Tag Archives: Bella Andre

TBR Challenge Review: It Must Be Your Love by Bella Andre

It Must Be Your Love by Bella Andre
Contemporary romance released by Oak Press, LLC on November 20, 2013

It Must Be Your LoveSuccessful Seattle Realtor Mia Sullivan is nobody’s fool…apart from that one week five years ago when she gave her heart to a sexy musician who gave her nothing in return but a few sinfully perfect days—and nights—in his bed. Though she swears she never wants to see him again, he’s the one man she’s never been able to forget.

One of the hottest rock stars in the world, Ford Vincent can have any woman he wants…except Mia Sullivan. But he knows millions of strangers singing along with his songs can’t fill the hole inside him. Only Mia’s love has the power to do that—so he vows to do anything and everything it takes to win her heart again.

From the first moment they see each other again, intense sparks of attraction fly. But can Mia and Ford finally rediscover a love strong enough to last forever?

I’ve wanted to read the Sullivan books for quite some time. I’ve started a few, but life always happened, so I’m really happy I made the effort to read It Must Be Your Love.​ I want to say this is the first time I’ve intentionally broke TBR review challenge “protocol.” I did initially plan on reading a book that was published 10 years ago. I got a lot of great suggestions and decided to read one that is basically universally loved. … I couldn’t get into it. I’m not going to say which book because I don’t want to be pilloried and run out of the community. I decided to read It Must Be Your Love because it’s basically hit all my reader buttons. Successful heroine, rockstar hero, hero that is desperately in love, and lots of hero grovel. Yes please. It also is perfect (in my mind) because it’s also APAHM, and Bella Andre was the first guest of the month.

I usually talk about the character individually, but today I want to address another aspect first. Mia Sullivan ​is the youngest sibling with four older brothers. I think that really helped build her character. It gave her a great backstory, support network, and explained how she’s so strong and independent. As someone who wanted to tag along with her older brothers and as a girl she always had to work that much harder to keep up, and be kept in the fun. It’s a contributing factor to what drove her in childhood and stayed with her, making her an incredibly successful realtor with her own business at age 28. (I’m sure her family and their connections helped too, but the book doesn’t focus on that.) Mia knows who she is and what she wants. I liked that she made Ford work for it, but she didn’t act to her (or their) detriment out of pride. Mia’s a great girl and she’s someone you want as your best friend. In fact it wouldn’t hurt being her either.

Ford Vincent was an interesting twist in my opinion, with his “poor little rich boy” back story. I liked that he didn’t let it damage or define him though. Sure it affected him, but didn’t let that hold him back. Mia and Ford have their history from five years back, and while he was an asshole, I don’t think his childhood was the deciding factor. In fact I think any guy around 25 (the book actually never says Ford’s current age) with the world at his feet would have made the same demands and assumptions that he as the rockstar should have his way. Full stop. I like that from the beginning of the book once he makes up his mind to see Mia he is all in. All the way. He’s willing to make the same “sacrifices” he asked Mia to make five years ago. It’s quite the gesture.

Breaking more protocol, no real character analysis this time because while I think Mia and Ford are great, it’s the usual suspect of adjectives thrown out there. Definitely they’re people that you’ll enjoy reading about – and would want to know in real life too. They’re friendly, fun, loving, and grounded. Throw in the massive success and wealth? What’s not to love.

The romance picks up pretty much as soon as Mia and Ford meet again. It’s as if they never spent five years apart, which I found interesting. Mia makes noises and some lip service about resisting at first but in actuality does nothing of the sort. That, and the fact that (in her mind) the relationship was so “all or nothing” bothered me. Those were the only two things. On Ford’s part, it made sense, because he has to show that he’s willing to make the grand gesture by “giving up everything” – the lifestyle he’s had since ~highschool, and has changed. On Mia’s part … I wondered where her basic problem solving skills went.

The writing and characterization in It Must Be Your Love are of course excellent. Bella Andre is a wonderful writer and story teller, and everything fits in so seamlessly you don’t even think about how many little details there are that all work together. I liked fact that Ms. Andre paints a vivid picture of each character’s life, but doesn’t get bogged down in the descriptions. You get the feel of how much Mia loves houses and her jobs. How Ford commands a stadium when playing a show. Their families and the love – or lack thereof. It was a good balance I think of Mia and Ford, and with Mia as the one dragging her feet it was nice to see her family encouraging her. (Or her brothers acting like … hilarious awesome stereotypical big brothers.)

