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Andy Shuping RSS Feed (Macon, GA USA)

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Been There. Done That. Try This!: An Aspie's Guide to Life on Earth
Been There. Done That. Try This!: An Aspie's Guide to Life on Earth
Price: $13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any Aspie, July 16, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

One of the most difficult aspects of being diagnosed with Asperger’s latter in life isn’t learning about yourself, but learning ways to deal with the world around you as an adult, since much of the literature and support is for children. That situation though is slowly changing thanks in large part to people like Dr. Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin, who have stepped up, spoken out, and shared their stories and advice to help people. This book adds yet another step, adults that have aspergers, have thrived and survived, and have been serving as mentors to many others share their words of wisdom on how to survive daily life and the stresses within it, all from the perspective of an Aspie. While sometimes the stories drag a little bit, the advice that these Aspie mentors offer on anxiety, depression, friendship, love, and more is invaluable to someone like me that was only diagnosed as being on the spectrum last year. This book is must have for anyone on the spectrum. 4 out of 5 stars.

Hellboy in Hell Volume 1: The Descent
Hellboy in Hell Volume 1: The Descent
by Mike Mignola
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.59
63 used & new from $10.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Hellboy in full., July 13, 2014
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ARC provided by NetGalley

Hellboy. The demon that forged his own path to be more than a prophecy, more than what light or dark chose for him to be his own demon rather. When we last saw him however, he had given his life to save the world. And for the first time he is returning to his father’s world. But the world is not all that it’s cracked up to be and Hellboy’s fight has not yet ended. Even though he has declared his intentions not to take the throne of hell itself, he must fight off others that would want it...and will kill Hellboy to do so. And before it is done, he must kill the Lord of the Underworld himself, if he is to have any peace for a time.

It’s hard to believe but Hellboy has been with us since March of 1994. In the twenty years he’s been around, Mike Mignola, has told us Hellboy’s story and expanded the universe to include other characters and groups. Both Hellboy and Mignola have influenced the larger world of comics, with the thick blocky line illustration and characters that stand on the edge of a knife, constantly battling their darker nature in the fight to save the world that hates them. And this maybe the best volume of Hellboy yet. Here we get to see Hellboy from his birth to his father’s intentions for him to why Hellboy has the power that he does. Mike returned to his roots and did the writing and illustrations for this volume, so it is classic Hellboy style from the master. This a great storyline and great chance to see Hellboy for who he is without anyone else surrounding him and of course it has some nice inside jokes and references. Oh and one of my favorite parts is the backmatter, where Mignola showcases some of his sketches and notes and other drawings. In this one he has some humorous little commentary next to the bug creatures including “Hello. I am a bug.” It just made me laugh a bit.

If you’re a fan of Hellboy then this is a must read. And if you’ve never ventured into the Hellboy universe at all, this is a good one to pick up and learn about the Hellboy universe. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine
Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine
by Tim Hanley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.93
42 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Now can we get a Wonder Woman movie?, July 13, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

Wonder Woman. One of the big three heroes of DC comics and one of the more prominent female heroines. But who is she really? In this book Hanley lets readers in on Wonder Woman’s complicated history, as more than just a female Superman, but a heroine who was ahead of her time in advocating for female rights and matriarchy. Throughout the years she has has been many things including being involved with bondage, expressing hidden lesbian desires, and a powerful advocate for women’s rights. In addition, Hanley grounds Wonder Woman in her creator’s life, William Moulton Marston, who believed that women would one day take their rightful place alongside the leaders of the world and that young men needed to know how to deal with that. While future writers lost that idea and diminished Wonder Woman’s powers, she persisted and was brought back to life by Lynda Carter and others to continue on today. Hanley exposes it all in this well researched and readable book that brings Wonder Woman to life.

Every Body's Talking: What We Say Without Words (Nonfiction - Grades 4-8)
Every Body's Talking: What We Say Without Words (Nonfiction - Grades 4-8)
by Donna M. Jackson
Edition: Library Binding
Price: $24.34
36 used & new from $21.77

4.0 out of 5 stars What is your body saying?, July 12, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

Did you know that without uttering a single word someone standing in front of you will be able to read you like an open book? It’s true! Give it a try, because we all communicate with our bodies in a language that is virtually universal. Or so it appears. Giving the thumbs up in the US and Canada means that you approve, but in Greece it stands for something that is rude. And be careful when you nod your head in Albania and Bulgaria, as it actually means no. Our bodies are talking...whether we know it or not.

