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Beside the Music

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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 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 base camp while recording their comeback album. She fantasizes about late night lyric writing sessions at her kitchen table and being the first one to hear all the new songs. She is confident that with her help the band will get back on top where they belong. Swept up in the glamour of being the rock and roll muse, Brenda risks her already faltering marriage. Tim, her husband, walks out on her and Hydra’s chaos, and to make matters worse her boss is threatening to fire her if she doesn’t her act together at work. The band will not leave until the album is done--it could be another month or it could be another year. Ultimately Brenda must choose between the secure contentment of her marriage or the allure of rock and roll. She must decide: is it possible to be one man’s wife and another man’s muse?


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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 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 base camp while recording their comeback album. She fantasizes about late night lyric writing sessions at her kitchen table and being the first one to hear all the new songs. She is confident that with her help the band will get back on top where they belong. Swept up in the glamour of being the rock and roll muse, Brenda risks her already faltering marriage. Tim, her husband, walks out on her and Hydra’s chaos, and to make matters worse her boss is threatening to fire her if she doesn’t her act together at work. The band will not leave until the album is done--it could be another month or it could be another year. Ultimately Brenda must choose between the secure contentment of her marriage or the allure of rock and roll. She must decide: is it possible to be one man’s wife and another man’s muse?

30 review for Beside the Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    UPDATE: Interview with author!! Read it here: https://goo.gl/jerdGk ★★★★✮  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 year UPDATE: Interview with author!! Read it here: https://goo.gl/jerdGk ★★★★✮  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 in, he's still terrified of having children; ✮ Both Tim and herself don’t do much of anything anymore, aside from work; ✮ Brenda's mother-in-law STILL hates her, after all these years. She doesn’t just hate her, she constantly embarrasses her in public, treating her as a rag. (Naw, just kidding, Brenda's not really like that pic.) So far it sounds like most chick lit, right? But somehow… It isn’t. I’ll get to that. Brenda randomly decides to write a letter to the band she loved as a teen, and things go snowballing from there - until she finds herself hosting be band and a swarm of their roadies in her own home. As it turns out, having a band of rock'n'roll band on your front lawn 24/7 is not as cool as you'd think. Or on your back yard. On basically in your bedroom. So Brenda is forced to make some really tough choices – choices that may either make or break her marriage, her career and any sort of normal life she had before all this. And that where this book strays from most chick lit, in my opinion. It isn't centered on romance or wittiness at all, it's centered on character growth and real life struggles.  This is a sort of… coming of age story. A coming of age in the setting of pre-middle age slash mid-marriage crisis. I really loved the fact that Brenda is a pretty unreliable narrator. She can’t seem to make up her mind whether she loves her husband, or doesn’t trust him, whether she hates the asshole rockstar or swoons over him. She lacks the backbone to tell anyone how she truly feels – be it the mother-in-law who constantly steps on her pride, or the band (that  literally steps over everything she is and has). Brenda thinks that she can ‘fix’ the rockstar – she goes through this self-sacrificing illusion that a lot of women have about men, bad, broken men – that if only she did this much, she could save him! While being completely oblivious to the fact that the person in question might not even require saving, and while not being a total villain, he still is petty, childish, egocentric and, well, kind of an asshole. In the end, I loved Brenda’s growth tremendously. She had a really natural turn around of character, and she ended up being strong-willed and very likeable (although she was likeable throughout the whole story). I also loved the fact that Brenda was like a two-sided coin – at times she could act like a silly teen, at times – like a wise grown woman. I think it’s true about most of us – that there is a time in every woman’s life when she’s got to give up her childish illusions and face the real world. I especially respect the author for writing a character like that , because I don’t believe it is easy to write someone who acts both childishly and smart at the same time, and pull it off in a natural way – like it still seems it’s the same person. To sum it up, you’ll love this if: ✮ You like real life characters (all characters in the book were very nicely done and realistic) ✮ You like strong women and character growth ✮ Would like to read about the life band members live ✮ …would like to stay up at night reading So my opinion is, if you don’t read only fantasy or scifi, do give this a go! It’s a great book. And if you’d like to hear more about it – sometime this month I will be posting an interview with the lovely BJ Knapp, author of Beside The Music! So check back on my blog for that, if you're interested.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    :: 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 :: 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 characters specifically Brenda. She is such a people pleaser but goes a little too far when it comes to the bandmates and their antics. So far that it causes a rift in her marriage. But Brenda just wants to help these people… she doesn’t even realize in doing so that she is hurting herself and her family. Overall if you’re looking for a quirky and funny tale than I strongly suggest picking this one up. It was a breath of fresh air for me because the read it light yet fun. There isn’t too much drama only the kind that comes from having unwanted guests in your home… The writing style of this book is great! The story flows well, the characters fit into the story like a glove, and the ending is satisfying. I can’t wait to read more books by the author in the future as she clearly has a knack for writing! Overall rating: 4.5 stars ** ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review **

