A MelanieM Release Day Review: His Kindred Spirit (States of Love) by Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Dane has built his life around not relying on anyone but himself. When he travels from New York City to North Carolina at the request of his estranged, incarcerated father, he learns truths he’d rather not know… along with inheriting a share in his grandfather’s inn. But the place comes with complications, including a man he will have to walk away from—but can’t help falling for.

Brook has only known romance through notes left in a mailbox at the end of the beach. When he’s tasked with showing his boss’s gorgeous nephew what makes Sunset Beach and Bird Island special, he’s compelled to take Dane to his favorite place.

Dane never wanted the inn, but when it’s threatened, he steps up to defend it… and keep the man he’s coming to love by his side and in his life. But first they’ll have to clean up Dane’s uncle’s mess.

I am such a sucker for stories like His Kindred Spirit by Sloan Johnson.   At its heart, a major element is a mailbox on a beach, one full of notebooks where people come to pour out their hearts and then leave them for others to read, a mailbox who’s beginnings are unknown but is now treasured and  a well-known draw for locals and tourists alike.

We hear these “snippets” of the heart as they are read by Dane or Brook, and they grab you, connecting you to the beach, the mailbox, and their story.  It’s a perfect format and it certainly worked its magic on me.

I actually wished this story was longer because the characters, Dane’s especially, deserve a bit more widening of his back family history and more from his Dad.  Given his father’s incarceration, his involvement at the end was too little for my liking.  Dane is too complicated, his personality built on the lack of family and trust, plus the importance of in his life of several other secondary characters would have made an expansion, even a little one, a beneficial one.

As it is, I really enjoyed the story I got.  The evolution of Brook and Dane’s relationship, which also included Dane’s rethinking his life and his ties to the Inn, and the beach where the Mailbox lies.  The idea of re-establishing relationships with a father newly out of jail and a uncle reappearing in his life?  A jumbled mess of emotion that upsets a carefully lived life and Sloan Johnson does a great job in relaying that all through the characters and dialog.

There is a murky element that changes things, provides more drama and suspense, that almost felt out of place here.  I thought the rest of the story had plenty of authentic drama with the family, emotional changes, and the father, without this additional aspect to it.  The fact that it was resolved almost too cleanly and without more bad feelings seems just not that likely, especially given one man’s attitude towards the inn. Someone who feels entitled will always feel entitled.   That dragged the rating down a bit.

Otherwise, I love this story and that Mailbox!  Especially that ending.

If you love contemporary romance, and letters from strangers helping people to their HEA, this is a story for you

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. Love this cover, it’s got everything, including the mailbox. Perfect.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 131 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781644051191
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz and Giveaway: Sloan Johnson’s Inseparable

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 60,000 words approx
 
Blurb
 

Trevor and Gabe never knew life without the other. As only children, they grew up as close as brothers, but their love grew to something more. Something they couldn’t talk about because their parents wouldn’t understand.

Gabe is gay and unapologetic about his sexuality. He refuses to live his life in the shadows, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t harboring secrets.

Trevor is his parents’ miracle child and he doesn’t want to hurt them. Coming out, admitting he’s in love with Gabe, could ruin everything. 

Heading off to college was supposed to finally free them to be together, but nothing is as easy as it seems. Can they find a way to navigate this new world, living and loving openly?

Author Bio

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

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An Ali Review : False Start (Wilmington Breakers #2) by Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nixon Cross isn’t wired to share his life with anyone. He’d considered a relationship once, but after the one man patient enough to put up with all his quirks shut him down, he committed all of his energy to football and helping his players. Now, one of his players need more help than Nixon can provide and his former flame is the one man who will know what to do.

Retired NAFL player Lincoln Sims had no choice but to stay in the closet; he was a professional athlete at a time when it was impossible to be honest about his sexuality. After retiring, he confessed his secret to his wife and son because he was tired of living a lie. Now, he’s ready to live his life. Nixon Cross is the man he left behind but could never forget.

Can these men find a way to recover from their false start years earlier?
This was my first time reading this author and I really enjoyed her writing style.  This book was a little more serious than I thought it would be when I went into it.  That’s a good thing though.  I think the author did a very good job handling some difficult issues.  People, myself included, love sports and expect a lot from athletes, but we rarely think about the consequences for them later in life.
The story is told by alternating points of view between the two men. I really liked both of the MC’s.  It was very refreshing to get two older MC’s.  They were in their 40’s and I think they were presented in a realistic manner.  There was no drama and no bad communication tropes.  Once they decide to be together they work hard on making things work out with each other.  I think the author did a very good job making both Nixon and Lincoln likable and people you could empathize with. 
The two men are away from each through parts of the book but the author still managed to show us how much they meant to each other.  I really bought into their romance and I was rooting for these two the entire time.  This is a second chance romance which is one of my favorite tropes.  It was so well done here.
This is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone.  I have not read book one and I was able to completely understand and enjoy this.  That being said, I enjoyed this enough that I will be going back and reading the first story.
If you enjoy sports romance and/or second chance loves I really recommend this.  There are a lot of good things going on in this book.  
Cover Art:  The cover was done by Cover Me, Darling and I thought it was well done.  It compliments the first book in the series and represents the story pretty well.  My only complaint is that the cover model looks too young to be either MC.
Sales Link:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 231 pages
Published May 13th 2017
ASINB07287YH28
SeriesWilmington Breakers #2

