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The Female Perspective: Summer Reading Is Where It’s At!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Summer is a great time to dig into some new books, it’s (hopefully) got a slower pace and there are more days spent by the pool, at the beach or just chilling in your backyard while the family plays and barbecues. To that end, I thought I’d give a shout out to some of my personal favorite summer reads.

How do I pick summer reads? Well, I pick them like any other book I want to read, does it sound interesting? Does it have a cool cover (I know, I know, don’t judge them that way but a lot of times a cover is what calls me to a book, the synopsis is what keeps me reading)? I don’t think that summer reads have to necessarily be shorter, less intense (as many summer reading lists would suggest), I think summer is a great time to dig into an intense series or a nice, long book so that you have plenty to read at the beach. There’s not much that’s worse than finishing your book with a long day ahead and having no backup!

That being said, here are my Top 5 Summer Reads!

1. The Stand by Stephen King

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Nothing says summertime fun like the end of the world, am I right??? I’ve talked about The Stand a few times because it is hands down one of my top 5, all time favorite books to read and I find myself gravitating to it almost every summer. Maybe because the story starts in the summer? The story itself (if you don’t know) is an engaging one, told in typical Stephen King fashion, that brings us hero, villains and the fight over the soul of the world. It’s a tale that is simply about good and evil, but at over 1,000 pages, it’s much more than that. To me it is King’s finest works and it is worth a read.

2. A Song Of Ice and Fire (aka Game Of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

Bookset

The first time I read this epic series it was during the summer I was laid off from work so I had a lot of time on my hands. It was recommended by a good friend and since I am a huge fan of anything similar to Lord of the Rings I thought it had to be a win-win. I have to say that I was instantly hooked, while also being completely devastated when characters I had fallen in love with were brutally slain. The end of the first book made me realize that Martin isn’t fooling around, your favorite characters will die and no one, literally no one is safe (Red Wedding anyone?), which is why I love these books. I am finally getting around to watching the HBO show and am feeling the urge to re-read these beauties to invest once again in the rich, Tolkien-esque world that Martin has created, while also refreshing myself for when he eventually releases the next volume, The Winds of Winter.

3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-series

No list of mine would be complete without some Harry Potter and honestly, it took me a very long time to get into this series. I was finishing up the 6th book when the final book came out so I never had to wait between books like so many others. I cannot say enough good things about these books, it is about friendship, magic, doing what’s right even when it feels wrong and so much more. I cry all the time when some of my favorite characters die because I feel like they are truly alive. The power of Rowling’s work is in her words, she is a master of her craft and one day I hope to be half as good as she is. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, get on that, and summer is a perfect time to start enjoying the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermoine!

4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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Another one that it took me way too long to read. I admit to not being a huge Gaiman fan (I actually liked the movie version of Stardust better than the book), but this one was a great read. For being as long as it is, it’s a lot of fun. I never really knew where the book was going to go, but I knew I wanted to be along for the ride. The characters are engaging, interesting and some of them are downright annoying, but that’s what makes the book so much fun! That and an upcoming TV adaptation makes this a must-read in my eyes.

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

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This book is AMAZING. Seriously. Check it out. It’s not super-spacey at all (even though the guy is on Mars), it’s this amazing story of survival and science. When I first started reading this it’s because I saw the movie trailer and was instantly intrigued. When I realized it was from the point of view of the guy trapped on Mars alone I was instantly curious, how do we keep a book going that’s one person, alone, on Mars? Well Weir did a fantastic job of that. He crafted a character that is funny, smart and oh yeah, super funny. The quips and jabs that Mark Watney make had me laughing out loud as I read along. But never forget, this guy is trapped on Mars and just as you settle in to enjoy his diatribe about disco music, something explodes and you are reminded just how dangerous his existence is. It’s a great read, perfect for a day at the beach and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie adaptation is also pretty darn good, Matt Damon is a perfect Watney.

