Befriended: Talking Friendship with Author Emery Lord

We’re best friends, Estelle and I. We live miles and miles apart, but there’s seldom been a day in our three year friendship that we haven’t talked about something. Our friendship is the platform from which Rather Be Reading was created. Because of that, we’ve been really wanting to focus on friendship more. Something positive and uplifting. We both find friendship to be such an incredibly important aspect of the books we read. They can often make or break a book. There’s the good, the bad, the ups, the downs… and through all of that, you need a best friend. Someone to hold your hand as you wade through the craziness of life.

Hence the new feature we’re rolling out right now: Befriended.

We’re beginning with one of our very favorite new authors, Emery Lord. We’ve both read Emery’s debut novel, Open Road Summer and fallen madly in love with her incredible writing. (Admittedly, we’ve also watched her awesome author intro video and want to be her BFF, too). Reagan and Dee have this outstanding friendship with years and years of history and love between them. We asked Emery to talk to us a little bit about her personal best friend and in the vein of our themed gift-packs, to create gifts to and from Dee and Reagan. It’s an understatement to say I love how this came out and how much I adore what Emery wrote about her best friend. (Fact: I teared up reading it.)

A big, huge THANK YOU to Emery for helping us introduce our new friendship feature, Befriended. Without further ado, please welcome Emery to Rather Be Reading…


My BFF and I met at church when we were in fourth grade. We were in all the same activities our entire lives and have so many similarities, but we’re different in a lot of ways too. Even little things. I’m a basic-nail polish kind of gal, and she’s great at, like, nail art and Jamberry nails. She went to a small private college for Music Ed; I went to a larger public school for Communications and English. She lives in the suburbs near our hometown; I live in a more urban setting a couple of hours away. She got married in the winter surrounded by cranberry reds and creams, in a strapless dress with her hair up. I got married in the spring, surrounded by peony pinks and tuxedo blacks, in a dress with sheer sleeves and my hair down. I wore her veil.

I wrote about to very different BFFs in Open Road Summer because I wanted to show that you don’t have to have everything in common to be best friends. You just have to show up, emotionally. Everyone understands a relationship like marriage…that I chose my husband to be my family. But my best friend is someone I chose to be my family too. It’s a sisterhood of choice, and it doesn’t matter how far apart we are or how many differing choices we make. What we have in common is 20 years together and so much love and loyalty that we can fill the miles between us. That’s truly all we’ve ever needed.

– – –
From Dee to Reagan
dee to reagan gifts for open road summer by emery lord
  • Arrow Necklace: This is a necklace Dee lets Reagan borrow in Open Road Summer. I think she’d get her one of her very own, since Reagan loves it–and probably write her a cheesy card tying in lyrics to Kacey Musgraves’ song Follow Your Arrow  😉  (which I love).
  • Photo Cube Printer: Reagan’s a photographer, so she’d love this for iPhone photos taken on the go.
  • Vintage 1971 Canon 35mm Camera: Dee’s an antiquer, so she’d absolutely snag this vintage camera for Reagan.
  • Ferris Wheel Photo Frames: Dee would get this both as a way for Reagan to display photos and to tease her a little about Matt Finch and a Ferris Wheel  😉
  • Boots: Reagan loooves shoes and these boots are totally her style.
  • New York Book: Dee is super supportive of Reagan’s ultimate goal of attending NYU. She’d absolutely gift Reagan with NYC-related things to share in her excitement about that.
– – –
From Reagan to Dee

reagan to dee open road summer gift pack by emery lord

  • Bestie iPhone Cases: Reagan would totally get these infinity BFF phone cases for herself and Dee, since they’re in a long-distance friendship/on the phone so much of the time. But, since Reagan would be using the phone case too, she’d pick something a little less frilly  😉
  • Decorative Pillow: Something for Dee’s tour bus or new apartment–Reagan’s sense of humor and something to make Dee laugh.
  • Tennessee Necklace: To remind Dee of home.
  • Floral Weekender: So not Reagan’s personal style, but definitely Dee’s. I think Reagan would get this for Dee to remind her she’s only one packed bag away from a weekend trip home.
  • Every Day Journal: One of the things Dee struggles with is how quickly life seems to be moving–by the time one thing happens, she can barely process it before the next big thing happens. Reagan would buy this one-line-a-day journal to help her remember each day without spending too much time memorializing instead of living–something she’s big on  🙂
  • Dolly Parton Quote: Dolly is one of Dee’s heroes, and Reagan would want to remind Dee that even Dolly has seen herself through the rain!


