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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Beachside Beginnings by Sheila Roberts (Contemporary)


BEACHSIDE BEGINNINGS
Moonlight Harbor #4

by
Sheila Roberts

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Publisher:  MIRA
Date of Publication: April 21, 2020
Number of Pages: 384






Moira Wellman has always loved makeovers—helping women find their most beautiful selves. Funny how it’s taken her five years with her abusive boyfriend, Lang, to realize she needs a life makeover. When Moira finally gets the courage to leave Lang, the beachside town of Moonlight Harbor is the perfect place to start over.

Soon Moira is right at home, working at Waves Salon, making new friends and helping her clients find new confidence. When she meets a handsome police officer, she’s more than willing to give him a free haircut. Maybe even her heart. But is she really ready for romance after Lang? And what if her new friend is in hot pursuit of that same cop? This is worse than a bad perm.

With all the heart and humor readers have come to expect from a Sheila Roberts novel, Beachside Beginnings is the story of one woman finding the courage to live her best life. And where better to live it than at the beach?





This is my fourth Sheila Roberts read, including the first two books in this series. Somehow I missed the third one from last year!?! Well, no worries. I was once again immediately swept up in this story and not at all surprised that I loved this one just as much if not more so than the previous installments. 

Moira is a new resident to Moonlight Harbor and her story is absolutely charming. She is such a fresh addition to this community, and I can't wait to read more! Desperately seeking a restart from the hardships and abuse that have plagued much of her young life, she could not have picked a better place to be welcomed and reinvent the direction of her life. Moira's job as a hair dresser who specializes in color was so engaging to read about especially given that most of us can't get to the salon right now due to these unprecedented times! It was fun, yet oddly strange, to live vicariously through these characters as they received such incredible styling as I'm sure so many of us are looking forward to the day we can get back in our own stylist's chair! 

The author's masterful writing ability and conversational tone are so effortless and lighthearted that everything from the colorful cast of characters to the picturesque setting seems to come alive right off the page. Everyone is so likeable and relatable that you instantly feel a connection or can identify someone from your own life as well. So many are searching for second chances, and though they stumble along the way, each story is truly heartwarming, inspiring, and moving as readers witness individual happily ever afters.

Despite a few devastating and highly stressful circumstances that these characters find themselves in, there is always a sense of compassion and a message of hope throughout. Moira joins other strong women in this town to cement her leadership role, and it will be a wonderful journey to explore with her in future reads.

We all need an escape and I love my visits to this safe haven, filled with warmth, friendly faces, and small town coziness. Provided recipes are the perfect pairing and bring a taste of the shore to your own home!

Many thanks to Pump Up Your Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a free copy of the physical book. This is my honest and thoughtful review.