There you have it folks! Some of my favorite summer reads, how about you? What are some of your go-to summer reads? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for new books!

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The Female Perspective: It’s Post-Apocalyptic Survival Month!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Seriously, I just discovered that this is a thing, September is honestly known (to some) as Post-Apocalyptic Survival Month. It seems a silly thing to celebrate since September is other things as well, but this struck me as a fun topic to write a blog about.

If the end of the world happened, what would YOU take with you in your backpack?

Don't just survive, thrive!
Don’t just survive, thrive!

The Essentials

No list would be complete without the essentials, the stuff you really actually need if you are running for your life from some kind of disaster, we’re going to say it’s a Zombie disaster because that’s just less depressing than a nuclear disaster (and also less plausible, which makes this “game” more fun). The fact is you have to leave your house, it’s too close to a city and you want to find your loved ones. What do you bring?

Here’s what I’d bring …

1.) Change of clothes – I’d only bring one because I only have so much room in that backpack and until I get a bigger, better one, I’m going to have to use the space that I have. Hey, it’s the end of the world, I can always snag some new threads at a local shop when I have a better pack. For now I’d bring a spare pair of jeans, a warm shirt, a tank top (or maybe even two, they’re small), underwear and socks. Anything else is unnecessary. Actually, a spare pair of boots would be a good idea except I don’t have a spare pair of boots so we’ll just walk on with the ones I have.

2.) Medicine – I am NOT leaving my home with the medicine I need, I’m not talking vitamins and daily meds (we’re going to have to figure life out with that stuff eventually so just take what you have I suppose), I’m talking stuff for headaches and body aches because spending all day walking is going to cause some aches baby. Tylenol and anything else that helps with bodily distress (Pepto, Imodium, etc) is a good idea.

3.) Canned Goods – this is tricker and heavier but I’d snag whatever canned goods I currently have, plus water (again this is tough) and pack them up. I know I’m going to have to scavenge on the land but for the first few days I’d like to have something right at hand.

4.) Backup weapon – this is a must! I’ll have something great, like a baseball bat or my trusty MagLite and then an extra weapon, just in case I drop, break or lose my weapon in some kind of melee. Extra weaponry is half the battle in getting through this alive.

Knowing your weapons is half the battle.
Knowing your weapons is half the battle.

That Other Stuff

So what else would need to happen if the end of the world occurred? With shows like The Walking Dead and Z Nation and Fear The Walking Dead, it’s actually an interesting question. What kinds of things would need to happen in order to be really well stocked/prepared for the apocalypse? I think I would go to the local nursery and get myself some seed packets, in case I ever settle in one place and want to start actually growing food instead of eating it out of cans. I’d also make sure I had these seed packets packed up really good so water, dirt, etc can’t get into them and destroy them. Nothing is worse than happily homesteading and then discovering that you have no seeds with which to create a home.

I also think that breaking into or walking into a library is a good idea. You can find books on gardening (if you’re like me, you have no clue), building and more that can really help in a pinch. I mean, no one knows how to do everything so this is where books can come in really handy.

Click here for some handy book title suggestions from Book Riot. Even if the world never ends, some of these titles can be a good read … just in case.

For Now…Read a Book!

Right now the world is alive and doing well, um, it’s doing okay. The fact is, none of us know what’s going to happen and I’d like to hope that the world keeps on spinning for millions of years to come. Until such a day as the end of the world, I’d say pick up any of these books, recommended by Tor.com for some light, post-apocalyptic reading.

My personal apocalypse books have to be The Road by Cormac McCarthy and I simply adore World War Z. Another great one is The Passage and it’s sequel, The Twelve by Justin Cronin.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

This is a tough one, as a lot of McCarthy’s books often are. The movie version (if reading isn’t your thing) is excellent and fits with the book amazingly well. The story is a simple one, the world has ended (nuclear explosion) and the tale is about the boy and the man. We never get their names and that makes it a tad bit easier to remain detached from the characters, but the story is not a happy one. We encounter cannibalistic behaviors and more in this post-apocalyptic read and there isn’t a post-apocalyptic book list that would dare omit this title from it’s list. If you have a strong stomach, this is well worth the read.

