Mothers of Book Lovers: Meet Pam & Ramona

Hello, pals! For both of us, a love of reading is a bit of a family tradition. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we wanted the special ladies in our lives to take centerstage and stop by the blog to talk about their top reading picks and (unselfishly — we swear!) a little bit about us. Out of the two of us, Estelle is the one to have met both moms and perhaps unsurprisingly, she’s convinced they would totally hit it off if they were ever in the same time zone. Maybe someday. Until then… come say hi to the original “two busy ladies who always have time for a book”!


Meet Magan’s Mom

Magan's Mom Pam Mother's DayPam: Mom to 3, former teacher, loving grandmother, shoe addict, romance book fanatic

Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson) is one of my all-time favorite books. I first read this book as a young mom. Mainly because I wanted to screen the books my daughter wanted to read. I was that kind of mom. Unbeknownst to me was that I would fall in love with the story itself. It’s a real tearjerker! When the book was later made into a movie, I already knew I would not watch it because the best movie was the one created in my mind when I read the book. I’m a firm believer that books are always better than the movie.

Okay….I’m a romantic…Cannot help it! Diana Palmer could not write a book fast enough for me. I’m hooked on her kind of stories. She is a history major and a fabulous writer. I also think she is a closet comedian. All three of these characteristics are right up my alley! Picking just one of her books would be a disgrace and an injustice. Although her Long Tall Texans series really makes this Texas girl’s heart pitter-patter a little faster than normal.

Again I can’t choose just one book, but a series. Janet Dailey wrote an Americana series: “Every novel in this collection is your passport to a romantic tour of the United States”. I love to travel. When I was young and didn’t have the means to travel, I hopped aboard a book. Janet Dailey gave me everything I was looking for as I traveled the entire USA! Her ability to create a good romance on top of it all was perfect. She also has a flare for a bit of mystery. This little pop of solving a case and the brewing romance from state to state was just what I needed. I cried when I knew the journey was coming to an end. Recently, I’ve become hooked on her series: The Bannon Brothers.

Zimmerhanzel Ladies Mother's Day

On Magan & reading: “Magan…gets her interest in reading HONESTLY. I may not have been able to afford a lot when she was young, but books were always welcome in our home. She was a book nerd as soon as she could pick up a book. Many nights I would find her snuggled in bed with a flashlight reading a book. Who was I to fuss at her because most likely, I was still up reading myself! I admire that Magan does not limited herself as I have done. She can pick up any genre of book and read it as long as it is well written. She also likes to read anywhere. Luckily for her a good book is always within reach nowadays because of the great devices such as a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, etc.”

Meet Estelle’s Mom

Ramona: Mom of 2; chatterbox/go-getter who loves everything Disney and white zinfandel

Been working like crazy, so here’s a list:

  • Prodigal Son by Danielle Steele: About the relationship of twin boys, one good and one evil, and how they come together back in their hometown as adults. (Estelle note: would not be my mom if there wasn’t a Steele recommendation!)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: Loved it… how they meet, fell in love and how he traveled through time and always came back to her. (Estelle note: I loved this one too. Definitely need to reread it one of these days.)
  • P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern: Another tearjerker… Her love dies and leaves her monthly letters and how she goes on.
  • Riding the Wave by Lorelie Brown: Surfer returns back to his hometown after his father’s death and reconnect with his best friend’s sister. (Estelle note: I’m seeing where I got my book tastes from here…)

Can you tell I love, love, love LOVE STORIES?

Estelle's Mom Ramona Mother's Day

On Estelle & reading: “Estelle is a chip off the old block. I was an insatiable reader as soon as I learned and she did the same. By kindergarten she feel in love with Brown Bear Brown Bear and never stopped reading. Our Home & School Association would be waiting for Estelle to come to the book fair where she would give them a huge profit every year. Crazy me, I would give her a blank check! Thank God for the local library. When she read through all her “bought” books, we had the library to get her through. It could have been worse; my daughter was a bookaholic and still is! I wish I could read as often as I used to, I read 5 books in a week during my vacation. I was in my glory! Nothing like sunshine, a pool and a good book. I cannot remember when Estelle started carrying pocketbooks, but when she did… there was always a “spare” book in her bag.”

