Book Review – The Shackles That Hold Us by Michele Notaro

The Magi Accounts #2
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 282
Characters: Madeo/Cosmo
POV: 1st
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Series

Blurb:
As if crushin’ on a shifter wasn’t bad enough, I had to go and date one.

A mage and a shifter walk into a bar… No, that’s the whole joke.

Magi and shifters don’t mix, and yet I find myself in a relationship with Cosmo, a lion shifter. And on top of that, Cosmo, and all his pride members, consider my brothers and me to be a part of their pride. Three magi in a shifter pride. Who would’ve ever thought?

Navigating our connection while trying to figure out what’s going on in the world isn’t easy. Trusting that Cosmo means forever when he says it? Even harder. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since meeting the Ono-Nais, it’s that taking a risk with my heart will be worth it to be a part of their lives.

The Shackles That Hold Us is a 113K novel and the second book in the MM urban fantasy series, The Magi Accounts. It’s recommended to read the series in order because it has an ongoing storyline.

*Intended for adults only. Please read the trigger warnings at the beginning of this novel.

Buy Link

Review

I loved this story. The characters are growing with each book in the series, and I particularly love the strong found family in the Ono-Nai Pride and how they all look out for each other. The worldbuilding is detailed, and doesn’t pull punches, and the plot kept me reading as the tension mounts.

Some scenes aren’t an easy read as the author doesn’t shy away from the horrible reality of how magi and shifters are treated and perceived by most humans in this world. However, I think that’s one of the book’s strengths, and that the characters’ experiences aren’t easily put behind them.

I love Mads and Cos’ relationship, and how Mads is finally starting to feel safe. Cos is a good guy, but I like that he’s also haunted by events in his past. The scenes with them and the pride are heartwarming and full of family love. I like that Mads is hesitant about moving in as it’s realistic considering what he and Jude have gone through. I loved that Cos gets some POV in this book.

I like how accepting Cos and the pride are of Mads and Jude’s relationship as magi and dyad too and how they understand their need to be together. They’ve found the perfect home, and I like that their pride is growing, and also how far Logan has come too. I love Jude’s developing relationship, and hope that goes the way I think it will.

The action part of the plot is exciting, and I suspected not everyone would survive that last encounter. Also… the scenes with Anderson… he’s just a nasty guy. Go Cos! I’m hoping Anderson gets exactly what he deserves and more by the end of the series. On the flip side, I love Harriet.

I like the hints that perhaps working together they can change their world, or at least begin to. Keeping my fingers crossed. They all need a HEA with no fear it’s going to be pulled out from under them.

Hanging out for the next book.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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