Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dear Carolina

A moving debut novel about two mothers - one biological and one adoptive - from a compelling new voice in Southern women's fiction.

One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they'll ever make.

     Frances "Khaki" Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan - everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband's nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn't seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor...
    Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don't define us - and that families aren't born, they're made...

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Page Count: 320 pages
Genre: Realistic fiction, Adult, Chick Lit
Series? No

I was offered the wonderful chance to review Dear Carolina by the lovely Kristy Harvey! Sadly, the plan to get this review done earlier did not work out completely like I had planned. With a few computer problems and plenty of school work to keep me busy the release date came and passed before I could get this published. But, now I have finally been able to get this here, so lets get to the book!

Being a person that lives in the South, I always enjoy a good book set close to home. While this book was not exactly in my backyard, the feeling of home was there. This is just one of the many reasons I adored Dear Carolina.

Kristy Woodson Harvey has created a wonderful debut story to hook a readers attention. Adoption can be a tricky subject to write about, but I am a sucker for a good heart warming story like this. The emotions that are written into the story was so real, I felt like I was personally hearing from the characters of this story. Reading the description for this story, I knew a little what to expect while reading it, but I still was not prepared for what I received.

Kristy added a unique element to the story by switching up the way stories are written. While a story that alternates between characters and points of view is not hard to find, getting a chapter written by the character itself, is a completely different matter. Each chapter alternates between the two leading women, Jodi (the birth mother) and Khaki (The adoptive mother) as they tell their daughter Carolina her story, as well as shedding light on their own life. Each chapter is read as letters written to their daughter, and each chapter will leave you wanting to read more.

Something that I always enjoy about a well written story is even if I know how the story ends, I can't stop reading! Kristy was able to pull this off exceptionally. Starting this story you already know what is going to happen, but the story still keeps you wanting to know more! Seeing how the story plays out and learning how everything came to be is just as entertaining as if I didn't already know the outcome.

Dear Carolina was a very heart warming story, and if anyone is ever in the need of a quick read I would recommend this book! If Kristy Woodson Harvey can continue to write stories like this one, I know she will have a great future in the book world! I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars!!

Here is a little information about this lovely new author!

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's school of journalism and holds a Master's in English from East Carolina University. She is a regular contributor for The Salisbury Post, Domino magazine and Houzz. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spectacular Swanky Saturday #2

Being the first Saturday of the month means it's time for Swanky Saturday's post!!!! 

*Cue excited music and dancing*

If you don't know what Spectacularly Swanky Saturdays is, click here for more information! Feel free to join in with comments, pictures, or links, and be sure to say something on Twitter with our #SwankySat tag. We would love to see what others are doing!! 

Now time to get to the main part of the posts, the month's challenge!

Create Your Own Dream Library

This month, we were challenged to use our imaginations and create our own dream library. This can be as realistic or dreamlike as you would like it to be. I know what you're thinking, you already have your dream library in mind...and I bet it looks a lot like this:

Sadly, this is just for Belle and someone *cough, cough...Kelly..cough* wouldn't let us just post this picture. So that leaves us with coming up with our own. Which we will make WAY better!! Thanks to Pinterest there were no shortage of pictures to use. 

Once again, I have the honor of the lovely Chelsea joining my page to share her Saturday post, so lets take a tour of her library shall we...

Hello! *waves* Welcome to my dream library! Let's take a little tour, shall we...

The first thing I hope people notice are the massive floor-to-ceiling bookshelves...and ultimately fall into a swoon at the awesomeness. Ultimate compliment.

The second, the decor. Which is a mix between gothic.........

.....and Victorian

Next, my handmade, one of a kind cabinet (hehe) for my precious classics, including my entire first edition set of Jane Austen's work. A girl can dream, right?

And then, the spiral staircase! Oooo, intriguing! A second floor!

Which leads to...the view.

And to wrap up our tour, no library is complete without...a hidden passageway! *door creaks open* *Cue creepy music*

Thank you for joining me!


Well...I almost didn't finish the tour. A few of those books on the shelves were calling my name! To grab one and settle in on that chair to read..I was tempted. I hope you get that library one day Chelsea, it looks amazing! Especially that case with those first editions. Beautiful. 

Now that we have seen Chelsea's library, I would like to share mine with you all! If you would just step this way we can get started:

Nice and cozy, right? I know it's not as big as you may have been expecting, but this is where I can spend some time reading and entertaining a few friends.

BUT, since you are here and I can trust you with my precious babies (a.k.a. my books) I guess I can show you my secret places. I hope you have your walking shoes on...

(who doesn't want a hidden passage in a library?)

Since I do like to try and write, and have a dream of being a writer one day, it only makes sense to have a writing place. This is the spot where I would come to escape into my imagination and write the stories I want to tell! I would have books that would be for research to help me work out all the details.

In the other corner I would have a little nook where I could really enjoy a book! I always wanted a reading nook, so of course I had to add one somewhere...

On the other end of the room we have the...spiral staircase! I couldn't help but add this one, I think it would be amazing to have a spiral staircase in my house, especially in a library. 

This would lead me to my large library! This is where I would have all my books!!! Or most of them anyway. Although this picture doesn't show as many as I would like, just imagine more shelves!!

Oh, you want to know what's behind the antique wooden door? I can show you that as well, come on...*steps through door*

When I was younger, one of my favorite books was The Secret Garden. I'm still in love with that book, so if I could make a dream library I could add a secret garden as well, right? But it's not just any garden, it's a reading garden! Here let me prove it! 

Just for a little decorations I would have signs like this one showing directions to some of my favorite bookish places. And how can you have a secret garden without a swing???
A little farther down we have my little outdoor reading nook and it's own outside library. Don't worry, the books are protected! This is where I keep some of my favorite outdoor reading, like The Secret Garden. Some books are just better read outside. 

If you would follow me through this next little part, we can wrap things up...

Here we have the reading pond. It has a nice little place to just sit and read in the center. I don't really know why I have this except for the fact that I found it neat and an interesting idea...

The last part of my library is very special... Through this door is Magic! (it's a dream library after all, so why not throw in a bit of magic?)

In this room the books I read can come to life. If I want to talk with one of my favorite characters, I just need to come here and I can. How fun would that be to just sit and talk with your favorite characters? What if you had multiple characters from multiple books?? 

Well, I guess that's it for my library. I hope you enjoyed getting a chance to see everything!! Let me know what your dream library would be! 

Now, go to your dream library and get lost between the pages of a good book! See you all next time!