Random Musings by Frodosco

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Horde

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Horde by Ann Aguirre

Summary from GoodreadsHorde

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

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Book of the Week is often one of the toughest posts that I write each week, which makes little sense seeing as how I should be able to go on and on about it, but when there is so little (if anything) to criticize all I can do is gush. With Horde it is no different. So prepare yourself for all of the positive feelings!

Horde, just like Rogue last week, is an excellent ending to a fantastic trilogy. It was the perfect blend of heartbreak and elation, thrilling action and tender romance. Horde is the type of book you stay up until 4 AM reading, and when you finish it you have to sit for another hour just to digest it all. There are so few books that have writing as powerful as Horde does, and considering the type of main character Deuce is, that is all the more impressive.

Let’s start with the action because that’s what Horde is filled with. Sure, some down time happens now and again, but for the most part these people are moving it across the world at a pretty fast clip. There are major battles that were written in amazing detail thanks to all of the research Aguirre did into similar wars. Add to that some cross country style running, skirmishes in the forests with traps and cunning tactics, and so many types of weapons displays it will make your head spin, and that makes for one wild and fun ride.

headspin

Oh my goodness the characters are incredible. O_O I fell in love with all of them and Horde had me going from incredibly sad, to super excited, and then to freaked the heck out because Aguirre puts them through hell and then some. Deuce is such a different MC from anything I’ve experienced. She’s so socially awkward and hyper-focused on the battle ahead that she misses and doesn’t experience a lot of what normally is the central topics in a story, and it makes for a very interesting perspective. Deuce is fiercely loyal once she counts you as a friend/family member, one badass fighter, and the transformation she goes through from Enclave to Horde is fascinating to experience.

There are so many other great characters, from Tegan the healer, to Stalker the bad boy turned softie, to Fade the love interest. The list never really ends with this series, which is what makes the battles so freaking tough to endure. Every loss is a big blow, all of them have lasting impacts.

I Love Them All

Since I brought up the love interest I should probably touch on the romance in Horde, and the series in general. While all of this crazy action is going on and everyone is simply trying to survive, Aguirre manages to display a wide range of romance types and developing emotions. Of course Fade and Deuce (the MCs) are going to be a big one, and their romance is fantastic, but there are so many other sweet pairings! Stone and Thimble and their easy-going relationship (beginning of the series), Momma Oaks and Edmund as the ideal parental unit (Outpost & Horde), and even a hard to read type like Spence and Tully (Horde). The diversity and beautiful nature of them all is outstanding.

All of these wonderful things are contained in an equally impressive world that Aguirre created in the series. There was the tunnels and underground civilization of Enclave, which was dark and grungy but so alive at the same time. Then came the outside world in Outpost where Aguirre was able to take a character like Deuce and show how amazing all of the little things we see every day can be to one who hasn’t experienced it before. Finally, Horde showed readers beautiful forests, a huge variety of town structures and types from garrisons to standard villages, and the wonders of an island paradise.

It's so beautiful

 

Every bit of Horde and the Razorland series was epic. Horde might not be the ending I wanted in terms of some character arcs (because I’m selfish and love them all), but it was the right one. To try and fight for paradise you have to make sacrifices and incur losses along the way, and Horde proves that. If you haven’t read this series and want one of the best dystopian ones out there, then this is for you. Heck, if you just want great stories then the Razorland trilogy is for you as well. Thanks as always for reading.

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Book of the Week: Rogue

BookOfTheWeek

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Rogue by Gina Damico

Summary from GoodreadsRogue

Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.

The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed…but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Normally for a Book of the Week choice I would avoid doing a mini review because I want to give it as much praise as I possibly can and explain why I love the book so much. The problem with Rogue in this case is twofold; I had so many emotions after I finished the book that I was (and still am) a bit in shell shock, and it’s the third book in a series and I don’t want to spoil too much for any readers that haven’t started it yet. So that’s why I’ll be brief, keeping it short and sweet and to the point.

Rogue was one of the best endings to a series that I have ever come across. The ending was absolutely perfect in every way, something I had been worried about, and what had kept me from reading this book for so long despite how much I enjoyed the first two. The writing in this series, and in Rogue in particular, is bar none, just flat out some of the best I’ve ever read. Rogue is equally devastating and heartrending as it is hilarious and sweet. It is filled with equal parts of love and despair.