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    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 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 comments. The main character's thoughts tumble constantly from her brain, a thoughtful, frenetic jumble that sometimes rambles yet always makes sense. It is a stream of consciousness that accurately reflects Brenda's mood and the events that rock her world. This propelled the pace of the book, never allowing the reader to become bored. As the plot unwinds and Brenda's world begins to come apart, her raw emotions color the words and it is easy to picture the frustration and anger that emerges. I also loved the strong character descriptions. Yes, we get them all from Brenda, but she has a knack for description, painting pictures that can make even the toughest reader smile. The Plot -- Ms. Knapp has written a nice, tight novel by focusing on one question: What happens if one of your teen idols walks into your adult life? There are enough avenues to travel down without expanding into many different directions at once, and the author explores a number of them without losing her way. And by the Way -- In keeping with Brenda's mood, her language goes from professional business woman to pro wrestler. In the first third of the book, I could count the number of f-bombs on one hand. As one disaster after another began to occur, Brenda began to lose control until the bombs became multiple warheads. Not saying yea or nay on the use of colorful language, just letting you know it is there. Overall -- Definitely a winner. Strong writing, flawless editing, always entertaining. You can't go wrong with this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caryn

    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 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 put up with the crap Tim did Brenda did! I guess that is where the book is meant to be a comedy but it just fell flat for me. My reasoning for 3 stars, not 2, is that the concept was good in spite of it all. As a final thought, the old rich mama-bear was so unlikable that she should have had an early exit.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    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 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. What unfolds is a novel full of temperament and impulsivity issues. Will she get her shot to be behind the revival of the band or will she remain on the outside looking in? What is it that Brenda is really looking for? It did take a while to get into the story and the characters. Brenda is not overly likeable - she constantly complains but never seems to try and communicate with her husband. It's hard to remember her age most of the time. Her husband is running for Senate and trying to support her dreams of being a groupie but is not willing to go as far as she is for the band. Keith is just what she says he is - an a$$. The story picks up in the last third, reads fast, and was worth the read by the end. If you are a fan of 80's metal, ever wondered what happens to those rock stars as they grow older, or just want to remember what it was like to be a teenage groupie, this read is meant for you! 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this novel from Great Thoughts' Great Readers in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megan Johnson

    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 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 written, because that wasn't the case at all. I simply found that I couldn't get into the story. Maybe it's because I don't understand the glitz and glamour of the rich and famous, or maybe I just didn't personally identify with the characters. But regardless of what it was, everything about the story just seemed so overly superficial. What did I think?: This one won't be going on my list of favorites but I honestly attribute that almost entirely to personal preference. It still packs an endearing message and I enjoyed seeing what happened all the way to the end. Who should read it?: If you love music, rock and roll, or have a curiosity for what happens to your favorite bands after they fall from the peak of popularity, this read is perfect for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Doris

