A MelanieM Review: Hidden Wings by Ana Raine

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Hidden WingsKanji is the last royal Kuro swan, an ancient race who once served the demonic Sidhee. The Kuro were betrayed and given as slaves to the Dryma fairies. When a Dryma is born, his soul attaches to a tree and to sustain their lives, the Dryma conscript the Kuro to protect their woods. In their servitude, the Kuro are languishing and dying off. Kanji is desperate to reunite his people with their stolen wings, but the task seems impossible.

When Kanji discovers a plan to unite the Sidhee and the Dryma, he tricks the Sidhee prince and attends a masked ball in disguise. There he meets Prince Tristan, who is nothing like the other fairies. Kind and compassionate, Tristan has a plan to free the Dryma from their dependence on the trees—and their need of the Kuro’s protection. It could mean freedom for Kanji’s people, but it might also mean choosing between them and the life of the fairy who is—impossibly—his mate.

When Tristan is wounded in battle and left for dead, his survival depends on the success of his experiments. Can Kanji dare to believe, or must he come to terms with the loss of his mate?

Hidden Wings by Ana Raine caught my attention primarily due to the inclusion of swans in her fantasy story, well that and the fae. I have long admired the species as much for their deadly attack skills as for their elegance and loyalty.  So I had high hopes for seeing such natural history characteristics included as part of the plot and folded into the character of Kanji, the last of the royal Kuro Swans. What I ended up with was a interesting mixture that didn’t always make sense but still managed to be entertaining none the less.

Ana Raine set a huge task for herself with this tale, specifically creating the two species, their individual cultures and collective histories and then bringing them together in the forms of Tristan and Kanji.  I think that in putting her attention towards the Dryma and the Kuro, the characters of Kanji and Tristan came off as pale comparisons.  There is a richness in the mythology that Raine has created that just is so lovely, the dependency on the trees, the need for sacrifice that runs throughout many ancient cultures, and then threading those elements through her story that pulls you in and makes you forget some of the other aspects that might otherwise have you shaking your head.  I’ve seen swans take out foxes and dogs.  Swans are deadly. Where is that here?

Also, for many of you, this is not your happily ever after, nor is it meant to be.  Hidden Wings is part of Dreamspinner Press’  Bittersweet Dreams titles which states in part that “… these stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.”  Note the no traditional happy ending.  So, you wouldn’t go into this book expecting to get one and you don’t.  I didn’t mind that, but I know many readers will.

No, what bothered me was that I thought the characters and their relationship as mates needed more substance, at least as much as their species and cultures got.  Hidden Wings has so much promise, enough that the author could easily pull more stories from without having to establish a base universe once again.

If you are a fan of fantasy, pick it up and decide for yourself.

Cover art by Anne Cain is lovely and works for me

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published January 6th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634767519 (ISBN13: 9781634767514)
Edition Language English

 

 

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Pulling Leather (Pickup Men #3) by L.C. Chase and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

 PullingLeather_audiobookBull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he’s been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he’s trying to navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

 

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn’t let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

 

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

This was a great story.  Scott has been so conflicted throughout his life by what happened when he was a kid with his parents and then how it followed him into adulthood.  Cory has never been ashamed of who he is and is more than willing to give Scott the chance to prove that he isn’t what he used to be.

Their relationship starts slowly and Cory really gives Scott the opportunity to get comfortable in his own skin for the most part.  I could just feel how Scott was struggling during the book and the acceptance he was looking for from those around him.

This is the first audiobook I have ever listened to.  I had read the other books in the series and had this one sitting around awhile and figured this would be a great chance to actually get to the book. I loved being able to listen to the story while at work and around the house.  The narrator did a great job of showing the characters personalities during his reading and just added to the story with the different voices he used.

Cover art by LC Chase is great and I wouldn’t do anything different.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published March 24, 2016 (ebook first published September 1, 2014)
Original Title: Pulling Leather
Series: Pickup Men #3

In the Fantasy Spotlight: Victory Portrait (Pride of Uttor #4) by Tali Spencer (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Victory Portrait (Pride of Uttor #4) by Tali Spencer
Release Date: April 6, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Cover Artist: Melody Pond

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very lucky to be interviewing Tali Spencer, author of Victory Portrait.   Hi Tali, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.

Darius Arrento has been intimate with his emperor, and friend, Gaspar Leonnte. It happened when Darius was 25 and Gaspar was 19 or 20. Darius was a young officer given his first command and Gaspar was assigned to his unit. The legion’s general knew Gaspar was the Uttoran emperor’s son, except he didn’t pass along that information.

