pretty obsessed coverRating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel


When Emory Ker gets tired of writing within the same familiar walls of his home, he visits his friend who is a bartender at a sex club. Emory has never been tempted until he sees the sexiest guy getting a blow job in the middle of the club. When River calls him over, Emory gets the hottest kiss of his life, but Emory knows nothing could come from it and promptly disappears.

River Wade is part of the hottest band. They became wildly famous almost overnight and, while River loves the music and the money, he misses being connected to people. River has known he is bisexual, but never acted on it, and now that every move he makes is photographed, he hasn’t had any privacy to go after what he wants. That is, until he wants Emory. But now River has to track Emory down and convince him that what he feels is real and that he wants Emory to give him a chance.

Pretty Obsessed starts a new series by J.R. Gray. The series features different members of the band Pretty Broken, and River, the band’s drummer, gets the first story. River is in his early 20s and his band went big after their music was posted online. Since then, they have been on the move nonstop, between recording albums and touring. River is pumped to be a rockstar, but it’s more isolating than he thought it would be and he craves companionship and intimate touch. He thinks going to a sex club is filling this need, but River realizes he doesn’t want to be touched by just anybody and his experience with Emory has him craving more. The blurb suggests that it takes time for River to track down Emory, but he finds him the next day (on two separate occasions) and it really doesn’t play that much into the story.

Emory is just out of a bad relationship and is wary of getting involved with River for several reasons. The story with his ex-boyfriend felt wedged in and I didn’t feel that either Emory or River’s characters were fully developed. Emory is a writer and there were insights on writing included that felt less like character insights and more narrative from the author. There was also industry name dropping and it did feel forced in rather than part of the natural flow of the story.

I liked the blurb on this book, and I liked the characters, but the book didn’t hook me due to the dialogue between the characters and the structure of the story. Both Emory and River speak in an overly formal way and it didn’t fit in with their characters to me. Also, in a back and forth conversation, it was not always clear who was speaking. The heart of this story is supposed to be the insane need that the guys have for each other and, while there were many sex scenes, they all felt separate with less relationship development holding it all together. River had never been with a man before and he and Emory are fully in sync in every way right from the beginning and, while that can work, it  didn’t work for me here with how they were written.

Iris is the band’s lead singer and River’s childhood best friend. He is prominent in this book and will most likely have his own story. I liked the intrigue of him, and I felt at times that he was a more developed character than the leads of this book. There is a lot to unpack with Iris and River and their childhoods and addictions, and the storyline set up Iris more than it developed River as a full character.

While this was a longer book, the ending didn’t feel solid enough for River and Emory and had an abrupt feeling. This will be a continuing series with different MCs, so while we may see River and Emory again, their story should have felt more wrapped up here than it was. While I liked the idea of this book, I struggled with the structure and the execution and found it difficult to get lost in Emory and River’s lives.