Body language is a complex, and sometimes, difficult topic to talk about given that we don’t often look at ourselves when we’re communicating. And for people that are on the Autism spectrum, like me, it’s even more difficult to interpret what the body signals mean if the voice says something different. And that’s where this book comes in. Even though it is a relatively short book, it has lots of good images and is engaging to readers, whether young or older. It walks the reader through what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, and when they’re saying it based upon how they’re holding themselves. Even better, it talks about the different cultures and backgrounds, so that it can help readers better understand what to be aware of in different cultures.

Body language tends to be something that we all take for granted and assume that everyone knows what different signals mean. Yet this book shows that different cultures and upbringings impact how we read and understand signals. Although this book is aimed at a younger audience, it is well worth the read for all ages. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

The Freedom Summer Murders
The Freedom Summer Murders
by Don Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.29
55 used & new from $7.23

5.0 out of 5 stars One that everyone should read, July 12, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

In June 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, one of the most horrific events occurred when three young men (one black and two white) were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi for trying to register African Americans to vote. The horror though did not end with their murder, but the failure of the courts to convict the guilty parties of their murder, some of whom were members of local law enforcement. This book, published on the 50th anniversary of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner’s murders, is the first comprehensive book for a young adult audience to understand the racial hatred and prejudices that led to these murders and the guilty being free for so long.

Writing about the murders and miscarriages of justices during the Civil Rights movement is never an easy task, particularly with these three murders, as many people want to forget the blind eye that turned to these types of events. Don Mitchell though shines the biggest light possible unto the event and leaves no stone unturned. Working with court records, printed sources, and original interviews with surviving family members, Mitchell sets the scene for readers. Mitchell doesn’t just recite facts...he tells us about the lives of the three young men, why they did what they did, who their families are, and those that were left behind with their murders. In a few short pages these three men become more than names on a page, but people that we know and care for. And then...they’re gone. Cruelly and violently murdered. Mitchell walks us through the scene, describes the murders, and recounts the efforts to bring the killers to justice...and the travesties that occurred while doing so. But Mitchell doesn’t just describe those that helped these men escape justice, he also describes the people that never stopped telling the truth, the ones that lived their lives in fear, but did what was right.

This is a timely and honest look at the Civil Rights era and how the government ignored lynchings and brutal murders, until two white men were killed. Mitchell lays out the facts that are clear for all to see and to make connections to what continues to be a problem to this day. This book should be required reading for all students, in the hopes that we can learn from the past to change the present. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.

Powerpuff Girls Volume 1 (The Powerpuff Girls)
Powerpuff Girls Volume 1 (The Powerpuff Girls)
by Troy Little
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.63
43 used & new from $11.55

4.0 out of 5 stars The Girls are back!, July 12, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

Mojo Mojo has been defeated by the Powerpuff girls yet again! He’s finally run out of schemes and ideas, as the Powerpuff girls are able to stop him before he even begins. What’s the smartest monkey in the world to do now? Surrender. Mojo Mojo gives up his mojo and becomes a seemingly normal monkey again. And he isn’t the only one! A sinister force has decided all of the villains of Townville should be reformed! This can only be a good thing...right?

The Powerpuff Girls were one of my favorite cartoons to watch, because how can you resist cute bubbly girls that have superpowers and kick butt? I mean seriously how can you? You can’t. So when I saw this comic I knew I just had to read it and Troy Little didn’t disappoint. Not only are his illustrations spot on for the Girls and citizens of Townsville, but his writing is as well. Picking up this book it feels like we never left Townsville and we’re quickly able to catch up with the girls and everyone else again. He captures the Girls personalities extremely well, especially Buttercup, who is always hesitant to believe that the villains can reform.

This is one of the areas that IDW excels at, by bringing some of our favorite cartoons back to life in new adventures without ever losing the sense of what made them great to begin with. If you were a fan of the Girls or are just now discovering them, you can’t go wrong with this volume. Perfect for all ages. I give out 4 out of 5 stars.

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part 1
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part 1
by Gene Luen Yang
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.47
66 used & new from $5.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Toph's tale, July 12, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley

It is almost time for one of the highest Air Nomad holidays, Yangchen’s Festival, which has not been celebrated in over one hundred years. Aang decides its time to change that. With the help of Katara, Sokka, Toph, and three air acolytes they head to the island to celebrate. But trouble is in the air. Visits from Avatar Yangchen, Toph’s laid back attitude, and a refinery owned by the Fire and Earth Kingdoms operating on sacred Airbender land, is about to set off another war! Damage is being done and a mysterious quake has everyone’s nerves on edge. While Aang is an airbender and the Avatar, Toph may hold the key to solving this mystery.

