Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis #BookReview 

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Book description

TWO GIRLS GO TO A PARTY, ONLY ONE RETURNS ALIVE

Toni, the surviving teenager, is found delirious, wandering the muddy fields. She has been drugged and it’s uncertain whether she’ll survive. She says she saw her friend Emily being dragged away from the party. But no one knows who Emily is or even if she’s still alive. . .
Meanwhile the drowned body of another girl has been found on an isolated beach.
And how does this all relate to the shocking disappearance of a little girl nearly a decade ago, a crime which was never solved? The girl’s mother is putting immense pressure on the police to re-open the high-profile case.

EACH ONE OF THEM IS SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER AND THE POLICE MUST GIVE THEIR FAMILIES JUSTICE AND CLOSURE

DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans of the Fenland police are stretched to the limit as they try to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice.
There is evidence of an illegal drinking club run by a shadowy group of men, who are grooming teenagers. And the team come across a sinister former hospital called Windrush which seems to house many dark secrets.

img_1258Don’t you just love it when you pick up a book by an author you’ve never read before, with no expectations and it’s just so darn good you’re left wondering why and how you’ve never read this authors books before. That’s exactly how I’m feeling after picking up The Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis, my god it’s good, in fact it was that good it made for an outstanding and engrossing read and definitely one that I was reluctant to put down.

This is the second book in Jackman and Evans crime series but it can be easily read as a standalone. From the opening chapter when a young girls body is found on the beach I just knew this one was going to grip me and it certainly did not disappoint. As the plot evolves the reader is presented with many threads a missing girl, a cold case and illegal drinks club. The author expertly links them together and slowly but deftly reveals horrors that are unimaginable.

Jackman, Evans and the rest of the team are an interesting bunch, they are very much a team which is pretty unusual in a crime thriller as most police teams have some animosity between them, that’s not a criticism in fact I found it refreshing. The back drop of the Fens give this book an atmospheric feel, and running throughout is a sense of evil that I found at times overwhelming. As the plot becomes more complex Joy Ellis throws in some deliciously twisted turns that I never seen coming. I loved the way the author expertly drew all the threads together in a way that left me open mouthed with its very imaginative conclusion.

Despite the subject matter the author doesn’t go into the finer detail, so this book never made for an uncomfortable read, but it certainly made for a suspense filled one. Although the plot line may not be the the most credible at times, this in no way spoilt my enjoyment of The Lost Daughters. Dark and menacing, this book was one I found hard to put down and I really am kicking myself for not reading this authors books before.

Paperback: 329 pages

Publisher: JOFFE BOOKS (27 Mar. 2017)

Amazon Uk 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

The One Man by Andrew Gross #BookReview @panmacmillan 

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Book description

Auschtwiz 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.

Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

Print Length: 475 pages

Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (22 Sept. 2016)

img_1258I’ve read quite a few books by Andrew Gross over the years and always enjoyed his writing but The One Man marks a significant departure from his previous suspense novels. The author has boldly changed direction and written a novel that is part historical and part thriller. Andrew Gross visits the horrors of Auschwitz in this harrowing yet compelling thriller. I was stunned by the overall impact this story had on me, I spent much of this book reading through my tears. It’s a novel that’s exciting, harrowing, riveting and haunting.

I read lots and I mean lots of books and normally once I’ve finished a book I move on to the next one no problem, but I found that days later I’m still thinking about this book. I would be the first to say I’m not normally a huge fan of historical fiction but after reading The One Man I would certainly read more books in this genre if they were all of this high standard. This is a story of the human will to survive against all the odds. Nathan Blum escaped from the Polish ghetto by the skin of his teeth. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life and sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man Alfred Mendl. What follows is a heart pounding adrenaline fuelled read. It brings to life the horrors that occurred inside the concentration camps. It also shows how strong and courageous man can be when met with evil.

The One Man only contains a small band of characters, but they were so well depicted I found myself immersed in their story, hence the very emotional read. Although Auschwitz is central to the story it was never the authors intention to write the definitive book on it, as he felt the atrocities there have already been well recorded. True to his word Andrew Gross depicts terrible and heartbreakingly realistic scenes, but it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story as they are very much a backdrop to the main story. Although the scenes do make The One Man an emotional and haunting read.

I found my heart racing constantly as the plot progressed, a sign that this was a truly “thrilling” read. Masterfully told The One Man makes for a disturbing and highly emotional read, both gripping and intelligent I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

The Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury #Bookreview @bloodhoundbook @MTilburyAuthor

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Book description

The past is never far away. Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his
father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.

Now an adult, Michael wakes up from a coma inhospital suffering from amnesia and paralysis.Confused and terrified, he is charged with the
fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life.

Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison.With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes back to haunt him.

Can Michael ever escape the past?

Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s murder?

And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?

