Nollybooks Romance. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Finally, some South African chick lit or romance books written for South African women, by local authors and set in recognisable locations.

Aimed at young (16-24 years) urban readers, the Nollybooks Bookazines are “books that think like magazines”, says Moky Makura, founder of MME Media publishers.

The bookazines series has started with the chick-lit genre and includes locally written romances which have plots similar to Mills & Boon – girl meets boy, girl and boy don’t get on initially but usually end up living happily ever after.

But the stories are relevant and accessible to young South Afrians, with identifiable characters and settings – and are upbeat and easy to read.

“One thing I know for sure is that Africans want to read stories that reflect their lifestyles,” says Makura about Nollybooks’ objective to create content that’s relevant to young South Africans.

“But what is more important is that it is brought to them at an affordable price,” she adds.

At only R50 a novel, a Nollybook is far more affordable than other paperback romances.

These books will be invaluable to second-language readers who are wanting to improve their English. Each book has a dictionary of words used listed at the back, as well as word quizzes and puzzles to improve their understanding of the language.

In keeping with the magazine-like tone of the series, there is also a celebrity spot where people such as Nkhensani Nkosi and Sonia Booth reveal their favourite reads.

The book format is slightly smaller than your usual paperback, making it easy to read on the taxi or public transport. And, of course, they will fit snugly into any handbag.

Readers are encouraged to “join the sistahood” of Nollybook readers by posting reviews on the website or following Sis Nolly, the face of the brand, on Twitter.

Bold and outspoken, Sis Nolly gives her take on each book and its main characters. She also comes up with suggestions of discussion points for book clubs.

Aspiring authors are also invited to submit their own story ideas.

This is an interactive bookazine series that combines entertaining chick lit with some educational reading material. As Sis Nolly says: “Reading… it’s foreplay for the mind.”

For more information, visit the website www.nollybooks.co.za or e-mail [email protected]

PLOT EXAMPLES:

l In “Unfashionably in Love” by Sabina Mutangadura, fashion designer Fikile Mathubela gets more than just work experience when she signs on for an internship at a leading fashion house. She also finds love.

l In “Finding Arizona”, aspirant journalist Arizona Shezi discovers that she is just as passionate about her new guest lecturer as she is about journalism. The two hit it off immediately, but soon Arizona is forced to choose between her profession and her love for Jason.

l In “Lights, Camera, Love” by Bronwyn Desjardins, Thuli Ngcobo is an ambitious young receptionist at a lodge in KwaZulu-Natal. She dreams about managing her own B&B one day. Her world turns on its head when Jake Mkhize, a hot-shot South African-born Hollywood director, arrives in town to film the movie of his career. Complications arise when his PA’s last-minute cancellation forces him to accept Thuli’s help.

l In “Looking for Mr Right” by Cheryl Ntumy, Cassandra is fed up with making wedding gowns for other women. She would have liked nothing better than to head down the aisle herself, but she is missing a critical ingredient – a willing groom! Cassandra eventually turns to online dating in her search for Mr Right. - The Star