One of the best things about the graphic novel series of Avatar the last Airbender, has been that Gene and crew have the chance to tell us new stories about Aang and the gang. Even better though is that they get to bridge the gap between Avatar the Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra, so we can see what happened in between times. In this book we see how the factory on Airbender land is leading the world into the industrial age, with nonbenders able to do tasks that were once only able to be done by benders. My favorite thing about this new trilogy though is that we get to focus on Toph. Because seriously, how much more awesome can you get than Toph? No seriously...try to be more awesome than Toph and you can’t. She’s small, fierce, kick butt, powerful bender, who despite her facade just wants to be a part of the team. I love it! Gene has clearly immersed himself in the Avatar universe and has accurately captured the characters and their movements within his writing. He has created a well crafted story that does justice to the series and feels just like an episode (ok multiple episodes) of the TV series. He accurately captures the essence of the characters, like Toph and Sokka and that sense of humor/immaturity/maturity that we all grew to love.

The the artwork is absolutely fantastic. I don’t think Bryan Gurihiru worked on the actual series, but man does he capture the characters perfectly. It’s like looking at a print version of the cartoon. He’s able to capture their expressions, even their very movements down to the last detail. And the colors are absolutely pitch perfect.

All in all this is the absolute perfect combination of writer and artist to work on this series and continue it for fans. For fans of the series this is just what you’ve been waiting for. It feels like Aang and crew never left. And if you’re new to the series...why are you starting with this book? Go watch the original series and get hooked on it and then come back and read this title. I give this tale 4 out of 5 stars and can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
by Ben Hatke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.07
69 used & new from $6.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Zita rides one last time, July 9, 2014
I remember discovering Zita in webcomic format several years ago and being entranced, not only with the character of Zita and the adventures she took, but Ben’s incredible artwork as well. And I was thrilled when Ben and First Second began publishing full length Zita adventure stories, of how she became the hero that we know. I’ve watched her grow from a young woman that was frightened but went into the unknown to save her friend to…well still a young woman, but one that became known throughout the galaxy for her good deeds and became a hero that this world sorely needed. And while this is the final volume in the Zita trilogy, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she, and her friends, have not stopped their journeys and are fighting the good fight still.

Zita has saved friends, planets, battled monsters, and dealt with interplanetary fame. But now she faces her biggest challenge yet. Prison! Those that she saved have turned against her and the warden of the penitentiary planet has turned all of her good deeds against her and thrown her into jail. But Zita…Zita is a hero through and through. Even at rock bottom she still helps others, even when she is put in more danger. And when she is given the chance to escape with the help of an old friend, Zita stands tall to help others first. Because the Warden is on a quest for interstellar domination and Zita maybe the only able to stand up to him. It will take all of her skills and all of her friends to come together to make one last stand upon the penitentiary planet and save the universe….one last time.

Whenever I read a series I always wonder…will this volume still hold surprises and twists and turns? Because it gets difficult sometimes to have characters grow and change without resorting to the same type of story line that was used before. Ben though…Ben took me down a path in this third volume, that I could have never imagined. We were reintroduced to an old friend from the first volume, and we saw a band of merry wanders join together for one last charge. It was like being on a good roller coaster ride, one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and cheering Zita on as she makes her way across the universe with good surprises waiting for you just around the bend. Ben shows us the impact that Zita has had on those around her and just how much she has grown up during the course of this series. It’s a powerful statement, not of girl power, but of believing in yourself and standing up for what you believe in. The fact that Zita is a brave, average, extraordinary, girl should not be remarkable, but in this world sadly it is. But we can take heart in the fact that she feels like she could be our best friend, our sister, our niece, or any one of a hundred people we meet in this world.

Ben’s artwork remains captivating, for the young and old alike. He wields colors deftly, creating masterful illusions of shadows and light, such as at the circus where colors spin madly in the air. The characters dance on the pages as they rush about the universe helping to save it. In many ways the design of the characters reminds me of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibbli’s work. The design of the spaceports is sure to keep readers enthralled as they look at the detail in the work. And the character design will keep readers captivated wondering what the next person we meet will look like.

I hope one day in the future we get to see Zita again. This is, and has been, an absolutely fantastic series, with such great characters and depth to them. While Zita may be a hero, she is someone that we can all aspire to be more like. And I will treasure the stories that we have of her. I highly recommend this series to young and old alike. I give this volume 5 out of 5 stars as we say farewell to her for now.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
by Box Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.37
70 used & new from $8.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The myth, the legend...and the man, May 9, 2014
Andre Roussimoff, better know as Andre the Giant, was a figure bigger than life. He was a heroic pro-wrestling figure and the lovable giant Fezzik in The Princess Bride. At the height of his fame he was seven and a half feet tall and weighed over 500lbs (possibly topping 700lbs later in life.) He was this way thanks to a genetic disorder, acromegaly, that caused him to never stop growing...and ultimately led to his death at a young age. But who was he really? A hero? A wrestler? A monster to be scared of? In this graphic novel Box Brown draws on a variety of sources, including videos of colleagues like Hulk Hogan, and film stars such as Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, to craft the biography of one the most recognizable figures of the 20th Century. Even if you never watched wrestling, this is still a tale to read.

