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REVIEW: The Shackles That Hold Us – Michele Notaro

The Shackles That Hold Us - Michele Notaro

Genre: Urban Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

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.

The Review

In book two of the “Magi Accounts” series, Cosmo is still struggling with his feelings about Madeo. He wants Madeo in the Pride home where not only Madeo but Jude, Logan and their trio of cat’s can live with protection, safety and love.

But Madeo lives in hidden fear – that if all goes wrong, they would no longer have a home with the Pride. What freedom they have now would be lost, and the struggle to start again would be a failure for the mages.

The Pride has been called out on another assignment to protect a mall filled with humans and shifters. The veil has again been crossed by the taragorian creatures. Madeo and Jude collaborate on an exhausting job of runes and magic. Orders come down to bring down the mall once all the humans are out. But knowing there are shifters left behind, Madeo uses his magic to save all.

But Madeo and Jude are not celebrated as heroes. Instead, they’re imprisoned at the magi’s compound. Once again they face the horrifying abuse and torture that are like a living nightmare.

The only ones who will try to help them are Cosmo and the Pride. Cosmo will do everything he can to protect Logan and the trio of cats until he can free Madeo and Jude from their hell. But freeing Madeo leads to conflict between him and Cosmo, and trust is a hard thing to come by.

There are more tears in the veil and taragorians to fight, so the TRD Ono Nai Pride team. along with Jude and Madeo are back in action. But something is not right – why are groups of shifters being slaughtered? And why, after all this time, are witches sigils appearing at the tears in the veil?

The Shackles that Hold Us brings old horrors and new outlooks into the lives of Jude, Madeo and Logan. The story can be dark, especially with the abuse and torture that Madeo and Jude are subjected to, and the recurring nightmares of their trauma. And the Pride itself have to deal with the dark side of shifter death and trafficking.

But there are also many good moments happening in the Pride home. Madeo, Jude and Logan start to adjust and become an important part of it. Friendships and relationships continue and blossom. Logan starts training with Madeo and Jude, and new and old emotions crop up.

The new TRD team of Maisy Poole, Ashley, Lilibeth and Lane is bittersweet. And there are new surprise boarders for the Pride home too: Haiden, Elzanna and Teo.

As for the NHSO, I still dislike Captaim Harriet Gray,, who could do more to help, and I was also disappointed in Mr. Hough, the Magi’s Compound Head, who claims his hands are tied, even knowing Madeo and Jude are the highest level magis.

Then there are the evil humans of the NHSO: Director Davis and Capt. Bobby Anderson.

The Shackles That Hold Us is the second book in the “Magi Accounts” series, and it’s just as exciting as book one, The Scars That Bind Us – packed with emotion, romance, great friendships, epic danger, and tons of action, and loaded with spells and magic.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

 

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