Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Genre: Sci fi with some fantasy elements
Series: Nope, stand alone
Pages: 320
Rating: ***

When the air Above grew too polluted, Earth's inhabitants retreated to Below. Rio Conway lives in the underwater city of Atlantia with her sister, Bay. If she went Above, she wouldn't have to hide her siren powers, but how could she ever leave Bay? After their mother's murder, they're all they've got. The Conwy sisters vow to stay together. Then, on choosing day, Bay abandons Rio without a word of explanation.
Shocked and alone, Rio combs Atlantia for answers to her sister's leaving and her Mother's death. Her only lead is Maire, the siren aunt her Mother warned her never to trust. And that was before Mother died on Maire's doorstep. Though Maire claims she has a way to reunite her nieces, Rio's sure the only to join Bay is to break Atlantia's greatest law and swim above.
Rio's strongest relationships are with her mother (dead) and Bay (absent for most of the story). Her beautiful siren's voice lets her control any normal human, but to conceal them, she's forced to speak in a flat, dull voice that prevents her from making friends. After a whole lifetime of this she has no desire for social interaction outside of her family. There's a love interest, a boy named True, but their romance is extremely understated due to Rio's personality. Some readers will applaud this as a "sisters before misters" story. Others will find the characters flat as Rio's voice.
The world building is fantastic. Atlantia is a fully fleshed out setting that incorporates ocean folklore and myths in a way that makes the fantastical familiar and believable. The city also has it's own religion, which enriches the story.
Atlantia has an assertive but introverted heroine. The writing's beautiful in a watery sort of way: smooth and flowing, but sometimes it all looks the same. The setting's definitely worth reading, but the characters will make and break the story for different readers. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Faces of the Dead by Suzanne Weyn

Genre: Historical fantasy
Series: Nope, standalone
Pages: 201
Rating: ***
Princess Marie Therese Charlotte, daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, lives in a bubble. When she switches places with her maid, Ernestine, she expects to find adventure and freedom. Instead, she stumbles into a gritty, poor world where the people of France cry out for bread and royal blood. Then revolution strikes. Marie Therese and Ernestine switch places again, this time for her safety. She finds work as a head collector at the guillotine and romance with Henri, a peasant boy. But Marie Therese isn't the only one who's more than she seems. Their friends Madame Groshaltz and Rose (the future Madame Tussaud and Josephine, Napoleon's wife) conduct strange experiments on the decapitated heads that seem designed to raise the dead.
At barely 200 pages, Faces of the Dead is scrawny for historical fiction, especially one that takes place in such a dramatic time period. The French Revolution comes to life through grotesque details, like the way Marie Therese comes home from work covered in blood splatters each day. We see her fall from princess to pauper, which means character growth for her and balanced perspective for us. Fantasy elements and historical elements compliment each other, and though it's more factual than fantastic, the magic gives the story a dramatic twist at the end. The romance doesn't develop as much as I would've liked, again, thanks to the length. I read it in a day easy. If that's what you're going for, Faces of the Dead is quick look at the French Revolution with more grit than glamour. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blackout by Robison Wells

Genre: Dystopian
Series: One sequel, Dead Zone, released earlier this month
Pages: 426
Rating: ****
Jack and Aubrey just want to survive homecoming night. But when superpowered terrorists destroy the nearby Lake Powell Dam, they're rounded up along with the rest of their school for military testing. The Erebus virus only mutates the young. That means any American teenager could be a terrorist-or the nation's only hope. Alec and Laura are captured, too. Alec's just biding his time until he finds a way out, but Laura couldn't be more thrilled. Finally, she's on the inside.
Wells' characters' powers are more diverse than stock abilities, like flight and shape shifting. Jack's senses are enhanced and Alec can subtley alter memories. Those who do have common powers, like Aubrey's invisibility, get unusual twists. Aubrey's powers only affect those standing near her, leaving her vulnerable to snipers and security cameras. They also come with physical drawbacks ranging from weight loss to kidney failure.
The terrorist's motives are extremely vague. It's not until the end that we find out which country Alec and Laura work for. Though they often allude to being trained as terrorists from childhood, we don't get many details. No doubt we'll learn more in the sequel, though.
My favorite, tried and true dystopia tropes are here. Post-apocalyptic hysteria! Rot and ruin! Tyrannical government! Black Out takes place close to the present day, so we get to watch the government crumble instead of picking through the rubble, and the characters comment as it falls. And, of course, what would any YA dystopia be without the oppressed teens? Emphasis on the teens. The author uses the word "teens" in dozens of situations where a real teenager would say "people", "guys", or "crowd.
Aside from that, Black Out's wholly enjoyable. Chapters are short and readable, but not so short that they lack substance. The POV switches off between the four main characters, but it's told in third person, so no confusion there. Yes, Alec and Laura are main characters. No, they aren't sympathetic. They're manipulative liars who aren't content to let the world burn unless they light the match. Some readers, those who look for relatable protagonists, will be turned off by this. But I read for variety.  They're a refreshing departure from the typical Good Heroes.
Black Out is another great read in the ranks of YA dystopia.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin and Tyler Jolley