World War Z by Max Brooks

"World War Z" by Max Brooks
“World War Z” by Max Brooks

Chances are, you’ve heard of this one. The movie version is okay if you’ve never read the book since it really doesn’t follow the book at all. The book itself is a great twist on the Zombie tail. It’s told by dozens of characters, from dozens of points of view. It is totally the oral history of the outbreak, the battle and the aftermath. Max Brooks does a wonderful job in fully encapsulating the true disaster that would be the zombie apocalypse but makes it easy to read, almost fun, and easy to believe. I remember there being some sections that brought me to tears. It’s a well-done and interesting view of what the zombie infestation would look like in today’s world.

The Passage & The Twelve by Justin Cronin

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin
“The Passage” by Justin Cronin

When I read The Passage I was blown away. It’s a complex tale about vampires. Yes, you read that right, vampires. They take over the world (much like zombies would) and this is a tale that is not a quick read but it’s well worth it. Cronin crafts a story that is unbelievable in it’s scope, showing us how the “bat virus” would be found and brought to the US and then destroy it all. It is a story that leaves you wanting more, which is good because Cronin intended for The Passage to be the first in a trilogy. The second book, The Twelve, is equally as intense and challenging and not quite as good. It is, however, a fascinating look at how people have survived this disaster for years upon years and what they have to do when they realize they are running out of resources. I honestly cannot wait for the third book and writing this makes me realize that I have to re-read the first two!

Honorable Book Mention

Oh, also, if you are looking for a sort of apocalyptic book choice, why not pick your local blogger and author JL Metcalf? I wrote a collection of short horror stories that are perfect for the pre or post-apocalypse! Check out Menagerie Of The Weird!

"Menagerie Of The Weird" by JL Metcalf
“Menagerie Of The Weird” by JL Metcalf

The End Is Nigh?

No matter how you choose to celebrate this illustrious (aka, little known) month, make sure that whatever you do, it involves picking up a good apocalypse book and enjoying all that you have around you and of course, making a plan.

Now tell me, what would you pack and why? 

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The Female Perspective: Independence Day

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


INDEPENDENCE DAY, 1996. TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection
INDEPENDENCE DAY, 1996. TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection

I decided that for today’s blog post I would have a little fun. No talks about feminism or online bullying, nothing about inequality. Let’s just talk about a great movie that’s so bad, it’s awesome. You may disagree and I welcome your thoughts but for the sake of this being my blog, I’m going to go ahead and proclaim my love for the cheese-fest that is Independence Day. If you haven’t seen it yet stop reading, there are spoilers ahead! And seriously, go watch it!

Released in 1996 (the year I graduated High School, so what? Five years ago?), I was instantly a fan of this epic disaster movie. I mean, how could you not be with a synopsis like this:

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive. ~IMDB

That right there sells the movie for me- then again, I often have peculiar taste in movies (check out the Trailer Snark blogs for an example of this. I often disagree with my colleagues.) but then again, I also think that movies should be fun. We don’t always have to go see the newest, most depressing film about a kitten with cancer who makes his way across the country, trying to get back to his family that abandoned him, only to be run over by a car at the end of the movie. Does that sound fun? Not so much!!!  Sometimes it’s fun to go to a movie and see something so stupid, so over the top and so preposterous that you can’t help but laugh, set aside reality for a couple of hours and go along for the ride.

They'll save us ALL!
They’ll save us ALL!

That’s where Independence Day comes in. Starring Will Smith, Jeff (freakin’) Goldblum and lots of other fun people, it is a movie about alien’s invading over the 4th of July holiday. Yep. That’s it. End of story. Oh yeah, and of course, Smith and Goldblum have to save the planet! I honestly don’t see how it can get any better than this.