 Wasn’t that fun? Thanks, Moms! A lesson learned while putting this post together? Take pictures with your moms and maybe another… never hesitate when it comes to sharing a dear-to-you read with dear old mom.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day, friends!

It’s a Wrap • So Long, April

Welp. Another month done. The bright side? Another month closer to summertime and… Christmas. (Don’t hurt me!) But, you know, the drill. Enjoy the moment!! Live in the present!! It’s been a busy month for both of us, but still filled with plenty of highlights:

A photo posted by Estelle (@thatsostelle) on

A photo posted by Magan (@magan) on

Shopping List Musts:

April Must Buy List

Estelle: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno // The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Magan: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas // The Program by Suzanne Young

What to Click:

Summing It All Up:

Buy It:

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
99 Days by Katie Cotugno
First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano
The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding

Worth It:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Truth About Jack by Jody Gehrman
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Borrow It:

Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills

Mini Reviews:

Moonshine, Knitting and Sleuthing in these 3 YAs
An Artist, a Puffin, and Cowboy in 3 romance titles!

Monthly Features:

Little Kids: Bedtime Stories
Dive Into Diversity: Magan explores step-families
Pub Date: First and Fresh

Free Writing:

BEA Part of It: My Budget-Friendly NYC Day
Magan chats with author Paula Stokes
Baseball and Book pairings
Estelle chats with author Juliana Romano

Don’t Forget:

Link up your April Dive Into Diversity posts here and stay tuned for our upcoming discussion post/linky on MAY 12th!

Tell us what you loved this April!
What should we be adding to our summer beach bags?

It’s a Wrap • See Ya Next Year, March!

Well, another month bites the dust. Who’s prepared for April and taxes? (UGH.) Ahem, sorry – that’s what I’ve been focused on a lot the last two weeks. April is going to be full of sunshine and reading outside and lots and lots of vitamin D. (We hope.) Here are a few highlights of our March:

We had an awesome time participating in Cassie’s #15beautifuldays in March! Thanks so much for hosting this, Cassie, and we hope you guys enjoyed seeing a bit more of our lives outside of books on our Instagram.

A photo posted by Estelle (@thatsostelle) on

A photo posted by Magan (@magan) on



Estelle’s Picks: The Wrong Side of Right • A Mad, Wicked Folly

Magan’s Picks: Things We Know by Heart • The Start of Me and You



Buy It:

Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
The Winner’s Trilogy
In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Worth It:

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
One Wish by Robyn Carr

Borrow It:

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Free Writing:

Top Ten Books We Want to Re-Read
The Beginning of Our Attachment (our Twitter/G-Chat beginnings)
Top Ten Books on Our Spring TBR List
Estelle and James’ Early Beginnings (inspired by The Start of Me and You)

Monthly Features:

Little Kids: Books About Feelings
Dive Into Diversity: They Work Hard for the Money
Pub Date: Can I Be So Blunt


What were some of your favorites in March? Let us know in the comments.

Here’s to amazing books, beautiful weather, and no terrible April Fool’s jokes being pulled on you today! 😉

Rather Be Re-Reading | Top 10 Tuesday

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Greetings! We’re switching this week’s Top 10 Tuesday up a bit. Instead of ten books we recently added to our lists… how about ten books we’ve recently added to our re-read list? The truth is Magan and I are pretty much failing at the re-read this year. I guess that happens when you love the books you’re reading… but, sooner rather than later, we’re going to want to fall back on some of our favorite comfort reads. (Yum. Like comfort food. Ice cream. I’m hungry.) Plus, we need to get our ducks in a row for the re-read challenge hosted by Kelly and Hannah.

