Serpent & Dove

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Shelby Mahurin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.           Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.          The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.          And love makes fools of us all.

This title just blew up in the book world. I’m guilty for purchasing this purely because of the hype!

I’m noticing a trend where witch-themes are making a come-back in publishing and Ms. Mahurin chose a great time to have this published. Many of the YA-fantasy Royals have reignited this adoration.

Set in a some-what historical setting in France during the time of the witch-trials, this added a layer of romance and gothic feel. Louise le Blanc is a young witch, running away from her mother and her coven after years of mistreatment from them. When she is found by the Chasseur, Reid Diggory, she uses her magic to coerce the archbishop to wed the pair and wipe her true identity from knowledge to protect herself from the Chasseur and her mother.

Louise and Reid’s relationship goes from indifference and distrust to love ad romance. Though this was really well written, I don’t tend to enjoy this trope. However, as I said, this relationship development was really well written where it felt organic and not something the author is forcing.

The main plot-point took a good chunk of this book before we get to the climax. But, since this is a series of two books (with a promise of a third) I kind of expected this.

All in all, I did enjoy this. It was a good read but wasn’t something to write home about.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?


Hardcover

513 pages

Published – 3rd September 2019

Publishing Company – Harper Teen

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Come Again

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Robert Webb

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart. One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke. But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…

When I first saw this, I thought it sounded like such a bittersweet story. A take on the throws of grief, loss and depression.

After I learned it was written by Robert Webb, quite a well-known name in our home for his comedy, I was even more intrigued to see the whit that would come up. Despite it sounding like a rather sad tale, it did make me audibly laugh more times than I ever have while reading!

Our leading lady, Kate was such a character! She was so well crafted, I began to really feel like she was a friend of my own; trying to help her see that people love her and grief doesn’t take centre-stage forever.

I think my favourite part of this was when Kate wakes up to find she’s in her dorm room at uni on the day she met her future husband. With every change of history she made, I couldn’t help but think “has the world imploded? Or has a huge nuclear explosion wiped out the human race because of the changes?”

I really enjoyed this story. For a debut with such heavy expectation, it was so enjoyable and I just loved the ease and flow of it and I loved the retake on the butterfly effect.

This was an audiobook listen for me. Olivia Colman is a great actress, on screen, and just as great on audio. Her emotions she showed were so easy to connect with. The annunciation at perfect points in the dialogues were spot on. I would highly recommend to listen to the audiobook, it gives such a wonderful extra-layer to the already excellent writing.

Did I mention I loved it?


Audiobook

13 hours 08 minutes

Published – 12th November 2020

Publishing Company – Penguin Audio

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One by One

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Ruth Ware

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them? When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

One of the most talked-about authors, Ruth Ware, is back again with another cracking novel!

With her previous publication, The Turn of the Key, (which I loved!) I was so excited when I saw she was coming out with another title. I loved her writing style in the last book, so I had a high expectation that it would leave me feeling the same.

Set in a picturesque ski resort in the French Alps, we’re given a story of dual-perspective, following Liz, a shy and mysterious ex-employee of an up-and-coming media app named ‘Snoop’, and Erin, the chalet’s attendant with secrets of her own.

As events begin to unfold, one by one, share-holders of the start-up company begin to go missing or are found dead under suspicious circumstances all while the surviving members of the party work to keep safe after an avalanche devastates the surrounding resorts and facilities. With no telling how long they have to wait for rescue, can they find out who killed their friends before its too late?

I really enjoyed this. It was, as expected, well written with enough mystery where the reader doesn’t quite know who can be trusted and who can’t. The misdirection moving the readers attention to the interactions between the cast was really well done, and in doing so, we see the craftsmanship of each character, learning their flaws and secrets right up to the last page.

I’m struggling to find any critique with this, personally. I feel like I’d liked to have known more about the smaller roles in this, delving into more company secrets, and what happened to lead them to where they are now. I’d have liked the final part of the book to have told us more about what happened after the doomed company holiday.

I also part-listened to this on audiobook. The voice actor was really well-suited to both Liz and Erin and portrayed the suspense, confusion and fear well.

This book is worth every ounce of hype, it’s another whopper from one of the best crime/mystery/thriller writers of our day.