Gaspar was a terrible soldier, horrible. He couldn’t obey orders to save his life. Worse, if he started talking, he didn’t know when to shut up. Darius was ready to strangle him the first night. After a battle in which both men barely escaped with their skins, Darius and Gaspar gave in to a kiss and a night of oral sex. They connected more than once, in no small part due to being young, horny, and having no other outlets.

You heard it here first.

  • Have you ever written something that made you cry?

I cried when I wrote a hurt-comfort scene in one of my epic high fantasy novels. A king had just lost his adult son. The young man who seeks to comfort the king has considered him an enemy throughout the entire book to that point, but he can no longer do so, and the scene is very tender.

I was writing that scene on a terrible day when I thought maybe my oldest son had died. (He hadn’t…and called me after several hours. It was 9/11.) That scene still makes me cry when I read it.

  • Have you ever co-written with someone before?

Non-fiction, yes. Fiction, no. Some authors are very social and thrive on the energy of writing with other authors. I have the habits of a recluse: silent, secretive, and annoying. It’s a miracle I have a happy marriage. I’d be surprised if another author could put up with me.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Promotion. But that’s more about being an author than the writing, so…I would say I find it most difficult to end a story on a strong note. Even if I know where a story has to end, I’m never quite satisfied with my closing line. I want something memorable, definite, and profound. Haven’t managed to write one of those yet.

  • Name your four most important food groups.

Coffee, coffee, chocolate, coffee, and dairy. Kahlua counts as coffee. Dairy means creamer. I’m pretty sure I don’t like coffee at all. It’s all about the creamer.

Thank you, Tali.  Now more about

Victory Portrait (Pride of Uttor #4) by Tali Spencer

Blurb

Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.

General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.

When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.

 

Pages or Words: 78,600 words
Categories: Alternate Universe, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt

“You want me to assist the painter. Only that?” Peta asked.

“Yes. I just want you to understand you will be naked and…Brazzi will want you to be sexually aroused.”

“What?”

“It’s what Brazzi does. Not for himself—not unless you’re a woman—but for his method. He was tried three years ago on charges of obscenity because he uses…sexual fluids for mixing his paint. He truly is a genius. His colors are astonishing.”

“And you want Arrento to see me like that? Naked and…being used?”

“No.” Gaspar was being firm. “I want a portrait of my general. And I happen to think that the sight of you will keep his ass firmly planted for whatever sittings the painter requires. You see, Darius has one weakness—only one. He cannot resist a thing of beauty—and you, my pretty slave, are the most breathtaking young man I have ever had the privilege to look upon.”

Peta flushed. Gaspar wasn’t smiling. The man was serious.

Could he do it? Did he want to do it? Peta knew he was pretty. His looks had blessed and cursed him all his life. His beauty had attracted Kesme as a fellow cadet and was what Kesme had praised that last night when they’d made love…and Peta’s face was what Lukacz, his own father, had sought to destroy, thinking that doing so would release him from predation and unnatural desires. And now Gaspar, too, wanted only one thing…

“Just sit there and look pretty,” he said, heart sinking as he grasped what Gaspar was asking him to do.

“Only if you’re willing. I’m not completely oblivious to what this sort of service might entail. It could be rather…awkward. On the other hand, it might not be for long. Darius can be stubborn. It’s possible he won’t show up.”

And just as possible that he would.

Peta wanted to say no but he could not get his mouth to form the word. He might never get another chance to see Arrento, perhaps hear his voice. Be in the same room with him.

He’d be silent…naked…terribly exposed even in his utter worship.

But he would at least be able to say he had seen the great man.

“I’ll do it,” he said.

Buy the book

Resplendence Publishing | Amazon | ARe

 

RC

 

Meet the author:

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

18-Apr: Prism Book Alliance

19-Apr: Decadent Delights

20-Apr: Bonkers About Books, Full Moon Dreaming

21-Apr: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

22-Apr: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

25-Apr: The Novel Approach, Happily Ever Chapter

26-Apr: BFD Book Blog

27-Apr: My Fiction Nook

28-Apr: Bayou Book Junkie, V’s Reads

29-Apr: Oh My Shelves

2-May: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Book Lovers 4Ever

3-May: Kirsty Loves Books, Open Skye Book Reviews

4-May: Alpha Book Club

5-May: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

6-May: Molly Lolly

9-May: A.M. Leibowitz

10-May: Divine Magazine

11-May: Love Bytes, Man2ManTastic, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

12-May: Andrew Q. Gordon, Nephy Hart, Rebecca Cohen Writes

13-May: Louise Lyons, MM Good Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win Rafflecopter Prize: $10 gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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B.A. Tortuga’s Here For A Old Town New Interview and Release Day Guest Blog!

