BJ’s Standout Reads: June 2018

Summer is here! Here are a few things I read this month that will round out your summer reading list.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music read and enjoyed Good as Gone by Amy GentryGood as Gone by Amy Gentry

This one kept me guessing the whole time.  Julie is kidnapped from her home at age 13.  Years later, when she’s in her early 20s she randomly returns home.  But the problem is, what does her former family even do with Julie now that she’s home?  Julie told them a story of being kidnapped by Mexican human traffickers, but something about her story doesn’t quite add up.  Her mom, Anna, does some digging and this one left me to wonder whether Julie was really Julie, or was she some scammer looking to take advantage of the Whittaker family.  It can go either way during the entire story, and this story will make you second guess every character until the very end. 

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music read and enjoyed So the Heart Can Dance by Mary CrawfordSo the Heart Can Dance by Mary Crawford

This is the second book in a series.  I didn’t read the first one and I was able to pick right up on the story.  Tara was an accomplished dancer when she was young, her future was insanely bright and she toured the world with her dance partner Rory.  When Tara turned 14 she was raped, and couldn’t bring herself to dance again.  Her childhood best friend, Rory’s brother Aidan, was an accomplished musician with Julliard on the horizon until he went deaf as a result of meningitis.  She stopped dancing, he stopped playing, and as a result they lost track of each other over the years.  Until they meet at her best friend’s wedding.  Aidan was able to recover his hearing with cochlear implants and is trying to become the musician he once was.  Tara is going nowhere fast.  But when they reconnect sparks fly between them.  She supports him in his music career, and he is trying to get her to dance again.  However, her rape comes between them in the worst way.  Will his music career take off even though he’s technically deaf?  Will she ever be able to do the one thing she loved again?  Will she be able to recover from the physical and emotional pain of being raped and trust Aidan?  I loved watching these characters grow together over the pages.  And I also love that the author is donating some of the profits from this book to RAINN. 

BJ Knapp read and enjoyed Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Years ago I read a book about Georgia Tann.  She was a real woman who ran a child adoption ring until the 1950s.  She was a scoundrel and sold stolen children to wealthy families.  She also lobbied the government for legislation around sealed adoptions, and to this day it is very difficult for adopted and birth parents to connect as a result of Georgia Tann’s work.  I remember reading one insane story about how a Congressman’s daughter was giving birth and the baby ended up being still born.  One call to Georgia Tann and a baby was placed in the daughter’s arms without the daughter even knowing the baby wasn’t hers.  How disturbing is that?  Where did that baby come from?  What happened to these children whose parents were deceived into giving them up back then?  Before We Were Yours is a fictional account of a family of five children who were taken from their poverty stricken parents and placed with wealthy families that couldn’t have children of their own.  The children in this book were entirely fictional, but what happened to them was not.  The homes they lived in before they were “adopted out” i.e. sold to the highest bidder, were based on actual accounts of children who had endured them in real life—abuse, starvation, sexual assault, etc.  I was obsessed with Georgia Tann’s story back when I read that book, and Before We Were Yours kept me riveted until the very end. 

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 06.27.18

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