A Jeri Review: Down By Contact (Wilmington Breakers #1) by Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4  stars out of 5

a-jeri-review-down-by-contact-by-sloan-johnsonAs a big fan of the author’s Homeruns series, I couldn’t wait to dive into this new series. Bridging the gap between the last series and this next was seamless, as the last book’s main character had a twin brother- who plays football.

Zach is in his second season playing football for the Willmington Breakers. His goal is to keep his head down and work hard. He gave up the idea of having a relationship with anyone because he didn’t want to come out of the closet. Until the team gets featured in a reality show and the camera man following him around was his first love.

Griffin can’t believe his luck. Of all of the players, he has to be assigned to follow the one guy he could never forget. While he understood that Zach chose football over him, it still hurt. And now they were going to be in each other’s pockets.

What starts as the two men ignoring both their past and their heat that is still there, it is a slow burn until they can’t deny themselves any longer. I enjoyed that it was Zach playing the suitor, trying to win Griffin back and Griffin the one holding back to protect not only himself, but Zach and his career.

One of my favorite parts was when they went back to where is all began. I do love a full circle.

There was, of course, the teammates who didn’t want to accept a gay player and the teammates who really stood up for Zach. In the real world I don’t know that there would be as many accepting players, but who knows. I’d like to think that this world has come a long way. 

There definitely could have been more of the reality show aspect in the story as it played a big part in bringing them back together, but it was still satisfying.

And there was the tease of the next book- Lincoln and Nixon. I look forward to this next one as well as it will be nice to read a love story about two older men instead of men in their 20’s.

You don’t have to like football at all to really enjoy this book.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 209 pages
Published January 28th 2017 (first published January 26th 2017)
ASINB01N1435ER
SeriesWilmington Breakers #1

Cover Reveal for Down By Contact (Wilmington Breakers #1) by Sloan Johnson

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DownByContact

Down By Contact (Wilmington Breakers #1)

by Sloan Johnson

BLURB:

There’ve been two great loves in Zach Kendricks’ life. He lost one because of his commitment to the other. 

After Griffin walked away because he refused to live his life in the closet, Zach put everything he had into achieving his football dreams. When he was drafted, he began to understand that Griffin had done the best thing for both of them by leaving. But that doesn’t mean he’s ever forgiven his first love. 

Now in his second season with the Wilmington Breakers, Zach’s committed to keeping his head down so he can prove his rookie stats weren’t a fluke. He knows his resolve will be tested when he’s selected to participate in Outside the Pocket, a reality show which follows players through training camp. He’s almost convinced himself it won’t be a distraction when Griffin walks into the room. Distraction becomes an understatement when he’s informed he will be spending nearly every waking minute for the next six weeks with the only man he’s allowed to hurt him. 

Will Zach’s love of the game be enough to keep him from being downed by contact again?

Workplace with blank digital tablet, paper, pen and cup of coffee on work table. Above view shot.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jelery

Cover Reveal for Line Drive (Homeruns #6) by Sloan Johnson

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Line Drive Sloan Johnson

Coming Soon!

PJ Nolan has convinced himself he can get through one last year. That changes when he arrives for the first day of spring training and his teammates think it’s funny to mock the one night that made him feel alive. They don’t realize those pictures are all he has left of Nate Kendricks.

Nate knows nothing about baseball, but agrees to a spring training road trip with his twin brother. He’s not thrilled about the prospect of seeing PJ Nolan, the man who’d haunted his dreams since the night of the charity auction. Nate thought their chemistry was undeniable, but after that night, he never heard from PJ again.

Once they reunite, PJ’s certain of one thing: he’s not going to let Nate slip away again. As he gets closer to joining his dad in the record books, he feels Nate slipping away. What will he choose if forced to pick between new love and a lifelong dream?

Sloan Johnson Sweet Spot


Home Runs series and Line Drive features gay baseball players. Why baseball, a sport that has remained relatively heterosexual when others sports have had players start to come out of the closet? Or is that important? Is it enough to just love the game?

When I started writing the series, I didn’t factor in whether or not there were any active gay players in MLB. While many of my stories have seeds in current events, they rarely dictate what I’m going to write in a fictional book.

