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

Not That Kind of Girl Themed Gift-Pack

Not That Kind of Girl is my third book to read of Siobhan Vivian’s. And guess what? I think it’s my favorite so far. It’s exactly what I was needing — something extremely well written with a storyline easy to get into, a main character who I could understand (even if she sometimes made me want to punch her for her opinionatedness), and a nice steamy romance. I loved what Siobhan did with the story and the subtle discussion she was having about feminism and how what you’re presenting to the world sends out a message about who you are.

I couldn’t not create a book-themed gift-pack for Not That Kind of Girl. I had a little fun with it, and hope you’ll enjoy my choices!


not that kind of girl by siobhan vivian

  1. Rule the School Ruler — For uptight, type-A, Student Council President Natalie Sterling, the name of this ruler couldn’t be more perfect. Natalie is a rule follower. A feminist who believes in empowering women and making smart choices (a little Pitch Perfect reference for those of you who have seen the movie a million and a half times like I have). I’m sure straight-edge Natalie would find the perfect location for displaying this ruler decoratively and placing it in the perfect spot so it’s functional, too.
  2. Plaid Throw Blanket — Things get a little bit (okay, more than a little) steamy between Natalie and a certain boy who shall remain nameless (until you read the book) in a shed. Yes, a shed. It sounds kinda creepy, but his parents own a Christmas tree farm and everything sounds so adorable I want to visit there for real. A particular scene involves our nameless boy and Natalie secretly meeting up in the shed. And that is all I will say.
  3. Free Verse Duvet — I know, I know. This is a little nerdy and over the top, but when you’re a nerd… you’re a nerd. 😉 And when am I ever going to get to choose this as an option again?
  4. Mason Jar Hanging Tea Light Holder — Refer to item number two. Spice things up a little bit more. And lower the temperature by several degrees. Our nameless boy makes an attempt to spruce up the shed a bit and brought a lantern so they could actually see. Maybe this isn’t the exact lantern he would have brought, but how adorable are they? I’ll take five.
  5. White Picture Frame — Natalie is super concerned with her photograph making the Student Council wall-of-fame. She’s only the ninth female to be President in her school’s history. It’s kind of a big deal. Surely she’d be framing a copy of the photograph to keep forever and ever, right?
  6. A Movie Bundle — Natalie and her BFF are dedicated to watching the best movies of all time together. They’re making their way through the top 100. Though this isn’t the exact list they were following, I chose four from the list. I’m not going to say whether or not I have watched all of these. I plead the 5th.
  7. Burt’s Bees — This chapstick is Natalie’s staple. It’s the only thing she wears, so when it comes time to take her Student Council photograph and she needs to cover something up, she has to enlist Freshman Spencer for a little help. She has no clue how to use other cosmetics and she definitely needs an intervention.


So whaddya think? If you’re like me and (a few years) late to the Not That Kind of Girl party,
why don’t you add it to your TBR or gift it to yourself this Christmas?

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble

book bundle for unbreak my heart by melissa c walker

Unbreak My Heart Themed Gift-Pack

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker is one of my favorite books from 2012. There’s a fantastic cast of characters and a main character who is working through some pretty major emotions post-big-blow-up with her best friend, Amanda. Her family takes the summer to sail together and along the route, Clem meets an awesome guy James.

James is probably one of my most favorite YA boys. He’s quirky and respectful. He’s an observer and seems to always have Clem’s best interest at heart. Clem deals with conflicting emotions of moving on and not being sure if she deserves to be happy after what she did that tore her and Amanda apart. She writes letters to Amanda, reflects on what she did, and has some fun times with her little sister, Olive.

I remembered a few specific things for this Unbreak My Heart themed gift-pack so I went back to find their specific references and why they were important.

This would make such a fun pack for a friend. You could choose a few of these things to bundle together with the book to make a pretty spectacular gift for someone this Christmas!

Hope you enjoy what I’ve selected (and why)!

book bundle for unbreak my heart by melissa c walker

01. Bananas, Cinnamon Gum, Chamomile Tea,  and Strawberry Yogurt — Clem’s mom sends her to the super market to get gum and tea, which is where she meets James for the first time.

