Tag: Serena Bell

Sunday Spotlight: So True by Serena Bell

Posted August 9, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: So True by Serena BellSo True by Serena Bell
Series: Tiernet Bay #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A passionate first love. A deep betrayal. One last chance to make it right.

Jax Walker left Chiara Campbell behind without a word, but he’s never forgotten how it felt to love that fiercely. Not that it matters—he can never go back to Tierney Bay, because the secret he’s keeping would tear them both apart.

Chiara has written Jax out of her life and her memory—until he shows up at the shop where she works. All the hurt she thought she’d buried is still there, and so is her fiery attraction to him. The more Chiara and Jax work together to save the shop, the more she wants things she can’t have.

She knows she’s going to get her heart broken again. She knows it’s going to hurt like hell.

And she’s pretty sure that when he kisses her, she’ll kiss him right back.


Excerpt from So True by Serena Bell:

Jax Walker took the Tierney Bay exit off U.S. 101 a little too sharply, testament to how damn long it had been since he’d been here. The ramp curled around and deposited him at the head of town. He passed several hotels and a few restaurants that had definitely not been here ten years ago. There were plenty of new shop fronts, and many of the old ones had been spruced up. It looked like Tierney Bay had come into some good luck recently.

Which was more than he could say for himself.

If he did this right, he could be in and out of town in a few hours and there was zero chance he would run into anyone he didn’t want to see. Which included any member of the Campbell family.

He shouldn’t be here at all—his plans had not called for ever coming back, or not, at least, as long as he knew Chiara Campbell was still here. But his plans had been upended.

Two days ago, he’d driven up the west coast to visit his little brother Evan at his Portland-based community college.

Only, surprise! Evan was not actually enrolled.

At first Jax thought he’d made a really dumbass mistake, and texted Evan to confirm. Not sure why I don’t know this for sure, but it’s Portland Community College Yamhill, right?

Yup! Evan texted back.

He’d turned back to the young woman perched behind the reception desk and asked her to check one more time to confirm that there was no one enrolled there by the name of Evan Walker. And there was, indeed, not.

That was when Jax got it. He’d been had. Lied to.

The woman gave him a long look that was equal parts pity and curiosity, with maybe a tiny bit of I’ll soothe your sorrows thrown in for good measure.

Well, fuck. His brother had taken the tuition money Jax had given him and done a runner.

Regretfully, he ignored the woman’s interest. She definitely wasn’t more than a year out of college herself, and smoking hot, but he had an asshole brother to chase down.

He could have had it out with his brother by text or phone right then and there, but now he was pissed. His brother had taken thousands of dollars of his hard-earned money and done what-the-fuck with it, and Jax wanted to ask him to his face. So he holed up in his truck and made a bunch of phone calls, sent a bunch of texts. He finally tracked down a friend of Evan’s who knew what was going on and was willing to spill the beans. And it turned out that Evan was, of all places, in Tierney Fucking Bay.

Of course. Because it wasn’t enough that Evan had stolen Jax’s money and ditched his own education—no, he’d gone back to the one place that you couldn’t have paid Jax to set foot in.

Maybe it was punishment. Because the last time Jax had been in Tierney Bay, he’d done the thing he regretted most in his life. And maybe he’d always known he’d have to face up to it at some point. You could only keep the piper at bay for so long before you had to pay.

He put the truck in drive and drove from Portland out to Tierney Bay in under an hour and half, keeping an eye out for speed traps. And here he was, pulling into town, still raging hot under the collar at his brother. Because Jax had done everything he could to make sure Evan got a good life and didn’t end up like their parents. Including at least one thing he’d still redo if he could. Unfortunately, it was the kind of thing you couldn’t redo.

And what had Evan done? He’d taken his tuition money and opened a board game shop.

Jax turned onto the street that Evan’s friend had directed him to and pulled into a parking space in front of the park. Like the town, the park had gotten quite a facelift, but its bones were the same, as were the distinctive smells of cool, green grass and dirty metal. He remembered walking across the woodchips, Chiara’s warm hand in his, her voice drifting to him as she told him about her day—

He shut down the memories; replaced them with his anger at Evan.

