Book Review: The Wealth Taboo

We have another book review from our external reviewer Sara MacTaylor of the book The Wealth Taboo by Carlos Aguirre. Sara has been busy working away at her creations on her Etsy shop but has set some time aside to read for us.

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Synopsis: IS THE US EDUCATION SYSTEM FAILING YOU? ISN’T IT TIME YOU DISCOVER HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS YOU AND TAKES CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE?

When the education system in one of the richest countries in the world fails to teach you how to build wealth or, at the least, to have a wealthy mind, and the International Student Assessment (PISA) test demonstrates that American teens have average financial skills, you know that personal financial literacy is faulty. The education system, at all levels, teaches you to become a working bee. However, it does not teach you how to make money. YES, how to build wealth and have the lifestyle of your dreams. If you, like the average American, are part of a society that lives paycheck to paycheck, then you are a pawn of the finance system, a consumer chained by debt, allured by your false purchasing power, where ghost money is created by banks and financial institutions. A scary, shocking, and detrimental reality. You have not been prepared to understand and prevent falling into the finance system trap.

This book starts off with a very good premise, of improving the average millennial’s financial knowledge. Most of us do not receive much education at school regarding how many financial systems work, and so this is a really great idea to simplify and educate those of us lacking this essential knowledge.

Unfortunately, the execution is really lacking. He continually states the importance of improving our knowledge to improve our lives and the fact that various systems are taking advantage of the consumer, but almost never gives any concrete tips or statistics to actually improve our knowledge. Entire chapters feel like repetitions of the same lack of knowledge without actually educating the reader in that area.

This book is a great idea and touches on some great points of interest, but I feel like I didn’t learn what he was trying to teach me! I’d love some more concrete tips and tricks on how to actually improve in each of the areas he touches on. If this book gets revised I’d definitely be interested in trying this again.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir

New book review up on the blog. This one is called Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari.

Synopsis: Trailer Trash tells the story of Angie Cavallari, your typical girl growing up in the 1980s who finds herself cradled in an arm of a society that would be considered anything but your paradigmatic suburban neighborhood.

In 1980, Angie and her two siblings are dropped into a world of the poorest tenements during a decade where material wealth was worshipped. But these are not your usual run-of-the-mill Florida retirement occupants—these are tenants with issues that Angie soon realizes are the same that can happen anywhere—even under her own roof.

Her place in society is further confused by the fact that she doesn’t live in a trailer but nonetheless, shares a postage-sized backyard with a less-desired community by societal standards and attends a prestigious private school more than 45 minutes from her cinderblock castle.

After spending a decade living in a world of indiscernible differences, Angie’s family decides it’s time to pull up stakes, sell the trailer park and buy a double-wide trailer of their own in the Carnie Capital of World, Gibsonton, Florida.

Funny at times, nostalgic throughout, Trailer Trash hits on some serious notes and undertones about societal differences and the trials of surviving childhood in any decade and any environment.

I really enjoyed this book. The writer tells the story of her life with such ease and humor. It was very easy to read and cool to see how she grew up. I never knew what it was like to live in a trailer park but now I have some insight into it.

The author seemed to have a lot of guilt pushed on her about her weight as a child and that saddens me to know that her mother would make her feel like she had to look a certain way. We all have those relationships with our parents that regardless of how they unfold, tend to mold us into who we are today. If you read my last review for Fat Girl on a Plane, I talk a bit more about body weight issues and how we need to make ourselves feel empowered in our own skin.

At one point she talks about wolf spiders and if I was in that trailer where they were, I would be sleeping in a sealed tent outside. No way in hell would I be anywhere near those things…

My favorite character would probably have to be her grandmother. She could be a hardass at times but she seemed like a very fun woman. I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants some light reading and to have a laugh. Angie will keep you smiling as you read how she took on life as a child and young adult in the world of trailer parks and all the fun/interesting people that come with them.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon or Goodreads or connect with the author on Twitter 🙂

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Blogging for Beginners | Planning and Writing Posts — Adventures of a Bibliophile

Hey there Bookworms. I have been busy working away but I did stumble across this post which I found to be very helpful. I wish I had this when I was starting out. Take a read and follow this blogger 🙂

For me, at least, the most challenging part of blogging is actually writing blog posts. With a full-time job, it’s difficult to find the time and energy to blog (and still read enough to blog about). I’m sure most – if not all – of my fellow bloggers will agree: blogging takes so much more […]

via Book Blogging for Beginners | Planning and Writing Posts — Adventures of a Bibliophile


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Book Review: Fat Girl On A Plane

Aloha fellow readers!