Genre: Science fiction, time travel, steampunk
Pages: 310
Series: First of The Lost Imperials series
Rating: **
Ember is a Rifter. She remembers nothing of her life before Nicola Tesla recruited her to travel through time. Lex is a Hollower. They recruit the children Tesla abandons to history. When his Stein, is killed during a mission, there's only once gadget that can bring her back: the Dox, hidden deep in Tesla territory. Lex breaks into the Tesla Institute to retrieve and comes face to face with his past.
Ember and Lex are revealed to be Anastasia and Alexei Romanov. Come on, that's not a spoiler, is it? Not with "lost imperials" in the name. It's certainly fun to imagine the Romanov siblings as dirty fighting, cool hat wearing, world saving time travelers. But their identity is just another ornament. Lex being Alexei doesn't enhance the story-or his character-anymore than the fact that he owns a jester hat. There's also at least one historical error: Ember's told that the English language was implanted in her head using futuristic technology. In fact, Anastasia grew up speaking English in addition to her native Russian. A rhyming English poem by her oldest sister, Olga, is included at the back of the book, so I can't help but wonder how the authors missed this, or if they just chose to ignore it.
I know it's fiction, but Anastasia not speaking English jars me more than Anastasia being alive. But when I got past that, I loved the vivid world building. Top hats and leather vests. Katanas and killer robots. What impressed me most was that the Hollows and Tesla's Rifters have different methods of time travel. The Hollows swallow a pill that takes them to a specific destination while the Rifters use mechanical armbands called Tethers. The fight scenes are well written, and scenes we've got two authors on board, it's not hard to distinguish between two first-person narrators.
Though the way the Romanovs were used made me flinched, Extracted is overall an exciting story set in a fully fleshed out steampunk world.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Genre: Mystery
Pages: 263
Stars: ****
Series: The second book, Blood Will Tell, is scheduled for release next June. The total amount of books is not known at this time but may include up to nine. The best part? The spine has a little number one on it so you won't pick up the wrong book by mistake.

Nick signed up with Portland Search and Rescue for the adventure. Ruby wants to explore her passion for true crime. Alexis is just there to look good on her college application. What they didn't sign up for? A serial killer on their tails. When a search for a missing autistic man turns up a teenage girl's body instead, Ruby's sure she's connected to the last girl who turned up dead in the woods. The police refuse to believe it's the work of a serial killer. After all, serial killers have types, and these murderer girls have nothing in common at first glance. But when they dig deeper, the three of them can't shake the feeling that a murderer is cutting down teenage girls in the Portland area-and now he's got his eyes on Ruby.
If you're looking for a novel about mental illness but don't feel like picking up an issue book, this is the read for you. Ruby's implied to be autistic, Nick's described as ADHD, and Alexis has a bipolar mother. While Nick and Ruby's disorders never take center stage, Alexis' struggles to hide her mother's problems make up a significant subplot. The story is told from all three characters' points of view, along with occasional chapters from the killer's perspective. Told in third person, you don't need to worry about confusing the voices. Readers will enjoy the gritty details about crime scene investigation and, when Alexis goes undercover, homeless life.
The Body in the Woods is a fast paced, realistic murder mystery that balances well researched details about everything from serial killings to wildlife.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson

Genre: Contemporary
Rating: ***
Pages: 280
Laila used to be the princess of an unnamed middle eastern country. Then came the coup. With her father dead, she's forced to flee to America with her mother and brother, Bastien, seven year old King of Nowhere. Now she struggles to adapt to a normal life of homecoming dances, American football, and joke bomb threats. But Laila can never leave her memories of home behind. As the horrors of her father's regime blare at her from the television Laila is forced to confront the truth. Was her father really the kindly king he claimed to be, a ruthless dictator?
As mentioned before, Laila's homeland is unnamed. Characters speak "my language" and eat "food from my country". Of course, the story can't take in any real country because it's fiction, but I wish the author could've slapped some name or another on this imaginary land. The character names-Laila, Amir, Yasmin-add exotic flavor without being unpronounceable. Though the jacket flap hints at conspiracy and CIA agents, most of the novel consists of Laila's interactions with her friends. They're stunted thanks to Laila's regal upbringing and standoffish personality.
Laila hears snippets of conversations by eavesdropping at doors and watched her mother wearily argue with the CIA. But it's not until two thirds of the way through the book that we get a vague idea of what's going on. Even then, Laila is a passive observer to a worldwide conspiracy. The most she ever does is snoop through her mother's paper and intercept an email. Light in conspiracy though rich in voice, The Tyrant's Daughter is a powerful, current novel for today's war torn world.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Author Interview with Lance Conrad

The Price of Creation

The Historian is a reluctant immortal who wanders through times and worlds to witness great stories. His own story, however, is unknown to him. As he participates in the great stories he witnesses, he get glimpses of what his life might have been before he became a Historian.
The Historian chances upon Surac, a land where people's destinies are defined by powerful pendants they have from birth, called Stones. Those whose Stones give them useful skills call themselves Creators, and isolate themselves from all others with a wall that splits the entire continent. When Aric, a Creator blacksmith, has a son born with a Stone that marks him for violence and destruction, they find themselves in danger from those they called their friends.
When the boy, Sadavir, is ultimately banished, he discovers secrets far darker than the villagers' petty prejudices. On the far side of the wall, he learns the origin of the Stones' magic and a war that dates back centuries. As he uncovers the true power locked in the Stones, he must find a way to unite ancient enemies in order to save his family. To stop a genocide, Sadavir must face his own destiny of violence.

Lance Conrad, author of The Price of Creation, joined me for an interview today. The Price of Creation is the first of the Historian books. The fantasy series will eventually contain at least ten books and can be read in any order. What they have in common is the narrator, known only as the Historian. The reader gradually gets to know him and his past over the course of the books. The next book, The Price of Nobility, comes out this June. 

 What motivates you to continue to write?
"The stories. I get new ideas all the time, but a few of them stick around in my head and won't go away until I write them down."
 How did it feel when your book first got published?
"I know that the classic answer is that I felt overjoyed and accomplished, but that's not how it felt. In truth, I felt more like a soldier at the beginning of a battle. As soon as I held the first book in my hand, I knew I was committed to this path and I had a LOT of hard work to be done to get the books out there."
 What can readers expect from your upcoming books?
"I've got two more books coming out this year, The Price of Nobility and The Price of Loyalty. I see each book as an escalation as I try to outdo myself. I'm especially excited to introduce the new characters in these new books. The Price of Nobility has a character named Asher who has really grabbed the minds of my alpha readers. I'm excited to see what other readers think about him."
 What was your favorite part of writing The Price of Creation?
"I love the training of Sadavir. His father, Aric, is not a fighter himself, but he must train up his son to be a master warrior. The problem he faced captivated my mind and I loved watching him come up with new ways to test his son and push him to new heights."
 What's do you hope readers will take from your books?
"Each book is written with a specific theme in mind. What I would hope is that my readers take some time to make it personal, to think about what they would do if they were put into these situations."
 What's the greatest challenge of being a writer?
"The emotions. I say in my books that creation is an act of emotion, never is this more true than with writing. We authors pour pieces of ourselves into these books. While we try to keep ourselves distant, it's not really possible. I feel drained after writing a really intense scene. I worry every day about whether my books will sell. I worry that someone won't like my books and say mean things about them online (I have a plan to curl up and cry if that happens)."
That's okay, Lance. Everyone gets criticism sometimes. What is the oddest reaction you've ever gotten from a reader?
"That was probably when one of my alpha readers, a man named Tom, finished reading The Price of Nobility. He went on a spree of spinning theoretical situations. He would put the character of Asher into other books and have him destroy the bad guys. He's kind of a weird guy."
 And now, for a very serious question. Favorite vinegar?
"Obviously the dish affects the choice of vinegar. However, if we're going purist and drinking the vinegar straight from the bottle, I'd have to go with an 18-year aged balsamic, flavored with black currant. The aging makes it smooth and sticky, and the black currant flavor blends magnificently with the musky taste of the balsamic."

