The following review is part of my being in the author’s review team, which ensures that you can read it before the book comes out.
I love my weeks crazy busy! The last week has seen three ARCs in my Kindle, two to review over the week (the latest Cherry Blossom Point and the last My So-Called Mystical Midlife – links are to the reviews), one due next week. Then three became four with the following review. Yesterday, four became five and, today, five became six. So buckle up for reviews galore, starting with “Striker’s book”.
What the story is about
Act of Freedom
Series: PSI-Ops, book 8
Author: Mandy M. Roth
Publisher: Raven Happy Hour, LLC
Date published: 31 March, 2022
Paranormal Security and Intelligence operative and wolf-shifter Dougal “Striker” McCracken is known for his wild ways, and devil may care attitude. He’s worked long and hard to build the persona. It disarms others and protects his emotions. The ones he keeps buried within. But try as he might, one woman sees through his antics. She’s not afraid to call him on his bull or set him in his place when the need arises (which it often does). He’s not sure how to act around the lass.
On the one hand, she makes his body burn with a desire, the likes of which he’s never experienced before. On the other, she’s irritable, stubborn, not a huge fan of his, and most of all, vulnerable.
He might have already missed his window to claim the feisty woman. Even if he hasn’t, it would be wrong to give in to the pull he has to her when all she needs is time to heal and process everything she’d gone through. But it’s impossible for him to stay away. Simply being in her orbit soothes his inner wolf.
Striker knows deep down she’s his mate and that patience has never been one of his virtues. When the enemy makes a move against her, this Scotsman lets his wolf and his emotions free.
Always OK as a standalone
First of all, each and every of Mandy M. Roth’s Ops books can be read as a standalone. Sure, there are things that we might miss, like inside jokes from events that happened in the previous books, but all in all, it is OK to read them on their own. This is my third ARC review for an I-Ops World book and I have not been lost once. In fact, I am now only more motivated to read the previous ones.
The author recommends to read Act of Passion (Malik’s story) and Act of Brotherhood (Garth’s story) before hopping into Act of Freedom, but it is a recommendation, not an obligation. Sure thing, it might have given me a little more background to Striker’s story, but the first few chapters are of events that happened five years prior and will give a good background for those who haven’t read them (like me).
In other words, yes, there is a recommended order of read, but it is not a mandatory order of read. The fun part? When you get to read the books in the recommended order, you get to reread. Win-win!
Hot Scot, but hot mess!
Dougal “Striker” McCracken is hot. As in HAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWT! Sexy as all get out, hilarious, alpha shifter, and Scottish. He’s got it all!
However, his past is a part of him that he has never shared with anyone, one that broke him in many ways and will play a small part in the action of Act of Freedom. That is the long-ago past of Striker.
His most recent past, the five years ago past, is the one that has an incidence in the present, and as I mentioned, we get the whole first part of the book to delve into how Striker McCracken became an even hotter mess than he was.
And her name is Edee.
Feisty, sassy, and broken
Edee had it all: recently getting her master’s degree alongside her best friend Brooke, they both won this all-expenses-paid trip to Egypt, which they planned to use to celebrate their degree.
Freshly arrived, the young women happen upon a bunch of extremely attractive men, one of whom having swept Brooke off her feet upon meeting the blonde.
As for Edee, her eyes couldn’t stray far away from the sexy, huge redheaded bearded man who was just as unable to stop looking at her. In fact, he even took the feisty redheaded (his type) to dinner and to dance.
That same night, both Edee and Brooke disappeared.
Subjected to unspeakable atrocities for months, Edee was traumatised and broken, but still alive, as Striker saw when she and Brooke were found by the PSI-Ops, five years later.
What happened to Edee was horrifying, but despite her fear, especially when she starts hearing voices of her past, she keeps her head well screwed on, and her feisty temperament is unchanged, especially where Striker is concerned.
The interactions between the two redheads are as hilarious as they can, at times, be completely arousing, despite both of their pasts (including that of the man-whore that Striker allegedly was and in fact has been).
Add to the mix that both of them are as stubborn as they come, and it becomes even more chaotic… for them.
Striker’s and Edee’s story is only part of the mix, as her past literally comes to haunt her, taking us to a mystery, and action, that makes Act of Freedom impossible to put down.
Proof? I was so into it that I had to finish reading it before sleeping, which had me going to bed at 4 in the morning, completely content.
But I warn you: the book is, at times, extremely difficult emotionally.
In fact, Act of Freedom comes with a warning by the author: “The book contains mature themes, graphic violence, heroine is a SA survivor (not by hero) [part deliberately removed to avoid the spoiler], SA is not “shown” on pages, there are chapters in the villain’s POV in which the reader is given a glimpse inside the villain’s sick and twisted mind, the hero understands her past and is sensitive to it during explicit scenes.
Overall, however, it is impossible to put the book down until its conclusion. Because it is that good.
Act of Freedom might have been difficult to write for Mandy M. Roth, because Striker being Striker, he was stubborn to the end, which delayed the publication of the book, but the wait was very worth it. I am usually not (anymore) the woman who will read all night until I finish a book, yet that is exactly what I did. And I have no regrets at all. I loved that book so much! Yes, it is very worthy of a
Feisty five stars!