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Hells bells what a book! Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury Is definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2017, it’s dark and very disturbing due to the difficult subject it covers. At times it’s pretty graphic but in the authors defence while it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story, I can see that this won’t be to everyone’s tastes. This is certainly a book that packs a punch, its gut wrenching and makes for an uncomfortable read at times but it’s also offers so much more, it’s a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse.

Michael Tate wakes from a coma in hospital with no recollection of how he came to be there, but he finds himself at the heart of a murder investigation. With no recollection of events leading up to accident, he relives his childhood memories in the most extraordinary way and my god those secrets well let’s just say they are shocking, harrowing and very, very sad and that’s all I’m going to say about this superbly plotted tale, as it’s definitely one the less you know the better the read.

Mark Tilbury has created an array of fascinating characters, my heart broke for Michael as his past is revealed, it’s brutal and heart breaking, but amid it all there’s hope, friendship and laughter. I do have to mention Detective Inspector John Carver never have I disliked a character so much, he’s the worse kind of monster and one that made my stomach churn. I always think an author is doing his job well if I have strong feelings either way about a character, and the author certainly manages to achieve this with Carver.

The Abattoir Of Dreams is darkly impressive the tension and sense of foreboding that radiated from each page made this a hard book to put down, despite how disturbing this book was I still found myself racing through it. Mark Tilbury has written a roller coaster of a thriller for sure, but this novel is also a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil and those who strive to stop it, this is certainly one read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Mark Tilbury is a new author (this is where I kick myself) to me but this certainly won’t be the last book I read by this author. If you enjoy a crime thriller that isn’t the norm and you don’t mind a disturbing read then this book is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

Print Length: 497 pages

Publisher: Bloodhound Books (28 Feb. 2017)

You can get a copy of The Abattoir of dreams here…… Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

I’m back with a **Weekly Wrap Up**

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Well I’m back after nearly a two week break from social media and blogging (apart from the blog tour posts I already agreed to) and I must say its done me the world of good, no frantically trying to share and retweet posts, spending hours trawling through social media in fact it just reinforced to me how much time I spend on my iPad when I could be reading.

I worked Monday-Friday throughout the experiment and still managed to read, wait for it………..8 books and I’m half way through the 9th.……..yes the book review café has found her reading mojo and what a treasure trove of books I’ve read. Some of theses books are for blog tours in May, so I really achieved a lot in my two weeks off…… blog tour reviews, books that have been sat on my bookshelf that I’ve really wanted to read, and new to me authors. So I definitely feel a social media break every now and then works for me.

Books I read

Books I’ve bought

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Certain criminal cases have a life of their own. Despite the passage of years they continue their hold on the public imagination, either because of the personalities involved, the depravity of the crime, doubts over whether justice was done, or the tantalizing fact that no one was ever caught…

Now John Douglas, the foremost investigative analyst and criminal profiler of our time, turns his attention to eight of the greatest mysteries in the history of crime, including those of Jack the Ripper, The Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Taking a fresh look at the established facts, Douglas and Olshaker dismantle the conventional wisdom regarding these most notorious of crimes and rebuild them – with astonishing results.

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1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

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TWO GIRLS GO TO A PARTY, ONLY ONE RETURNS ALIVE
Toni, the surviving teenager, is found delirious, wandering the muddy fields. She has been drugged and it’s uncertain whether she’ll survive. She says she saw her friend Emily being dragged away from the party. But no one knows who Emily is or even if she’s still alive. . .
Meanwhile the drowned body of another girl has been found on an isolated beach.
And how does this all relate to the shocking disappearance of a little girl nearly a decade ago, a crime which was never solved? The girl’s mother is putting immense pressure on the police to re-open the high-profile case.

EACH ONE OF THEM IS SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER AND THE POLICE MUST GIVE THEIR FAMILIES JUSTICE AND CLOSURE

DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evansof the Fenland police are stretched to the limit as they try to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice.
There is evidence of an illegal drinking club run by a shadowy group of men, who are grooming teenagers. And the team come across a sinister former hospital called Windrush which seems to house many dark secrets.
Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the shocking ending.

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The past is never far away.

Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.

Now an adult, Michael wakes up in hospital from a coma suffering from amnesia and paralysis. Confused and terrified, he is charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life.

Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison.

With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.

But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes back to haunt him.

Can Michael ever escape the past?

Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s murder?

And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?

I couldn’t resist adding Remember Me by Lynda Renham to my TBR pile after reading Jo’s fabulous review for this book over at https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com

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A new neighbour becomes a new friend. She looks up to you. She admires you, but is it you she wants? You begin to wonder if she wants your husband, or even your child. But then you realise, she wants your life.