Lance was raised on a farm and tries to bring a cowboy work ethic into everything he does. He decided to pursue publishing after faking and succeeding at several jobs. He's been an electrician and an ACT prep teacher at a private school. Now he wanders the world, talking to teenagers, and trying to convince them not to be so boring. In his spare time, he builds lasers, programs computers, and climbs mountains. One day he attacked himself with a taser five times. Out of curiosity, not because he had a logical reason like researching for a book. He lives in Utah with his two children and a vinegar collection that puts your vinegar collection to shame. And yes, he does drink it straight from the bottle.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Genre: Contemporary, romance.
Rating: ***
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 311
Caymen Meyers has spent her life helping rich old woman pick out porcelain dolls in her mother's shop. Personally, she hates the things, with their unblinking eyes and falsely cheerful smiles. But with the shop struggling to stay afloat, she doesn't dare leave, even for college. Then Xander Spence walks in oozing money from every pore. What starts as a simple search to find a doll for his grandmother turns into a relationship. One Caymen's not sure she's ready for.
Her mother would rather see her date a shaggy haired guitar player like her best friend. Not a rich boy, like Caymen's dad, who never stuck around in the first place. But Xander isn't cocky about his wealth, despite Cayman's best efforts to prove otherwise. He's constantly on the lookout for excuses to drop by with a cup of hot chocolate. He likes her even after her gruff attempts to push him away. Caymen must get over her prejudice and her own self loathing to realize the distance between them isn't as big a gap as she thinks.
Caymen is a delightfully grumpy, sarcastic character. Her realistic, conflicted emotions and dry, snarky voice are never unlikable. You wouldn't want to be her friend in real life but you can see where she's coming from. However, some readers may be put off by her prickly personality. Her clever one-liners spice up the otherwise dull dialogue. Chapters are kept short, usually around seven pages, which makes for a highly readable page-turner. The book feels shorter than it actually is. Boring transition scenes are skipped over, but so are a few that could provide more action and character development. The characters, though quirky and interesting, are not deeply memorable.
What I liked best is the way this book bridges the gap between the fluffy and the gritty. Though the story centers around the distance between poverty and wealth, it's a romance first and foremost. The Distance Between Us is a fun, quick read with a snarky and distinctive protagonist. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Genre: Science fiction, superhero
Rating: ****
Pages: 408
Series: Stand alone
For geeky homeschooler Maisie Danger Brown, astronaut boot camp is the chance of a lifetime. Not only does she get the chance to travel up the Beanstalk, the world's first space elevator, but she gets to make real friends for once. Maybe even a boyfriend. But Dr. Bonnie Howell, mastermind behind the space elevator, has something more than a field trip planned. While in space she exposes Maisie and her friends to alien technology. They're granted the superpowers they need to save the planet from extraterrestrial invasion. But when those powers lead to the death of a teammate, the group is shattered. How can they protect the planet when they can't trust each other?
Maisie receives 'techno' powers, the ability to understand and manipulate all machines. She builds herself a robotic arm within a day and a jet pack in under a week. Later on she acquires other powers, but you aren't allowed to know about them yet.
Villains include Wilder (Maisie's love interest-or is he?), GT (Wilder's evil billionaire father), and an unnamed species of ghostlike pink aliens. It's the aliens that Maisie fights at the climax. This should make them the Big Bad. But even though the threat of alien invasion hangs over Maisie's head for about three hundred pages, more focus is given to her enemies here on Earth. The aliens cannot communicate in their natural form, so neither Maisie or the reader gets to know them. They have no name. They have no leader. Even their bodies are intangible.
Wilder, on the other hand, gets far more character development. A fight with two thirds of the way into the book has enough BANG and POW to be a climax. Yet the story marches on. His character is the most intriguing. You've heard characters billed as 'the love interest you probably can't trust'. I know you have because I have too. Initially I thought Wilder would be one of those. He'd brood for a while, probably make some poor choices, but I'd know all along he was a good guy.
That didn't happen. Halfway through the book, Wilder makes a startling choice that plunges him headfirst into Unlikable Land. No, not a simple betrayal or something like that. Something wrong. The reader spends the rest of the novel wondering, "Is he trustworthy? Will he get redeemed? Can he possibly be a worthy love interest after that?" Even after finishing the book, I'm not so sure I like him. But maybe that's a good thing.
Wilder's definitely the most intriguing character here. Another favorite is Howell, the happy-go-lucky, frizzy haired, juggler/scientist who's way too casual about saving the world. Maisie's socially awkward friend, Luther, gets some good scenes.
Then there's Maisie's parents. This is her story, so she has to be the hero, but she doesn't hide her powers from them. When the world's falling to pieces she runs to them. They may need rescuing occasionally but they're behind their daughter every step of the way.
You know those short novels that get smushed together so you can carry one book around instead of two? That's how this felt. Dangerous read more like a trilogy. At 400 pages it certainly couldn't have been split into three full length books. It is divided into three parts, though, each around 130 pages. The first one's called Fireteam, followed by Runaways, and concludes with Peligrosa, the Spanish word for Dangerous and Maisie's nickname. Each part has its own mini plot structure. After the first and second mini-climaxes, we get lulls before the action rises up again. This can be disorienting.
Dangerous is one of the few novels I've seen that attempts the superhero genre in book form. Familiar elements like sacrifice, secrets, and the importance of teamwork are played with. The story structure is weird and some elements could've definitely been expounded upon rather than squeezed into one book. Dangerous will appeal to superhero lovers and sci fi fans just looking for a good story.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sleeping Beauty by Jenni James