He turned and walked toward the shop. There was a sign, hung at a slight angle, just a cheap printed fabric banner. Oh, Evan, he thought. You pissed away your college education and you couldn’t even make it look classy.

He pulled open the front door of the shop, mouth already open to tell Evan what a dumbass he was. But it wasn’t Evan behind the desk. It was someone smaller, slimmer, dark-haired.


She looked up, and God, it was like having someone slide a knife between two of his ribs. That deep and that sharp. How pretty she was, those blue eyes, and the way they made him feel like she could see into him. After what he’d done, it wasn’t fair that she still made him feel anything.

She, on the other hand, looked pretty much like he’d just punched her. Which he deserved. He’d never had to look her in the face, tell her he was leaving, see the hurt. So this was as close as he’d get. And it sucked.

He opened his mouth to say something that made sense, but the only thing that came out was, “Evan.”

She shook her head. “He’s not here.”


She hesitated. “If he wanted you to know that, don’t you think he would’ve told you?”

“Look. I didn’t come here to fight with you. I didn’t even know you’d be here.”

“If you had, you wouldn’t have come,” she challenged.

It was true, and he deserved it. He deserved whatever she wanted to dish out. It felt good in a way, like finally letting out a breath. He almost hoped she would yell at him. Maybe then he could set down the guilt.

“Did you know he was supposed to be at college?”

He could tell from the way her big blue eyes got bigger that she hadn’t known.

“Yeah,” he said. “Portland Community Yamhill. Summer session. I showed up today for a surprise visit. Thought I’d, you know, take him out to dinner, see his place. He’d sent me photos of his place. In fucking Portland. And photos of the campus.” He pulled out his phone, pushed it across the counter to her.

She took it, looked. “That’s his apartment here. I don’t know where he got the campus photos, but anyone could pull them from online.”

“So I tracked him here. His friend Asher told me where to find him.”

Chiara nodded at that. She apparently knew Asher.

“Where is he?”

She shook her head. “I can’t—”

“Where is he?”

“It’s not my place to tell you that.”

“He’s my brother.”

Against his better judgment, his voice had risen, and her eyes narrowed. “You can’t just show up here and talk to me like that—after what you did—” She stopped. “Did it occur to you that maybe he doesn’t want to see you?”

The anger in her voice cut through the thickness of his own frustration, shut him right down. He took a deep breath. There were freckles across the bridge of her nose that he didn’t remember. A smattering on her cheeks, the fair skin underneath bright pink with the heat of her emotion. Her eyes flashed with it.

And suddenly he was so ashamed of himself that he could barely stand it. She was right, of course. After what he’d done to her, he had no right to speak to her at all, let alone demand anything of her.

“He doesn’t want to see me?” he asked. “Or you don’t?”

She stood very still. Only her fingers moved, fidgeting with something on the counter. A game piece, he thought. She turned it over in her hand, moved it between her fingers, set it down again.

“Both,” she said. The heat had gone out of her voice. Which made him feel worse. She said it calmly, like it was something she’d had ten years to get used to the idea of. Like she didn’t much care anymore. Which he deserved, but still.

He almost told her right that second, just blurted it all out. He’d always been a little bit afraid that the first time he laid eyes on her it would all come spilling out. The whole story—why he’d left, why he’d never gotten in touch. Right after he’d left, he’d fantasized that he’d be able to tell her someday. He’d pictured her listening—angry at first, but then, somehow, willing to forgive.

That had been ten years ago, and he still couldn’t tell her.

Tiernet Bay

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Serena Bell

Serena Bell headshot

USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them.

A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddle boarding to meditation.

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Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena Bell

Posted November 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena BellReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Sleepover by Serena Bell
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

A brand-new contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Head Over Heels.

The girl next door is the one that got away. He just doesn’t know it yet. . . .

