Book Review

Book Review: A Crown of the Gods (Shadows and Crowns #4) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 500 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: June 28th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The highest throne in the Kethran Empire lies vacant, its once-ruler now a god-ascending, bringing more chaos and darkness to an already chaotic world. The line between the divine and mortal realms is blurring. The battlefield is set. A final, devastating war is on the horizon.

Casia Greythorne has finally come home to claim the throne that is rightfully hers—one that she hopes she can use to unite her empire and help it survive a war with the very gods themselves. But to take hold of her crown, she’ll have to wrestle it free of a past that she’s avoided for too long. One that is even more complicated than she realized.

The answers she needs to win her war—and save her world and the people she loves—all lie within that past…

But discovering them might destroy any hope she has of a future.


I adore this series. Another great installment with another cliffhanger that had me going WHAT and now I wait for the finale coming in a few months.

This is such a great example of romantasy. I loooove Elander and Casia. They are constantly working together, and even if some poorer decisions were made in this read I really appreciated the way they can have a true conversation together. I just love them. I almost thought the spice was going to land in the, is this really necessary?, category, but luckily I thought most of it worked with the storyline.

I love the complicated villain aspects too. It shows other sides I wasn’t expecting and keep me very much intrigued in to how things will work out in the end. The plot keeps moving and the assortment of gods that show up is a great plot aspect. I like that I can remember who’s who easily enough and that all of the conundrum involving multiple characters lives make sense.

The finale is sure to be a wild one and I am ANXIOUS.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: three open door (low/med explicit)
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: anxiety depiction, loss of life

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Book Review

Book Review: The Call of the Void (Shadows and Crowns #3) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy + Romance
Length: 504 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 18th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


War is building. Blood is spilling. And the gods are not pleased.

Casia has survived her brother’s attempts to crush her and her growing army, but the battle for their empire is just beginning. Bitter and wounded, carrying the curse of a dark and dangerous upper-god, and desperate for more allies, she charges northward to seek the elves who once walked alongside the divine beings.

The elven Court of Moreth holds knowledge. Secrets. And power. The kind of power that could shift all of Casia’s wars in her favor. If she can survive the dangerous politics and treacherous magic of the elf-kind.

While these outer battles rage, so too do the ones within. Elander is losing what remained of his divinity. His court. His powers. His grasp on what he once was and what he once knew. But he’s determined to keep fighting, gathering his own ancient allies and working to aid Casia in her wars. He lost her once. He won’t do it again.

But his devotion to her may be the very thing that destroys him.

And when that destruction comes, it comes with a twist—one that could change their entire world.


I am just highly enjoying this series!! Such a hidden gem that I can’t get enough of.

I read this book rather than listened and I think that made a difference in my rating. I thought it was a bit slower off the bat and that not as much happened in the overall plot. I was hoping for a bit more political intrigue and action, but that didn’t happen until the late second half.

What I did get a lot of was the roooomance! And I loved it! The spice was definitely stepped up a bit (which wasn’t my full cup of tea, but it’s cool). I love the progression and depth Elander and Casia with each other. They work together and build each other up and I love a supportive relationship like that. It’s always unique to see a fully formed couple before the series is even half over.

I can’t wait for the next read! I adore this entire cast and all of the close friendships. There’s some good movement here and I am thoroughly enjoying every moment.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: three open door
  • Violence: strong blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical and magical altercations, war themes and battles, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns #2) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 548 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Mercenary. Survivor. Queen.

Who is Casia Greythorne?

Still reeling from an unimaginable loss and the revelation of an identity she isn’t sure she wants to embrace, Casia has one plan: Try to control something. Something like the strange magic awakening inside of her. Mastering that magic will take her and her friends on a quest through cursed lands, into the dwellings of old gods, and deep into a southern empire filled with deadly foes and unlikely allies.

Meanwhile, the foundations of the Kethran Empire continue to crumble. The king-emperor clings to his crown with increasingly bloodied hands. Monsters and soldiers alike stalk Casia’s every step, determined not to let her return to claim a throne that is rightfully hers. Still, the greatest threat to her possible rule may not lie in the king-emperor, but in a former captain of his army—a man that she came dangerously close to falling in love with.

Elander Revenmar thought he knew who he was. He had a mission, a plan, a god he was content to serve. Then came Casia. A woman as mysterious as she is dangerous. One he should have stayed away from, and whose life he never should have saved.

Because salvation always comes with a cost.

And some debts can only be paid for in blood. 


Ohhhh my goodness. Wow am I loving this series!! These audiobooks whisk me away on an adventure filled with fighting monsters, romance, found family, twisted sibling dynamics and more. LOVE IT ALL.

The Throne of Glass vibes are one of my favorite aspects. I really like when books take after some of my all time great reads without feeling like a copycat. This is definitely different and I am wholly attached.

I like how well paced out everything is. There’s movement from high action filled with battles and massive monsters all the way to quiet moments between forbidden lovers that just have me absolutely swooning. It has just the right dash of steam and I need more Elander and Casia.

THAT CLIFF HANGER had me in full riot mode. THE AUDACITY. Though it really only solidified how much I am attached to the series. I need more. I can’t wait until the next audio book is available because it is the perfect format for me to read these.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: one brief open door
  • Violence: battle/war themes, physical and magical altercations, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns #1) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An ancient evil is stirring. The old gods are growing restless. Can she stop the coming storm?

A Devastating Sickness

For decades, the Kethran Empire has been plagued by a strange illness that leaches the very life and soul from its victims.

The Girl Who Survived

Casia is one of the Fade-Marked—one of the few people who caught this sickness and lived. Why she lived is a mystery even to her and the outcast crew of mercenaries she calls her family. It also makes her an intriguing target for the young, enigmatic king-emperor, who claims he wants to work alongside her to find a cure.

Unfortunately, working alongside him also means working with the handsome but infuriating captain of one of the most prestigious branches of the Kethran Army.

A Soldier With No Past

This infuriating Captain Elander also has secrets: A past that Cas can’t seem to uncover, a powerful but strange brand of magic, and a deep distrust of the very monarch that he’s sworn to serve. She feels oddly drawn to him in spite of these things…

But can she really trust him?

The Fate of an Empire

As the bodies pile up and strange monsters begin to wreak havoc throughout the realms, Cas and Elander will have to work together to protect their world whether they trust one another or not. Because one thing is clear: Something ancient and evil is stirring in the shadows of Kethra.

And the empire will not survive its full unleashing.

But how can they save a world where nothing and no one is what they seem to be— including Cas herself?


I’m always looking for a fantasy series to dive into, and this one is it. It was SO DANG GOOD. And the audio book was fantastic. Highly recommend that avenue if you’re interested. I flew through this fast. The pacing was well intentioned and never felt like a drag. I love the high stakes action and the plot itself. Gimme book two ASAP.

Of course, one of my favorite aspects is the enemies to lovers trope. It’s heated and tangled. Left me begging for them to actually kiss and then contemplating what I was supposed to do with AN ENDING LIKE THAT. It’s going to be a long haul and I am here for it.

I love a strong female main character and Cas IS THAT WOMAN. She takes charge, occasionally runs off into danger, but is fiercely loyal and is just looking for answers to save her loved ones. Cas got in on the action and drove this book forward with her stubborn tenacity. Can’t get enough of her. There’s been some mention of Throne of Glass vibes and I can definitely see that here (in a great way).

The ending left me reeling and I am not coping well waiting for the next book. I’m excited to continue this series because that first book was a hidden gem.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: brief open door
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: blood/gore depiction, loss of loved ones, a wasting sickness

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