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Old Town New

Old Town New by B.A. Tortuga
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reamspinner Press
Cover Art by Anna Sikorska

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have one of its favorite authors here to share her  thoughts about writing and her latest release, Old Town New.  Welcome, B.A. Tortuga!

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Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy :D.

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Oh, y’all. I eavesdrop, I talk, I visit. Most importantly? I listen. I listen to folks’ stories and wallow in them. I pride myself in telling the stories of people I know, of folks I love.

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?

I used to be a pantser, but these days I’ve found if I focus on the outline, I do a better job, tell a better story, and don’t cry as much during edits.

  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

Oh, man… Will and Dean from Latigo. I wrote them in vignettes and then put them in order and if I wrote them again I’d start at the beginning and write straight through.

  • Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

Sure. It’s who you’re in love with RIGHT NOW. In other words, who you’re writing. Right now I’m in love with Jayden and Dakota. Totally. Madly. Passionately. Next week, I’ll tell you that I’m in love with Hoss and Bradley, I bet…

  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

Oh, man. Bent by Sean Michael, Promises 2 by AE Via, The Stand by Stephen King, Dark Fall by Dean Koontz, anything by my wife, Julia Talbot.

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story at 2 ½ years old and I published my first story at 5 years old. A long time.  😉

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

I was reading by 18 months. I am a voracious reader and I read every day. Grins My favorite books as a little one were Little Women by Alcott and What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I wanted to be Jo March when I grew up (and weirdly, my wife would tell you it happened).

  • What question would you ask yourself here?

Are you the happiest girl alive? Answer: Hell, yeah.

If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

Patience and Tequila. 😀

Much love, y’all,

BA

Old Town New Blurb

Danny Avers is a teacher in small town Colorado. Back in the day, before high-speed Internet, social media, smartphones, or streaming anything, Danny’s just trying to live down his wild teenage years and carry on the only way he knows how: one day at a time. The last person he expects to see back in town is Harlan Quinn, his old best friend and former consummate bad boy. And when he finds out Quinn is the new sheriff and his new neighbor, it’s even more of a shock.

Quinn knows there’s more to his old hometown than meets the eye. There’s more to Danny than old memories and quiet living too. But as in the past, stirring things up is Quinn’s specialty, and he sets out to do that, in more ways than one, pushing Danny to admit there’s more to life and that their old town just might manage to be new again. That’s if old town thinking doesn’t get them both killed.

Sales Links

Available April 20 from:

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | Barnes and Noble

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About the Author

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at http://www.batortuga.com

Early Morning Coffee Sip and Book Break with ‘The Better To Kiss You With’ by Michelle Osgood (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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The Better To Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood
Release Date: April 21, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Monika Gross

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have  Michelle Osgood author of The Better to Kiss You With sitting in our author interview chair this morning.   Hi,  Michelle thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a writer who lives in Vancouver, BC, with my partner Elizabeth and our two black cats.  I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and have been fascinated with storytelling for as long as I can remember.  The Better to Kiss You With is a paranormal romance about Deanna, the moderator of an online werewolf role playing game, who falls for the mysterious woman living above her.

  • Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.

All of Deanna’s passwords are pop-culture references.

  • Have you ever written something that made you cry?

I have.  When you care about characters it’s difficult when they suffer a setback or a loss—even when you’re the one responsible for it!  I always feel a little self-indulgent after I clean up the tissues, but I try to remind myself that if I care about my characters this much, hopefully so will my readers.

  • Have you ever co-written with someone before?

Yes!  I have a close friend who I’ve worked with in the past, and we’ve been talking seriously about co-writing again.  He’s one of the best worldbuilders I’ve ever met.  He can create these amazingly complex plots and worlds and storylines, and I just want to play around in them.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

For a long time it was tough for me to see a plot through.  I would have so many different ideas and so many things I wanted to write about, that after a few thousand words I’d be paralyzed with indecision.  Now I write those ideas down and save them for later, because I know I’m not going to write only one thing.

  • Name your four most important food groups.

Popcorn, pasta, cheese, and wine.

Thanks, Michelle.  Now more about…

The Better To Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood

Blurb

Deanna, the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, wanders the local forest with her dog Arthur and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs. When threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined—and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.