Hardcover

374 pages

Published – 12th November 2020

Publishing Company – Harvill Secker


Audiobook

13 hours 8 minutes

Published – 12th November 2020

Publishing Company – Penguin Audio

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The Other Passenger

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Louise Candlish

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the bestselling author of Our House, winner of the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year Award.            You’re feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you’re claustrophobic); now you’ve got an iconic Thames view, fresh air ?— a whole lifestyle upgrade. You’ve made new friends onboard — led by your hedonistic young neighbour, Kit ?— and just had your first ‘water rats’ Christmas drinks.          But the first day back after Christmas, Kit isn’t on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something’s off. You disembark to find the police waiting. Kit’s wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger witnessed the two of you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To kill him.          You protest. You and Kit are friends ?— ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives? No, whatever coincidences might have occurred that night, you are innocent, totally innocent.          Aren’t you?

I was so excited when this finally arrived at my door!

We follow our protagonist, Jamie, when, on his regular boat-commute, is stopped by police officers with news that his friend and fellow commuter, Kit, goes missing and is suspected murdered. But, as we are guided through his recollections from meeting Kit, his wife Melia and Jamie’s relationship with 10-year partner, Clare, we learn that nothing is as it seems.

Jamie, the honest, loyal man is not as honest or loyal, Clare is not as devoted, Kit is not just a boisterous, fun-loving man and Melia is not as young and naïve as she likes to show.

The characters in this were well developed and had their own voices. There were some unexpected twists but the main focus was on character development.

I found that after the first 100 pages the story-development slowed to a snails pace, but I think this was intentional so we can see all the events and foreshadowing to what ultimately happens in the last 100 pages.

I thought that this was a fun read but just didn’t quite meet my personal tastes, it was just a little too predictable for me. That said, I would highly recommend this to readers that are driven by character development in contemporary settings.


Hardcover

401 pages

Published – 25th June 2020

Publishing Company – Simon and Schuster

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Court of Thorns and Roses #3


Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

The third instalment in the famous series by Sarah J. Maas.

With the first two being filled with suspense, anticipation and action, there was quite a high expectation from me.

We continue to follow Feyre after we were left with her returning to the Spring Court with Tamlin as a spy to gather as much information for the impending war with the High King. Her sisters struggle to accept and adjust to their new lives as fae and try to control their powers. And we see the relationship between Feyre, Rhysand and their Valerian family grow despite everything that is fighting against them.

Though, I still enjoyed this read, it wasn’t quite as unpredictable as the last. I found the writing to feel very determined to remain suspenseful and keep building, but it felt forced. There wasn’t as many erotic scenes as before, which I was very grateful for!

Maas’ descriptive writing is excellent, as usual and consistently shows her incredible imagination and creative writing. As we get to the stories end, I can’t deny that I both rolled my eyes and felt a pull at my heart-strings despite it turning into a trope-ending.

Though, I still continue to have an internal debate that this feels like more of a new-adult fantasy novel, I can’t deny that it was fun and packed-full of great characters, plots and descriptive writing. I would recommend this as something worth reading if you’re drawn to high-fantasy with dynamic storylines and a large cast of characters.


Hardcover

699 pages

Published – 2nd May 2017

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury Childrens


Audiobook

25h 9m

Published – 2nd May 2017

Publishing Company – Recorded Books

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A Court of Mist and Fury

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Court of Thorns and Roses #2


Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world torn apart.

The second phase of the ACOTAR series, we delve into the aftermath of Feyre’s trials to save Tamlin and Prythian.

After escaping to the spring court, Feyre is beginning to get lost in her memories and nightmares of the night she killed to save Tamlin and when she was killed. Which is understandable! As we progress through the first third of the book, we learn that Tamlin is also struggling with his memories and is determined to protect Feyre… At any cost. And as we find out that Feyre hasn’t only inherited life from all the court-leaders but also some of their gifts. Begging Tamlin to allow her to train and learn to control this power, she is refused and the expectations of being married to Tamlin in the Spring Court are too much for her human desire for freedom.

Rhysand, through the tattoo on Feyre after their bargain, feels her desperation to escape her new confines and offers his court of dreams as her safe-haven and to teach her to read, write and her power and how to control and harness it. But the more time they spend together, something begins between them.

As always, Maas’ ability to create these wonderfully imagined characters and the world that surrounds them is astounding. In every stage of these books, we learn more and more about the world, politics and traditions.

When my attention began to drift from the book, she instantly has something else to snap your attention back. It feels like she really was thorough with her edits on this to make sure it really was as good as it can be.

