: Paperback, audio, eBook


He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.


Posted in Extras, Fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

Review: CATALYST by Lydia Kang + Giveaway

Catalyst Cover

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Title & Series: CATALYST (Control #2)
Author: Lydia Kang
Release date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


For fans of Uglies and The Maze Runner comes a complex, thrill-filled love story that will make you question exactly what it means to be human

In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns.

But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something–a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister’s safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There’s more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined…aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.


Note: This review is based on an eARC received in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

CATALYST is the action-packed, suspenseful and incredibly exciting follow-up to Lydia Kang’s CONTROL that picks up over a year later, takes readers to new settings, introduces new characters, and promises even greater threats. New abilities will be revealed, new alliances will be made, and new friendships will be forged in this absolutely riveting sequel.

Neia hasn’t been the same for Zelia Benten since Cy’s sacrifice. As happy as she is that her sister Dyl is safe with her in Carus House, she can’t stop worrying about the boy she loves and what life might be like for him in Aureus.

But when an attack destroys her home and leaves her and her new family without anywhere to hide, she’ll have to flee to a safe house in Chicago. Without him. Without her family. With someone she never thought she’d be willing to protect.

And when her journey takes her to a place she never would have imagined she’d go to and one she’s not sure she’ll be allowed to leave, she realizes she might never see her family again. Not unless she can find a way to outsmart someone who always seems to be one step ahead. And not unless she can find a way to escape that won’t result in disfigurement or even death.

Filled with surprising twists, devastating betrayals, chilling repercussions, and shocking revelations, Author Lydia Kang created a sequel that will be unputdownable. She expands upon the world she created in CONTROL with new environments to explore, new hurdles to overcome, new and even more dangerous leaders, and new and intriguing mutations to learn about.

She put even more difficult obstacles in her character Zelia’s way, forcing her to be tougher, smarter, more confident, and more forgiving. She made Zelia into someone fierce but lovable. She made her into a leader.

Told in three parts, each with a different setting to discover, CATALYST will keep readers captivated. It is even more nail-biting, more nerve-wracking, more heartrending, more thrilling than the first book in the series. It delivers even more romance, more science, more deception. It reveals more history, uncovers more secrets, brings more carnage.

It is an amazing and unforgettable installment in a series that is totally epic. It’s a story that is more than just a must read, it’s a must read now.

The Rating


About Lydia Kang


Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

Lydia is represented by Eric Myers of the Spieler Agency.


Other Books in the Series

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Title & Series: CONTROL (Control #1)
Author: Lydia Kang
Release date: December 26, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook


An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.


The Giveaway


I’m giving away…

A hardcover copy of CATALYST to ONE WINNER

  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • There will be ONE winner
  • Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships
  • Book will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
  • Giveaway ends on March 31st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
  • Winner will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
  • Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Book Reviews, Contests and Giveaways | Tags: , , , , , ,

In Bookish News: YALLWEST Comes to Santa Monica April 11th & 12th


If you live in SoCal or will be visiting the area on Saturday, April 11th or Sunday, April 12th be sure to stop by YALLWEST presented by Epic Reads at Santa Monica High School (Saturday) or the Santa Monica Public Library (Sunday) to meet some of the most awesome YA authors – including Ransom Riggs, Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Libba Bray – who will be speaking and signing books.

Yallwest 2

To check out the full schedule CLICK HERE.

And to see ALL the amazing authors who will be in attendance CLICK HERE.

To find out more about the event, its founders, presenters visit YALLWEST at…



The Press Release


#1 New York Times Bestseller Ransom Riggs to headline, 37 New York Times Bestsellers & 36 Local Authors to Attend YALLWEST, New Santa Monica Public Library Festival

YA is finally coming home to L.A., and not just on the big and little screen. New York Times bestselling authors Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) and Melissa de la Cruz (Witches of East End) are launching the city’s first YA book festival, YALLWEST, presented this year by Epic Reads in cooperation with the Santa Monica Public Library. The festival goes live on April 11th, 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM at Santa Monica High School (601 Pico Boulevard) and April 12th, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Boulevard).