That being said, I started Wild Pitch in 2014, which was the same year MLB announced Billy Bean as an ambassador for inclusion. Once I began researching, I read his memoir to see what closeted gay players have faced in the past. It was an absolutely tragic story, which had my muse begging to write a happier ending.

Last year, professional baseball did see their first active player come out to surprisingly little fanfare. When I read the story about David Denson (who, ironically enough, plays for one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm teams) I briefly had hope that the future of gay players rested in the farm system, because it seems like younger adults don’t hold the same prejudices as older players. Sadly, news later came out about Tyler Dunnington, who had a much different experience in the minors. He retired after one year because of vile comments he was forced to hear in the locker room.

The latter inspired part of PJ’s story in Line Drive. The change in clubhouses won’t happen overnight, but we have to hope that, in time, everyone will be welcomed wherever they go.

A Jeri Review: The Sweet Spot (Homeruns #4) By Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

4 ½ Home runs!

The Sweet Spot coverI love baseball. Therefore I love books with baseball and baseball players. I really enjoyed the first three in this series, but I think this one might be my favorite. The previous books all revolved around MLB players at different places in their careers. In this installment, we get to see the side we don’t often see- a guy trying to make it up from the minors to the majors. Think Bull Durham. But gay. And without the cocky attitude of Nuke Laloosh.

Not only is Nick playing in the minors and fighting for a spot in the big show, he is also fighting to distance himself from his father- himself a former MLB player and current general manager for the team he plays in the minors for. He doesn’t want any preferential treatment. He is also harboring a secret- he doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay. Which is just so silly. Not only is his team very open and accepting of gay players- several have come before him and still play. But he doesn’t want that label. So while he is having a hot and heavy fling with Cody, he abruptly ends it to focus more on his career.

Fast forward a few years. Nick is still playing in the minors, but Cody is taken on as a social media intern. He doesn’t expect to run into Nick the first day, but he does.

What I loved about this book. Nick is in the proverbial closet, but he doesn’t end things with Cody because of that- even though that is what Cody thinks. He ends it because he doesn’t want distractions. He wants to make it to the majors.

Ms. Johnson also shines a light on what minor league players go through. It is hardly the glamorous life of a big leaguer. They have to play as a team while battling for the few MLB roster spots. They often travel by bus. They make very little money. They are constantly traded away and rarely get to be with their families. And the politics of baseball could almost put Washington to shame.

I also loved how Cody really came into his own. We met him in a previous book when a couple of players took him in. At the beginning of the book he was a high school senior struggling with life. When we meet him again he is finishing up college and has his eyes firmly on what he wants to do with his life. And although he still loves Nick, he does not immediately jump into his arms.

This book was a roller coaster ride. It was great storytelling from Nick’s point of view. I don’t want to spoil things in the book- because you really need to read it- but the range of highs and lows that he experiences rings so true. Through it all though is Cody.

We get some glimpses and scenes of players from past books, which I always love. You don’t have to read their books to know them in this book. But don’t miss those books, because they are really good.

Great book without the typical cliché angst, it was sweet and although there were struggles, the pay off is totally worth it.

Cover art is terrific, spot on with the sport.

Sales links:  AmazoniBooks | Nook | Kobo

Book details:

ebook
Published May 9th 2016
SeriesHomeruns #4

Homeruns Series:

Love Gets Into the Game with Sloan Johnson’s Triple Play (giveaway)

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TriplePlayBlogTour

Triple Play
by Sloan Johnson
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Sports

Triple Play

AmazonNookKoboiBooks

Drew Jackson seemed to have it all. He has a family who loves and supports him, a tight circle of friends, and is a rising star with the Milwaukee Mavericks. Then, it all begins to unravel. Cam, the only man he’s ever loved, falls head over heels for Drew’s teammate. He makes a critical mistake in the playoffs that he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from. And then, his world really crashes around him…

Eric Sapp may no longer play for the Mavericks, but he’s still one of the guys. No one could have imagined how much his life would change when he agreed to help his former teammates mourn the end of their run for the pennant. After stopping a brutal attack, Eric is forced to face the feelings that’ve been growing for his roommate, Drew. That’d be much easier if Drew wasn’t hell-bent on pushing everyone away as he recovers.

Neither of them were counting on Bryce Shaw. He and Drew enjoyed the one night they spent together, but knew it was unlikely they’d be anything more since they lived in different parts of the country. After Bryce is relocated to help a failing LGBT homeless outreach, he wants to explore something more with the Mavericks’ short stop.

As much as Eric wishes he could be the one to help his friend, he knows Bryce holds the key to Drew’s recovery. Will pushing the two back together be the biggest mistake of his life or will they all learn there is strength in numbers?