Sawyer: After my wife died, I promised myself I’d never go through the pain of losing someone again. Now I keep my flings neat, tidy, and one-time-only. Besides, my son needs me more than ever. He’s miserable in our new town, so I’m pumped when he makes friends with the kid next door—until I recognize his mom from a one-night stand. Perky and upbeat, Elle Dunning is not my type for anything other than tearing up the sheets. So why do I keep letting myself get roped into game nights and get-togethers?

Elle: It so hasn’t been my year. That’s my first thought when I see my new next-door neighbor. I never would have hooked up with Sawyer Paulson if my husband hadn’t left me for his high-school sweetheart, but because our eight-year-old boys have become best friends, I’ve got to make nice with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent. Yet the more time we spend together, the more Sawyer opens up. We’ve both been hurt—badly. So it’s one thing to send the kids off to sleepaway camp together. It’s quite another to promise each other a lifetime of sleepovers. . . .

Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Sleepover by Serena Bell follows two single parents that had a one night stand. They thought they’d never see each other again and that’s what they both wanted so when Sawyer moves in next door to Elle and their boys become best friends, things get interesting because well, they both are starting to want a repeat of that one naughty night.

Rowena: This was my first book by Serena Bell and though I was a bit annoyed about finding out there are other books linked to the characters in this book (making it a series), I still rather enjoyed this single parent romance. I really liked both Sawyer and Elle, loved their boys and how straightforward their romance was.

Sawyer’s journal of letters to his late wife really hit me with all the feels and I liked that Elle was understanding where all of that was concerned. I really liked how grown up their romance was. What about you? What did you think?

Holly: I really don’t like how these authors aren’t listing connecting books as series. It’s annoying. I might have liked to read the earlier books first. But like you, I thought this was an enjoyable romance. I love the single parent romances and I thought Bell did a good job with this one.

Sawyer’s Lucy journal got me in the feels, too. There’s a scene toward the end that made me tear up. I liked their grown-up romance, too. I liked how they dealt with their kids. The boys became fast friends and they both encouraged that, and tried to include them in their plans. They had a great family dynamic.

I did get a little frustrated by all the sexting. They definitely had good sexual chemistry, and the sexual tension was thick. I think I could have done with a little less sexting and little more personal connection between them.

Rowena: It was all straightforward and such an easy romance to fall into that I had this book read in just a few hours.

I know what scene you’re talking about and yes, I totally teared up too. I thought that was sweet but sad too.

I didn’t mind the sexting, I thought it was cute…and I loved that he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t keep to his own rules where Elle was concerned and I loved that he couldn’t get enough of her. I also really liked that Elle tried to keep her cool but she wasn’t fooling anyone. She had it bad for Sawyer so it was good that he had it bad for her too.

Are you planning on reading Brooks book? What about going back and reading the other books? This was a fun romp that was perfect for what I was in the mood for so I give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I was bothered a bit by some quirks of the writing (such as the author’s constant use of parenthesis to include asides in the narrative), but aside from the sexting, overall I enjoyed the book. I’m looking forward to reading more from Bell soon. I do plan to go back and read the first two and I’m definitely interested in Brooks’ book.

This was an easy, sweet read. It definitely hit the spot. 3.5 out of 5

Holly’s Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5


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Guest Author Serena Bell Stops By (+ Giveaway)

Posted November 25, 2013 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 5 Comments

Please help us welcome Serena Bell to Book Binge this morning!

Yours to Keep

Holly, thank you so much for having me here today! It’s a pleasure to visit Book Binge as part of my Yours to Keep Thanksgiving tour!

I didn’t write Yours to Keep as a holiday book—it’s the story, after all, of an undocumented immigrant and her struggles to find love without revealing the truth about her shadow life—but it turned out to be chock-full of holiday celebrations and joy. A troubled Thanksgiving Day that brings two families back together. A Christmas celebration that reveals how small acts of kindness can repair rifts.