“Don’t look now, Harry, but I think we found the end of the world,” Moira said as she drove through the monolithic stone gateway that guarded the entrance to the town of Moonlight Harbor.
Harry, hunkered miserably in his cat carrier, let out a pitiful mewl. There had been a lot of twists and turns in the road the last part of their journey and even though the highway had eventually straightened back out he still hadn’t forgiven her. She didn’t blame him. She felt awful over having added to his misery. The poor little guy had yakked up and she’d had to pull over to clean the mess and reassure him.
But who was going to reassure her? This wasn’t her scene. She was a city girl, always had been. She’d grown up in apartments and she liked being able to go to clubs and dance, to go downtown or run out to the mall and spend some of her tip money on clothes. Lang criticized a lot of what she spent her money on (not that she had much to spend once she kicked in for her share of the rent and bought groceries), but he never complained when she came home with something from Victoria’s Secret.
There was sure no Victoria’s Secret here.
And so what if there wasn’t? She didn’t have anybody to look hot for any more. She sure didn’t want the somebody she’d had.
Lang had texted her six times before she’d finally shut off her phone. At first the texts had been contrite – Baby, you know I’m sorry, followed by, Why aren’t you answering? Then he got a little more anxious. Where are you? Then he got pissed. Damn, M, where the hell are you? The last two texts had been so full of cursing and F bombs and threats of what he was going to do if she didn’t quit ignoring him that she finally took Michael’s advice and traded in her phone for a new one in a T-Mobile store in Olympia, going with the cheapest phone and plan she could find.
There was no turning back now. Even if they made up, even if he said he was sorry he’d been mean to Harry, there would come another time when his temper would flare. Maybe she could have risked getting her jaw broken but she wasn’t about to risk any more of poor Harry’s ribs.
A bruised rib the vet she’d found in town had said. He’d given Harry something right there and provided her with pain killer meds for him.
If only there was something she could take to make herself feel better. She sure could have used some chocolate right then. What a mess her life was.
“It’s not how you start,” her high school English teacher, Mrs. Dickens, had once told her, “It’s how you finish. Remember that, Moira.”
Yes, she needed to remember that. She was going to finish well.
Here at the end of the world.
Okay, it wasn’t so bad. “Look at those cute little shops,” she said to Harry. Hard for Harry to do any looking from his cat carrier, so she went on to describe them. “They’re all different colors. Green, not dark green like Christmas but green, like an Easter egg, and orange like sherbet, and yellow like a sunny day. Oh, wow, and a go-cart track. I always wanted to drive one of those things. And there’s an ice cream place. It’s so cute. Pink, like a balloon at a baby shower. No, actually, darker than that. Like a sunset maybe. It’s got a big, old cement ice cream cone in front of it.”
Ice cream, sherbet. She parked in front of the Good Times Ice Cream Parlor. She still had a little cash left and she was hungry. Not simply for food but for hope. If a woman couldn’t find hope in a cute place like this where could she find it?
The lunch hour had passed and there weren’t many customers inside– only two old women seated at a tiny, wrought iron table painted white, enjoying milkshakes. The woman behind the counter looked almost old enough to be Moira’s mother.
The old ladies were staring at her like she had three boobs. Okay, so she had a nose ring and a tattoo of a butterfly flitting up her neck. Hadn’t they seen anyone with a nose ring or tat? Maybe it was her hair that had them gawking. (Although the strange lollipop red of the one woman’s hair was just as stare worthy, and not in a good way.)
Moira’s hair, on the other hand, was a work of art. A color that Michael had created, it was a gorgeous mix of pastels, silver and gold that he’d dubbed holographic opal because of the way it shimmered. Lang had thought it was hot.
What Lang thought didn’t matter anymore.
The woman behind the counter smiled at Moira and said, “Welcome. What would you like?”
A new life. “What’s your specialty?” She could have asked, “What’s good?” but anybody could say that. She liked the word specialty. It made her think of fancy French restaurants and TV celebrity chefs.
“How about some Deer Poop?”
Moira blinked. “Deer Poop?”
“In honor of all the deer we have around here – chocolate ice cream loaded with chocolate covered raisins.”
“Deer?” Just wandering around? The only deer she’d ever seen had been on TV or in pictures.
“Oh, yes. They’re everywhere.”
Wow. Now, that was cool. “Sure,” Moira said.
“Sugar or waffle cone?”
“Waffle.” Live it up, she thought.
“One scoop or two.”
“One,” Moira said, deciding to limit the living it up. Who knew if things would work out here? Who knew how long that paycheck Michael was sending would last? With what she had in her bank account even one scoop was a splurge.
“You’re new to town.” the woman observed.
“I am.” Moira glanced over her shoulder to find the two older women still checking her out. The freak show had arrived.
“I just got here,” she said. “I’m hoping to find a job. Your town looks adorable.” For the end of the world. Where were the people her age? Were there any?
Moira dug out a bill, but the woman waved it away. “On the house.”
“Really?” Wow. The woman handed over the cone and Moira took a bite. “This is …” Anyone could say good. “Tasty.”
The woman smiled. “All our ice cream is. What do you do?”
“I’m a hair stylist. My old boss sent me down here to meet a Pearl Edwards.” Moira was suddenly aware of the two older women whispering behind her. She could almost feel their stares.
 “Pearl, she’s the best. She owns Waves,” said the woman. “Everybody in town goes there. Well, everybody my age and older.”
Old ladies and tight perms. This wasn’t the end of the world. This was hair stylist hell.
You’re here now. May as well check it out.
Now one of the women behind her spoke. “I have an appointment there. You can follow me if you like.”
Moira could have found her own way there, but she thanked the woman and agreed to follow her. People at the end of the world were nice to you, even if they did stare.
“I’ll see you later, Alma,” the good Samaritan said to her friend, and pushed away from the table. Standing up she wasn’t much taller than she’d been sitting down. Moira was five feet five but she stood a good six inches above this woman. There wasn’t much to her, either. She looked like she needed to go on a diet of daily milkshakes. Her sweatshirt was pink and it clashed with her hair and lipstick. I Got Moonstruck at Moonlight Harbor, it informed Moira.
“I’m Edie Patterson,” said the old woman. “Everyone calls me Edie and you can, too. I own the Driftwood Inn.”
The Driftwood Inn. Moira had a sudden vision of a cute little place with driftwood at its entrance. “That sounds charming.”
“Oh, it is. It was one of the first motels here in Moonlight Harbor. My great niece Jenna manages it and she’s fixed it all up and brought it back to its former glory. It’s one of the sweetest places in the whole town. Isn’t it, Nora?”
“It sure is,” agreed the woman behind the counter.
“If you need a place to stay while you’re getting settled I’m sure we can give you a room,” Edie said as she led Moira out of the ice cream parlor.
No way could Moira afford to stay at a motel indefinitely. No way could she afford to stay anywhere. She murmured her thanks and tried not to panic.
“Jenna doesn’t like me to drive,” Edie confided. “She’s always worried I’ll get in an accident. But she was busy giving someone a massage – she’s a massage therapist, you know – so I just went ahead and took my car out when she wasn’t looking,” said Edie conspiratorially, pointing to an ancient car that maybe got fifteen miles to the gallon on a good day. “That’s my car. You follow me.”
It wasn’t hard to follow Edie Patterson. A kid on a tricycle could go faster. They crept out onto the street and inched on down the main road.
It gave Moira time to finish her ice cream and check out the place. The buildings looked like they belonged in a movie from the sixties. And what was that? Some kind of store shaped like a giant shark. It looked like you entered through its gaping mouth, complete with long shark teeth. Now, there was something you didn’t see every day.
And wow! Deer. There were two of them, grazing on the grass in the median. There was something you didn’t see in Seattle.
Seattle. Lang. How many times had he tried to call her by now? He had to be really pissed.
Let him be. He didn’t deserve her. And Harry sure didn’t deserve the way Lang had treated him. She was glad she’d left. Glad.
Except she was sad, too. And she ached a little for what she’d had with Lang when they were first together and everything was good. And she half wished she could have that back.
She was a mess.





