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Beside the Music

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Can mailing a fan letter change a life? Brenda Dunkirk didn’t think so. She also didn’t think 80s metal star Keith Kutter would have actually read her letter. Watching him stand in the rain on her patio and compose a new song is something she never imagined. Brenda thinks she’s the luckiest woman in the world when Keith’s band, Hydra, and entourage declare her home their b ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Booktrope Editions
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  60 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
UPDATE: Interview with author!! Read it here:

★★★★✮  4.5 stars. You can read this review and others on my blog as well. Especially if the GIFs don't load.
Brenda lives an ordinary life with her husband Tim who she's been married to for a while, works in PR and she’s more or less happy with her life. But… Brenda has several nagging problems:
✮ She’s been married so long she's not sure Tim is the same person anymore;
✮ Tim frantically checks her protection, because even 7 years
Elle's Book Blog
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: standalones, chicklit
:: 4.5 Pretty Little Stars ::

I found this to be a very humorous and fun novel. I love the idea of this book- Women sends letter to an 80’s rockstar, they meet, he and his bandmates stay at her home with her and her husband to record music after so many years of being away from it, debauchery ensues, this debauchery stirs up her marriage. The whole idea of all of this is quite unique (I haven’t read anything like this before) so it was easy to immerse myself into the pages. I loved the characte
Dee Arr
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
It's been a long time since I read a book like "Beside the Music." I had few expectations when I began the book, and I based my initial low level of interest on the sales pitch for the book. I anticipated an illicit PG-13 love interest, trying desperately to hide the facts from her husband, eventually winding down to an unsatisfactory conclusion. What I found was a fascinating character study. Here's a quick rundown, without spoilers:

The Writing -- I was not prepared for Brenda and her non-stop
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fell Short

For me this was a very tedious read. The premise of the story was interesting at first but as the story progressed I lost interest. An overbearing mother and a son too weak to stir the proverbial pot made for a lot of irritation rather than humorous. That woman should have been put in her place long beforehand.

Unlike many of the reviews, hilarious never once crossed my mind. Irritating did though...lots. No matter the infatuation, would any of us and/or our significant others reaaally
Stacy McCain
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: gtgr-arc
BESIDE THE MUSIC by BJ Knapp was a roller coaster read. The characters go from likeable to not likeable to likeable again. It reads like the main character is a teenager again with the responsibilities of an adult and I thought that was the author's point. The story follows Brenda, a PR professional, that picks up a book at the library about the bass player for her favorite band when she was a teenager. When she finishes, she writes him a letter thinking that she can save his horrible image. Wha ...more
Megan Johnson
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I wanted to love this book because the premise of it sounded just so interesting. Don't we all dream of being able to hang out with our favorite rock bands?!

When the author of this book contacted me about the possibility of reviewing her book, I was excited to get started. It's pretty different from most of the things I normally pick up so I approached it with an excited and open mind.

Sadly, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. It's not that the story is bad or that it was poorly writte
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this as a e-book from a site called Library thing. I enjoyed reading it. It is a fiction book about a American woman and her husband meeting a Aussie rock Star. It had a good story to it. I also liked the ending of it too. I hope to read more books by this author.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
How many of you can remember your favorite rock band from back in your teen years? You read Teen Beat or Tiger Beat hoping that you would get to see something on your favorite guy in the band. What would you do years later if you had the chance to have that special guy meet your for lunch…with your husband? That’s what happened to Brenda when the guy and the band she fangirled over was bass player Keith from the Aussie band Hydra.

Hydra wanted to make a comeback but had an uphill battle since Kei
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Finding your way fans
Recommended to Molly by: Axpreaderland
What would happen if one of the biggest idols of your younger life suddenly appeared on your doorstep and asked you to be a part of his next project?

What would happen if you somehow found yourself playing second fiddle to everything in your husband's life that he seemed to act like had more importance? Does he stop whatever you're doing, even in bed, to take a call from his mother?


Bizarre adventure of a middle aged female trying to figure out how to make the dreams she had fo
Diane Michaels
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The notion of a once-popular band moving into a fan’s home to write the songs for their comeback album is the stuff of fantasy. Without question, an author could ramp up the glam factor of the rock stars, turing the book into a fun, light read. BJ Knapp chose a different, no less fun path, and this is why I loved “Beside the Music.” Her novel dwells in the messiness of real life. It is the mixture of the rock ’n’ roll fantasy, mundane issues like shower schedules, and the conflicts between the t ...more
Cyrene Olson
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Uncaged Book Reviews:

This is a really fun, easy read with a truly relatable story. Relatable in the sense that it felt as if I was reading the true testimony (of a couple throughout their marriage). From beginning to end I couldn’t stop thinking about all those 80’s bands like Poison, White Snake, Motley Crue -and so on- and whether they’d be anything like the band in the book or not. And also, it really pleases me that this book has got a pretty strong, definitive ending. Would recommend -to as
Etta Zasloff
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Drugs, sex, and rock and roll - that is what I expected from the title and cover of this novel. There is a little of each, but the story that B.J. Knapp tells through Brenda Dunkirk is really an analysis of what is important in life. I felt it was a little slow in the beginning and built on an unrealistic premise, but I ended up liking it very much. Her characters, especially Brenda and Tim, are real and pulled me into the drama, before I gave up on it. I like realism, and this book certainly de ...more
Roberta R. Carr
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, light read