I definitely recommend It Must Be Your Love to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances, and I’m glad there’s such a backlist for me to go through. The Sullivans are a really large family, and there’s something for everyone, with a variety of characters and professions, I’m sure there’s “reader catnip” for all in this series.
Grade: B
You can buy a copy here.

SAPAHM Guest: Bella Andre

HI FRIENDS!!! IT’S MAY!!! WHEE!!! Well first of all, I didn’t realize capslock was on but then I left it because it fits. Now, I like May a lot. We’re solidly into spring up here, it’s warmer and beautiful out, summer is just around the corner, and guess what? It’s APAHM! “WTF is APAHM, Lime” do you ask? Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! The “S” is for Smithsonian. At ALBTALBS I’ve taken to celebrating the Smithsonian Heritage Months, and I love doing it. I am also  excited because we’ve got Bella Andre guesting with us to kick off the month. This is what she has to say. 🙂

Confessional Writing

All I Ever Need is YouBefore I began writing romance novels, I was a singer-songwriter who released 4 CDs, toured internationally, and wrote with hit songwriters in Nashville and Los Angeles. Joni Mitchell was my idol, and I know most people would agree that she is one of the best songwriters of all time. Now that my days are completely full writing books, I don’t write songs anymore, but I still listen to music all day long as I write. And the songwriter that I listen to most often is Taylor Swift (although I also often still go back to Joni’s “Midway”, “Amelia” and “The Gallery”). Adam Samberg’s NY city cop character, Jake Peralta, on Brooklyn 99 said it best when he explained why Taylor is his favorite singer: “Her songs makes me feel things.”

Taylor started writing songs in Nashville. We have written with the same co-writer, which is fun, but I digress. Once she started to move away from her country roots toward pop, her songs became much more like Joni’s, joining the confessional songwriting camp.

Confessional songwriting can be a truly magical thing in a talented songwriter’s hands. Can you imagine a world without “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor? Or without “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby Stills and Nash? When men write autobiographical songs about relationships, people say, “Wow, look at how he really opened up to us like that. Isn’t that great and sweet and sexy of him?” But far too often, when woman write autobiographical songs, people say, “Why is she always whining?” and “Boy, she sure gets around a lot, doesn’t she?” and “Why doesn’t she ever talk about anything but boys?”

I Love You You Love MeFew things inspire me more than a great love song. Good love. Bad love. Sexy love. Sad love. Which is why I sure as hell hope Taylor Swift, and all the other great songwriters out there, keep writing confessional love songs–no matter what people say about them. Because I, for one, will be listening. And, most of all, appreciating.

~ Bella Andre

Bella Bio: Several of Bella Andre‘s books draw from her experience in the music business, with rock star heroes and heroines. These books include FROM THIS MOMENT ON (The Sullivans), IT MUST BE YOUR LOVE (The Sullivans) & the upcoming TEMPT ME LIKE THIS (The Morrisons). Bella Andre‘s New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world, with more than 4 million copies sold so far. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Bella also writes bestselling sweet contemporary romances under the pen name Lucy Kevin. To find out more about Bella and her books, please visit her website and her Facebook page.

Bella has also generously offered one lucky commenter a $20 giftcard to the e-retailer of er/his choice! <3 So what are your thoughts? Yes to the love songs? The confessionals?  😀

P.S. You can watch a video of Joni Mitchell “live in studio” singing The Gallery here.

Inaugural Indie Author Spotlight: Welcome Bella Andre

Hi friends! Today we’ve got rockstar author Bella Andre visiting with us! I first… gosh…. must have read one of her football romances? And her single titles. (Still love those – and have all of them in trade paperback and e!) Then, I doubt she remembers, but I had the chance to meet her in NYC at a cocktail party. (She was incredibly sweet and gracious, and I was a gauche blank. Good times. At least there was bubbly.) But now I’ve tricked her into blogging here! 😉 Score! And guess what? It’s also my second year as an “on my own” blogger! So what a way to usher that in! <3

Enough about my babble though. These are some of the questions people had for Bella as a self published author. (And thank you all for those! Xoxo)

What made you decide to self publish?
My wonderful fans! Back in 2010, my publisher at the time had declined to move forward with my option for new books, but I was receiving fan mail every day asking for more stories. My fans really gave me the confidence to continue writing and publish on my own, knowing they were waiting for the stories. Self-publishing ebooks was the best thing I’ve ever done!