Every single character in the Croak series is amazing, and in Rogue they are so fully developed and I was so emotionally invested in every one that their experiences really felt like my own. At minimum I felt like I was right alongside them, and that is so incredibly rare to feel for me while reading. Uncle Mort is so much more than he appears, Lex becomes everything I could have ever hoped for and more, and her friends do some amazing things, but Damico makes those acts feel so believable and right that I never questioned them.

The banter and wit displayed in the series is the best I’ve ever seen, and I can’t praise Damico enough for that. She made me near tears on one page and busting out laughing the next. The story was perfectly paced, gripping, and desperate, but wonderfully so. If I had infinite sums of money (which I sadly don’t) this would be one of the first sets of books I’d give to teen readers, especially those that aren’t that into reading, because I swear it could change that in an instant. I can’t recommend them enough, just read it if you haven’t already. Thanks as always for reading.

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Book of the Week: The Murder Complex

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Summary from GoodreadsThe Murder Complex

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

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The Murder Complex does live up to its name. It is full of violence, of gore, dead bodies, and killings galore. The book is pretty action packed while keeping a steady, sometimes even methodical pace, as the main characters strive to learn more about themselves and the world they live in. It’s dystopian meets thriller in the best of ways.

Meadow is a young bad-ass that is all about survival and fighting through any obstacles she believes are in her way. She’s ruthless when she has to be, a protector of those few she holds dear, and a sweet big sister to Peri. I will say that I found Meadow to be a bit slow on the uptake in certain situations and also very quick to believe large shifts in her reality without a second thought. She doesn’t waver, but she doesn’t really question much either, choosing to attack first and worry about the rest later. She kind of reminds me of someone…

katnisseverdeen

Zephyr is a very intriguing character because of how different his world view and perspective is from Meadow’s. He’s been in the slums all of his life, living under the boot of authority, and despite that he is quite the funny guy and usually has a positive and light outlook. He’s just as devoted to those he cares about as Meadow, but he’s better at expressing those feelings in a seemingly normal way. Watching him learn more about who and what he is really was fascinating, even if it was pretty obvious.

That obviousness carries through the entire book. The Murder Complex isn’t going to surprise you very much in terms of plot, it is straightforward and fine with that being the case. However, luckily it doesn’t need to be shocking or incredibly innovative because it takes those dystopian tropes and uses them extremely well. The book is good at what it wants to do, and shock and awe simply isn’t it, but there is enough substance for it not to be needed.

Instalove

The romance in the book is rather insta-love for my taste and I’m not sure how much it adds, if anything. Perhaps in the future books for this series there will come a time when the way the romance is set up will work to its benefit, but for now there just wasn’t a lot of depth there, or reasoning behind them falling the way they did. It was a little disappointing, but romance isn’t why you’re getting The Murder Complex anyway.

The action scenes and the descriptions of bodies and weapons are excellent. The banter between characters is solid and the familial bonds are strong. I was left wanting for more information about what happened to the world and why things got to be so bad so quickly, because the brief bit that this book described wasn’t enough. I’m hopeful that the character development and the bonds they create will improve in the coming sequels. Thanks as always for reading.

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Book of the Week: The Elemental Series

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer

Summary of the latest in the series, Secret, from GoodreadsSecret

EARTH. FIRE. AIR. WATER.

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He’s trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won’t get in to college. He’s trying to keep his brother’s business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He’s trying to keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel – or he fears he’ll lose his family. And he’s trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his ‘girlfriend’s’ partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

SECRETS IN THE WIND. DANGER IN THE AIR.

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I know, I’m EXTREMELY late to the bandwagon. Is there any room left for me? Could you squish together just a bit more? *throws someone else off and sits down* Ah, much better. YES, I am finally in the bandwagon of support for both Brigid Kemmerer and her AMAZING series because oh my goodness it is so GOOD!!! I am very aware that the series isn’t done yet, but I thought I would do a quick summation (or attempt to summarize what is mostly squees and happy dances) of how I feel about what HAS been released as a whole. Cool? Awesomesauce. ^.^

*realizes that last paragraph makes me sound like I’m ten* >.> So, The Elemental Series for those of you who haven’t read it (READ IT!) is about these brothers with awesome elemental abilities that are struggling to conceal them while living relatively normal lives. Michael is the eldest and is their legal guardian (parents died), there are the twins Nick and Gabriel, and the youngest brother, Chris, which is the MC of the first book.