We’re committed. We’re prepped. Here are the books on our re-read list:

Rather Be ReReading Top 10 Tuesday Spring 2015

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | From What I Remember by S. Kramer & V. Thomas
To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

On the Fence by Kasie West | Open Road Summer by Emery Lord |
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra McVoy | The Comeback Season by Jen E. Smith

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler | Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker |
Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble


Can’t wait to see which books you tempt us with this week! Happy last day of March!

The Beginning of Our Attachment

Estelle and I met at a wedding in Texas. We had this brief serendipitous moment where we connected over books, but that was short lived as we went home at the end of the night. Estelle returned home to New York, married James, and somewhere along the way we connected on Twitter (and then Facebook, I think). That turned into emailing and lots of g-chatting back and forth.

Recently I read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and I couldn’t stop thinking about how similar Estelle and I were to Beth and Jennifer, and I tossed out the idea to Estelle that we should really dig deep into the beginning of our friendship to see what we could find. Inspired by Beth and Jennifer’s conversations, we’re sharing some of our personal gems from the very first times we chatted and tweeted.

July 11, 2011: (five months after we met) reading goals.

Reading Goals and Motivation

August 24, 2011: book splurges.

book buying tweets

August 30, 2011: the very first mention of starting a blog together and considering a partnership. Our blog launched on 11/1/2011 so the idea festered for a little while before we decided to move forward and then we spent a solid month planning and writing before going live.

the first mention of rather be reading

September 16, 2011: on what we like to read + the library.

<Magan to Estelle> Oh yea, which book blogs do you follow?
I like reading new releases so I can be on the forefront of what’s good. Usually I’m so far out of the loop.
The library is harder to use when you want to read brand new books.
I’m trying to get good at reserving them online and being patient. I’m not a patient person though.

<Estelle to Magan> Ah, I’ve been good with that so far.
We borrow from all the libraries in our county so I haven’t had much trouble.

<M to E> Before we left [on vacation], I had 10 books checked out of the library and I read 7 of them. The other three I didn’t want to read anymore. I read what I’m in the mood for. I can’t just pick up anything at any given moment.

<E to M> I feel the same way.

September 21, 2011: Dustyn, my husband, turns 30, and James hasn’t started law school yet.

<Magan to Estelle> I’m having a bunch of people over tomorrow for a pizza party for him. Haha!
It’s kind of like he’s a little kid.
I’m trying not to make his birthday too big of a deal.

<Estelle to Magan> I like it!
It sounds like something we would do.

<M to E> 🙂 And we could do it together if James gets into law school here!
(Oh, here i go.)
I could talk to you forever.

<E to M> Hahaha 🙂
I’m glad!!
I hope the movie is good.

<M to E> Talk to you tomorrowwww!

September 22, 2011: the first idea for our blog name.

<Magan to Estelle> I wish I were reading right now. Ha!
I went to the library and got 6 new books, so I’m excited to sit down and start something new.

<Estelle to Magan> I wish I were reading now.
That should be our title.

<M to E> YES!
That would be so appropriate.

<E to M> Or like “I wish I were reading now” with a little ^ in between the last two words and it says “right.” Haha!

<M to E> Oh yeah! Good thinking!
I have GOT to get better about putting books on reserve at the library so they can pull them from other libraries. I went through my goodreads list alphabetically searching for books and I got to letter N before I even found a single one on my list!

I think you and I are a lot alike in many ways – how busy we are is just another similarity. It wears me down, but I still keep putting things on my schedule.

<E to M> I KNOW. OMG
James wants to shoot me.
I always make plans, but in October I made none.
I’m just bummed because I have 2 friends I’ve been trying to see and I haven’t seen them since my wedding.

<M to E> It’s so hard to stay on top of everything, especially relationships and friendships.