What do you wish you knew when you started self publishing that you know now?
The learning curve for making the digital files and ebooks as well as the graphics programs to make my own covers was huge! I spent many nights sweating it out until the wee hours over my keyboard. But boy am I glad I learned how to do everything….it’s made such a difference to have those skills, even if I now hire a great formatter for my ebooks.

What are the pros and cons of self publishing?
I love being in completely control of my writing. Two years ago, I likely never would have been able to sell an 8 book (I’ll actually be publishing 8, 9, 10 and 11 this year!) family series like The Sullivans to a traditional publisher. Fortunately, with self-publishing I was able to believe in myself and my fans and publish books I knew they would love! It is, of course, a lot of work! And I’ve loved every second of it.

How do you find your audience?
When I first started writing the series, I individually emailed each and every single fan to let them know about the series. Since then, I’ve been supported by fan word-of-mouth and by wonderful bloggers – like you!

What have been the most challenging issues in self publishing?
The most challenging issue is the amount of time I takes to do everything: write the books, edit/revise the books, hire editors and copyeditors and proofreaders and formatters, write the book descriptions, create the metadata, make the covers, upload the files, and get the word out about the books! I also make sure to keep on top of the industry and its constant changes.

How do you approach editing and marketing?
With an iron-clad calendar. Seriously! I have beta readers, copyeditors, and an army of proofers and before I publish each book I have to make sure every one of them is available when I need them at the right time to release my book. I also have to make sure I’ve set aside time to design my cover, create my marketing copy and reach out to my readers when the book is released.

Would you go back to traditional publishing?
Actually, I recently signed a groundbreaking print-only English language deal with Harlequin MIRA for The Sullivans and am very excited that Harlequin will be doing a simultaneous international launch in the US, UK, Canada and Australia of the first eight books from June 2013 to April 2013! In the US, they will be mass market paperbacks. I still own all of the ebook, audiobook, foreign and film/TV rights for the books. (That is awesome! Congratulations!!)

Many die-hard Sullivans fans have told me they can’t wait to have the series in both ebook and paperback (and audiobook too!) and I also can’t wait for a whole new group of paperback readers embrace them. I have also licensed the Sullivans to publishers in Brazil, France and Portugal so far. The first two books in the series (The Look of Love and From This Moment On) have already been big bestsellers in Brazil!

There is the perception is it is faster to get a book to your fans if you are self-published – do you think this is true?
Absolutely! Publishing houses have to contend with multiple demands of many authors and releases and this is why lead-times on books are often 12-24 months. With self-publishing, I only have to focus on my books, as long as I can line up editorial, production, distribution and marketing one right after another, I can have a book out to fans within a few months of typing the end.

Do you read the reviews on GoodReads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble? would you like amazon to have a rate and/or review system like GoodReads do.
I love it when fans take the time to write a review for one of my books! And, of course, the really sweet one always make me smile.

Word is that Amazon is starting to delete reviews that say they got the book from the author; what are your thoughts on this as a self-published author? (Especially since most people disclose they received an ARC for review.)
Honestly, I’ve been so deep in lockdown on writing my next Sullivan book, that I haven’t kept too close of an eye on this situation, so I’m afraid I really can’t comment.

What advice might you have for someone who is considering self publishing?
There’s never been a better time to be a writer! Go for it and don’t worry about making mistakes – you’ll learn as you go just like I did! And have fun!

Have you noticed changes to self publishing since you started?
So many changes! There are so many great retailers supporting self-publishing now and wonderful companies offering support with covers and formatting and editing. Plus, there are a wealth of websites and blogs offering help and ideas and suggestions.

Do you think there are any particular new trends that are emerging?
I’ve noticed lots of “New Adult” titles popping up on all the online bestseller lists. I’ve been enjoying them myself. 🙂

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’d love for people to find out more about my Sullivan series on my web site and to connect with me on twitter and Facebook.

Bella is on lockdown for her current book, and yet she has agreed to stop by and answer any questions you might have. (You see what I mean about her being awesome?!) So go ahead – who knows when you’ll get another chance! What would you like to know? *And again, thank you for everyone who helped come up with questions!