Genre: Fantasy, fairy tale retellings
Series: Part of a collection that will ultimately include 25 books. However, they don't seem to be connected and can be read alone or together.
Pages: 231
Rating: **
Queen Aleyna is the sole survivor of the fairy Villeria's massacre. She watched, helpless, as her family was slaughtered before her eyes. For the past thirty years she's been kept in an enchanted sleep by her faithful unicorn, Ezralon. The horrors of memory can't harm her as she roams her perfect dreamworld.
Prince Darien isn't one to back down from a dare. When his friends goad him into searching for the lost queen, he agrees only to save face. He didn't expect to fall in love.
When Aleyna wakens, they'll be forced to confront Villeria together. The fairy lost the princess once, and now, she won't let any sword or spell stop her from claiming her prize.
This book's main weakness is its length. Had it been a hundred pages longer, we could've gotten to know the main characters and develop the minor ones. Darien's three friends-George, Michael, and Humphrey-are virtually indistinguishable. Towards the beginning Humphrey's set apart from the others by his dialogue. He uses words like 'doth' in a few lines. However, these disappear as the story progresses, so maybe those lines were said in sarcasm. The other characters regularly toss around words like 'zing' and 'poof' that clash with the pre-industrial setting. Occasional typos also pull the reader out of the story.
Most of the Sleeping Beauty retellings I've seen have the bulk of the story take place after the heroine awakes. After all, you can't do much with a sleeping character. And since the story itself is short and uncomplicated, most writers find it necessary to go in a completely new direction to find a tale worth telling. James' creativity managed to find a way around both of these roadblocks. While Aleyna sleeps, her ghostlike spirit roams the halls of her ruined castle. This allows her to form a relationship with Darien instead of waking up to some creeper's kiss. Aleyna still sees her castle as it was with beautiful decorations and live servants. Meanwhile, Darien's stepping over bones and cobwebs. The story's told through shifting third person. The best scenes are the ones that contrast what she's seeing with what he knows.
For me, this wasn't a book I could sit down and devour from beginning to end. It's the book I pulled out to pass the time while waiting for my brother to finish up lacrosse practice. Not captivating, but certainly creative. Jenni James' retelling of Sleeping Beauty manages to twist the tale in new directions without losing the beauty of the original story.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre: Contemporary
Rating: *****
Pages: 352
Becca Jones has spent the last four years keeping her head down. The summer before she started high school, Becca's dad was caught embezzling and used her as an excuse. "How is a guy like me supposed to put his kid through college?" Becca knows the only way to get into college is hard work. Now she's a senior with a 4.0 and no close friends. But that might not be enough. Once she was a millionaire's daughter. Now she's "at risk"-the daughter of a single mom living below the poverty in a dusty apartment.
Her only chance may be the Whitney Court Scholarship. Write an essay about a student who graduated from her school the same year as Whitney Court and win a full ride. But what happened to Whitney after graduation, and why won't anyone in town talk about it?
As Becca's deadlines creep closer her chance at college grows dimmer. Loneliness, stress, and haunting memories of her father tear her life apart. But her father might be the only person who can show her how to move forward in life-and what happened to Whitney.
It's always bothered me when characters casually describe themselves as straight-A students. If you have a 4.0,  you suffer for it. You don't have time for wild parties, hilarious dates, and quirky friendships. Your life is school. That's why it's so hard for me to take contemporary novels seriously. Full Ride is the first novel I've found that provides a rare, realistic view into high school life.
Some readers may be turned off by the lack of action in this story. Or romance. It's the story of a girl who struggles with the pressures of academics and shuts out her friends. But for other readers, it will ring true. This is a book for anyone who has curled up sobbing under a computer desk at 3:00 A.M. because they've got a report due in four hours. This is a book for the AP student, the honors student, the just-scraping-by-with-a-C+ student. Some may call Becca weak or whiny because the biggest challenge in her life is school. But to the readers who have never slayed a dragon or saved a planet, that's challenge enough. It's hard not to feel for her.