I just finished Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVos and it was phenomenal! This book presented a very positive message in a fun and entertaining way.

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Synopsis: Fat.

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush and put her life on track.

Skinny.

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

So first off, props to Kelly for making a book that empowers people of all sizes. This is truly amazing. No one should ever be shamed or belittled because of the way they look or how big or small they are.

The main character, Cookie, is a strong female protagonist that doesn’t always have everything handed to her and she has to work hard for what she believes in. There are times when life becomes “unfair” to her but she always puts her best foot forward and strives on. She is very talented and a fashion guru. A lot of the clothes that she made in the book sounded very cool and the inner geek in me would hope that she would make some of these for men so I could wear some original Cookie Vonn.

I really enjoyed her best friend Piper. She was such a hoot! And she was from Australia which is epic because that is my dream destination to visit someday. Piper was the “giver of no f**ks” and I felt that she embodied that very well 🙂

Tommy kind of annoyed me a little bit because of how he would handle situations with Kennes being a complete asshole to the person he calls his “best friend” but that was just a minor detail.

This book is a rare one that will get a great rating from me! There are few out there that I would give 5/5 but I have to give it to this one! I am usually pretty generous with 4/5 but I found I couldn’t put this one down and would read it at every opportunity I had.

I would recommend this book to anyone out there who feels like they don’t like their body or are uncomfortable in their own skin. Let this book take you on a journey with Cookie to become empowered and feel positive about yourself because you are beautiful inside and out.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads. You can find the author Kelly DeVos on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley to read and give an honest review.

PS. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Giveaway Post where I am giving away a free book and some stickers!


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Book Box Love Review

Bookworms! I had the pleasure of trying out the August box of Book Box Love’s subscription service and I was not disappointed in the least. It was fantastic! They give you a book plus a bunch of handmade items made by Canadian companies.

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This box was packed with so many awesome goodies! The book was Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky (you can find her on Instagram) and the items were as follows:

  • Pear Infusion Tea from David’s Tea + tea bags
  • Chakra Bead Bracelet from EVB Jewelry (you can find her on Instagram as @evbjewelry and check out her Etsy Shop)
  • Positive Thinking Notepad
  • Fun, Quirky Bookmark

The Pear Infusion tea was so delicious. I think it may have moved into the top spot for my favorite tea. I use the Notepad at work to write all my to-do lists for the day.

Everything included in this book box is Canadian made which is so cool and makes me a huge supporter of this company! I strongly recommend trying them out 🙂 You won’t regret it!

You can follow Book Box Love on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you do end up subscribing to this box, share the experience by sharing a photo with the hashtag #bookboxlove! And tell me because I love talking to people about bookish goodies.

Talk to you later bookworms 🙂

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Book Review: The Occupation of Joe

Book review alert (insert alarm noise and picture a siren flashing)! This one was called The Occupation of Joe by Bill Baynes. It was a short book at only around 115 pages. and I flew through it (read it in one day :)).

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Synopsis: Tokyo, 1945. A Japanese boy too old for his years, a survivor of the American firebombing, dares to cross the wasteland where he saw thousands burn to death, and approach the occupying forces to get food for his family. A young Navy lieutenant, proud of the Allied victory but appalled by the devastation he sees across the city, cares enough to help. As post-war pressures mount between the two cultures, he becomes entangled in the lives of the boy, his infant sister, and his beautiful mother.

I actually read this book in one sitting. The story was very fluent and would switch between the two main characters, Joe and Isamu.

Isamu is a young boy of 12 and he is trying to help his family survive after the Americans firebombed his village by foraging for food and materials to trade. He uses his skills as an actor to fool Joe into giving him some money in exchange for his expertise with the locals in the area.