The brothers are a very tight nit bunch but each of them is battling their own demons and has a unique way of dealing with it. The series follows their struggles, perseverance, and growth as both people and elemental powerhouses. One of the biggest strengths, outside of the obvious amazing displays of ability, is the rest of the cast in the series. Girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends, and even just acquaintances are written with extreme care and detail, showing Kemmerer realizes how integral they will be to make this series function, to give it depth. For you to get into the Merrick’s good graces you have to be pretty darn special, and because of that the quality of the characters involved is some of the best I’ve ever read.

These books are addictive, so be warned, once you start reading you are going to want to marathon them all so plan accordingly. I read Storm and then tried to spread out the awesomeness and ended up reading the other three books in one day, that’s how good they are. This is contemporary meets paranormal/fantasy at its finest, weaving sensational prose with relationships that you can’t help but become invested in. When the brothers, or really anyone important in the Elemental Series is hurting you are going to FEEL IT. I know I did.

I can think of only a handful of series where I was this passionate and also unable to find really any faults to speak of. I gave every single book 5/5 and if they had a higher rating on Goodreads I would have considered going higher. This is on par with Lord of the Rings in terms of my enjoyment level, and my name is Frodo. Thank you as always for reading. ^.^

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Book of the Week: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

Released On: January 28th, 2014

Summary From Goodreads

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

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When I started this feature I said that it wouldn’t always be reviews. Sometimes I might go gif-crazy and have a bunch of feels, others might be bringing the author on to talk about the book, and there would likely be ideas I hadn’t and still haven’t even thought up yet. In this case I’m just going to talk to you and hope you care to listen.

This Star Won’t Go Out is a book I could never hope to do justice. It’s a story about Esther. It’s a book about love and the willingness to give it away freely no matter what the circumstances. TSWGO is a cause, one that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to give to other families that are going through rough times as well as to causes that Esther would have wanted to support.

The book is a collection of stories from Esther herself, her friends, family, acquaintances, doctors, and others, but really it is Esther’s story and how she was able to speak through all of these people because of the impact that she had on each and every one of them. Esther was a nerdfighter, many of you know what this means (for those who don’t know click here for the vlogbrother’s video on it), something I also claim to be, but I never knew her, becoming one after her passing.

I would like to say so many things, how touching this story is, how amazing a person she must have been, what wonders she still would be sharing with the world if she were alive. I would love to say I have a connection with her, that I understand her, and that this book reaches me at a level I didn’t think possible. I want to say all these things, but in reality I never knew her, and while this book is beautiful, I couldn’t review it honestly, knowing that her life is something to be celebrated, but by those who knew her, not myself.

The book is a long one, filled with amazing stories, tender moments, and beautiful pictures (drawn and photographed), and something I highly recommend you read for yourself. I can’t do this story justice, only Esther can, and if you let her I know she won’t let you down. I never knew her, but I’m still inspired by the messages that she left behind, the things she stood for, and the life she lived. Thank you as always for reading, DFTBA, and remember TSWGO.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #42/365; New Author Challenge #18/50

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Book of the Week: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Released On: February 14th, 2012

Summary From GoodreadsScarletUS.indd

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

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First, allow me to give full credit to Christina from A Reader of Fictions for being the one who not only got me to buy this book, but hounded me until I felt that I HAD to read it immediately. Obviously with Scarlet being the book of the week this week I absolutely  loved it, but let me tell you why!

Scarlet is a freaking bad-ass! She operates much like a ninja, flitting from tree to tree, whipping her knives out whenever necessary with deadly accuracy, and staying in the shadows even better than the great Robin Hood. Oh, and she’s HILARIOUS! Witty retorts, great banter with the guys, and more than a few jabs at John Little, all which hit the mark. Her past haunts her, and she tries to keep a brave face on at all times, but once in a while her guard slips and I couldn’t help but want to give her a hug…which she’d probably give me a swift kick for. Loved her!

The rest of the characters are just as high of quality as Scarlet. Robin is pretty much what you would expect, though he has a slightly darker history, but he’s lovable, charming, and the hero everyone expects him to be. John Little is a tad more of a player than I remembered, but he plays the great friend/goofball role perfectly, and is quite funny in his own right. Much, the fourth and final part of the band, is the one you feel sympathetic for. He’s sweet, has had a rough time of things, and is somewhat simple, and you can’t help but like him. Really just a great group as a whole and wonderfully executed.

