Series Review ~ The Sloan Brothers by Calia Read

EWW AMAZONSeverine

I made a pact with my best friend that when we went to college neither one of us would fall in love. We were going to enjoy ourselves and this new adventure. She didn’t keep her side of the pact, but I was determined to.

Then I met Macsen Sloan.

 He was quiet and kept to himself. He was nothing like his cocky, basketball star brother, Thayer.
Macsen
Severine Blake was like every beautiful girl — she crooked her finger, expecting every guy within a mile to come crawling. Not only that, but she was sarcastic, opinionated and sometimes a complete bitch.
We were polar opposites. I knew that, she knew that. But what gave me a second glance at her was that my brother was watching from afar.
He wanted this girl.
Yet she wanted me first.
Thayer
I saw her first.
She was at a party, dancing with some guy, completely oblivious that I was staring.
I knew nothing about her, yet I wanted to because I could see that her snark was just a front. She was hiding her true self.
I just never anticipated her falling for my brother.
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BTW AMAZONEmilia Wentworth would do anything for her sister.

For three years, Emilia has lived in the past, feeling her sister’s pain and hating those who are to blame, including one of the Sloan brothers.

Finally, she has had enough. The only way to be free is to create a Burn List with all the people who have ever hurt her sister.

As she crosses each name off, she gets closer and closer to her final target. But, things aren’t always as they seem.

Loyalties are tested.

Boundaries are crossed.

And the truth is revealed.

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RYC AMAZONI met Mathias Sloan in a club.
Truth.
I told him I was twenty-four.
Lie.
I told him my name was Olivia.
Lie.
I thought that I would have a one-night stand and be done with him.
Truth.
I didn’t know that he was my new piano instructor for the next six months…
Truth.
We would come together and fall apart. After him, every man was ruined.
Truth.
If I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have walked to him. I would’ve turned and run…
LIE.

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The Sloan brothers.  Tortured, beautiful men.  Broken, yet stronger than anyone has a right to be.  If I took anything away from these books, it was that.  There are rare few authors who are able to make series focusing on several characters and can make each one dynamic and completely individual from the others.  Calia Read did just that in this series.  Even the secondary characters had a strong independent presence.  Every time that I read something by her I am once again blown away by how complex and sublime each person she allows on her page is.

Every Which Way

Every Which Way was the first glimpse we had into the complicated dynamics of the Sloan brothers.  It first comes when they are both vying for the attentions of Severine Blake.  It is quickly evident that not all competition is brotherly with them.  There is something more, something significant and painful, that is fueling their rivalry.

Severine was the very definition of a spitfire, in every aspect of her life; save her love life.  She was deeply guarded when it came to matters of her heart; often to her own detriment.  It was easy to see why each of the brothers was enamored with her.  I loved Severine; she was fierce, staggering, the exact opposite of what her name might suggest.  Her ability to hold her own with even the most aggressive of opponents instantly endeared her to me.  It was this that made me hurt for her when she made the safe, but obviously not right, choice when it came to the brothers.  Her fear was well-founded after watching the heartbreak her mother suffered time and again at her father’s hands.

Thayer and Macsen seemed to be complete opposites on the surface.  Thayer’s gregarious lightness opposed to Macsen’s introspective darkness.  Beneath those surface layers, it was easy to see how much of the same hurt and insecurity the brothers carried.  How much anger was brewing inside.  They were both broken, but in very different ways, by the same person.  Their differences in dealing with their pain were what truly set them apart.  Thayer found something that soothed his soul, gave him a place to literally leave it all on the court.  Macsen turned his pain on himself and did his best to destroy any good that he obtained.  Because of those differences, Thayer was more able to hold his own against such a huge personality as Severine was, Macsen lost the parts of himself he knew in her sweeping grandeur.

Every Which Way may have been Severine’s love story, but more than that it set up a family dynamic that left me clamouring for to find out more about the boys.  Their story was a perfect counterpoint to what was happening in Severine’s love life.  Just as one thing was working out, another was falling apart, abysmally.