Joe is the Communication Officer on his ship and his job is to decode messages in Morse code. He takes a liking to the boy and brings him sandwiches to eat each day when he visits inland.

The characters are well rounded and the author makes it very easy to understand the language barrier between the Joe and the boy. They use a lot of hand signals and motions to try and make sense of each other and the author gives a detailed description of what the hand motions are. This really helps the reader picture how they surpass their differences to work together.

It was easy to read and the author kept me entertained enough to finish it on the same day I started it.

SPOILER (Skip this part if you intend to read it)

I can’t believe he just dies in the end. He tries to protect the boy by roughing up the gang that bullied him and gets stabbed so much that he doesn’t even make it back to the ship and ends up dying in the snow. The people even start ransacking his body before he is even dead. And then it is just over. The ending really took me by surprise.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Wars or historical fiction. The author definitely did their research on the subject before writing a story about it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads! Or if you want to talk to the author, check out his website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Blood Will Out

New book review! This one is called Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari and it was a thrill ride. There were a lot of mixed reviews on this one which surprised me. I finished it about a month ago but just got around to posting it. I have been crazy busy.

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Synopsis: Ari Sullivan is alive–for now. She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.

Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous — and Ari may not be the only intended victim.

Told in alternating perspectives of predator and prey, Blood Will Out is a gripping and terrifying read.

I had an advanced ARC of this book which I finally read when I had some offtime. The book is published now and in stores all over. It was cool to see it on the shelf when I was taking a stroll through book heaven.

I really loved this book. It starts with the main character trapped in a cistern and just keeps the suspense coming. I pictured myself in this situation and I give props to Ari because she is a beast for everything that she goes through. It was easy to relate with her because she is a swimmer/lifeguard and we both love the smell of chlorine (I have so many lifeguard sweaters that I have lost count).

I don’t see how this book only got a mediocre rating on Goodreads. I thought it was so good. It was a story full of layers that kept slowly unraveling as you went. I thought I knew who the killer was and changed my mind 3 different times to still be surprised at the end.

Jesse was a character I related with. He was the creepy dude that was kind of just did his own thing and was just a blip in the main characters life. A shadow that is there but not seen. Lynn was really fun too. She just stood up for herself and what she believed in and didn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. She and Ari have a strong bond and a friendship that you know will last.

SPOILER (Skip this part if you intend to read it)

I can’t believe it was the librarian! I would never have guessed it would be her in a million years. I had a small inkling that it was going to be a woman because the flashbacks of the killer’s memories made it sound like it was a boy and I figured the author wanted to throw us off the trail. But the librarian?! I thought it was Stroud and then I thought it was Lynn up until the very end when the big reveal showed it was the librarian and then all the pieces fell into place and it all made sense. The fact that she got away and moved on to the next town added that extra level of creepy which is just too good! Unfinished business for the killer 😛 muahahaha

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a suspenseful, intense, action-packed adventure that will scare you to your core. It actually made me feel like I was watching a scary movie in my head when I was reading this masterpiece. Haters can hate but this book was phenomenal! Enjoy it bookworms. Seriously, buy this book! You will love it. Or get scared but it will be worth the thrill.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and in Chapters stores as you can see above 🙂


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Book Review: Unlocking Your Business Voice

New book review!! Unlock Your Business Voice: How to speak as well as you think by Simon de Cintra. This one was done by our external reviewer Chris Connors. He has been out and about traveling but managed to send in another review during his off time.

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Synopsis: The foolproof results of a polished and professional verbal delivery illustrate how the voice can be used to achieve greater confidence, credibility, professional success, and sales in this handbook on applying voice-control techniques used by voice-over artists in business communications. From a comprehensive voice evaluation of a step-by-step voice improvement plan, a range of activities provides information on how to improve diction and articulation, speak with greater warmth and enthusiasm, and make a lasting impression. Practical tips include how to leave a voice-mail message that is 40 percent more likely to be returned and how to make outgoing messages sound professional. Insider secrets about the influence of the spoken word will help speakers acquire and practice the skills necessary to sound more credible, tell great stories, and add a more musical quality to the speech by mastering voice pitch and inflection.