    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 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 Keith’s drunk driving accident, which ended up making his son a paraplegic. Because of his rock star status he got off from any charges and never publicly made any type of apology for his actions. As you can guess the public had turned on the band and Hydra fell into obscurity. Brenda had sent a fan letter to Keith which led to a lunch date. From there the band and their entourage moved in to Brenda and Tim’s home for the duration of Hydra recording their comeback album. Brenda and Tim were beginning to fall out of touch with their relationship due to their careers, Tim running for State Senate of Rhode Island, a bitchy mother-in-law, and being on opposite ends of when to start a family of their own. Now add in all of the drama of a circus with the rock band in your home and it pushes Tim over the edge and he leaves Brenda with her rock star fantasy to deal with on her own which is crazy since her fantasy has now turned into her nightmare. It didn’t help the marriage any with Tim walking in and finding Keith and Brenda in a major lip lock. Was Brenda ready to throw it all away for a chance with her rock star crush or was she able to get a handle not just on her relationship with Tim but also with her job that was taking a major hit with all the drama that was in her house? How do you handle your rock star fantasy without losing what is really important to you? This book was provided as an ARC by NetGalley for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Black

    This story was a good one that is well written and easy to read. The premise of the story, "a laugh out loud romantic comedy", is not accurate, for if this is the author's idea of a light-hearted comedy, I dread to think what I would find in a dramatic rendering of her work. As a result, I found the write-up misleading and that it did not accurately reflect the contents of the novel. I would like to see a more accurately written premise,so as to not disappoint reader's of what to actually expect This story was a good one that is well written and easy to read. The premise of the story, "a laugh out loud romantic comedy", is not accurate, for if this is the author's idea of a light-hearted comedy, I dread to think what I would find in a dramatic rendering of her work. As a result, I found the write-up misleading and that it did not accurately reflect the contents of the novel. I would like to see a more accurately written premise,so as to not disappoint reader's of what to actually expect the contents to contain. This drama tells the tale of the main male and female characters who have let the marital bond slide in deference to outside influences. When we are introduced to the two main characters, we are privy to their eroded relationship and the listlessness of the main female character surviving the apathetic state of her marriage. The "walled-in", "closed-off", operating parameters of the main male character, assisted in feeding into the general mood of apathy, surrounding this couple's marital health. Throw in a second male character, the protagonist in this tale, who agitated the main male and female's complacent relationship and life style. The characterizations were very well done, good descriptors, good detail, especially showcasing flaws, so as to draw the reader into being able to relate to the dilemmas faced be these characters. For the most part, the majority of characters showed insight into their perspectives and behavior. Some of the characters even showed growth during the course of this tale. The issues raised were , in the main, serious life issues - certainly no laughing matters at these juncture. This story featured many a poignant scene, and showed frustration, futility, apathy, disrespect, marital breakdown and rebuilding, sòrrow, family intricacies, regret, and most of all, forgiveness. A solid dramatic read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    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? SPOILER ALERTS!!!! Bizarre adventure of a middle aged female trying to figure out how to make the dreams she had fo 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? SPOILER ALERTS!!!! Bizarre adventure of a middle aged female trying to figure out how to make the dreams she had for her life and family fit with the realities. Sometimes quite funny. My personal vote? Keep the beagle, keep the boss/ mentor who now lets you work on projects that have real meaning to you. Dump the husband, the band, and the aging rockers. Sadly for me, perhaps more sadly for her, our heroine does keep the husband, and gets a baby on the way. The rocker gets some good publicity, gets to see his son, and makes some real headway towards success in a new market and friends with our heroine and her husband. Moving "find your way in the life you're living, not the life you dreamed or planned" story. I enjoyed reading an advance copy of this story, and am looking forward to more from this author.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Woods

    Whilst the story starts off a little slow, the pace quickly picks up and makes it an easy read. This is a book about the complexities of relationships, including the stresses, paranoias, and frustrations of marriage. Of course, there are plenty of tender, loving moments as well. In this way, it’s quite an accurate portrayal of real life with its plentiful ups and downs. The story of 80s rock band ‘Hydra’ moving into the couple’s house provides the backdrop but certainly doesn’t become the backgrou Whilst the story starts off a little slow, the pace quickly picks up and makes it an easy read. This is a book about the complexities of relationships, including the stresses, paranoias, and frustrations of marriage. Of course, there are plenty of tender, loving moments as well. In this way, it’s quite an accurate portrayal of real life with its plentiful ups and downs. The story of 80s rock band ‘Hydra’ moving into the couple’s house provides the backdrop but certainly doesn’t become the background. The behaviour of the band provides both amusing and frustrating moments. Whilst the story is advertised as ‘laugh out loud’, I can’t say it quite struck me that way. The story is too emotionally turbulent for that. I guess humour strikes different people differently! I enjoyed ‘Beside the Music’ although there were a few irritating moments that felt either unrealistic or plain contrived. The ending is very ‘happily ever after’ and neatly tied up. Personally, I prefer a book that leaves me with a few questions to ponder over the following days, but a sweet ending isn’t unpleasant. Overall, a nice story with some decent, well thought out characters and a good flow. Falls slightly short of perfect for me but definitely a fun read that requires little intense concentration.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane Michaels

