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4.6 out of 5 stars
Lips Touch
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2011
Beautiful words, beautiful stories, beautiful characters... you know, this is just one damn beautiful book. I am in awe of it. Can you fall in love with a book? If so, I'm guilty. I don't mean to sound condescending to young adult readers (I am one) but this book simply does not deserve the readership that thought Twilight was the best book ever written.

Everything about the marketing and presentation of this book does not convey how truly wonderful it is. Firstly, though the cover illustration is a stunning work of art, I think it tends to immediately appeal to younger readers and rule out an older audience. It's pretty... but it looks like a children's book. Same with the title... it's cute, very cute and it's quite a subtle representation of what the book is about... but again, it sounds like a cutesy Twilight-style romance. Another thing it has in common with the saga is the genre it is categorised in: paranormal romance.

But to say that Twilight and Lips Touch: Three Times are both paranormal romances is like saying tin and platinum are both metals. It's in an entirely different league. And I almost didn't read this because I saw reviews saying the first story was just like Twilight. No, no, no. The very main difference between the two is that Laini Taylor remembers the basic principle of quality writing.

Let's look at Bella Swan for a second... after four books what do we know about her?

1) She's that girl who's in love with a vampire
2) She's that girl who's in love with Edward Cullen
3) She's that girl... um, that's about it.

In one paragraph of that first story called 'Goblin Fruit', that according to some is "just like Twilight", this is Kizzy:

"Kizzy wanted to be a woman who would dive off the prow of a sailboat into the sea, who would fall back in a tangle of sheets, laughing, and who could dance a tango, lazily stroke a leopard with her bare foot, freeze an enemy's blood with her eyes, make promises she couldn't possibly keep, and then shift the world to keep them. She wanted to write memoirs and autograph them at a tiny bookshop in Rome, with a line of admirers snaking down a pink-lit alley. She wanted to make love on a balcony, ruin someone, trade in esoteric knowledge, watch strangers as coolly as a cat. She wanted to be inscrutable, have a drink named after her, a love song written for her, and a handsome adventurer's small airplane, champagne-christened Kizzy, which would vanish one day in a windstorm in Arabia so that she would have to mount a rescue operation involving camels, and wear an indigo veil against the stinging sand, just like the nomads. Kizzy wanted."

YES. In just one paragraph, Laini Taylor has created a far more complex character than Stephenie Meyer ever managed. And let me just say, this book is hard to quote from because the entire thing is a quotable masterpiece, you can find something beautiful in every single paragraph on every single page. I actually took longer than it would normally take me to finish a 250 page young adult novel, and not because it was hard work, but because I would read a few sentences, think "wow", and go back and read it again. And again. My only fault with it is that I finished the last story and wanted to cry because there wasn't any more.

Who is this Laini Taylor who seems to have appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden with her extraordinary writing and her pink hair? I don't know but I do know I'll be getting my hands on her future work if I have to sell my soul in exchange (yeah, that was a bit melodramatic but I haven't come out of fairyland yet). Read this, spread the word. 'tis fantastic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Boy, is Laini Taylor's writing gorgeous. Each of the three short stories in Lips Touch: Three Times had something for me to like - either characters, romance or mythology - but what I loved was the beautiful prose throughout.

The first of the three stories, Goblin Fruit, is also the shortest. It has this wonderful opening where Taylor describes the loneliness and longing of the main character, Kizzy and the words quickly enveloped me into the story. It's a compliment to Taylor's storytelling that I wanted more.

The other two stories are longer and feel complete. It's tough to choose between them, but I think Spicy Little Curses Such as These is my favourite. It's set in India and is a twisted version of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale - a baby girl, Anamique, is cursed with a beautiful voice, that will kill anybody who hears it. Spicy Little Curses has a great cast of characters; with Anamique and her love interest, James (I loved their courtship by letter - so romantic!); the 'Old Bitch' and the demon, Vasudev; and even the god of Hell himself.

The final story is Hatchling and this is where Taylor surpasses herself with her world-building. Her depiction of the Druj - a vampire-like race who kidnap children and keep them as pets - is detailed, strange, atmospheric, terrifying. I was both spellbound and seriously creeped out, much like their child victims.

Lips Touch: Three Times is an absolute treat. You need to have this on your bookshelf.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Do you remember your first kiss?

Three supernatural tales of first love (or lust) and that first kiss that can change you or overpower you. In "Goblin Fruit" goblins prey on young girls - and not the pretty popular ones - the ones that want to be them. In "Spicy Little Curses" a young woman is cursed with a voice that will kill anyone who is nearby to hear it. Can she risk telling her love the one thing he wants to hear? In "Hatchling" a young girl finds her fate intertwined with demons and secrets kept by her mother.

Dark, dangerous, and delicious! This collection is an amazing work of fiction - and it's addicting. You won't want to put this one down! I don't always enjoy short stories, but this collection blew me away.

