Speaking of Audiobooks: May 2011 Releases

Dead ReckoningOur Group Listen of Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation starts this week.  If you were looking for it on April 25th, its release was delayed and is now set for May 4th in CD/MP3 CD formats.  Tantor doesn’t know the exact date of its Audible release but expects it to be within a week of the hard release.  I’ll notify you of its Audible release date through the discussion portion of this column so keep checking in.  Our group discussion is planned for the last few days of May in our June 2011 Releases column.  If the Audible release is delayed significantly, we’ll move that date into June.

Our Slave to Sensation audiobook giveaway in our last column yielded ten winners: Valerie, sula, Melissa, MaryK, Liza, Kelli, Shebbie, Laurie S, TrishJ, and Jo-Anne W.  Congratulations!

Leftovers from April

Here are just a few of those surprise audiobooks that failed to make last month’s new releases column.

Brockmann, Suzanne – The Admiral’s Bride Narrated by Allyson Johnson

Enoch, Suzanne – London’s Perfect Scoundrel Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Enoch, Suzanne – The Rake Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Feather, Jane – Rushed to the Altar Narrated by Jill Tanner

Ione, Larissa – Eternal Rider Narrated by Hillary Huber

Joy, Dara – Knight of a Trillion Stars Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Putney, Mary Jo – Never Less Than a Lady Narrated by Simon Prebble

Showalter, Gena – The Darkest Secret Narrated by Max Bellmore

Audiobook Romances on Sale in May

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks

RB Exclusive – Recorded Books Exclusive. If the RB link does not take you directly to the book, hit Direct to Consumer.  The book will appear.

Just Like HeavenUnabridged

Andrews, Ilona – Magic Slays Narrated by Renee Raudman

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Awakening Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Rising Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Dodd, Christina – Into the Flame Narrated by Richard Ferrone  (RB Exclusive)

Eden, Cynthia – Deadly Fear Narrated by Justine Eyre

Foster, Lori – When You Dare Narrated by Jim Frangione  (RB Exclusive)

Gerritsen, Tess – In Their Footsteps Narrated by Nicola Barber

Harris, Charlaine – Dead Reckoning Narrated by Johanna Parker

London, Julia – A Courtesan’s Scandal Narrated by Anne Flosnik

MacAlister, Katie – Steamed Narrator unknown  (RB Exclusive)

Mallery, Susan – Tempting Narrated by Therese Plummer

Neggers, Carla – Abandon Narrated by Carol Monda  (RB Exclusive)

Nicholls, David – One Day Narrated by Anna Bentinck

Peterson, Tracie – Hearts Aglow Narrated by Barbara McCulloh  (RB Exclusive)

Quinn, Julia – Just Like Heaven Narrator unknown

Roberts, Nora – Blithe Images Narrated by Julia Whelan

Roberts, Nora – Mind Over Matter Narrated by Alyson Silverman

Sands, Lynsay – The Reluctant Vampire Narrator unknown

Singh, Nalini – Caressed by Ice Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Kiss of Snow Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Visions of Heat Narrated by Angela Dawe

St. Clair, Roxanne – Edge of Sight Narrator unknown  (RB Exclusive)

Welfonder, Sue-Ellen – Sins of a Highland Devil Narrator unknown  (RB Exclusive)

Woods, Sherryl – Beach Lane Narrated by Christina Traister

Wright, Laura – Eternal Hunger Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Wright, Laura – Eternal Kiss Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Abridged

Macomber, Debbie – CD Collection 2: Twenty Wishes, Summer on Blossom Street Various narrators

Robb, J.D. – Origin in Death Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Woods, Sherryl – Beach Lane Narrated by Christina Traister

Recent Listens

Breaking the Rules – Suzanne Brockmann

Review by Kaetrin

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor & Renee Raudman

The latest offering in the Troubleshooters series, Breaking the Rules, is jointly narrated by Renee Raudman and Patrick Lawlor.  Raudman reads the female POV while Lawlor takes the male POV and both read the respective female and male dialogue.  That sounds a bit strange but it actually works.  And, as Brockmann is known for her head-hopping (which I personally don’t mind), it makes it easier to follow who’s talking – most often the book goes from a male to a female POV, so you immediately know that there’s a change.