Breaking the Wrong {Spoilers for Every Which Way}

Breaking the Wrong held more secrets within it pages than I could have imagined.  Calia Read managed to keep twisting me in circles, even after I was certain I had figured everything out.  For me, that’s everything.  I’m rarely surprised by plot twists, but there were a couple in this book that I didn’t quite see coming.

Emilia made a few brief appearances in Every Which Way, I was instantly drawn to her character and was euphoric to see that she would be playing a key role in this book.  She was so different than Severine had been I was unsure if she would win me over completely, but she did.  After getting to know her through the pages, I felt much more akin to her.  She kept herself well-hidden and had a wall a mile high built around herself, something I was quite able to relate to.  It was when she started to disassemble that wall that I truly found my love for her.  Her brokenness was so perfect for Macsen’s I was sure, no matter what, they would find a way to one another.

I was completely torn on Macsen after Every Which Way.  I knew he held so much hurt, that he seemed to find a perverted comfort in that pain, I wasn’t sure he would ever let it go enough to find happiness.  Throughout Breaking the Wrong he changes a lot.  He learns how to be himself.  How to love himself.  How to forgive himself.  Macsen becomes a person worth loving, and who is able to give real love in return.  His character arc was impressive, and I was ecstatic to take that journey with him.

Every single situation in Breaking the Wrong was predicated on the lies of another.  It was truly a lesson on the destructive nature of fallacies, no matter how small.  The ache that was caused my watching Macsen, Emilia, and their families deal with the fallout of actions and words of other people was palpable.  Knowing that, had everyone just been honest, their pain would have been lessened was heartbreaking.  This book broke my heart, it stomped on it, then patched it back together and made it mostly whole again.  I still ached for the brothers and the damage their past had inflicted on their tender souls.

Ruin You Completely

Mathias’ story.  I had been desperately waiting for this.  He completely entranced me from his first appearance in Every Which Way.  It was easy to see that the man we met in those few scenes was deeply tortured and in desperate need of salvation.

Mathias is my favorite of the brothers.  His desperate love of music and need for control in everything he did was easily relatable to me.  He further called to my soul with the deep and far-reaching pain he so beautifully carried with him.  It was evident from the beginning there was so much more to Mathias than just the gruff exterior he projected to the world.

Katja grew on me.  As much as we know about her, I still think there is a lot more that we didn’t get to see from her.  I deeply appreciated her passion for music and in knowing that aspect of her I knew she was a perfect match for Mathias’ desperation.  I felt like we were just scratching the surface with her, though.  Someone who pours so much of themselves into one thing has to have so many more layers, more than could possibly be fleshed out in one book.

The timeline for Ruin You Completely was much longer than those of Every Which Way and Breaking the Wrong; thankfully it was written in such a way that it didn’t feel that way.  There was so much tension and buildup, by the time that I got about halfway through the book I was so wound up in the Mathias/Katja drama I couldn’t dream of putting the book down.  I needed some relief.  Needed a moment of weakness.  They were few and far between, which made me all the more interested in seeing if they would both get the resolution they deserved.

****

With each installment in the Sloan Brothers series, the stories grew; they graduated from college romances to something more redemptive, something that gave hope to even the most broken of souls.  Every Which Way started pulling back the blinds on the darkness of the brothers’ relationships and their very damaging pasts.  Breaking the Wrong laid much of that past bare.  Ruin You Completely added another dimension to the past and left me needing to know more about the brothers, their pasts, and the glimpse of happiness they were starting to find.  Each boy may have found love, but they all still have a long road to find a way to be free from the darkness surrounding them.

4.5Feathers2

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EWW AMAZON

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BTW AMAZON

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RYC AMAZON

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SLOAN SERIES

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calia readCalia Read lives in Arizona with her husband and their five kids.

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