Each story is wonderfully written and the characters are well-developed. I was transported to each new world and it's hard for me to pick which one I enjoyed the best - they were all fantastic. The artwork by Jim Di Bartolo is gorgeous - I would love to have prints of these pictures framed. (And the red dress in the first picture for "Spicy Little Curses" - I want that dress!)

Even if you typically shy away from fantasy or paranormal romances, give this one a try. It's compulsively readable and the fantasy elements are weaved in to the stories in such a way that you won't even realize you're reading fantasy. (And I mean that in a good way.) These are stunning stories that will stick with you long after you finish reading.

Laini Taylor is an author to watch for. I will be picking up her DREAMDARK series after reading LIPS TOUCH. I need more of her storytelling.

Reviewed by: Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Though I have only read the first book of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I've been a fan of Laini Taylor's writing from the very first chapter of that book. She seems to have this flare for creating a creepy but beautiful story, and with her Lips Touch short stories book, I must admit, to start off with I was a little unsure. I've known about it for a few years now and had it on my TBR on goodreads for a while but when I saw it on BookBridgr, I knew I had to at least try to request it.

This books is made up of 3 short stories, Goblin Fruit, Spicy Little Curses Such As These and Hatchling. All from a young girl's point of view but each completely different. Goblin Fruit fallows a girl with a strange family, someone who has been told to stay away from ever eating out of season fruit, but when a mysterious new boy turns up at her school she begins to struggle between what she's been told all her life and what she wants.

Spicy Little Curses Such As These is about a girl who was blessed as baby with an amazing singing voice, but cursed with the power to kill using said voice. She has been silent all her life, finding other ways to communicate, but when she is face with what could be true love she is desperate to utter some words, if only once. And then with have Hatchling, a story about a seemingly ordinary girl who's eye's change just before her 14th birthday and she soon learns that there are horrible things hidden behind eye sight.

Though I really liked all of the stories, I think for me my favourite had to be Spicy Little Curses Such As These. I absolutely loved the idea behind the story and I would kill for a full length book of this. It did however work perfectly as a short story, because everything flowed really well and if she can do that in such short amount of pages I can imagine my mind would be full on blown away with more.

If I had to sum each of the stories up with one work I think Goblin Fruit would be lust, Spicy Little Curses Such As These would be love and Hatchling would be dark. The reason for this would be because the first story I found to be a little bit too much instant love, don't get me wrong I know it was a short story and Laini wouldn't have had a lot of time to get the feelings across, but it all happened a little too quick. Spicy Little Curses was all set around love, in a romance sense and just a love of other human beings. And Hatchling, well that was the darkest of them all and it was brilliant.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading it, every story left you wanting more and I will admit that I would probably read anything she has wrote, I'm not a fan of short stories but even though I knew they would last more than 50-100 pages, I was so engrossed with what was going on that I was surprised it was finished.
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on 25 November 2014
‘Lips touch’ by Laini Taylor

There is always a certain danger in having high expectations of a novel. More often than not, these books do not live up to the expectations I had of them. This can be a really bad thing, because those books might be very enjoyable, though not the most perfect ones out there to read. Luckily, ‘Lips touch’ was not one of these books!

‘Lips touch’ contains three short stories and because if this, the novel is also known as ‘lips touch three times’. The stories are of varying lengths, starting with the shortest and ending with the longest. The first story, ‘goblin fruit’, is about a young girl who desperately wants to fit in and a goblin who preys on weaker girls and plans on stealing this girl’s soul away. The next story, ‘spicy little things like this’, again contains supernatural creatures. When the demon Yama and the Ambassador of Hell (who happens to be a human woman) strike a deal to let some children live, a girl is cursed: her voice will be beautiful, but whoever hears her make so much as a sound with it will drop down dead. The girl grows up completely silent, but how can you refrain from speaking when a sweet soldier comes your way and all you want to do is tell him how much you love him? The third and final story, ‘Hatchling’, is about Esmé. She lives together with her mother, Mab, who believes that one-eyed creatures are evil, brews her own tea and speaks languages unknown by others. When one of Esmé’s eyes turns blue, she is about to unravel secrets of her mother’s past as well as a secret she has been carrying with her all her life.

First of all, it must be said that the writer really knows her way around with language. Her prose was lyrical and full of surprising metaphors and similes. It really added to the overall feel of magic and sensuality. About the stories: I enjoyed reading all three of them, but I think I liked the second and third one best. ‘Goblin fruit’ was interesting, but I found the ending unsatisfying. The other stories were, in my humble opinion, perfect. ‘Spicy little things like this’ had interesting characters, most of all Estelle, the Ambassador of Hell, who walked there to reclaim her husband but got a job instead. The story was a little predictable, but that did not decrease my enjoyment in any way. ‘Hatchling’ was very interesting. The world of demons and their magic have piqued my interest. I have not read the ‘daughter of smoke and bone’-trilogy for which Laini Taylor is probably more known, but I have a feeling that the characters from ‘hatchling’ can be found walking the pages of these books, too. I plan on reading those next to see if I can find more about the demons. It might add more depth to this story, though it can be read and understood quite well without any knowledge of the ‘daughter of smoke and boon’-series.