Billed as Izzy’s story, the book is evenly split between the Dan/Jenn and Eden/Izzy storyline against the background of a suspense plot involving child sex trafficking.  I would have liked more of Eden and Izzy – I wasn’t 100% convinced they’d worked everything out by the end – I was nearly there but I probably needed one or two more heart-to-hearts to be truly satisfied.

Lawlor’s voice is very well suited to this style of book – he sounds like he’s in his late 20s/early 30s and the contemporary (and often expletive-filled) language rolls off his tongue naturally.  He performed the female voices with skill – feminine without sounding like a bad drag impersonation.  Although his male voices don’t differ greatly, it wasn’t hard to follow.  As a Raudman fan, I already knew her narration would be first-class and she is fast becoming my favourite narrator -  maybe even edging out even Davina Porter.  She performed the male voices very well and her subtlety and ability to express emotions through the narration are most excellent.

I’m the kind of person who gets annoyed by tangents – if someone is saying something and gets interrupted, I want them to get back to the original point and complete it – it’s one of those things that makes me yell at the TV during panel/interview shows.  In Breaking the Rules, characters start a thought, then wanter off to something else before finally (!) making his/her way back to the original point.  I may have coped better with this in print – I can scan forward and back again.  With audio, this was more of a challenge to me and I was a little bit “get on with it already” – which says two things – one that I was really hooked by the story but also that I kept being pulled out of it.

Overall, this was, for me, a solid and really good addition to the TS series.  I’m a bit sad that she’s taking a break from this series but as long as she keeps on writing, it’s all good.

Mackenzie’s Pleasure – Linda Howard

Review by Diana

Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris

In this third installment of Linda Howard’s Mackenzie family series youngest son Zane is tasked with taking his SEAL team into hostile Libya for a stealth rescue of a kidnapped Ambassador’s daughter.  While the book was originally published in 1996 as a category romance with a suspense plot, Howard deftly demonstrates how to create a beloved classic that stands the test of time, as relevant and believable today as it was way back when.

Zane is a dream man. He’s a warrior patriot, supremely competent and confident, smart as hell, handsome as sin, patient, loyal, and loving. That is not a complaint. Barrie, being pretty smart herself, once rescued by such a perfect specimen of manhood, instantly knows he’s the one for her. Fearful that they may not make it out of Libya alive, Barrie asks Zane to make love to her. The love scene (in which Zane is a generous, ideal lover) ranks as one of most touching and erotic scenes I’ve ever encountered and I fell in love with Zane right along with Barrie.

The charm here is in the seamless recounting of a romance in which two people meet, fall in love, respect one another, and commit. No bickering, no games, no silly misunderstandings. The prologue and epilogue in which there are generous servings of Mackenzie family togetherness and magic are icing on the cake. Admittedly, I am a sap for the Mackenzies.

Narrator Dennis Boutsikaris does a fine job in conveying Zane’s steely calm and resolve. But what works for Zane doesn’t work as well for Barrie and the other characters. His style is more reader than performer. That said, I’ve read and listened to Mackenzie’s Pleasure numerous times and it still gives me warm fuzzies.

The Orchid AffairThe Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

Review by LinnieGayl

Narrated by Kate Reading

The latest entry in the Pink Carnation series is one of my favorites. I heartily agree with Rike’s full DIK review here. While this could work as a standalone read, I would not recommend that one do so. A whole host of historical characters – including the Pink Carnation – has been developed over the course of the series and a number of them make an appearance. You would miss a lot if you began the series here. That being said, I heartily recommend this to fans of the series. The hero and heroine are outstanding and the setting in post-revolutionary Paris is memorable.