In book reviewing it isn’t often a title will raise a red flag. This one did because the title assumes people think in words. Many people do not. They see pictures or their thoughts are like road maps (general overview of many possible conversations, but no details).

Others deal with colours and flavours. One of the big challenges for people who think differently is to translate their pictorial representations into words, as well as take other peoples’ words and translate them into pictorial representations. At the end of the day, the need to translate can leave them mentally exhausted. However, as I read on the above critique doesn’t apply. The author’s point isn’t so much about how to speak as well as you think, but how to structure and order your message to get it across clearly regardless of how you “see” thoughts in your head. It is also about how you present yourself to an audience—how to command the attention of the audience—even if that is an audience of one. Personally, I’d just remove that whole subtitle so as not to distract from the message of the book.

The author’s VOICE (Vocation, Observation, Intention, Casting, Experiment) Methodology is outlined in the Introduction, but the details don’t appear till page 76 (in a 169-page book). He goes on at length about the business voice but buries the lede (to borrow a phrase from journalism). Chapters end with sentences like “Unlocking Your Business Voice is the logical and appropriate next stage in your career development”. Or mentions My Business Voice Methodology®, but doesn’t really explain it. In fact, the first half of the book comes across like an infomercial or that awful book on natural cures “they” don’t want you to know about that doesn’t actually have any natural cures in it: that author is currently serving a 10-yr jail term for criminal contempt related to his fraudulent claims.

Despite the rambling and slightly confusing first part of the book, there are some good bits of advice. For example, “playing it safe with non-verbal communication is a false security because dialing down your body language, contact and facial expressions too much is likely to be interpreted negatively by recipient”. People will see what they want to see—or fear to see—in a neutral face (see The Kuleshov Effect), so bosses playing it neutral to give their employees a voice may actually discourage their voice.

He also recommends hitting people with the conclusion first. Don’t fall in love with your own well-reasoned arguments as you build to a conclusion. People hearing the argument for the first time don’t need to know all the details; they don’t need to have a logical step-by-step process to arrive at the conclusion. Perhaps this advice should be applied to the book because it takes too long to get into the details of the Methodology®. For example on page 116 is the VOICE template. This is the page that should be stuck right in the first few pages of the book! Put this template on page 10 where the generic ambiguous
VOICE is now. Giving people this template will give them the mental “hooks” on which to hang the ideas they find in the book. Perhaps with this template, the chatty rambling in the first half of the book will be less confusing.

And while I’m nitpicking please note that the table on page 17 has the acronym spelling VIOCE (just switch Intention and Observation in that table and it’d be fine). Page 37 continues with a story about “Jerry” except in one paragraph the name is changed to “Scotty”. The paragraph about what science entails is also woefully incorrect. I hope he doesn’t use that example in his classes.

Another good bit of advice that I found useful was “Your intention is a choice you make first in the mind. It is then carried in the language your [sic] use, the simpler the better,…”. At the time I read that I was struggling with a science communication letter. It was down to 8 pages from 15, but I wanted it at a page or two, each paragraph one or two lines for easy reading. When I read the paragraph about intention I realized my intent with the letter was not to persuade the person I was sending it to but to have that person understand how their views unintentionally hurt others. A detailed logical argument wasn’t necessary—I just needed to show how the views were harmful. After that, it was easy to get the letter down to 1.5 pages.

Once de Cintra gets into the VOICE details the book comes together. It is like the author had two books in mind as he wrote, but wasn’t clear on what the first book should be—i.e. his intention wasn’t fully formed. The latter part of the book though has the intention much better formed. There is some excellent advice to follow for speaking to an audience summarized into easily remembered phrases (“Did you take the opportunity to sparkle or did you just deliver the main ingredients?”). There’s also a good section on what he calls “low status” and “high status” behaviours that nicely summarize how to
present yourself to an audience. These are presentation tips that should be taught in all high schools.

I’d give this VOICE detail section 4/5 stars. The first half of the book probably 2/5 stars. Overall, 2.5-3/5 stars. With a bit of reworking of the order of the chapters, removal of some of the earlier material, and jumping right into the details first rather than trying to sell the VOICE methodology this could be a 4 to 5 star book. It has some good advice scattered throughout, and a solid workable outline of learning and applying the VOICE methodology. I can see why people would want to take Simon de Cintra’s courses—there’s some solid working material that everyone can use.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon and the author on Twitter!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Kasali’s Africa

Hey bookworms.

