Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
Two words: shy hero. How could you not want to read that book?! Way too appealing, I tried to resist because my TBR pile is huge, but I couldn’t resist. So I read it and I’m glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet love story about a guy finally confronting his issues and finding love. Oh! And there are dogs, and the other hero is a dancer. Yep, I pretty much could end the review here, but I won’t because I love torturing you with long reviews.
Mark Apolostolos suffers from crippling shyness. He gets panics attacks and can’t talk or think, his therapist even suggested he take some drugs for it, but the side effects were too bad for him to risk taking them. His triggers are multitudes and guys he’s attracted to, which couldn’t be worse since he’s a teacher and gay. He deals with it by teaching online courses and just casually hooking up in bars because as long as he doesn’t have to talk or have a relationship he can deal with it, so sex with random guys it is. But he is so miserable that he decides to give up sex altogether, instead of going through the humiliating sexual encounters. So for the past year he’s been celibate.
When his brother calls him to ask him to stay with his pregnant wife because he’s about to be deployed to Afghanistan, he accepts. After all, he works from home and he doesn’t really have a life. So he moves there and keeps his daily routine of exercising, jogging with his dog and teaching when his sister in law invites him to join a Zumba class at the gym. He reluctantly agrees but things get interesting when the instructor walks in. Seth is everything Mark fears, sexy, hot and very male, so he panics. But faith keeps throwing them together and Seth is obviously interested, so will Mark be able to get over his shyness?
I loved Mark. His issues went beyond the shyness. He was half in and half out of the closet. He hadn’t told his brother about it, at first because their father was homophobic and he was afraid, but after he died, Mark was too afraid of his brother’s reaction so he kept postponing it. The shyness was a real psychological condition that was almost incapacitating, but he also used it as a wall to hide behind, as well as an excuse to deny his family issues and his own fear. His life became a prison but also a safe heaven and he had to come to terms with all of this before trying to have a relationship. Even by the end of the book he kept looking for excuses to not live. But I never felt sorry for him, angry, yes, but never sorry. And it was admirable how he kept trying to get better.
Shane was swoon-worthy and exactly what Mark needed. He was able to recognize Mark’s insecurities and knew how to work through them, and most importantly, how to be patient. This is Mark’s book and Shane is a secondary character, a very important one, but secondary nonetheless. However, we do get some insight into his life and issues which meant that he wasn’t just an instrument for Mark to recover, but a real person with feelings and a past. We never get his POV but it wasn’t necessary and by the end of the book I had a good idea of who he was.
The secondary characters are just as important and interesting. Mark’s brother and sister in law, and a woman he meets at the gym who plays an important role in his self-discovery. The book isn’t long but packs a lot of interesting stories and I wouldn’t mind revisiting all the characters.
Moving in Rhythm was very romantic and sweet, but the main story was about Mark dealing with his shyness and loneliness, so the romance develops slowly –as it should- and it doesn’t act like a magical cure. Yes, love and Seth help him, but that’s it, he has to do all the hard work and by the end of the book he remains a work in process. There’s a happy ending, but there’s also a tough road ahead of him.
If you love sweet love stories, unusual heroes and contemporary romance, you should read this book because it’s all that and more. I’m very happy I read it and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Ms. Bentham.
Review by Brie
Mark Apolostolos should be able to have any man he wants. Handsome and smart, he's also cripplingly shy, especially around attractive men. Tired of waking up alone, he's desperate to conquer his insecurities and have a real, meaningful relationship.
He gets his first opportunity when he tags along to his sister-in-law's dance class and lays eyes on the sexy instructor. Seth Miller has a way of moving that takes his breath away. It isn't long before sparks fly and they share a steamy kiss, but Seth wants much more than just a casual encounter.
If Mark wants a real relationship with Seth he'll have to come to terms with his sexuality—but will it be enough to break through the walls he's built up around his heart?
Carina Press. March 19, 2012.