That said, I had the same issue with this as I did with the first instalment. That being the erotic scenes at so many points in this. Literally the first chapter is all erotic! Call me old-fashioned but I’ve never felt comfortable with these and they just make me cringe, so I skip through them. I tend to expect this in adult books but, as I said before, this is a YA fantasy that blurs the line between that and adult fiction. That said, I really did enjoy this, and this author has become a solid favourite in my books. I can’t wait to see what the final book has in store for me!


Hardcover

626 pages

Published – 3rd May 2016

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury USA Childrens


Audiobook

23h 17m

Published – 3rd May 2016

Publishing Company – Recorder Books

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Court of Thorns and Roses #1


Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …          Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

This fictional fantasy screams Beauty and the Beast for me. Just by the plot alone, it doesn’t seem like a retelling, on first glance. Being that my favourite Disney movie when I was growing up, there was big shoes to fill!

I’ve read Maas’ most recent release (Crescent City-House of Earth and Blood) and was just blown away by the saturation of it. I had a book-hangover for a few days after and was desperate to read more of this series… but, alas, I have to wait. So what’s as good as the next book in a series? Another series from the same author!

I would say that this is on the very border of YA and closer to the New Adult category. There were a few erotic scenes that really push that boundary. But maybe this is what our young adults are reading these days!

Is it just me that is rather confused by the definition of Young Adult and New Adult?

Anyway, our protagonist, Feyre is of poor origins with the continual burden of getting food on her families table. She is a very stubborn woman with the raw determination to protect anyone she cares about and to not be confined by her human form.

Our antagonist, Tamlin, is a dashing High Lord in the Spring Court of Prythian. Unable to tell Feyre of his curse and is falling in love with her, he finds determination to protect her from the malevolent forces that have plagued him for years.

The plot was rather predictable, given that it’s very reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but was no less enjoyable! In fact, I just became more invested as it went on. With curses, faerie lands, the divide between human and faerie, the mysterious confines of Tamlin’s curse and the gut-twisting fetes that Feyre will go to prove her love.

I spent a while really deciding where I would put this in my ratings but settled on a four-star because it was a well-written novel and I really did enjoy every second but it wasn’t a solid favourite for me. There were a few moments where I rolled my eyes, those being the riddle that Feyre is given to save the fate of Prythian and, of course, the erotic scenes. I’m never one to find these scenes exciting, more cringey and uncomfortable. Especially when this is marketed for young adults and pushed that bar a bit too far across the border.

I mostly listened to the audiobook for this, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda, who did a fantastic job at portraying the characters and their emotions throughout the book.

I would recommend this, more to new adults who want to transition reading more adult fiction.


Hardcover

419 pages

Published – 5th May 2015

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury USA Childrens


Audiobook

16h 8m

Published – 1st February 2018

Publishing Company – Audible

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House of Earth and Blood

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Crescent City #1


Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.          Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.          As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.          With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

This book was one Hel of a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve never read such a full, saturated story in many years. I laughed, I cried, my heart broke, my soul sang. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Bryce is, as you’d expect after her best friend is murdered, wears both physical and emotional scars. Determined to solve her murder, she falls into all the worst possible scenarios but our antagonist, Hunt; a slave to the Archangels, begins as stand-off-ish character with a lot of his own opinions, right or wrong… but who wouldn’t be if you were enslaved!


I was unsure of the world and the characters at the beginning and in the middle of the book but the final half of this book was what really sold me. Every little detail in this book was part of the story and it all came together so brilliantly. Also, I wish Hunt really existed because I was swooning! The love story in this was amazing and the ups were so sweet and heart-warming and the downs really felt like a break-up.

I did a combination of listening to the audiobook and physically reading this purely because I wanted to keep reading it when I was doing chores. The voice actor, Elizabeth Evans, was amazing at really bringing the characters alive more than they were already. After I started listening, I kept hearing Evans voice for Bryce because it fit so well to the character I pictured.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in characters before.

This is the first book from Sarah J. Maas I’ve read and already have another popular series of hers waiting to be read.

Amazing, shocking and enchanting. I can’t recommend this enough! For her first novel in the adult-fantasy world, it was incredible. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.


Hardcover

803 pages

Published – 3rd March 2020

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury Publishing

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Burn Our Bodies Down

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Rory Power

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.          Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.          But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.          Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?          The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

This is the first YA horror I’ve read. With more experience with horrors from Susan Hill and Laura Purcell, I kept my mind open to any and every possibility this would bring.