Guess what?! I got to do a book review for an author in Africa! This book was called Kasali’s Africa by Feyisayo Anjorin.

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Synopsis: Kasali’s Africa is the story of Kasali Adebayor’s struggle with the encroachment of the modern on the domain of the ancient in West Africa of the late 80s and 90s, as the states struggle in the treacherous waters of local politics; the time of the Liberian civil war, and the Sierra Leone diamond wars, and the military government’s devastating grip on power in Nigerian.

Kasali Adebayor, a barely literate farmer, who lives in the distant end of Akure, his home state’s capital city with his five wives and numerous children, gets a unanimous vote from all the farmers in the state as the head of the state farmers’ union; this happens at a time when government policy direction favours the agricultural sector.

The popular farmer, unprepared for the burdens of fame, becomes a hit with the press for his charisma and the myths attached to his name, and soon gets the attention of Liberia’s dictator, President Samuel Glay, who tries to match the desperation of persistent coup plotters with his own desperation to hold on to power by any means necessary.
Glay’s government is soon swept away, ushering in an unbridled reign of blood, tears, ruin, and rot.

And with the passage of time, Liberia’s national crises appears to unravel as Kasali’s family tragedy, as the farmer’s obsession with his youngest wife turns out fatal.

This is the story of humanity; the best of us, the worst of us, and everything in-between.

This book was interesting. It followed this farmer Kasali and the life he chose to live. He had about 5 wives and was working on a 6th. All of his children were put to work on his farm to work away their days. It was his form of homeschooling his children because he believed that they should follow in the footsteps of their father.

The storyline was ok because it switched it up a bit to give you different perspectives of other characters but I did find that at times I would get bored. Kasali’s life was definitely different from say your life or my life. He drank pretty much every evening and flaunted that he had lots of money (however, he did give some of his farms produce to charity).

There were parts where the story would pick up and it would have a little action in it. These parts I liked a lot and were what kept me going. The ending is very abrupt and not what I expected so I was also a fan of that (I hate when you know exactly what is going to happen).

Overall, it was decent and I would give it a middle rating. There was enough to keep me going through it. I also found it interesting how when characters were speaking to each other, they would end sentences with “o”. Example: “What are you doing o?”. I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing or not but it was cool.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the book on Amazon! You can also find the author on Twitter and Instagram. He promotes the book a lot on these platforms.

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: The Telltale Tattoo

Whats new bookworms? I have another review from Sara MacTaylor. Oh, and by the way, she has a shop on Etsy that she sells these cool little craft creatures. Check out her Etsy page called AdorkableLilCrafties!

Now, to the book review. This one was called The Telltale Tattoo by John L. DeBoer. See what Sara had to say about it below 🙂

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Synopsis: The Telltale Tattoo begins with following the story of Chinh, a man who watched both of his parents get murdered during a raid on his village during the Vietnam War. He has become a successful businessman, and finally has the means to track down the soldier who committed the murders. The story then begins to involve a web of characters whom all become connected in the pursuit of the one awful man who committed the murders, as well as many other immoral things since his time as a soldier. Clay Archer, a private investigator, becomes one of the several main narrators in this story. He helps track down and put the pressure on Taggart, the man at the focus of the story, which accelerates the storyline.

DeBoer’s writing is entertaining to read, and adequately shares the story with the reader. Unfortunately, having several different narrators doesn’t allow for much character developments, so we only become superficially acquainted with the characters. It is interesting to read where the story will go, as there are many twists and turns, with many characters having their effect on where the story goes.

Overall, I found the novel an acceptably interesting read, but nothing to brag about. It is a simple mystery novel with a variety of characters and an interesting progression through the story. I didn’t become overly invested in any of the characters, or the result of the chase, as we know that Taggart won’t get away, but we don’t know which of the many interested parties will be his downfall.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the author on Twitter and this book on Amazon!
Have any of you read this book? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


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