I’ve listened to all of the Pink Carnation books in audio, and am a big fan of Kate Reading’s narration. The latest entry doesn’t disappoint. As always, Ms. Reading clearly distinguishes between characters. The French accents, when used, are done well. I’m always impressed with the way Ms. Reading varies the tone of her voice between the European historical portion of the book and the chick lit portion. I could tell instantly when we switched from Eloise in modern-day Paris to Laura in post-revolutionary Paris.

There seemed to be less of an emphasis on the modern romance between Eloise and Colin, which actually worked for me, because I loved the historical portion set in post-revolutionary Paris. I know that I will listen to this again and recommend it to readers interested in trying the series in audio.

Chasing Fire – Nora Roberts

Review by Brenda

Narrated by Rebecca Lowman

Chasing Fire has a large cast of characters, each with personalities that come alive. The heroine, Rowan Tripp, is a seasoned Smokejumper; the hero, Gulliver Curry, qualifies for his first year of Smokejumping early in the story. The rigorous physical training and work required to be a Smokejumper is exhausting, and I was just listening!

I live in a town that has a Smokejumper base of its own.  Smokejumpers & Hot Shots, along with the forest fires they fight, are a large part of most summers so this book held my attention. I found all the details fascinating on top of enjoying the romance.

The camaraderie between the Smokejumpers was fun and there is a lot of sly humor in the characters’ give and take if you’re paying attention. The narration didn’t pull the humor out like it deserved but it was there.

Narrator Rebecca Lowman took a little time to warm up. In my ears she got to know the characters as she read, then she connected with the story. Once she did, the quality of the narration came together with voices and personalities well portrayed. There were Texas, Georgian, and Kentucky accents – I’m not certain if they are genuine but they were obviously different which was impressive.

My only complaint with production was the volume level of voices, from soft to loud, depending on who was speaking.  It was consistent as though volume was used to help identify a character – an annoying technique.

Overall? I’ll enjoy listening to Chasing Fire again.

Highland Scandal by Julia London

Review by Melinda

Narrated by Anne Flosnik

I went into this listen with tremendous trepidation: Anne Flosnik?

And I was pleasantly surprised, because Flosnik does well with Scots accents. Both the hero and the heroine were Highlanders, although Jack, our rakehell hero, has been living the high life as a member of the London haute ton for years. When he’s wrongly accused of treason, he escapes to Scotland and ends up hand-fasted to the niece of his nearest Highland neighbor in return for being sheltered from bounty hunters. Ingrate heroine Lizzie wants nothing to do with this interloper and is mostly as annoying as possible

Flosnik read all the Scots voices with a burr.  She read dialogue as a Scot and, as a result, she spoke more rapidly than she did with Mary Balogh’s Huxtable series. Consequently, the story moved along at a good clip and was more interesting as a result.

Too bad “more interesting” is relative, because it was only very slightly interesting to begin with. An unreasonable heroine with a hero who actually helped her – repairing her roof, offering himself to the King to fix her precarious situation, and facing death by hanging as a result. There was unrealized potential in the story with the secondary romance and a mystery concerning their land.

Flosnik’s reading was good; the story was just OK.

Time for Your Thoughts

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of any May releases that failed to make this list?

Do you have a Listening Challenge update to share with us?

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

And, as always, what are your latest audio successes or failures?

Ending Notes

We now have a list of all our Mini Reviews from our Speaking of Audiobooks columns over at our Goodreads group.  You don’t have to be a Goodreads member to view this list so check it out.

If you’re considering joining our 2011 Listening Challenge, we have a quick start up guide for you.  It’s not too late.

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing and we now have 99 members!  Come sign up and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’m announcing new romance audiobook releases and other audio tidbits on Twitter – look for LeaAAR.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

I’ll be back later this month talking with Audible and Harlequin.

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

25 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: May 2011 Releases”

  1. Lea AAR says:

    Audible has released Slave to Sensation and it is also available in CD/MP3 format. So, the Group Listen is officially up and running. Since it will take time for some to receive their book through the mail and then spend the time listening, we’re asking that you hold on tight to your discussion comments until our Group Listen’s Discussion column the last week of May. We don’t want to provide spoilers for those who have yet to start listening.