 

Pages or Words: 182 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Lesbian Romance, Paranormal

 

Excerpt

“I think I know blood when I see it,” Deanna pointed out. “It was definitely blood.”

Beside her on the floor, Nathan leaned his head back against the couch and, behind the black frames of his glasses, rolled his bright blue eyes. “I’m not saying it wasn’t blood. But just, like, blood happens.”

“‘Blood happens.’ You sound like a tampon commercial.”

“Not true.” Nathan snickered over the top of his glass. “They never use the word ‘blood.’”

Deanna choked on a mouthful of wine.

“Anyway,” Nathan continued, “it was probably just a dead animal. Dogs love that stuff.”

“He wasn’t happy, though. He was scared. Something scared him. And Arthur’s brave. He doesn’t scare easily.” Deanna wiped the Pinot Gris from her chin and they both leaned forward to look at Arthur, who was sprawled artlessly on top of his dog bed and snoring loudly. Deanna smothered a giggle with the back of her hand and grabbed the bottle of wine.

“Just don’t confuse fantasy with reality. I think your job is messing you up.”

Deanna snorted. “Wolf’s Run is a just game, Nathan. I haven’t forgotten that.”

“Really? Because you’re talking about mysterious bodies torn up in the woods, and if that doesn’t sound like werewolves…”

Deanna gave Nathan a shove. “Ha, ha, very funny. I’m not like that weirdo who thinks that werewolves actually exist. It’s role-playing. Playing being the key word.”

For the most part, the players of Wolf’s Run were a good crowd—with the exception of one user who seemed to think that he actually was a werewolf. Apparently, he took offense to the game’s depictions of “his species,” considering them inaccurate and insulting. The rants had been going on for months, and the situation would have been laughable, except that in the last few weeks his posts had taken on a more threatening tone. Every time Deanna deleted his posts and blocked his username he simply created another account. The Wolf’s Run team didn’t want to block his IP address because IP addresses could be shared by a large number of people, and doing so might block legitimate players from the game. Besides, it was child’s play to circumvent a block by logging in from a third-party app or web service, or just logging in from a different location. Deanna could only shut him down and hope that this time he finally gave up.

“Well, then just accept that Arthur found a bunny rabbit or something and decided it would be a good idea to roll around in its mangled corpse.”

Deanna shook her head. “You didn’t see him. It was a lot of blood.” It had taken two desperately unpleasant baths and an entire bottle of shampoo to get Arthur clean. Deanna had had to scrub her bathtub three times before she’d felt comfortable using it again.

Nathan grabbed her hand with his long, thin fingers. “Listen, you’re my best friend, and I love you, and I’m sure that it was really terrifying, but I’m also one hundred percent sure that you are blowing this way out of proportion. No more fantasy werewolf role playing nonsense for you.”

“Until my shift starts in…” Deanna tapped the screen of her phone. “Ten hours.”

“Until then,” Nathan agreed and clinked their glasses. “Now, tell me more about your hot neighbor.”

Deanna buried her head in her hands and groaned. “It’s awful. She’s gorgeous. And I can’t think around her. Or speak. I turn into a spluttering sixth grader with her first crush.”

“That’s disgusting and adorable. Tell me more. What’s her name?”

 

Buy the book

 

 

 

Meet the author:

Michelle Osgood lives in Vancouver, BC, with her partner Elizabeth and their two cats. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and has been reading, writing and blogging in online communities for five years. She likes to read romance novels, speculative fiction and feminist pop culture critique.

Where to find the author:

 


BannerTemplateTour Dates & Stops:

21-Apr: BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Hearts on Fire, Bayou Book Junkie

22-Apr: My Fiction Nook, Kirsty Loves Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Happily Ever Chapter

25-Apr: Oh My Shelves, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Louise Lyons, A.M. Leibowitz

26-Apr: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Havan Fellows, Open Skye Book Reviews

27-Apr: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter, Prism Book Alliance

28-Apr: Nephy Hart, QUEERcentric Books, Emotion In Motion, Unquietly Me

29-Apr: Chris McHart, Velvet Panic, Book Reviews and More by Kathy

2-May: Charley Descoteaux, Love Bytes, Bonkers About Books

3-May: Alpha Book Club, Cathy Brockman Romances, Rednecks and Romance, MM Good Book Reviews

4-May: Dawn’s Reading Nook, Divine Magazine, Molly Lolly

Final

Giveaway

 

Enter to win Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card. 5 first prizes of e-copies of The Better to Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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