The story held my interest. I enjoyed watching Brenda live out her fantasy. The mother-in-law’s turnaround was a bit unbelievable, and Brenda did too much internal thinking for my taste. The fake fans cracked me up. I look forward to reading more stories by this author.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be Careful What You Wish For

This was a good read about having your teenage fantasy come true. The problem is when you have an adult life and your fantasy is ruining all of it! Who of us wouldn't want to have our favorite rock band move in with us? It's not as pretty as it seems. This book had humor that I really enjoyed. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did!
Amy Shannon
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

It's an interesting story and the character of Brenda helps paint the picture of the story. She's a very indepth character who speaks her mind. I enjoyed the premise of the story and like how the fandom can interfere with Brenda's life, including work and her marriage. It's filled with chaos but it works. A very entertaining story.
Tracey Ryan
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great characters that brought me back to the 80s! A truly fun read!
Tracy Fritts
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
I thought it was a good story and it kept my interest from the first chapter.
D Narra
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fun read! At about 200 pgs this is a great book for a light/fun read for all of those who wonder what it would be like to meet a favorite rock star from your High School years.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a very fun and relatable read.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this a hilarious, entertaining story. A far-fetched tale was brought to life through well written characters and thoughtfully developed plot lines. Well worth reading.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Ever wonder what would happen if you actually wrote that fan letter to the band you loved? Well, Brenda did and what follows is a whirlwind adventure of what happens when a rock band shows up on your doorstep. It is everything the stereotypes would lead you to believe. Beside the Music is an entertaining, quick read to dive in to. Brenda and her husband Tim were very much relatable and you wanted to love and hate Keith Kutter, total rockstar, throughout the entire book. The ending was cute and s ...more
Kimberly Westrope
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story was everything i wanted it to be and more. Being a dedicated music fan myself, I loved the idea of connected and hosting a favorite rock band in your very own home while they record their new album. Who wouldn't? But, when fantasy becomes reality, Brenda and Tim get a lot more than they bargained for.

I love how the relationship between Brenda and Time develops. It is very plausible and has a huge dose of reality. The reality of living with aged rock stars seemed very believable as we
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
As I sit here pondering what I just read I'm not exactly sure how I feel. That's a lie....I guess the word I can use to best describe Behind the Music would be 'lacking'. Ughhhhhh, I really hate that I had to say that, because there are parts of the book that were amazing, but I can't get over the feeling that something was missing. Let me see if I can describe what I'm talking about....without giving too much away.

Brenda and Tim have a troubled relationship. He's a business owner, running for o
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a former musician, I was really looking forward to reading this book. I'm happy to say that the author didn't let me down!

What happens when a former 80s supergroup on the comeback trail ends up living in your house? One thing's for sure, it's not going to be dull.

Brenda, the main character is in desperate need of a little excitement in her life. Her marriage is stale and she's looking to rekindle that spark in other areas of life. That (and one fan letter later) is how Hydra (the 80s band)
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I thank the author for that.
This book was alright. Not my style, but I decided to give it a chance.
The characters were well described, the plot was ok, and there were parts that were really funny.
The problem was that little things happen for such a long book. Sometimes it felt like a copy paste on separate pages, she would say the same things in other words. I felt like the author wanted just to fill space.
Also, I disliked Tim. He was supp
Fluff Smut & Murder
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Who didn’t have a crush on a rock band in their teens? When I think of the bands that covered my walls back in the day (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode), I remember all of the dreams and fantasies they were involved in. Back then, they were the demi-gods in my life; now, I’d probably ask if they can remember the lyrics to the obscure track on an early album (i.e. “Satellite” off DM A Broken Frame).

What I loved: The premise – how could you NOT have your favorite band take up residence
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review. "Beside The Music" is an entertaining and funny novel. A fan, Brenda, wrote a letter to the band Hydra. A band she loved when she was a teenager. She did not expect a reply. What she got was a lot more than she bargained for. The band Hydra shows up at her doorstep. Brenda becomes their muse. The band Hydra disrupts Bred's life. Her marriage and work suffer. The band refuses to leave until the album is fini ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
What happens when you mail a fan letter? Well, Brenda didn't expect for her house to be invaded by rockstars that's for sure.
This story takes you on a ride of a middle aged women who writes to her former favorite band she grew up with.. I shall not name why she did this, as you will have to read that part.
Brenda has to decide if she wants to relive her wild years, or continue on the path her life is taking her. I loved watching not only her but her husband take this journey. There were some pa
Rebecca Markus
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it

Beside the Music is the perfect summer read for anyone who crushed on a rock band in the 80s. What if that rock band showed up at your door today and wanted to live in your house while they recorded their comeback album? Would you say yes? Brenda did. And just as her husband doesn’t think it’s the right time to start a family, it’s definitely not the right time to bring a rock band and their entourage into their home. But it happens anyway.

BJ Knapp’s writing is casual and quick to read. I love h
Feb 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is the my least favourite book ever.

Nothing about it was good, the story and the writing was so bland it felt like B.J knapp was making her own little dull housewife daydream in to a book. Pages full of dog walks and contemplations of why she and her husband are not dining at the dining table anymore. The husband, being the only likeable character in the entire book, is getting so much shit from our female lead, Goodness, I disliked her so much and I really, really longed for the book to e
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