I Love Them All

The vividness of the world that Gaughen created shocked me. I could feel the wind blowing past Scarlet as she ran across the treetops, the dreary conditions that the commoners lived through as they struggled to survive, and the warmth of Tuck’s where the band gathers to regain their strength. From the dungeons, to the cave, and every marketplace that they visited in-between, all of it was clear in my mind, and I’m in awe of that.

It's so beautiful

As amazing as the characters and world is, the story is just as grand, and perhaps even more intricate. Somehow in less than 300 pages we learn about Scarlet’s dark history in great detail, plenty about Robin’s as well, and even John Little and Much each have their backstory, but it never felt forced or like a info dump, just beautifully woven in. There are numerous battles, daring escapes, betrayals, and romance, and it’s all blended in perfectly.

I have nothing bad to say about this book, nothing. The only thing I would note, and it worked for me, is that there is a way of speaking throughout Scarlet that took me a few pages to get used to, but once I did it enriched the whole thing even more. Again, thank you Christina for the recommendation, and for anyone reading this who hasn’t read Scarlet yet, do yourself a favor and buy it. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #30/365; Mount TBR Challenge #24/200; 2014 TBR Pile #24/50; New Author Challenge #11/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #13/75

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Book of the Week: Pivot Point by Kasie West

BookOfTheWeek

Book of the Week

Every Saturday I will talk about my favorite book that I read during the week, whether it be a review or a spotlight, or maybe having the author over to talk about it. Who doesn’t want more happy bookish goodness? ^.^

This week I’m gushing about: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Released On: February 12th, 2013

Summary From Goodreads

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

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Pivot Point was every bit as good as the hype that surrounded it. All the book bloggers seemed to love it, and when I said I hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet I was met with this face every time.

Disbelief 1

Now I get it. Pivot Point is freaking amazing! I immediately pre-ordered Split Second which comes out next month and wished I had a TARDIS so I didn’t have to wait even that long to read it. Kasie West has quickly been added to my auto-buy list. Her writing style, the flow of her books, the fact that I’ve been unable to put down either of them… they just speak to me. I may be rambling at this point. I just have too much excitement!

Happy 1

I loved the superpowers, especially because they were mind-based which are my favorite. I really enjoyed the way West did a split POV even though it is only from the MC’s viewpoint both times. The different timelines were both fascinating, neither felt secondary, and it was never clear which way Addie was going to go, at least to me. Which brings me to Addie and the other characters of the book.

Happy 2

That gif sums up my feelings pretty well, but I’ll try to go into a tiny bit of detail. Addie, LOVED her! She is so likable, from her snarky sense of humor, to her love of books which all book bloggers can obviously relate to, and even all of her little quirks, just adored her character soooo much. She has this super awesome power that is unique and really useful yet doesn’t brag or get a big head about it, if anything she downplays her abilities. Just soooo gooood!

The other characters in Pivot Point are fabulous too! Her best friend Laila is hilarious, supportive and caring, but not afraid to give Addie a good shove in the direction she wants. Laila is a fireball, and as best friends go top notch, if a little bit of a pest once in a while (even that in a good way).

Then you have the love interests. Duke the quarterback that’s full of himself, the guy everyone seems to like, oh, and he’s apparently gorgeous too. There does seem to be more than meets the eye with him, he really does appear to care for Addie and truly like her, even though he comes off as a jerk on more than one occasion. Trevor is your classic sentimental artist that doesn’t want to share their gift, broken in some way, and is very swoon worthy. His moods are a bit all over the place, but I liked him for the most part, though he seems more best friend (behind Laila of course, she wouldn’t have it any other way) material to me. West does great with both of them, showcasing a pretty remarkable ability to be able to have each timeline relationship develop in a different way, so completely opposite and yet both of them WORKED. They just…ugh, so many feels!

Happy 3

I can’t get into much more without spoiling a big part of the book, but there is soooo much going on in Pivot Point that it will make your head spin. It’s beautifully written, perfectly paced, has an excellent cast of characters, and freaking spectacular superpowers, what more could you want?! I absolutely loved it and even though it is early in the year I will be shocked if this doesn’t make it into my favorites by the end of 2014, it was THAT good. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #21/365; Mount TBR Challenge #18/200; 2014 TBR Pile #18/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #10/75

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