And food. Lots and lots of food—from cheese platters to chivo picante—to pumpkin pie, like in this scene where the hero is preparing for that fraught Thanksgiving meal:

Ethan used canned pumpkin and frozen crust to whip up a pumpkin pie. …

It was therapeutic, scraping pumpkin out of a can with a rubber spatula. It was the first time he’d felt semi-human in days. Not good—nowhere near good—but functional, at least. In a rhythm.

In a few hours James and his parents would be here, fighting with one another, griping about the food, and embarrassing Theo.

He broke the eggs and began whisking the pumpkin and the eggs and evaporated milk to a uniform texture and color.

In my family, we argued every year about which brand of canned pumpkin made the best pie—One Pie, or Libby’s. It was one of those endless, irresolvable debates. One of those weird comforting fights that, in a contradictory way, is not about differences but about similarities.

Food, in Yours to Keep, is what brings people—across cultures—together. It’s territory where people—even people who don’t agree on much—can find common ground. It’s a pointer to what matters to you—family, history, belonging, togetherness.

At some point, my mom began buying the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from a local orchard.

I miss the rituals. Yeah, it was a pain—trying to get those last clumps out of the can, wrestling open the condensed milk, and whisking an over-full bowl of custard that stubbornly wouldn’t blend. But I loved it anyway.

Most of all, I miss fighting over which brand made better pumpkin pie, because while we were fighting over something that didn’t matter in the slightest, we knew what did matter. We were there, together, as a family.

Please join the conversation in the comments by telling us about pumpkin pie in your household. Canned pumpkin, and if so, what brand? Fresh pumpkin? Orchard/store/bakery-bought? And—this might be the most important question of all—room temperature? Or cold? Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win books and/or a gift card, too!

Serena Bell makes her Loveswept debut with the captivating story of a woman living on the edge—and the man who’s destined to love her.

Ana Travares has been looking over her shoulder her whole life. Her U.S. visa expired when she was a young girl, and if her secret is discovered, she’ll be forced to return to the Dominican Republic. Ana allowed herself to get close to someone once before—and after he broke her heart, she swore never to make the same mistake again. But when a handsome doctor asks for her assistance, she fantasizes about breaking all her rules.

Even though pediatrician Ethan Hansen is a natural when it comes to little kids, as the single father of a teenage son he just can’t seem to get it right . . . except for the Spanish tutor he’s hired for his son, Theo. Ana has managed to crack Theo’s shell—and he isn’t the only one taken with her. The sexy tutor has fired up Ethan with a potent mix of lust and protectiveness. But as he starts to envision a future with Ana, Ethan is devastated to learn the truth about her citizenship. Somehow he’s got to find a way to help her—and hold on to the woman he’s falling hopelessly in love with.

Praise for Yours to Keep:

“A touching, emotional, realistic, and sexy contemporary romance with a thought-provoking them. [There’s a] hero to die for and a heroine you want to hang out with. What could be better than that?”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Theresa Weir (aka Anne Frasier)

“Sexy, emotionally rich, and heartbreakingly lovely.”—Ruthie Knox, USA Today bestselling author of Roman Holiday

URL: http://www.scribd.com/read/178179692/Yours-to-Keep-A-Loveswept-Contemporary-Romance


Yours to Keep: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Random House Publishing Group



Please visit the other great sites on my tour and join me in celebrating Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holiday season!

Enter below to win books and/or a $20 etailer gift card! Rafflecopter giveaway ends December 1, 11:59 p.m.

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About the Author: serenabell
Photo credit: Susan Young Photography

Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people do stupid things sometimes, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two.

For a while, Serena took a break from penning love stories to explore the world as a journalist, where she spent time shadowing and writing about a cast of fascinating real-life characters.

When she’s not writing or getting her butt kicked at Scrabble by her kids, she’s practicing modern-dance improv in the kitchen, swimming laps, taking a long walk, or reading on one of her large collection of electronic devices.

Serena blogs about reading and writing romance at www.serenabell.com and www.wonkomance.com. She also tweets as @serenabellbooks and posts to Facebook at www.facebook.com/serenabellbooks.

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