YALLWEST is a west coast sister festival to the five-year-old, Charleston-based YALLFEST, currently the biggest and most celebrated young adult book festival in the country, also co-founded and co-organized by Stohl, and co-organized by de la Cruz. Approximately eight thousand readers attended last year’s November festival.

Ransom Riggs, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which Tim Burton brings to the big screen in 2016, will give the inaugural keynote address. “Whether books or TV or movies, L.A. is a town that loves to tell stories,” Riggs said. “I’ve studied film here and I’ve written books here—and a festival that celebrates both is a great fit for me and for YA.” Both Riggs and his wife, bestselling YA author Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), are Santa Monica locals and serve on the festival’s board.

Eighty authors and artists will round out the two-day roster, including thirty-seven New York Times bestsellers and thirty-six additional local and acclaimed authors. The full author list and schedule of appearances and panels will be announced in early March.

In true L.A. style, panels will feature authors, artists, musicians and book-to-film Hollywood notables. YA author cover band Tiger Beat, fronted by bestselling author Libba Bray, will play the Saturday event at Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall.

In addition to Stohl, de la Cruz, Mafi and Riggs, the YALLWEST Author Board includes Pseudonymous Bosch (Secret Series), Marie Lu (The Young Elites), Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7’s), Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), Brendan Reichs (Virals), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Ally Condie (Matched) and Mike Johnston (Frozen). The Santa Monica Public Library team is headed up by Robert Graves, Ivy Weston, and Maria Carpenter.

The majority of the festival events are free, with the exception of four ticketed events. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.yallwest.com. Visit the festival’s website, @yallwest Twitter feed, YALLWEST Tumblr and Facebook pages for the most up-to-date details and a complete list of the festival’s sponsors.


And if you aren’t in the area, this may be one you’ll want to head to sunny Southern California for because the lineup is AMAZING!


Posted in Extras, Fiction | Tags: , , , , ,

SINFUL REWARDS 9 Blog Tour: ‘When Characters Dream’ Guest Post, Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour Banner
I am so excited to be participating in the SINFUL REWARDS 9 Blog Tour hosted by Book Plug Promotions with a fantastic guest post from Author Cynthia Sax on “When Characters Dream.” This is a totally smokin’ hot series and I can’t wait to get all caught up on it with this 9th installment in the series. SINFUL REWARDS 10 comes out on April 14th so there’s still time to devour all of the previous sexy, quick reads before then.

At just 99 cents per installment, they offer the perfect tantalizing bite.

In addition to the awesome guest post, some information about the book and author, I have a yummy excerpt to share along with a tour-wide giveaway. Just scroll down to read it and to enter for a chance to win one of two eCopies of the book.

And if you’d like to read a few other excerpts and see what other bloggers have to say about SINFUL REWARDS 9, check out the other stops on tour today for direct links to their posts.



Sinful Rewards 9

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Title & Series: SINFUL REWARDS 9: A Billionaires and Bikers Novella
Author: Cynthia Sax
Release date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Avon Red Impulse
Pages: 100
Formats: eBook


No longer torn between the billionaire and the biker, Bee has claimed her man, branding his skin with her scent, his soul with her care. He’s her ideal choice, building passion within her she didn’t know existed, supporting her dreams, and willing to do anything for her.

But is she the ideal choice for him?

An early-morning surprise attack and the arrival of a beautiful, witty, and regrettably nice rival make Bee question her decision. Does she step aside, forgoing her forever to ensure her man’s survival, or does she risk his life and her heart on love?


The Guest Post

When Characters Dream by Cynthia Sax

Dreams have always been my refuge from the judgmental world. They’re nightly pockets of happiness I anticipate during the day and cling to every morning.

Tonight is different. Nightmares chase me, my visions gruesome and dark, filled with explosions and flying shrapnel and images of Hawke in increasingly intense levels of pain.