“As I’m rounding the corner to look for strawberry yogurt, my basket collides directly with someone else’s –someone who’s filled his basket to the brim with bananas.”  (page 17)

02. Boat-Themed Note Cards, — Clem tries to write countless notes to Amanda to explain what happened.

“But the truth is, a letter to Amanda is a stupid idea. And besides, it’s not like I didn’t think of that. I’ve been trying to write one every night for three weeks, but when I reread my drafts I just hear how whiny I sound. It’s pathetic. I can’t make the words mean anything.” (page 31)

03. Funfetti Rainbow Cake Mix — In a flashback to 7th or 8th grade, Clem remembers making a cake with Amanda.

“Do you think each colored chip has a different flavor?” I had asked.” (page 23)

04. Sketchbook + Charcoal Pencils – James is always sketching. It’s his favorite past time and he’s quite good at it.

“He sits up and whips a sketchbook and dark gray pencil out of the tote he’s been carrying.” (page 69)

05. The Proposal + Training Day DVDs — A favorite element of mine in Unbreak My Heart is the emphasis on family. Clem reflects on watching movies with her her parents and little sister, Olive.

“I don’t know how many times Dad has had to sit through The Proposal instead of Training Day (his favorite) on family movie night.” (page 160)

06. Floral Bikini With Ruffles — Once Clem and James start hanging out, she becomes more conscious of what she’s wearing. She tries to look cute for him to show she’s coming out of her sad frame of mind.

“I’m already ahead of him, slipping my cotton dress over my head to reveal the floral bikini that has just the right amount of ruffle (which is “very little, but enough to flatter our butt,” according to Amanda). (page 184)

Between You & Me Themed Gift Pack

If you have visited Rather Be Reading within the past six months, more than likely you’ve heard me raving about Marisa Calin’s Between You & Me. This was an ARC that Magan sent to me pretty randomly. I reminded myself to start it in August, and never in my wildest dreams did I think this book would make me feel the way I did.

In fact, I read it twice.

The book is about a girl named Phyre and her best friend (although we have no idea if her best friend is a male or a female) and their sweet friendship that becomes a bit strained when she starts crushing on her enchanting theater teacher. And best of all? The book is written in screenplay style, a brave choice that I think really worked here.

Between You & Me is a book I already have hidden under my bed for a lucky receiver of my Christmas presents, and while I’m not doing a “themed gift pack” for this individual, I love the idea of one. Themed gifts are the best. And bonus, if you decided to grab all of these items at once… it’s pretty darn affordable for a really thoughtful gift.

I hope you like!

Rather Be Reading Blog Shopping Guide - Between You and Me by Marisa Calin

1. The iconic heart glasses (under 10 dollars at The cover of this book so perfectly matches what is inside. Phyre is character who becomes very oblivious to the thoughts/feelings of her best friend, and her best friend is also the one who gives her these silly glasses. (Which I love.)

2. When Harry Met Sally DVD ($3.99 from Amazon): The classic film about best friends who fall in love with each other. This movie isn’t mentioned in the novel at all, but in some ways I think the sentiments are the same. (Plus it’s a great movie.)

3. Brown Leather Journal ($12.95 from B&N): When Phyre’s theater teacher suggests they start a journal to better understand the characters they are playing, one appears on her desk the next day. To me, a journal is always a great gift and the leather makes it extra special.

4. Julep Nail Color in Sabrina ($14): This pick for the gift pack is all about Phyre’s name and the use of extreme light in the book. It’s one detail I loved, and something that wouldn’t necessarily be a part of a screenplay but I loved Calin for throwing it in there. For the record, Julep is my favorite nail polish at the moment!

5. Mini Candles at Bath & Body Works (2 for $5): Best idea from Bath + Body Works. We go through a ton of candles, and it’s great to have these space saving candles to use whenever we need to. Guys, there’s a romantic candle scene in this book. Like the moment we all imagine happening to us. Now there aren’t scented candles in it, but this is the closest I can get to the scene without telling you everything. It’s a great one.

6. Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate: You can pretty much get a box of hot chocolate like this for under 2 bucks anyway. This reminds me of a sweet moment that Phyre and her best friend share, and also later on, when our main character realizes she is not much of a tea drinker.