Best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books published in a dozen different languages and made into movies for both the Hallmark and Lifetime channels. She’s happily married and lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not hanging out with girlfriends, speaking to women’s groups or going dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER


Wednesday, April 1

Virtual Book Tour Kick Off at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Book Feature at Medium

Thursday, April 2

Book Teaser Feature at YouTube

Friday, April 3

Book Review at Stranded in Chaos

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Monday, April 6

Book Feature at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, April 7

10 Things You Might Not Know About beachside Beginnings at Blogging authors

Thursday, April 9

Interview at Book Cover Junkie

Book Feature at The Bookworm Lodge

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Monday, April 13

Book Feature at What’s That book About

Wednesday, April 15

Book Feature at I’m All About Books

Thursday, April 16

Read the First chapter at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

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Monday, April 20

Book Feature at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, April 21

Interview at As the Page Turns

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Monday, April 27

Book Feature at Book Reviews & More By Kathy

Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, April 30

Book Review at Books for Books

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Monday, May 4

Book Review at Laura’s Interests

Tuesday, May 5

Book Feature at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, May 6

Watch the Book Trailer for Beachside Beginnings at Nuttin’ But Books

Thursday, May 7

Book Review at Splashes of Joy

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Monday, May 11

Book Review at Sefina Hawke’s Books

Tuesday, May 12

Book Review at That’s What She’s REading

Wednesday, May 13

Book Review at Satisfaction for insatiable Readers

Thursday, May 14

Book Feature at What the Cat Read

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Monday, May 18

Book Review at Jazzy Book Reviews

Tuesday, May 19

Book Review at Lynchburg Mama

Wednesday, May 20

Book Review at Eastern Sunset Reads

Thursday, May 21

Book Review at Amy’s Booket List

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Monday, May 25

Book Feature at Book Cover Junkie

Tuesday, May 26

Book Review at A Room Without Books is empty

Book Review at Michelle Meng’s Book Blog

Friday, May 29

Book Feature at My Book Launch

Book Review at Simply Kelina



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