Recap – August 2017

August sure has been fun! I reviewed 10 books, and interviewed 2 authors. We also had a special bonus; A Cover Reveal for Sarah Monzon’s new book “The Esther Paradigm” (which is available for pre-order on amazon).

Join me for a fun look back at August 2017 as we have a quick recap of the books reviewed, and the author interviews that took place in August.

Clicking on any of the titles will take you to that post.

Books Reviewed:

ToWagerHerHeart  To Wager Her Heart 

VowUnbroken  Vow Unbroken

ThePromiseOfBreezeHill  The Promise of Breeze Hill

Freedom's Ring   Freedom’s Ring

MHBISV  My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley

32867786  Embracing Hope

Many Sparrows  Many Sparrows

12DaysAtBleaklyManor 12 Days at Bleakly Manor

TheLastSummer The Last Summer

ChristmasAtCarnton  Christmas at Carnton

Author’s Interviewed:

CarylMcAdoo  Caryl McAdoo

LoriBenton2  Lori Benton

Cover Reveal & Author Interview

TheEstherParadigm The Esther Paradigm


Let’s Connect:

Which of the books reviewed in August are you looking forward to reading?
Maybe you have read one of the books featured in August, which one?

First Line Fridays (8/4/17) To Wager Her Heart

Here we are, the first Friday in August! Is it just me or is summer just flying by?  Make sure you enter the giveaway running this week (click here) for a author signed, printed copy of ‘A Name Unknown‘ by Roseanna White.

Today I’m happy to be featuring ‘To Wager Her Heart’ by Tamera Alexander. This wonderful book is scheduled for release August 8, 2017.  Don’t miss my review (click here).


Nashville, Tennessee
August 9, 1871

Alexandra Jamison had always wanted a sister.




As a special bonus from Tamera Alexander you can start reading ‘To Wager Her Heart’ early by visiting Tamera’s web page.

(or clicking here)




Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line & then head over to see what First Lines these friends are sharing today:

 Fiction Aficionado // Reading is my SuperPower // Bibliophile Reviews //
Bookworm Mamma // Robin’s Nest // All the Book Blog Names are Taken //
Faithfully Bookish // Radiant Light // Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen //
With A Joyful Noise // Kathleen Denly // Romances of the Cross // Jane Reads //
Singing Librarian // Moments Dipped In Ink // A Baker’s Perspective //
Lauraine’s Notes //Moments Dipped In Ink // Molly’s Cafinated Reads //
It’s Story Time with Van Daniker // Iola Goulton //

Please give a warm welcome to our newest member Nichole Santana. You can find her blog and First Line Friday feature at: The Christian Fiction Girl


If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact
Carrie at Reading is my SuperPower.




To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation #3) by: Tamera Alexander


With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancee—and what has broken her heart.

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both. Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won

My Review:

There are many layers to this story to appreciate. Multifaceted, realistic characters that leap off the page and came to life in my imagination. Rich, historical details that are woven into the story so seamlessly that you may not even realize that you are getting a history lesson. And a beautiful reminder that God never leaves us, even when our fears loom large, He is always there.

TWHH-3Alexandra is a strong independent young woman, who is dealing with the tragic death of her fiance. She has a servant’s heart, and she desires to help educate the freedmen (and women) at Fisk University. Her traditional southern parents are in strong opposition to her  dream to teach and insist on an arranged marriage.  Following the call that God put on her heart, she leaves her family and embarks on a journey that will change her life. She soon becomes fast friends with Ella Sheppard a teacher at Fisk University and singer with the Jubilee Singing group. Will Alexandra be able to stand on her own without her family support and will she be able to face her greatest fear?

TWHH-1Sylas Rutledge, Sy to his friends is new to the railroad business and determined to build up his railroad and make a name for himself, and earn enough to purchase land in Colorado to start his own ranch. He is also searching out the truth behind the train accident that not only was ruled his father’s fault but took his father’s life.

When his path crosses that of Alexandra’s he finds himself charmed by her independent spirit, and he feels compelled to learn more about her.  He doesn’t waste any time talking her into helping smooth out his rough western traits, into southern charm, and agrees to share with her what he finds out about the train accident that also took the life of her fiance.

JubileeFlyerOne of the many interesting historical threads in this story is about Fisk University and the Jubilee Singers. I enjoyed learning about this school and these talented singers, who not only had a strong desire to see their school become successful but more importantly they had a strong faith in God.

In my search online I found a photo of one of the many flyers that announced performances and listed the songs to be performed. This is a flyer for a concert held in Cincinnati, OH in September 1881.

A song mentioned throughout this book is “Give Me Jesus”. I have found this song on my mind frequently over the past few days. For those not familiar with the song, click here to listen.

As I’m sure you can surmise from my review, ‘To Wager Her Heart’ is a history loving readers dream come true! Of course, I’m only giving you a small sampling of the wonderful things you will discover in this fantastic story. I do hope that you will rush out to your local book seller and pick up a copy for yourself to read! If you still aren’t sure because you didn’t read the other two books in the Belle Meade series, let me assure you that this is a stand alone novel, you won’t feel lost in the least. However, the other two books are fantastic also.

Visitors to Tamera’s webpage can read the first three chapters of ‘To Wager Her Heart’.

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“No matter where you are going, God is already there. There is nowhere we can go where He is not already there, holding us in the palm of his hand.”


Bonus Material:

Phillip Bliss
Philip Bliss was a famous Christian song writer in History. Our hero, Sy meets him on a train and they become good friends. I was interested to know more about Philip Bliss and thus, I did a little searching. To learn more about Philip Bliss (click here)

About the Author:

TameraAlexanderTamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling
novelist and one of today’s most beloved authors of Christian historical romance. Her works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, among them the Christy Award, the RITA Award, the Carol Award, Library Journal’s top honors, and have earned the distinction of Publisher’s Weekly Starred Reviews. Her deeply drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide.
Tamera and her husband reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Nashville’s Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation , the setting of Tamera’s #1 CBA bestselling Southern series. Her upcoming series, the Carnton Novels , launches in fall 2017 with Christmas at Carnton  (October 3, 2017), a Christmas story, which is set at Franklin, Tennessee’s historic Carnton Plantation.

I’d love to hear from you:

What is it about Historical Fiction that you most enjoy?