When Sharni and Tom move into 24 The Pines, it seems like Clare and Chris have the perfect neighbours. Sharni is always there to help, especially with childcare for Clare’s two-year-old, Ben. But Clare can’t shake off the feelings of anxiety that assail her whenever Sharni is near. Is Clare just being overprotective, or are her feelings justified? As Sharni‘s influence touches everyone around her, Clare finds herself fighting for her sanity as well her family.

ARC’s I’ve received

Last week on the book review café

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/14/blog-tour-the-escape-by-c-l-taylor-review-authorinterview-callytaylor-helenasheffield/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/04/16/blog-tour-last-breath-by-robert-bryndza-bookreview-bookouture-robertbryndza/

Next week on the book review café

Cover reveal and a fabulous Giveaway The Art Of Fear by Pamela Crane

**Blog tour** Sleep Tight by the awesome Caroline Mitchell

The Abattoir Of Dreams by Mark Tilbury #Review

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons #Review

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton #Review

Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson #BookReview @OrendaBooks @ragnarjo

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Book description

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

Rupture by Ragnar Jónasson is the fourth book in the Dark Iceland series and bad blogger that I am I have skipped two, not because I haven’t wanted to read them, it’s more to do with the fact that I have so many books on my TBR pile I just haven’t had the time, but when I received a very special hardback signed edition in a competition over at http://bluebookballoon.blogspot.com
I just had to bump this one to the top of my TBR pile and I’m so glad I did.

img_1258Rupture is a crime thriller that feels like a breath of fresh air, it has much more to offer than the average crime thriller, for me this novel is beautifully written with a well crafted plot, this is Nordic crime noir at it’s best. I’m normally a reader who loves a crime read to be fast paced, which I don’t consider Rupture to be, but what I loved about this novel was the authors incredible gift of being able to pull the reader into his plot and build on the suspense and mystery leaving me eager to read more. Sometimes I struggle with novels that have been translated as the writing can feel stilted or the heart of the story gets lost in translation, but Rupture proves that it can be done successfully, in fact I found it difficult to believe this book was written in anything but English.

Ragnar Jónasson’s writing is beautifully descriptive, he describes the town of Siglufjöróur in great detail, so it’s easy to imagine the bleakness and claustrophobic atmosphere that surrounds the small Icelandic town, as the town is quarantined from a deadly virus, the sense of unease and isolation are palatable. Ari Thór is asked to investigate a suspected murder from the 1950’s, and with the town in quarantine he finds himself with plenty of time on his hands, and as he begins to investigate the case it soon becomes clear that not everything is as it seems. The author intricately adds various plots to the story, but in doing so he adds layer upon layer of mystery to the story which kept me captivated to the last page. Despite the numerous threads the author expertly weaves them into an absorbing and suspense filled plot.

The author even manages to make his characters multi dimensional and complex, so much so you can’t help but feel a connection to them, I especially liked Ari Thor whose life doesn’t appear to run to plan, but never the less he’s a very intriguing character. There are no shocking or fast paced scenes in Rupture, but the author expertly builds on the atmosphere with every sentence he writes whilst maintaining the suspense and mystery. Rupture reads like a classic who dunnit, but that’s a good thing in my opinion and one of the things that make Rupture standout from other crime thriller reads. For me Rupture is refreshingly different amid all the crime thrillers on the market, beautifully and eloquently written it conjures up breathtaking images of a stark landscape that beg to be visited. Chilling, complex and addictive I would highly recommend Rupture to anyone looking for a unique crime thriller.

Print Length: 253 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (24 Dec. 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen at Orenda books, David at BlueBookBalloon and Ragnar Jónasson for my treasured signed hardback of Rupture. 

The Promise by Casey Kelleher #BookReview @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture

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Book description

Two sisters. One murder. And an unbreakable bond.

Growing up in squalor with their drug-addicted prostitute mother, sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker have had to endure the very darkest side of life.

When their mother is sentenced for brutally murdering a client, Georgie and Marnie’s already precarious lives are blown apart and they now share a terrible secret. Sent to a children’s home, the sisters hope this might finally be their safe haven after years of neglect. But they soon discover they’re in real danger.

Desperate to find a place of safety, Georgie and Marnie run for their lives, but end up in the hands of Delray Anderton. A violent London gangster and notorious pimp, Delray has big plans for beautiful teenager Georgie, seeing her as a chance to make some serious money.