I’ve not read Rory Powers other popular title, Wilder Girls but is on that I hope to pick up soon.

A paranormal thriller with elements of crime-mystery, we find ourselves in the small town of Phalene after Margot finds her mother has been keeping secrets; of her extended family, how Margot came to be, her father and her mothers own past.

Margot, a seventeen-year-old desperate for her mum, Jo, to notice her, care for her… love her. And after a particularly difficult argument, she went to a pawn shop to buy Jo a gift in apology. When she finds a small bible with a white cover and beautiful gold page-edges, she peers behind the cover to find it was her mothers, gifted by Margot’s grandmother that she never knew existed. A small inscription and an old picture that confirms that it’s definitely her mothers. She decides she has to run away from home to try and find this long-lost grandmother and unearth the truths of why her mother was hiding her from their past. But all is not as it seems. When she finds where her grandmother, Vera, lives she sees her farm is on fire and a girl is trapped in the path of the blaze. She goes to save her, moving this girl from the fires path and, once they’re safe, she sees that they look exactly the same. Every detail of this mysterious girl is a mirror of her own. But she’s never heard of her before.

The underlying theme seems to be of mistakes, forgiveness and understanding. Does it mean forgiveness when you understand or can you still not forgive.

Powers writing style flows well through the novel really using the written-word to create a lyrical piece. But I found that some of the narration needed more use of punctuation to help convey the inner-turmoil and emotion Margot was feeling.

That said, I was left asking myself what I’d do in the same situations and how I would feel if I found my lineage hiding history from me.

I do think that, for a YA paranormal thriller that it gave enough suspense and shock without overselling the plot.

I had fun reading this. Though it wasn’t great, or a favourite, it is a sold three-star read. I flew through it with ease and am quite excited to pick up Wilder Girls. If you want a soft-horror that will leave you able to sleep at night and look at the cover without recoiling in terror (…*cough* Stew! *cough*) then this might be worth your time to take a look at.


Hardcover

352 pages

Published – 7th July 2020

Publishing Company – Delacorte Press

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Sick Kids in Love

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Hannah Moskowitz

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Isabel has one rule: no dating.          It’s easier–          It’s safer–          It’s better–          –for the other person.          She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.          But then she meets another sick kid.          He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.          He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.          Isabel has one rule: no dating.          It’s complicated–          It’s dangerous–          It’s never felt better–          –to consider breaking that rule for him.

October is a particularly important month for me because it’s Dysautonomia Awareness month. As I’ve said in my bio, I’m chronically ill with a list of sydromes, many of them under the umbrella diagnosis of Dysautonomia. To find out more about Dysautonomia and other chronic illness myths and thoughts, click the link below to my Advocacy page.

Now, lets get to the book-

Usually, for me, a life-changing book is a five-star read.

However, this is the first time I have read a book where main characters have chronic illness but DO NOT DIE!
Suffering from chronic illnesses is so lonely and isolating because if you don’t look sick, not many people care or care to understand. But this book is literally what my mind says every day! The representation of life with long-term chronic illness is spot-on for me and after some digging, found Hannah’s Instagram page and sees she also suffers with chronic illness.

Isabel was a character that I could understand fully with her life and struggles and the messages that this book gives the reader. It’s important to see that, for most of those suffering with chronic illnesses, suffer in silence because of fear that they will be ignored or told that their illness isn’t real (yes, that does actually happen). So creating an outlet for these discussions to be had is a great way to educate people that people can still suffer without a terminal diagnosis.

Similar to Isabel, she struggles every day to try and be like her friends and not let her diagnosis affect her life and keeps how she’s feeling from her father out of fear of being ignored.

Then she meets Sasha, a boy who also suffers from a rare disease who is trying to show her that her illness does not define her and that making adjustments so she doesn’t suffer more than necessary is OK too. And mobility aids!

I found that so much of the dialog between the main characters and their friends and family talk about topics and phrases that are harmful to those suffering with an illness and why it’s so hurtful to hear them. If there were more titles that spoke of chronic, invisible illness like this, we would live in a much more, respectful, unprejudiced world.

My only issue, I couldn’t get invested in the love story. I just couldn’t FEEL it, but it, to me, wasn’t the primary focus, more an added bonus.

If you or someone you know has long-term chronic illness, PLEASE READ THIS! It says what I wish I could say to people around me without coming across like a bitch…


Hardcover

300 pages

Published – 5th November 2019

Publishing Company – Entangled Teen

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