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Shifting Sands

The partner Jonathan had lived with, had served with for over six months, had disappeared.


All Gloryanna Griffin needs is a full-ride scholarship to finish her master’s degree in marine biology in order to pursue her dream of saving the ocean. However, to be a serious contender for the money, she needs to publish in a prestigious magazine. A research dive off the Olympic Peninsula is a dangerous proposition but one that just might give her article the impact it needs. But when she’s swept into an underwater vortex, she realizes her life may be the price she pays instead.

When she awakens on the rocky beach—miraculously alive—the first person she sees is the handsome stranger who saved her. Over the years, Jonathan Dawson has saved countless lives from the perils of the ocean. But until now, no one has ever seen him. Nearly eighty years ago, he died on this same beach, and his spirit has been tied to the spot ever since. Now Gloryanna and Jonathan are irrevocably linked as they are plunged into a decades’ old mystery that promises answers to the past and keys to the future. But they soon discover that some secrets may be better left undisturbed.

thoughts & feelings

Can you believe that I have read yet another contemporary novel? Before long I won't be able to claim that I don't read contemporary novels. I blame Heirs of Falcon Point and The Wonder Boys for my recent voyage into the contemporary novel realm.

Those of you that have been around for a while know that I am fascinate by World War II history. The second that I found out our main man, Jonathan Dawson, was a sand pounder during World War II I was sold. The prologue of Shifting Sands is also about Jonathan and we get a glimpse into his job as a sand pounder during the war, and we witness his death. (I'm declaring that not a spoiler because it's in the synopsis.) The prologue was my favorite part of the entire novel. I wish that we had been given a longer glance at Jonathan but I understand why we don't. Kathi did an excellent job setting up the story and catching my attention with the prologue. It gives you just enough information to get your mind reeling with questions and eager to continue reading to find the answers.

The story line was a little difficult for me to get in to. First, let's talk about Jonathan, the ghost, and his ghost dog Max. Based on the synopsis I was thinking that the ghost factor would be something similar to the movies Just like Heaven, Charlie St. Cloud, or Safe Haven. I really enjoyed those movies and the ghost factors didn't bother me at all. The fact that Jonathan and Max are ghosts is brought up quite a bit throughout the novel. On top of being a ghost, Jonathan and Max also have super abilities. Max's ability to sense danger has been enhanced to where he can sense any kind of danger or ill will. Jonathan has psychic powers and can willfully move things with his mind. The paranormal bits threw me off quite a bit and distracted me from the main plot line. The paranormal and super human abilities genre/realm isn't something that I've ever really enjoyed or sought out. If you enjoy a little bit of paranormal or super abilities you would probably enjoy this novel.

Lastly, I felt like some parts of the plot line moved very quickly and that I was getting way more questions than answers. As the story unravelled some really interesting connections were made between characters and I would have loved to have a little more information for those. At the end of the novel I was still had a few questions about what exactly happened to our "bad guy" and some of the character connections. I know that sounds a little confusing, and I can't really explain because I don't want to ruin anything for those who want to read the novel.

I did a quick dive into overall reviews for this novel. Most readers, as of 18 February 2023, have given it a four or five star rating. Those who rated it lower mentioned not liking the paranormalness. If you're intrigued by this novel and want some more information head on over to Goodreads and see what other readers are saying. Goodreads is really good at marking if a review has spoilers so nothing should be ruined for you.

If you enjoy a contemporary suspense novel with a little paranormalness and romance then I would definitely try this one out. This one just wasn't my cup of tea. I do have another of Kathi's novels, Bloodline, which I am super excited to read. I've heard amazing things about it and I think I will love it.

book tags

Steam Level

clean, kissing


clean, no swearing

Content & Trigger Warnings

death, mild peril, violence, brief discussions about fighting in WWII

book information

Title: Shifting Sands

Author: Kathi Oram Peterson

Rating: 2/5

purchasing links


Barnes & Noble

Deseret Book

Seagull Book


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