BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed That Night by Chevy Stevens

That Night by Chevy Stevens I was kind of obsessed with this one. It starts out with Toni Murphy getting out of prison. We learn that we went in just after she finished high school for murdering her sister. The story goes back and forth past to present leading up to the murder, and the present where she’s trying to figure out how to live after spending a dozen years in prison. In the past we learn that Toni is getting horribly bullied by Shawna, who seems determined to destroy Toni and keep her destroyed. Of course Toni didn’t murder her sister, we’re all on board with that. But over the course of the story she figures out who actually did. The thing that gets me is that how can she go on knowing she lost 12 years of her life for a crime that she didn’t commit.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed The Breakdown by BA Paris

The Breakdown by BA Paris Cass was driving home late one night when she saw a car on the side of the road in the woods, her friend was in the car. She didn’t stop to see what was going on, and the friend got murdered. She is profoundly and terribly impacted by the murder. But then the rest of her reality starts to slip as well. Her mother had suffered from early onset dementia and she starts to wonder if she will as well. She’s forgetful, she loses track of things, she gets incredibly paranoid after a prank caller harasses her every single day. She is absolutely losing it. Then she discovers there is a more sinister reason why she seems to be losing it. Totally twisted around in the best possible way.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah This one was all anyone could talk about on the reading groups on Facebook, and man did it live up to the hype. For me Kristin Hannah is hit or miss. Like her Firefly Lane, I thought, was sappy. But she does some great historical novels, like this one. This one takes place during the Great Depression. The story starts out in northwestern Texas where Elsa starts out. She’s the “ugly duckling” of her family and gets pregnant unexpectedly in a fling. Her family throws her out and she ends up living with her new shotgun husband’s family. She falls in love with his family and their farm, not necessarily him, and devotes herself to farming the land and raising their two children. Then the depression hits along with drought. To escape starving and her son’s illness due to the massive dust storms she and the children head west to California, a few years after her husband left them in the middle of the night. This story takes us what it was like to live through the dust bowl days, what it took to head to California and the less than welcome feeling they received in California where they lived in shanty town encampments and tried to find work so they could survive. It takes us through the corporate farm with housing and the on campus store all that serves to keep the workers in debt to the farm working for pennies an hour. Very well researched and a fascinating read.

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.