    The excitement is all around. I know a number of our listeners started listening last night when Slave to Sensation was discovered at Audible. I plan to start listening today as well and we’ll have an official audio review in the next column. As usual with our reviews, we’ll give you an informed overview of the book but no spoilers. All those spoilers we’re saving for the end-of-May column!

    Please join us in our Group Listen of Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh!

  2. melinda says:

    re: Kaetrin’s review of Breaking the Rules

    I was a little bit “get on with it already”

    EXACTLY! That was my main quibble with BTR too. This is a trait of Izzy’s – that inner dialogue thing – but not everyone’s! Brockmann used it a little too frequently in this book, and for too many characters!! Other than that, loved it.

  3. Carrie says:

    #1 Pick a book from your TBR pile- Arabella by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Eve Matheson
    #2 Pick a new narrator- Dream Man by Linda Howard, narrator Philip Gigante
    #3 Pick a book that was a DIK in print- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, narrated by Frances MacDormand
    #4 Start a series that grabs you- Shadow Game by Christine Freehan, narrated by Tom Stechschulte
    #5 Listen to a book someone else chooses for you- Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner
    #6 Listen to a romance sub-genre you usually avoid- A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey, narrated by Laural Merlington
    #7 Listen to a book recommended in a Speaking of Audiobooks column- Black Ice by Anne Stuart, narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck
    NEW #8 Listen to another listener’s romantic favorite- The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, narrated by Kirsten Potter

    The Spymaster’s Lady was excellent. I think Kirsten Potter is a good as any narrator I’ve listened to. The audio definitely enhanced this book for me.

    I have several choices for the “new author” part of the challenge, including Karen Moning, Ilona Andrews, Carrie Vaughn, and Catherine Asaro. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to take part in the groups listen of Slave to Sensation. I’ve never read that author, either. For “give a narrator another chance” I have Naked in Death narrated by Susan Ericksen, who I loved in Anyone But You but didn’t care for in High Noon.

    I also have the second Ghostwalker book by Feehan, and several Georgette Heyer books I haven’t listened to yet.

  4. sula says:

    I was really excited to have gotten lucky enough to receive a copy of Slave to Sensation and am more than halfway through it already. :) Looking forward to the group listen!

  5. Lea AAR says:

    Here’s an update to my Listening Challenge. I’m trying to make it last and picking one category a month. However, I think I’m ahead of schedule.

    1. Pick an audiobook that received a DIK grade at AAR in print format.
    DONE – Ravished by Amanda Quick

    2. Listen to a book recommended in a previous Speaking of Audiobooks column (and following discussion).
    DONE Tough Customer by Sandra Brown

    3. Listen to a new-to-you author.
    DONE The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig.

    4. Listen to an abridged audiobook.
    DONE Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson

    5. Listen to an audiobook that has been languishing in your to-be-listened (TBL) pile
    DONE Open Season by Linda Howard

    6. Borrow a book from a friend or your library
    DONE All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard

    7. Listen to a new-to-you narrator
    DONE Shannon Cochran – Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    8. Tempt yourself to find a series that grabs hold and won’t let go by listening to the first in a series.
    Still planning on the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

    9. Listen to another listener’s romance favorite.

    10. Listen to a romance sub-genre you usually avoid.
    This one has me a little stumped.

    11. Give a less-than-favorite narrator a second chance
    Still thinking…

    12. Share in your listening – listen to a book someone else chooses for you
    I’m asking for suggestions!

  6. Carrie says:

    LEA- Are you stumped on the genre category because you usually listen to most of them? do you read sci-fi usually? If not, then I can suggest Shards of Honor by Bujold, or perhaps one of Linnea Sinclair’s Dock 5 novels. Or if you don’t listen to much fantasy, Bujold has two highly recommended series, The Sharing Knife (starts with Beguilement) and The Curse of Chalion.