I try to be a good soldier, putting pressure on his gushing wounds and sewing hunks of skin together, my hands shaking, my mouth dry. My efforts aren’t enough to save him. Hawke dies again and again, each loss tearing at my sanity.


This is how Sinful Rewards 9 starts, with Bee (the heroine) dreaming. She dreams that Hawke, her hunky former marine, is injured in a violent attack and she must save him. She tries over and over to accomplish this impossible feat and is unsuccessful, her man dying with each failure.

This dream, or rather nightmare, sets the tone for Sinful Rewards 9. During every scene, she has this fear of failing him, of losing him, in the back of her mind. It drives her decisions, her actions, changing her as a person. She’s no longer concerned with the fashions she loves. She’s worried about keeping her tattooed military man alive.

I love including dreams in my stories. Yes, I know this is fiction but the reality is—we all dream, maybe not every night, but sometimes and especially when we’re in stressful situations. These dreams or nightmares also affect the rest of our day. When I have an especially disturbing dream, I feel ‘off’, not quite right, for hours.

In our reality, our dreams might not make sense. I dreamed last night that I was being chased by a giant marshmallow wearing a blue cape and mask (was he Super Marshmallow???). I doubt that dream had any deep meaning except maybe I was hungry. I did wake up craving s’mores.

In my stories, the dreams often show the character’s worst fear or most horrific event in her or his past. These are situations or worries the heroine or hero can’t talk about (yet). She or he can’t directly face these traumatic events or possibilities.

The dreams aren’t only for you, the reader. They’re for these characters also. Bee realizes, after having the nightmare, how very freaked out she is over the possibility of Hawke dying. She had been ignoring this potential fate. The nightmare forced her to confront it.

What is the most recent dream you’ve had? Did it have a meaning?

About Cynthia Sax

CYNTHIA SAX lives in a world filled with magic and romance. Although her heroes may not always say “I love you,” they will do anything for the women they adore. They live passionately. They play hard. They love the same women forever.

Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.


The Excerpt

“You won’t be trampled because you won’t be going outside,” Hawke states bluntly. “While the TV stations are here, you won’t take one step out of the building. After they leave, you won’t go anywhere without my men accompanying you. Understand?”

“No, I don’t understand.” I lift my chin, unwilling to agree to anything without knowing the facts. “How is this different from the stalker situation?”

“The TV cameras could attract a more dangerous type of hostile.” Hawke rakes his fingers over his scalp, the pink trails on his skin visible through his short hair. “While a stalker is focused on one person, this potential hostile seeks media coverage of his cause. He inflicts maximum causalities and causes extreme damage to increase viewership, uncaring of his own safety.”

My eyes widen. “He could hurt you.” I bounce to my feet, ignoring the pain in my toe. “I’ve put you in danger.”


“I’ll move out.” I rummage through one of the storage boxes, looking for my battered messenger bag, the purse he fixed. “I don’t know where I’ll go, but when I find a place, I’ll issue a statement, draw the Hollywood hostiles away from you.”

“Come here,” he orders.

I’m unable to find my purse. “You’ll be safe.” I realize I’ve opened the wrong storage box, my mind preoccupied with the situation. “I—”

Hawke scoops me into his arms. I shriek, flailing my arms and legs. My big brute dumps me nonchalantly on the bed. “I’m safe and you’re not going anywhere.” He sits behind me. “You’re the target of the Hollywood hostiles, not me.”

“You could be one of their casualties.” I scurry away from him.

He draws me back, positioning me between his thighs. “If you remain inside the condo complex, there won’t be any casualties.” My former marine wraps his arms around my chest and bends his knees, creating a protective cage with his body.

This is why I have to leave. He’ll sacrifice himself to keep me safe.

The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • TWO eCopies of SINFUL REWARDS 9

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today’s Other Tour Stops

Check out a few of today’s other stops on the tour to see what bloggers had to say about SINFUL REWARDS 9 and to read more smokin’ hot excerpts.

Posted in Blog Tour, Contests and Giveaways, Extras, Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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