From hot to not: your Valentine's reading list
Here are some romantic reads to get you in the mood for 'luuurv', rated on their spice factor
If you are alone on Valentine’s Day, here are a few reads that can keep you entertained. In the same tradition of BookTok’s spicy reads ranking, we will rate it according to chillies out of five (one being a little bit of heat, five being explosive) so you know what level of steam to expect
Fangirl Down by Tessa Bailey
🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ (5 chillies)
Out on ebruary 13, the new Tessa Bailey will beavailable in bookstores or to secretly download on your kindle. Warning: expect explicit, steamy sex scenes. This is a colleagues-to-lovers sports romance. As per usual, the hero is a good-looking hunk who is a serious grumpy pants. Wells Whitaker was golf’s rising star but now all he has are broken dreams and clubs, hangovers and one loyal fan — Josephine. When he decides to seriously get back into the sport, he asks Josephine for help — to be his caddie and expert adviser. As they spend days on the green, sparks fly. The gruffy Wells shows his tender side: he wants to brush her hair, feed her snacks, and take bubble baths together. But will this last?
Ruthless Vows by Rebecca Ross
0 (no chillies)
This is the last book in Ross’s latest duology, Letters of Enchantment, which started with Divine Rivals. It’s fantasy romance (which is now dubbed romantasy) and it’s angsty, heartbreaking stuff. It’s full-on mushy piffle, so if that is what you want, then Iris and Roman’s story is for you. Set in an alternative universe, or more accurately an entire underground magical realm which is tenuously connected to the real world via magical ley lines. Iris and Roman are young, rival journalists. They are separated in realms but can correspond via a wardrobe.
Love at First Flight by Jo Watson
🌶️🌶️🌶️ (3 chillies)
This is the latest by romcom best-seller Jo Watson, who is quite the South African publishing phenomenon. Her book Love To Hate You became an overnight best-seller. Love at First Flight doesn’t only have a cutesy title but it’s a cutesy fake-date romance. When air traffic controller Pippa eventually meets pilot Andrew in real life, and not just talking over the intercom, they discover they’ve got much more in common than simply working at the same airport — they both need a partner for pretence. Pippa for her dreaded 10-year reunion in Cape Town, and Andrew to stop his family from bothering him about his lack of a love life. So they have a fake relationship, which of course turns into something more.
Magnolia Parks: Into the Dark by Jessa Hastings
🌶️🌶️ (2 chillies)
This is a long, very long, romantic series and this is book five. This book alone is a door stopper with 720 pages to get through. The main characters are all Gossip Girl like: a little bit entitled, a little bit bratty, and a little bit endearing. This novel is focused on BJ and Magnolia and the grief and trouble they go through to have a happy ending. If you are prepared to binge read the series, be sure to take a few days off, maybe a week, maybe a month as it might take a while.
A Wish for Us by Tillie Cole
🌶️🌶️🌶️ (3 chillies)
The main characters in this young romance have names that are ripe for a TV show — Cromwell Dean and Bonnie Farraday. Cromwell is a DJ and rising star, but he feels nothing, and the Jack Daniels he keeps slugging down doesn’t help. Then he meets Bonnie late one night on a beach in Brighton. She doesn’t mince her words on how soulless his music is. He figures he will never see her again. However, they meet at a college in South Carolina and she soon becomes the light to his darkness, and his muse. But will it be enough?
Island in the Sun by Katie Fforde
🌶️ (1 chilli)
This is an uplifting romance that doesn’t have many sexy bits, rather it’s more wholesome feel-goodness. Cass is asked by her dad to take an unusual photography assignment in the Caribbean island of Dominica and she sees no reason to say no. However, a hurricane hits and the remote island is left in tatters. Cass is with Ranulph, who is searching for the rare stone carvings her father wants her to photograph. She soon falls for Ranulph, but does he feel the same way?
Grayson’s Vow by Mia Sheridan
🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ (4 chillies)
This is another fake relationship romance novel with quite a slant on erotica. Kira is desperate. She must get married, and fast, to get access to the inheritance her late grandmother left her. She decides to approach Grayson Hawthorn, who she knows is desperate for money as his vineyard is failing and the bank refuses to give him a loan. Yadayadaya things happen..... and, badaboom!
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood
🌶️🌶️ (2 chillies)
This young adult romance does not have too much spice, so it gets only two chillies out of five. There’s some sexy talk but most of the time it’s a fade to black, next scene deal. If you fancy a good game of chess and chase, this could be it for you. Mallory Greenleaf is Queen’s Gambit good but hates the game for what it did to her family. She agrees to play one match and beats “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer. She decides to continue playing as it is providing her with the much-needed money she needs for her family to survive. And then there’s also Nolan...