The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson

The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson
Publisher: Harlequin Bestselling Author Collection
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Catching Fire

Bella Manchelli didn’t stick, not to places, or to people. Even though she liked the coastal town of Santa Rey, California, and her job as a pastry chef, she never made promises and she never got hurt. So when she signed up for Eight Dates in Eight Days, it was just for fun. And when she went home with Date Eight, she crept out of his room in the morning and never expected to see him again.

Until she found a body on her doorstop. The detective on the case? None other than Mr. Date Eight—Jacob Madden. Bella was glad to see him, because there was definitely chemistry between them. She felt safe and protected with Jacob, and for the first time Bella felt at home. But he wasn’t looking for forever…and they both knew the killer wasn’t finished.

The Heat Is On by Jill Shalvis

First, let me explain how I got my hands on this really awesome read. It’s rather a big deal for me. I was at a library that offers books via the honor system. I had five seconds to pick a book. In those few seconds Jill Shalvis’ name jumped out at me, the book cover had a smiling couple embracing on a beach, smiling at each other, wearing two of my favorite colors; I saw the Harlequin symbol and the title, “The Heat Is On” which triggered a memory of that song by Glen Fry, which prompted me to start singing it. In five seconds, I broke tradition by grabbing it without reading the synopsis! If you’ve read any of my reviews, then you know that is a shock to my system. I always choose a book based on the synopsis.

I started reading while I was at a swim team practice, sitting on metal bleachers surrounded by parents, in the hot sun. You could say the heat was really on! It certainly was in the story right from the get-go. From the first paragraph, “Oh, yeah baby, that’s good,” she whispered. So good that she wanted more. She couldn’t help herself; she’d never been known for having much self-control.” See what I mean? But the second paragraph set the hook, “Not when it came to chocolate. Isabella Manchelli loved desserts, all of them.” I busted out laughing, embarrassing myself and I didn’t care. That was the moment when I fell in love with this book and the heroine, Isabella. She was a character after my own heart. I’m obsessed with chocolate.

The cast of characters are well developed and relatable making the story come to life. Bella finds the first dead body on page six. I went from chocolate coma to the edge of my seat pretty quick. I didn’t want to put the book down at the end of swim practice. This was a fast-paced story that I couldn’t get enough of. I did guess who the killer was, but I was never a hundred percent positive. The ending was breathtaking and sigh-worthy.

Oh, I did get a chance to read the synopsis, it hooked me. It sounded like the perfect murder mystery romance book. I considered the plot to be realistic and original. Isabella signed up to participate in the local recreation center’s singles club’s, “eight dates in eight days”. I fell in love with “Mr. Date Eight-Jacob Madden”, the hero, right along with Isabella aka Bella. The chemistry between them was instant, intense and heat inducing. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to pick this book up in five seconds. The best part is that it has a bonus book!

The next story is called “Blame it on the Bikini” by Natalie Anderson. Now I know I’ve never read a book by her but I’m excited to start it. All the reader knows about it is that the heroine, Mya, sends a text to the wrong person by accident. Who hasn’t done that? I know I have.

Blame it on the Bikini by Natalie Anderson

The story starts right away with Mya texting the picture to the wrong person which immediately caught my interest in the story. The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were humorous moments throughout the book that I enjoyed.

The story uses the trope of a hero rich in money but poor in love and affection from his family, and a heroine poor in finances but rich and surrounded by the love of her family. The heroine, Mya, was best friends with Brad’s sister Lauren, and Brad was clueless for years that Mya had a crush on him. He got a clue when he was the recipient of that wayward text.

The hero, Brad, has the emotional baggage of women only wanting him for his money and never seeing him as a person. The heroine, Mya, had a front row seat to his living the life of a playboy, so she doesn’t trust him. She also has her own issues of not wanting to be a charity case. Brad and Mya are both extremely independent, strong willed and smart. Considering how intelligent and educated they were, it amazed me that at the same time, they were both block heads. It was a long struggle for them to realize that it wasn’t just lust they were experiencing, but love. They were also slow to figure out that they could trust each other with their hearts.

The plot was cute and definitely contemporary. I enjoyed the story but I felt there could have been better verbal communication between Brad and Mya. It’s kind of funny because Brad and Mya were getting frustrated with each other. I wanted to tell them that I was frustrated with them too. Lord knows they had no issue communicating physically.

There were a few secondary characters, but they were minimally developed, the majority being hearsay as Mya and Brad shared their personal information. I got to meet both Brad and Mya’s parents, and of course, Mya’s best friend, Brad’s sister, Lauren. I also met Mya’s employers and co-workers.

The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were even some truly funny moments. I was buckled in to see their HEA and I can say the ride was worth it. I’m happy for them. I would consider reading another Natalie Anderson book.

Overall, I enjoyed both stories. They are completely different from each other which was nice. I went from the edge of my seat to lounging on my couch. I’d recommend The Heat Is On: An Anthology without hesitation.

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