I am a big fan of Roland Emmerich’s movies, his disaster flicks seriously make my day. I mean, how can you not feel alive after watching The Day After Tomorrow or 2012? For pete’s sake, John Cusack jumps a WINNEBAGO over a CREVASSE in 2012– that is just pure genius if you ask me. 

I digress…let’s get back to the joy that is Independence Day. The aliens have begun their invasion, people are equal parts panicking, evacuating and getting excited to meet the aliens (that poor woman never stood a chance) and meanwhile we have Vivica A. Fox stripping and trying to find shelter on a military base with her man Will Smith with her son and doggie in tow. It’s a recipe for success if you ask me. People go on journey’s, people die (seriously when Mrs. President dies, it brings a tear to my eye, I can’t lie) and people triumph over the horrible aliens.

Eventually, we figure out what the aliens want and we find out from none other than this guy:

Brent Spiner as the Doctor who explains it all.
Brent Spiner as the Doctor who explains it all.

I would trust that guy, wouldn’t you? In case you don’t know that is Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun (what a fantastic name) and he is just as crazy as he looks. He loves these aliens, finds them amazingly and endlessly fascinating and ultimately, he pays the biggest price possible for that love. He gets used as a hand puppet and dies. Which I still get bummed out about because he was SUCH a weirdo and I do love me some weirdos.

Moving on…

The fact is, I could summarize the movie for you or you could go see it yourself. It’s a blast to watch and a perfect flick for the upcoming holiday. More than anything it showcases the human spirit, how we won’t go down without a fight and that if all else fails, call on Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, they’ll save us with cigars and laughter.

Don't worry, Will Smith knows what to do.
Don’t worry, Will Smith knows what to do.

And if all fails, get John Cusack, a Winnebago and a full tank of gas.

2012_meteorite

What do you think? What’s one of your fave summer/holiday flicks to watch? Tell me all about it!

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The Female Perspective: April Fools Fun!

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!


It’s April Fools Day, a day that I find equal parts amusing and annoying. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of playing or having tricks played on me. Maybe that makes me a party poop but hey, such is life! I know it’s part of the day.

To that end, I wanted to do a quick post today about some of the funnier, more annoying posts I’ve come across today. Read on and be amused! And come back on Friday for your regularly scheduled post.

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1. Stephen King will write for The Walking Dead

Today a post has been making the rounds saying that Mr. King is going to pen the season opener for next years Walking Dead (I totally fell for it too). Which is an intriguing concept and it definitely made me click the link to read more, I then read about how he’s going to kill a bunch of people off, including the guy with the crossbow. Hmmmm…perhaps this is fake?

Click the link to see! (It’s pretty funny)

2. Voltron Kitty Condo

The Voltron Kitty Condo!
The Voltron Kitty Condo!

Every year, ThinkGeek creates some pretty funny gag items that make you laugh and also make you kind of hopeful. This years crop is no different, they include a 360-degree Selfie Stick and this awesome Voltron Kitty Condo that I really wish was real! They also have some awesome Power Wheels Desert Drifters, straight outta Mad Max!

3. Alex & Ani Bought Naming Rights to Rhode Island

The smallest state with the longest name, just got longer thanks to Alex & Ani.
The smallest state with the longest name, just got longer thanks to Alex & Ani.

This one really cracked me up, not only is the title enough to make you want to click, the article attached is actually very funny. Well done Motif Magazine!

4. CERN Researches Confirm the Existence of The Force

Real the Force Is...
Real the Force Is…

I love this one, its fun and … well, fun!

“The Force is what gives a particle physicist his powers,” said CERN theorist Ben Kenobi of the University of Mos Eisley, Tatooine.

Click here for the full story!

Those are some of my fave’s, what about you? Did you see any really juice April Fools Jokes flying around? Share them in the comments!

Happy April!