    Categories #9 and #12 seem similar to me, but I’ll give these suggestions:
    Shards of Honor
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
    Carnal Innocence (Tom Stechschulte’s version, difficult to find, check library)
    The Talisman Ring (Heyer, difficult to find, check library)
    The Corinthian (Heyer, difficult to find, check library)

    I’m a relative romance audio newbie, so you’ve probably listened to the ones on this list, but if not..hope these give some inspiration.

    • Lea AAR says:

      Carrie: LEA- Are you stumped on the genre category because you usually listen to most of them? do you read sci-fi usually? If not, then I can suggest Shards of Honor by Bujold, or perhaps one of Linnea Sinclair’s Dock 5 novels. Or if you don’t listen to much fantasy, Bujold has two highly recommended series, The Sharing Knife (starts with Beguilement) and The Curse of Chalion.Categories #9 and #12 seem similar to me, but I’ll give these suggestions:Shards of HonorMiss Pettigrew Lives for a DayCarnal Innocence (Tom Stechschulte’s version, difficult to find, check library)The Talisman Ring (Heyer, difficult to find, check library)The Corinthian (Heyer, difficult to find, check library)I’m a relative romance audio newbie, so you’ve probably listened to the ones on this list, but if not..hope these give some inspiration.

      Carrie – thank you for your recommendations! I’ve listened to the Sharing Knife series but I’m thinking on the others. And I’ll probably use one of your ideas for my #9 or #12. Thanks again!

  7. Kaetrin says:

    Hi everyone. I managed to get hold of Slave to Sensation (take that geo restrictions!!) so count me in for the group listen. I think I’ll start it next.

    I’m listening to The Spymaster’s Lady at present. In my head when I read the book (twice now) I “heard” all of the parts from Annique’s POV with a French accent – the syntax of the language is clearly not-English-as-first-language so it has been a bit of a jolt to hear those parts in an American accent. Especially since there are no Americans in the story at all. Only French and British. When Annique speaks she has a French accent but I keep expecting to hear it when she thinks too!

    In the paper version, Grey is speaking French at the beginning and his French accent is “refined”. His native English accent is described as “rougher” and “West Country”. I haven’t go the part where he is speaking in English yet but I’m wondering how the narrator is going to pull it off bearing in mind that Annique is not supposed to recognise his voice. (Having said that, I’m not sure anyone could have – maybe this is just one of those books which is better on paper – or at least for me??)

    I don’t hate it, but I’m struggling with the US accent that’s for sure!! :)

  8. Carrie says:

    Kaetrin~ I don’t think I would have enjoyed Spymaster’s Lady in print, because Bourne’s prose is a little over-the-top for me at times. I know I would’ve skimmed a lot. I tried another Bourne book in print and didn’t finish it. I felt Kirsten Potter did a phenomenal job with timing and voice inflections in SL, but I admit I didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about the accents during the “thoughts”. Annique’s inability to recognize Grey worked very well for me, but again, I hadn’t read the book beforehand so I wasn’t even expecting that senario. Potter makes his voice completely different than his French-speaking voice.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

  9. Brenda says:

    I hate when SOA drops from being anywhere at all on the Home page within two days.

    Grumbling over … Congrats to the Slave to Sensation winners! It was nice to see a mix of names I recognize as “regulars” plus others, maybe some that are being introduced to audiobooks for the first time! They can’t go wrong by starting with Angela Dawe as their first narrator.

    Lot’s of enjoyable reviews! Kaetrin I’m glad to see someone feeling about Renee Raudman the way I do. :)

    I’ve experienced several “oldies” on audio recently, that were favorites in their day, but didn’t travel the passage of time well. So I really connected with Diana’s summation of a #1 old favorite, Mackenzie’s Pleasure, and why it remains in it’s high standing with me …. Howard deftly demonstrates how to create a beloved classic that stands the test of time, as relevant and believable today as it was way back when.

    Still looking forward to Kate Reading with the Willig’s series. Melinda, glad you were finally able to listen to Flosnick without wanting to pull your hair out. :D

    Tantor is still showing Singh’s Visons of Heat as a 5/9 release, I hope it holds true. In the meantime I’m debating the latest Sookie over some waiting on the TBL pile.