Thank you so incredibly much to Emery Lord for stopping by RBR 
to help us kick of BEFRIENDED. Friends, please, please read Open Road Summer
as soon as you possibly can. And stay tuned for more friendship-related posts!

Add OPEN ROAD SUMMER to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble | My Review of ORS

Sweet Summertime Reads: When You Were Here Gift Pack

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Can you believe there’s only two weeks left of our Sweet Summertime Reads series with Ginger and Tara? It’s been such a fun summer of new ideas, summer loving, and it’s crazy that it’s about to come to a close. I’m going solo today with this post but it is totally inspired by Magan’s affection for When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney.

I’ve been trying to do a better job of balancing books for review, books I own, and most importantly, getting to books that Magan reviews and loves. Well, after buying When You Were Here on its release day, I finally read it last week and absolutely loved it. It was  so touching, so well written, and I loved the switch in setting from California to Tokyo.

After reading, I felt inspired to do our first themed gift pack post in a long time. There were so many fun details in Whitney’s book and I hope seeing them in a collection will inspire you to pick up this novel sooner rather than later. I’ve been on a reading roll lately, and When You Were Here was one of the standouts of the bunch.


When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney Themed Gift Pack: a few little things that make up the fun details of this YA novel from June 2013, part of Sweet Summertime reads.

Maki My Day Earrings: Traveling to Tokyo means eating a lot of raw fish. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory but Danny’s mom’s best friend (Kate, who is also his unofficial guardian) loves to collect plastic pieces of sushi. I think these earrings are just hilarious and so quirky.

Buddha Statue: There’s a certain level of spirituality to this story. As Danny discovers more about his mother’s way of dealing with her disease, he must seek his own peace and also finds out about more and more about hers. (It also made me think of; do you follow this website? It’s super motivating and calming!)

Colorful socks: I love the supporting characters in When You Were Here especially Kana (the daughter of the landlord in  Tokyo). She becomes Danny’s friend and tour guide, and is such a vibrant character. I loved her outgoing personality (all of her clothes), how important Danny’s mom was to her, and how she was determined to make her own plans when high school was over. Their partnership was great to watch unfold. (ha! That’s a punny joke about socks… almost.)

Green tea:  The Japanese teahouse is one of Danny’s main destinations when he gets to Tokyo. He knows his mom spent a lot of time there, and he wants to know why. Did she think that the tea would cure her? Jasmine green tea is one of my favorites. It’s super relaxing and tastes nice on a cold morning.

Lilacs: When I was young, our neighbor used to have a lilac bush and I was obsessed with the smell. It’s still one of my favorites, and I’m not even a fan of flowers much. Danny’s mom LOVED lilacs. The smell, the look, everything and he is constantly reminded of her when he comes in contact with them.

Stationary: When I visited Magan in Texas, we talked a lot about how nice it is to receive a handwritten card from friends every now and then. It’s so true. Notes are very sentimental to Danny’s mom, and also help him to piece together what Danny wants to find out about his mom when he’s visiting Tokyo. (I also love PaperSource. This website is full of the cutest things.)

Dog Magnets: Talk about man’s best friend. Danny’s dog, Sandy Koulfax, is one of the best animal characters in a book I’ve ever read. It’s true. The connection between them was depicted so realistically, and I could just tell how much they loved each other. I could not put together this gift pack without mention good old Sandy K. (Who was a big help in finding ladies for Danny’s friends too.)


Be sure to add When You Were Here to your Goodreads account, check out Magan’s review, or go and buy it already. This book is perfect to read during the summer because it’s about those months after graduation and before Danny jumps into college — such an important time of self-discovery, especially as he mourns the loss of his mom. Whitney has written such a touching, genuine, and surprisingly fast-paced story with brilliant supporting characters and a lot of heart. (I read it in a day if that tells you anything.)

Thanks for following today + be sure to check out what Ginger and Tara are up to for Sweet Summertime Reads!