<E to M> And I feel like I’m the one who plans all of these things.
And I’m kind of tired of it, ya know?

<M to E> Yes, I know exactly how you feel. I have a lot of friends who wouldn’t be proactive at scheduling together time if I didn’t do it. I know they love me and care about me, but they just aren’t good at it. Sometime last year, I got so tired of trying all the time. I just pulled back. Ironically enough, things finally leveled out a bit with them. With one person in particular that finally did the trick. She finally started saying, “I miss you. I haven’t seen you in forever. We should do xyz.”

I think who we ARE influences WHAT we read.

September 26, 2011: Snippets of our frequent book recommendations on Twitter (back when I didn’t use my @magansays account as much, but also another validation that my work is what brought us together.) 🙂

twitter screencap about books

…later that day: 

<Magan to Estelle> What’s the hardest part about reading a book for you?

<Estelle to Magan> Starting? When I’m super tired. Haha

<M to E> It’s always starting for me too.
Or ending sometimes if I don’t want the series to be over.
I stretched Harry Potter out for as long as I could.
Like right now, I want to read, but I actually don’t want to start another book. I want to get to the meat of it right away.

<E to M> Yea that happens.

September 30, 2011: stuck on a train + book recommendations.

<Magan to Estelle> Hiya!

<Estelle to Magan> I read another book you should.
Not That Kind of Girl
And I started Lola [and the Boy Next Door] today.

<M to E> Hahaha
I finished The Piper’s Son last night.
Also think you should read that one. It’s by an author I really like – I’ve read 3 of her books recently.
She’s from Australia.
You’re on a ROLL lady!

<E to M> Well I got stuck on the train for 2 plus hours yesterday.
So I finished an entire book.
Oh I’ll add it. What’s the authors name?

<M to E> Woah!
Melina Marchetta
I recommended Jellicoe Road by her to you.
And I read Saving Francesca, but liked Fixing Delilah better – same kind of subject matter.

<E to M> I’ll have to look into them!

<M to E> Yeah, I like her a lot. 🙂
Why were you stuck on the train for 2 hours?!

<E to M> There was a huge problem after lightning struck a generator.

<M to E> Wooow.


Never in a million years did I think that I’d meet one of my best friends while photographing a wedding. What are the odds? (Truthfully, most wedding parties sort of loathe the photo-taking portion of the day so I kind of expect them to not remember me.) Before we began Rather Be Reading, Estelle and I had both gone through this whole “I love books again” phase after being burned out in college and we were devouring absolutely everything in our paths. It’s pretty amazing to see and feel that spark and to read about how excited we were, and to know that we’re really proud of that little book addiction becoming this little blog.

I’m really grateful that Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments led us to wade through the past to find these snippets of the beginning of our relationship. (Confession: I used to wonder if Estelle just thought I was so silly; I was, and still continue to be, so impressed by her ability to thoughtfully break a book down into such a meaningful review.)

All that being said, if you haven’t read Attachments, do so now (Goodreads • Barnes & Noble • Amazon) because it’s lovely and inspiring and some of Rainbow’s best work. I’m positive I’ve had a book hangover for weeks after finishing it.

Our Spring TBR List • Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Hello, again, friends! We’re participating in the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday this week where we’re discussing the books that are at the top of our to-read lists this spring. Estelle’s list includes a couple of library books she just took out and some review books, while mine includes the next five books on my review schedule (because I have become a little more regimented with my reading so I don’t miss deadlines and release dates). Here’s our collaborative list:

list of upcoming young adult book releases, books checked out from library

All the Rage • Things We Know by Heart • A Court of Thorns and Roses
Every Last Promise • Finding Paris • My Best Everything
LOL • Making Pretty • Scarlet Undercover
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

> > > < < <

What are you looking forward to reading this spring?
What are you most excited about on our TBR?

Thanks for joining in! Don’t forget to check out more Top Ten Tuesday lists linked up at The Broke and Bookish!