    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 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 three main characters that brings this book to life. Knapp has a gift for character development. Brenda, her husband Tim, and rock star Keith are multi-dimensional characters capable of evolving. Whether they will change—or change for the better—kept me engaged with the story. And she brings the music to life. I dare you not to tap your foot along with the songs the band writes despite the fact that they are fictional creations. This is definitely a book to add to your TBR pile!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cyrene Olson

    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 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 many 80’s obsessed girls as me as I can find. Rock on! Reviewed by Milady Full review at UncagedBooks.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julia Goldhirsh

    So this isn't usually the sort of thing I would read, but the blurb caught my interest, and I wasn't disappointed. The marriage in the book is so well-depicted that you feel a part of the relationship and I ended up laughing and getting teary eyed with all the ups and downs. It really gets interesting when Keith's character gets introduced. Tim, the husband, is infuriated by his bs and his rockstar attitude. Brenda on the other hand gets a little blinded being part of the excitement. Additionall So this isn't usually the sort of thing I would read, but the blurb caught my interest, and I wasn't disappointed. The marriage in the book is so well-depicted that you feel a part of the relationship and I ended up laughing and getting teary eyed with all the ups and downs. It really gets interesting when Keith's character gets introduced. Tim, the husband, is infuriated by his bs and his rockstar attitude. Brenda on the other hand gets a little blinded being part of the excitement. Additionally, I really felt like the ending to the book was really fitting, and in that time they come full circle from the beginning.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    What fun this was to read! It brought my teenage rock and roll crushes....Beachboys, Davy Jones, Bobby Vinton, Paul McCartney, etc. I could relate to Brenda when the songs came on the radio! My mind goes back to those days😀. But Brenda gets the chance of a lifetime to actually meet her crush and the drama begins. As with most couples, Brenda and her hubby,Tim, are very different and Tim sees the down side of this association while Brenda has stars in her eyes😀. I laughed out loud, was frustrated What fun this was to read! It brought my teenage rock and roll crushes....Beachboys, Davy Jones, Bobby Vinton, Paul McCartney, etc. I could relate to Brenda when the songs came on the radio! My mind goes back to those days😀. But Brenda gets the chance of a lifetime to actually meet her crush and the drama begins. As with most couples, Brenda and her hubby,Tim, are very different and Tim sees the down side of this association while Brenda has stars in her eyes😀. I laughed out loud, was frustrated and angry while reading this story. BJ has done an excellent job of crafting a story and characters that are both believable and relatable. I received a complimentary copy of this book

  16. 5 out of 5

    Etta Zasloff

    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 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 delivers on many fronts, and reads like true life, especially the ending.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This was a humorous and entertaining read about a couple hosting an 80s rock star in their home while their band worked on making a come back. Drama and cringe moments ensues while the woman tried to maintain control in her home and ultimately causing a rift in her marriage. While the problems with the band may have contributed to the strain of their marriage, it was a wake up call for them leading to them finding a way to solve their marital issues. This was a fun, fast-paced and engaging read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nati

    Brenda and Tim’s marriage is suffering. Their connection is weaker than before, hiswidow mother is always interfering, Brenda is focused in her promotion at work and tim in his campaign as a state senator. Can a letter to her teenager rock and roll idol change their life? Meeting Keith will disrupt Brenda and Tim’s world and will tear them apart or bring them together. I received a free copy of this book and I voluntarily reviewed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

