Clearwater University: The Complete Series by Eva Ashwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lies and misunderstandings!
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌏🌍🌎🌍🌏
Character development: 😤😥😊🤩
The heroine: Emma – her mother died when she was 12 years old, her father moved them away from their home in Clearwater when she was 17. Now she is back and going to Clearwater University on a scholarship provided by her father’s company who enticed him to come back to work for them again. However, on her first day, she sees her three former bullies.
The Heroes: Trent, Reece, West (a.k.a. The Icons) – Trent is strong and the de facto leader of the three guys, Reece is easy going and the most empathetic of the group, and West is angry and works out in the gym to release his anger. He is now well muscled and hotter than ever.
The Story: Emma and The Icons used to be best friends, until all three of the guys became romantically interested in her and each of them asked her to go out with them. Emma had feelings for each of the guys and couldn’t choose between them, so she turned each of them down. From that time on they became her bullies who made her life a living hell until her father moved them away.
Emma has grown up in the intervening years and is determined to do well at Clearwater University and keep her scholarship and make something of herself. Even though the guys continue to say things to her and look at her like they hate her, she is determined to overcome and not be the same weak person she was in high school.
The bully trope is one of my favorites and I like a good reverse harem. In this one it seemed from the start there was something more going on that turned the guys against Emma than her just turning them down when they asked her out. The guys refer to her doing something bad to Trent in particular not just that she did the same thing to all of them, but whatever they think she did to Trent that justified them turning on her, Emma seems unaware of it.
We find out later what that event was, and it does seem bad enough for the guys to have turned against her. Though of course the bullying is a bit much no matter what they thought she had done. Later on when Trent finds out more about the situation that occurred in the past, instead of feeling like it wasn’t Emma’s fault, he draws some clearly outrageous conclusions and gets even more angry at her. Sometimes it seems that the writer is so determined to make a conflict that it gets so outrageous it is almost funny.
This book was told in multiple points of view via dual narration. The narrators were Leah Voysey and Gregory Salinas. Leah Voysey is a good narrator and has a voice that seemed age appropriate to Emma. Gregory Salinas also does a great job as the three guys. I enjoyed the narration and the story. The last book of the trilogy is a veritable smut fest, so I would have liked a little more story in that one, but overall it was pretty good.
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