    PS. Way to go Carrie, your cooking through the audiobook challenge and it sounds like your really enjoying it too.

  10. Kaetrin says:

    @ Carrie – good to know that Kirsten Potter uses a different voice for English speaking Grey. Thx for the heads up! :)

    @ Brenda – I am a true Raudman fan – she never lets me down!

  11. Diane says:

    Well I was disappointed not to be able to get Slave to sensation; then Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill became unavailable to order too. Is this going to happen with each new release slated to come out?

  12. Lea AAR says:

    Diane – where are you looking for Slave to Sensation and what format are you looking for? I found both CD and MP3 CD formats at Amazon (although only 4 left of MP3), Barnes & Noble, and Tantor Media. Digital at Audible. I want to help you find a copy!

  13. [...] romance/UF/PNR), Fantasy Dreamer (ongoing list/calendar you can subscribe to for UF/PNR etc), AAR (romance audiobooks), and Book Lovers Inc (various [...]

  14. melinda says:

    Lea – I did a romance genre challenge a few years ago and one was ‘inspirational”. Not being a fan, I researched this a lot before choosing Francine Rivers’ first book after her “conversion” – Redeeming Love, read by Kate Forbes. It was a 5-star read for me – very emotional, tension-filled, heart-wrenching American historical.

    • Lea AAR says:

      melinda: Lea – I did a romance genre challenge a few years ago and one was ‘inspirational”. Not being a fan, I researched this a lot before choosing Francine Rivers’ first book after her “conversion” – Redeeming Love, read by Kate Forbes. It was a 5-star read for me – very emotional, tension-filled, heart-wrenching American historical.

      This is just what I need. Inspirational is one of the few (if not the only) genre I have yet to explore in audio. Thanks Melinda!

  15. Lea AAR says:

    I should say “Inspirational is one of the few ROMANCE genre…”

  16. Kaetrin says:

    Oh, I must try and get a hold of this one. Redeeming Love was given to me (paperback) during a really difficult time in my life and it’s what led me back to reading romances after many years of thrillers, fantasy or not reading at all. It was a great book – even though it’s “inspirational” (it’s based on the book of Hosea – Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute) – it’s not tame. There’s sex and violence and some very confronting topics covered but the whole theme is summed up by the title and it was a very moving book. I’m happy to hear the audio is done well. I wonder if Audible have it?….

    • Lea AAR says:

      Kaetrin: Oh, I must try and get a hold of this one. Redeeming Love was given to me (paperback) during a really difficult time in my life and it’s what led me back to reading romances after many years of thrillers, fantasy or not reading at all. It was a great book – even though it’s “inspirational” (it’s based on the book of Hosea – Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute) – it’s not tame. There’s sex and violence and some very confronting topics covered but the whole theme is summed up by the title and it was a very moving book. I’m happy to hear the audio is done well. I wonder if Audible have it?….

      Kaetrin – it’s there. I just purchased it.

  17. Kaetrin says:

    Just went and bought Redeeming Love from Audible. It’s one of those books that normally costs $39 and I’m feeling pretty happy I picked it up for 1 credit! :)

  18. Diane says:

    I’m in Canada and I shop at Chapters.ca. Still today, Slave to Sensation and Hard Bitten are sill unavailable to purchase.

  19. Lea AAR says:

    Diane – let me contact Tantor and locate an outlet in Canada for you. It is supposed to be available in North America.

  20. Diane says:

    Thanks Lea!

  21. Quiana Dohm says:

    Not surprised Skippy was cut. His weak kickoffs were tolerable as long as he was accurate on fg attempts. Whatever happened to Vanderjack, by the way? Not sure Suisam is the answer…Heinz a super tough venue. We’ll see. Why is Wm. Gay still on team? It seems like he can’t get beat enough.

  22. MindHack says:

    MindHack…

    [...]Speaking of Audiobooks: May 2011 Releases « All About Romance’s News & Commentary Blog[...]…

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