Top Quote: "Most people couldn't be rich if they wanted to be honest; most people couldn't be honest if they wanted to be rich.” 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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Rating: ****
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 343
Series: Stand alone
Before the war, Lina Vilkas dreamed of art school and cute boys. Now she just wants to survive. When the Soviets come for them in the middle of the night, Lina's ripped from her home with little more than her mother, brother, and beloved sketchbook. They're packed into cattle cars and shipped to Siberia.
 In the concentration camp she learns to live off smuggled beets, rotten potatoes, and hope.
So what is this, you ask? Another grim, tragic tale of the Jewish holocaust? Nope. Lina's a Lithuanian Christian deported to Siberia because her dad helped a family cross the border into Germany. For that, the entire Vilkas family gets twenty five years of hard labor in the middle of nowhere.
I think we've all read a concentration book or two. We know about the six million Jews who died in gas chambers. But the Lithuanian side of the story is rarely told. Before this book, I had no idea it happened. That's where most of the suspense lies. When Lina's family is uprooted from their Siberian labor camp you have no idea where they're going. Hint: it's the one place on Earth more bleak and miserable than Siberia.
This isn't a cheery book and at times it's hard to get into Lina's head. She's not one of those characters with such a powerful voice that you feel like you've crawled inside her body and stepped into her world. At times I had to look up from the book and think, "Now how would I feel in this situation?" rather than just letting her emotions seep in. But the writing is so beautiful in places like this-
I clung to my rusted dreams during the times of silence. It was at gunpoint that I fell into every hope and allowed myself to wish from the deepest part of my heart. Komorov thought he was torturing us. But we were escaping into a stillness within ourselves. We found strength there. 
-so I'll overlook that.
Like I said, Between Shades of Gray isn't a cheery book. It's a thinking book. It's the story of people making the most out of their misfortune and sacrificing themselves to help each other. Scenes and characters will stay in my mind for a long time, I'm sure.

Also, please note that this is not the same book as that sexed up lemon fic that somehow managed to sleep its way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Between Shades of Grey just has the misfortune of sharing a similar title. This video should help clear up any confusion.