    Unexpected. 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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    SandraBarg

    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!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Brookes

    A fun read with some excellent lol moments. The relationships and situations encountered are both challenging and humorous at different times. I particularly enjoyed the mother-in-law moments! All in all, this book is enjoyable light reading packed with humour.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Fritts

    I thought it was a good story and it kept my interest from the first chapter.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Ryan

    Great characters that brought me back to the 80s! A truly fun read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    D Narra

    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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shebb

    This was an interesting book for me to read, but not because I found it hilarious. In fact, I scanned a few other reviews which said the book was funny and sat back to think if I laughed at all while I read this book? I know I did with an anecdotal story one of the characters shared, but the rest of the time was spent in concern, shock and awe of the events which sent Brenda's entire life into a spin. Mind you, I did giggle at a few 'Australianisms' the author threw in, and laughed at the commen This was an interesting book for me to read, but not because I found it hilarious. In fact, I scanned a few other reviews which said the book was funny and sat back to think if I laughed at all while I read this book? I know I did with an anecdotal story one of the characters shared, but the rest of the time was spent in concern, shock and awe of the events which sent Brenda's entire life into a spin. Mind you, I did giggle at a few 'Australianisms' the author threw in, and laughed at the comments about their posh Aussie accents. I don't think we Australians are ever called posh... people think we talk okka, ha ha ha. I tangent! BJ painted the perfect picture of a marriage on the rocks from the first chapter. Those first glimpses of unhappiness, dysfunction and insecurity helped set the tone for the entire book. I was constantly asking myself questions about Tim's fidelity because of Brenda's fears with Aria, and his mummy-boy tendencies frustrated me to no end (I've witnessed a marriage breakdown for that reason). Let's not forget the narcissistic bass player Keith Kutter. I'm not sure I could've coped with his personality. 😱 The choices these characters made and responses to certain situations boggled my mind at times. It was fascinating! Oh, and the number of times things went wrong for Brenda, whether because of a misunderstanding or a stupid choice, had me cringing/sitting on the edge of my seat/peeking the ebook through spread fingers more times than I can count! 😂 A fascinating read! NB I received an ARC of the novel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Gordon

    This is a good book for those who can relate to being into bands in their teens. I wasn't able to get into this book. I was given this book for free. This is my freely given honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    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 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 satisfying and I flew through it in no time. A perfect random book when you're in between genres and just want to read something light and amusing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Westrope

    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 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 well. This was an extremely fun, though not always uplifting, read. There are a lot of funny parts as well as the hurtful parts, but in the end, it's about life. And life is full of ups and downs. It's how you deal with them that makes or breaks you. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes stories about musicians. I would definitely read more by this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    CommonBookSense

    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 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 office and she's a publicist, longing to have children. Tim's mother, Portia, isn't a huge fan of Brenda...and Tim allows her to pretty much dictate his life, regardless of how that makes his wife feel. Oh, and Tim has a gorgeous campaign manager, Aria, who just so happened to find her way into his life via his controlling mother. Okay, so Brenda and Tim meet Keith Kutter, entitled 80's superstar, as a result of Brenda reaching out to him, after reading his memoir. The initial meeting was at an upscale restaurant, where Keith lived up to every stereotypical label possible....the paparazzi showed up, Keith blamed Brenda for setting him up, and with the help of his bodyguard (Mike), he easily escaped. Through some strange twist of fate Keith and Brenda cross paths again, and thus Behind the Music is born. So, now you're wondering what the problem is, right? The content that was provided was excellent. The characters were well developed and the story line flowed quite nicely, but it needed more. For example, Mike (the bodyguard) started out as a pretty important, and strong character.....then he vanished. Then, you have Tim & Aria's relationship. It's obvious that Brenda is jealous over the amount of time that her husband spends with his manager (there is even some very questionable situations), but she never, NOT ONCE, voices her concerns. Why?!?!?!? In the end, although some questions remain unanswered, everything comes together beautifully. You don't often hear me express my feelings on how a book ends (mostly because I loathe endings), but this one came together better than I expected and I loved it. You can find this review (along with many more) here, on the CommonBookSense blog!

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