This is not a traditional graphic novel as Box is drawing on a variety of sources, some reliable and some not, to tell the story of Andre the Giant. And unlike a traditional biography, we never get quite a complete picture of Andre. Instead we get slice of life moments, such as him working for a moving company or his fights with fellow wrestlers. They capture small stories in a larger tale about this giant. And yet...Box does an admirable job of giving us a sense of who Andre really is, with his quirks, his faults and flaws, and the good within his life. We see that while he was know as a hero across the world, that at his core he was as human as the rest of us. He could be quick to anger, he could be violent when drunk, he could say things that would hurt other people. And then other times he could be compassionate, giving money to the homeless and offering comfort at times of need. And that even with his money and fame and talent, he was content with the simple things of his life of being on his farm in North Carolina.

Box does an excellent job of capturing the variety of people in Andre's life, ranging from Andre himself to Hulk Hogan to his managers and to move stars such as Mandy Patinkin. Although the drawings are simple black and white, Box gives them life by their facial expressions and the movements of their eyes. He does an great job in particular of capturing how Andre looked throughout the years, which can be a difficult task given that his genetic disorder caused him to age prematurely.

Box does a fantastic job of capturing this gentle giant, for all of his faults and flaws, as a human being. He shows us that all Andre wanted was to live his life and enjoy it, regardless of how others perceived him. It's a fitting biography for one of the most famous figures of the 1980's/90's and one that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone that grew up watching Andre. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second

This One Summer
This One Summer
by Mariko Tamaki
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.79
68 used & new from $9.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One summer my family, May 9, 2014
This review is from: This One Summer (Paperback)
Every summer for as long as she can remember, Rose, her mom, and her dad head to a lake house at Awago Beach. It’s a refuge, a getaway, a chance to relax and recover from the stresses of the past year. And every summer Rose’s friend Windy and her family are there as well. Windy and Rose are like sisters and best friends. This year though...things have changed. Rose’s mom and dad just won’t stop fighting. Rose is growing up and beginning to notice the local boys and is interested in horror movies. And a couple of the local teens have an encounter that will change things for everyone. This is going to be a summer like no other.

This is one of those stories that is hard for me to write a review. Because I want to write so much about it, I want to tell you what happens, but I don’t want to spoil the story. And it’s also difficult, because the story is so realistic, so vivid, that I felt like I was reading Rose’s diary. It feels almost like an invasion of privacy, because the story is so well told that in just a few short sentences we can understand the swirl of emotions and drama and chaos that Rose is experiencing. Because we remember what it was like to go through that transition. We are no longer children, but we are not yet quite adults either. And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, we can all remember that time of struggle. Wondering what it’s like to be an adult, trying to be an adult, trying to figure out what love is and not make a fool out of ourselves. Mariko and Jillian have accurately captured the feelings of this age and make the reader feel like they're actually participants in what's going on, not just mere observers to the world.

I think what I like best about the story though, is that the dialogue feels real. It’s like we’ve stepped into a local school and we’re hearing teens from today talk about what’s going on in their lives. But we can also feel like we’re stepping back into time to the 90’s and the dialogue would still feel the same. So many authors struggle with trying to be real teens, it’s like they’ve forgotten what they were like and imagine that everyone talks in complete sentences. But not in this story. Here we have the broken sentences, half words, not real words, and everything in between.

The artwork for this story is absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. The simple color palette of blue and white capture the emotion and intensity of the what's going on and have the characters leaping off the page into the real world. The blue and white also echo the idea of the lake and waves crashing against the shore nicely. It's that idea of swirling chaos and beauty that we see and feel when standing on the shore. The color palette also reflects the idea that we’re reading Rose’s diary or hearing her tell the story. Even more than that, it feels like we’re watching an old home movie, where the film has faded slightly, but we can still feel and be a part of the story.

The design of the characters though is my favorite aspect. There are no “perfect” bodies or super models. We see real people, real teens. Skinny, chubby, fat, slim, muscular, old, and everything in between. In other words real people. It isn’t something shows up often in young adult books, and I am so glad to see it here.

This is one of those books that I could give and recommend to so many different groups: to teen girls just at that age of childhood and adulthood with so much to look forward to and to fear; to women that want to remember what it felt like at that age--the first crush, the separation of childhood friends, of growing up; and to guys that just want to understand the depth and emotion that this age holds. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to seeing what Mariko and Jillian do next.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second

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