This month’s Book Chat features two romances with heroes and heroines who dare to face the unexpected curves on their road to love!

The first book is Shifting Sands by Kathi Oram Peterson. Gloryanna Griffin is competing for a full-ride scholarship in order to finish her degree in marine biology. During a research dive, she sees something unusual on the ocean floor, but before she can do anything about it, she’s swept into an underwater vortex. Miraculously, she is saved by Jonathan, a man who has saved many others, but no one besides Gloryanna has been able to see him. Since he was murdered decades before, his spirit has been unable to move on, yet he’s able to rescue people from the vortex. With Gloryanna’s ability to see and speak to him, they are pulled into a mystery that could change their lives forever. But as they work to figure out who killed him and who is trying to kill her, long buried secrets and unexpected feelings begin to come to the surface. Can a ghost and a girl have a future together?

Shifting Sands is a paranormal romance that will keep you guessing. The dual objectives of finding Jonathan’s murderer and the person who wants Gloryanna dead are filled with tension and red herrings that kept me up way too late reading just to see how it all turned out. Ms. Peterson showcases the history of World War II “sand-pounders” and their important mission during the war, which added a twist to the threats surrounding Gloryanna and the danger she is in. The setting is well-done with plenty of detail to help the reader feel immersed in the story, and the paranormal element gives the characters and plot an unpredictable edge. It’s a suspenseful mystery with a dreamy romance that will have readers anxiously hoping for a happy ending.

Shifting Sands by Kathi Oram Peterson, Covenant Communications, 309 pages, available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

The second book is Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker. This regency romance is full of adventure and fun with plenty of twists along the way!

Rosalind Newbury has made a most advantageous match. She’ll marry the Duke of Marlow and live her life in luxury and security, opening doors to her family that were previously closed. Before she marries, however, she wants to check off a list of ten things to do before marriage that she made as a child—including burying treasure in a pasture, learning to swim, and displaying her art in a public venue. Her best friend Liza tells her she can’t help because she has to watch over her cousin Charlie who is struggling with his family’s expectations. Rosalind goes ahead on her own and when things don’t go as planned, Charlie unexpectedly comes to her aid. Soon, Liza is on board and the three of them work together to finish the list before Rosalind’s wedding. But the more time Rosalind spends with Charlie, the more her feelings for him extend beyond friendship. Can she marry the duke when her heart might belong to someone else?

The hero and heroine in this story are both at different points in their lives. Rosalind has accepted her lot in life to marry well and have security in her life instead of love. Charlie struggles to accept his inheritance and place in society because he never wanted any of it. But as they come together to check off the adventures on Rosalind’s list, they both find pieces of themselves they didn’t know were missing. Each delightful diversion on the list features witty banter and a growing connection between Rosalind and Charlie. The romance was slow and sweet, but the question of whether they can really be together adds a bit of tension, especially when the duke steps in to claim what is his. The author does a wonderful job of writing characters who grow and change in a realistic manner and see the world and each other in a new way. Readers will enjoy this lovely romance with a heroine who dares to dream and a man who will risk anything to be with her.

Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker, Shadow Mountain Publishing, 280 pages, available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.