Add to Goodreads

Also in the Series

Wild Pitch Curve Ball

About Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

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Its Back to the Ball Park With Sloan Johnson’s Triple Play! ( contest)

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TriplePlayBlitz

Triple Play
by Sloan Johnson
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Sports

Triple Play

Amazon • Nook • Kobo • iBooks

Drew Jackson seemed to have it all. He has a family who loves and supports him, a tight circle of friends, and is a rising star with the Milwaukee Mavericks. Then, it all begins to unravel. Cam, the only man he’s ever loved, falls head over heels for Drew’s teammate. He makes a critical mistake in the playoffs that he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from. And then, his world really crashes around him…

Eric Sapp may no longer play for the Mavericks, but he’s still one of the guys. No one could have imagined how much his life would change when he agreed to help his former teammates mourn the end of their run for the pennant. After stopping a brutal attack, Eric is forced to face the feelings that’ve been growing for his roommate, Drew. That’d be much easier if Drew wasn’t hell-bent on pushing everyone away as he recovers.

Neither of them were counting on Bryce Shaw. He and Drew enjoyed the one night they spent together, but knew it was unlikely they’d be anything more since they lived in different parts of the country. After Bryce is relocated to help a failing LGBT homeless outreach, he wants to explore something more with the Mavericks’ short stop.

As much as Eric wishes he could be the one to help his friend, he knows Bryce holds the key to Drew’s recovery. Will pushing the two back together be the biggest mistake of his life or will they all learn there is strength in numbers?

Add to Goodreads

Also in the Series

Wild Pitch Curve Ball

 About Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

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It Time for Sloan Johnson’s Triple Play Cover Reveal! (contest)

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TriplePlayReveal

Triple Play
by Sloan Johnson
Homeruns #3
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genres: ContemporaryM/M, Romance, Sports

ClutchPlay

Drew Jackson seemed to have it all. He has a family who loves and supports him, a tight circle of friends, and is a rising star with the Milwaukee Mavericks. Then, it all begins to unravel. Cam, the only man he’s ever loved, falls head over heels for Drew’s teammate. He makes a critical mistake in the playoffs that he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from. And then, his world really crashes around him…

Eric Sapp may no longer play for the Mavericks, but he’s still one of the guys. No one could have imagined how much his life would change when he agreed to help his former teammates mourn the end of their run for the pennant. After stopping a brutal attack, Eric is forced to face the feelings that’ve been growing for his roommate, Drew. That’d be much easier if Drew wasn’t hell-bent on pushing everyone away as he recovers.

Neither of them were counting on Bryce Shaw. He and Drew enjoyed the one night they spent together, but knew it was unlikely they’d be anything more since they lived in different parts of the country. After Bryce is relocated to help a failing LGBT homeless outreach, he wants to explore something more with the Mavericks’ short stop.

As much as Eric wishes he could be the one to help his friend, he knows Bryce holds the key to Drew’s recovery. Will pushing the two back together be the biggest mistake of his life or will they all learn there is strength in numbers?

Add to GoodreadsClutchPlay

Also in the Series

Wild PitchAmazon

There’s never been any question in Sean Tucker’s mind that he’d do whatever it took to make it to the major leagues and be one of the best pitchers of his time. The day he acknowledged to himself that he was gay was also the day he vowed to stay in the closet in order to chase his dreams. The problem is, he never counted on Mason Atley.

Sean showed rookie short stop Mason Atley the ropes, both on the field and off. The two forged a friendship which continued as both of them moved through the ranks of the farm system and into the majors. Unfortunately, there’s always been one secret Mason never felt he could share with Sean. Until now.

For seven years, Sean lived with the fact that he loved a man who would never reciprocate. When Mason admits that he’s always known he’s bisexual but has never allowed himself to pursue a relationship with a man, will Sean be able to put aside his reservations about starting a relationship with the friend he’d always assumed was straight? And more importantly, will they be able to find a way to stay together when their careers keep them apart more than they can be together?

Curve Ball by Sloan Johnson

Amazon

Jason Klein’s living with the fallout from a decision he knew was the right one at the time. He never told anyone about the love of his life, which left him to mourn alone when he found out the man he gave his heart to had been killed in combat. Now, his heart has had time to heal, but he’s not sure he’s ready to let himself move on. Until he meets Cam Morgan…

Without a job lined up following graduation, Cam Morgan took his best friend up on his offer to move to Milwaukee and stay with him until he could get on his feet. The last thing he wanted to do the day after getting to town was go to a party filled with a bunch of jocks. Sure, they were “professional athletes” but Cam was convinced that bigger bank accounts didn’t make them any more accepting of people like him. He certainly didn’t expect to meet Jason, the Mavericks’ catcher who broke every stereotype he’d had.

What started out as one hot, sweaty night together quickly grows into something deeper. Jason welcomes Cam into his home and his life, but now he has to teach the younger man that it’s not a sign of weakness to let people help you.

About Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson

Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided by IndieSage PR to enter.

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