Fiercely protective of each other, Georgie and Marnie must escape the clutches of a man who will do anything to keep the sisters for himself. And, they must keep the promise they made to each other – no one can ever know the truth.

img_1258My oh my I’m really not sure where to begin with this review, Casey Kelleher writes what I call grit lit. The Promise by Casey Kelleher certainly falls into this category, I wasn’t expecting a “heartes and flowers” kind of read, and I wasn’t wrong, in fact due to the subject matter it sometimes made for a very uncomfortable read, but my god I have to say it was also a gripping one. Josie Parker is a repeat drug offender, a heroin addict and a prostitute, she’s bringing up her two daughters in the most damaging way. Georgie and Marnie know violence first hand, they know what it’s like to be hungry, and scared, they have to endure the very darkest side of life. Then you have Javine a seventeen year old who meets the wrong man. At first Javine is taken in by a man who treats her like a princess but she soon finds her dreams turn to dust, when she realises she is in the clutches of a powerful and violent pimp. As the two stories collide in the most dramatic way The Promise makes for a riveting read.

The story is a slow starter but in the authors defence she concentrates on developing her characters and my god she does it brilliantly, you can’t help being drawn into the characters life’s, love them or hate them they all have a part to play. I found my opinions of various characters changing as the plot developed, I don’t want to spoil the plot but suffice to say some of the characters I started out disliking managed to redeem themselves by the end of the book. As for Georgie and Marnie they are the stars of the book despite their awful life’s they remain resilient and feisty, determined to protect each other from bad things, at times my heart broke for the two girls, yes they are characters, but Casey Kelleher writes about very real subjects and it makes me  very sad to think that this issome children’s  reality.

As the plot reaches midway it picks up the pace I found myself desperate to read more I so wanted Georgie and Marnie to find their “happy ever after”. Casey Kelleher paints a vivid and believable picture of the seedier side of life, this is an author who isn’t afraid to tackle the most difficult subjects head on, she paints an ugly and brutal picture which at times made for a harrowing read. Trust me this really isn’t a book for the faint hearted due to the subject matter, abuse, violence, prostitution all find there way into this book. The Promise could have been a very depressing read, but fortunately the author offers the reader hope amid the horror. In my opinion this is the authors best book yet, despite the difficult subject matter it’s one that’s hard to put down, thanks to Casey Kelleher’s ability to create such believable characters you will find yourself captivated by the two little girls willing them on through troubled times. Would I recommend this book? I certainly would especially if you enjoy a gritty realistic read.

Print Length: 363 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (17 Feb. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry #BookReview #BookShelfReads 

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Book description

Emily and Elizabeth spend their childhood locked in a bedroom and terrorized by a mother who drinks too much and disappears for days. The identical twins are rescued by a family determined to be their saviors.

But there’s some horrors love can’t erase…

Elizabeth wakes in a hospital, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak. The last thing she remembers is finding Emily’s body in their bathroom. Days before, she was falling in love and starting college. Now, she’s surrounded by men who talk to themselves and women who pull out their eyebrows.

As she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Emily’s death, she discovers shocking secrets and holes in her memory that force her to remember what she’s worked so hard to forget—the beatings, the blood, the special friends. Her life spins out of control at a terrifying speed as she desperately tries to unravel the psychological puzzle of her past before it’s too late.

img_1258When I picked up Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry I didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about this book as the author was a new one to me, it was the book description that enticed me to pick this one up, I’m always drawn to books that explore the human psyche and Phantom Limb explores the very subject with both empathy and understanding. I expected a psychological thriller with twists and turns and bucketfuls of suspense, but what I never expected was to read such a raw and emotive tale that at times made for a disturbing and deeply tragic tale. I think it’s only fair to point out this book covers many themes, self harming, childhood abuse and mental health issues to name but a few, although while it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story, it may upset some readers.

Elizabeth finds herself on a psychiatric ward after the death of her twin sister Emily, she has no memories of past events apart from being the one who found Emily dead. Firstly Elizabeth has to cope with the loss of not only her sister but her best friend, but she also needs to confront her past however painful that maybe, if she ever hopes to leave the confines of a psychiatric ward. Much of the novel is told around Elizabeth’s time on a secure psychiatric ward, the author describes the scenes, emotions and characters in a very credible way. Phantom Limb is very much a character driven story so if you were hoping for a fast paced read this definitely isn’t the book for you. Lucinda Berry gives a very authentic insight into mental illness and how childhood trauma can affect a person years after the fact, she expertly uses her clinical experience to create a psychological thriller that on the whole makes for a realistic read.

Reading about Elizabeth and Emily’s traumatic childhood made for a very uncomfortable read at times, as you learn more about their past I couldn’t help but care about these characters and what happened to them. What I did find intriguing was how despite them being twins, each sister reacted very differently to their childhood trauma.This is a fairly short book and I read it in almost one sitting, as Elizabeth begins to unravel her lost memories it made for a tension filled read. Although I found Phantom Limb to be a dark and disturbing read,  I did think  it would have more twists and turns to truly mess with the reader’s head, for me this book swayed heavily on the mystery side. I wouldn’t consider this to be an enjoyable read due to some of the subject matter, but I would say it’s an intriguing read with plenty of mystery.

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Print Length: 260 pages

Publisher: Rise Press (17 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