The three stories come to life with the gorgeous illustrations of Jim di Bartolo. They are absolutely stunning, I could look at them for hours. The only thing that did not make sense to me was that they were at the beginning of each story. I felt they gave away key information and should have been placed at the end of each story, not in the least because the reader can appreciate them better with the context of the stories. What should also be noted is that it is worth the extra expense to buy the hardcover-edition of ‘lips touch’. I bought the paperback edition, liking that cover more, but my illustrations are black-and-white instead of in colour. If I had known in advance, I would have bought a hardcover-copy (and I might do so, anyway).

To conclude: I really enjoyed this little book. The stories were original and fun, the language and illustrations very pretty. Just buy a hardcover-edition so you can enjoy them best. Kudo’s to both Laini Taylor and Jim di Bartolo for delivering such a pretty little book!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 October 2014
Thank you to Hodder / Bookbridgr for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review

To say that Laini Taylor has a way with words is an understatement, she has such a unique way of expressing her stories, a way that creates sumptuous, delicious tales that totally pull you in and leave you breathless, Lips Touch is her short story collection and I am pleased to say it has the same glorious style of writing.

The book contains three stories the first being Goblin Fruit which has goblins trying to tempt a teenage girl but will their tried and tested method of sumptuous fruits work or will they have to resort to a different method to ensnare their young victim?

Spicy Little Curses is set in India during the last century, a young British girls soul is fought over by a demon and the ambassador to hell, a curse has been placed upon her, what will happen when she decides to test it?

Hatchling features Esme, nearly fourteen she is shocked to find her left eye has turned from brown to blue, not knowing what changes this may bring she continues her life but slowly it begins to unravel.

If I had to pick a favourite out of the three I think I would pick Spicy Little Curses, the story set in an India still very exotic and far away back then is just amazing the characters especially The Old Bitch are just fantastic.

Lips Touch is a perfect addition to your bookshelf, if you have read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series then you will definitely appreciate it, if not still give it a go, Laini has mastered the art of transporting you in to the pages of her books and they are very good places to be.

Lips Touch is awarded 5 out of 5
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2011
This book was amazing. Well-written. Gorgeous, gorgeous writing. Touching characters. I just... I loved it. Every story was better than the last. Enchanting, horrifying, beautiful and captivating. The way Taylor writes... Again, I don't know what to say. She pulls you into the universe she created like no others and makes you truly experience the story she's telling. Her writing grabs you and doesn't let you go. You get attached to the characters, feel their joy and their horror, all the while sinking deeper and deeper into the mesmerizing universe she presents you with.

The way she manages to combine such a vast array of emotion into one story is mind boggling. This book feels like a rainy afternoon spent cuddled up in your blankets with an amazing book and a tub of ice cream. It's a treat you've been waiting for, and savor slowly to keep it as long as possible. It's the kind of book you keep reading at night, secretly, while you're supposed to be sleeping simply because you just can't stop reading.

While the first story was short, sensual and surprising, the second and third ones were longer, and therefore had their own universe and set of rules. And the writing. God. Her prose is lyrical and flows perfectly. She uses recurrent imagery so well that you can almost picture everything. I kept literally stopping in the middle of a chapter to think "wow, this sentence is gorgeous."

Also, I'd just like to point out that not once, while reading this book did I think anything was remotely wrong with the character development, the pacing, the plot or just... anything. This is rare, people. Very rare. Everything made perfect sense. So much sense, actually, that when Taylor later explains her definition of the "Hell" she used in the second story, it wasn't necessary, because she told it in such a way that it was obvious for anyone, even those not versed in Hindu beliefs like me.

If you're still not convinced, here's a quote:

"[...] they thought the same thoughts as completely as if a butterfly traveled back and forth between their minds, bearing ideas on its legs like pollen."

See? So pretty. So cute and perfect. Sigh.

Really. I'm re-reading myself and I have not done this story justice. Don't take my words for it. Go read it. You won't be sorry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2013
I found this book as little confusing and didn't realize until about half way through it was a collection of different stories as none of them seemed to conclude one way or another. However i am a great fan of Laini Taylor's work and can't wait for the conclusion to her smoke and bone tril ogy
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2014
Laini Taylor's collection of short fiction centres thematically around the moment when - you guessed it - lips touch. The world moves, something changes. It may be a small disturbance, ripples spreading out towards a new and foreign shore. Or perhaps the change is electric, the spark that starts an inferno.

In Goblin Fruit, a story inspired by Christina Rossetti's fantastical poem, 'Goblin Market', the moment heralds a fall into damnation. Whereas in Spicy Little Curses Such As These, the touching of lips is the shift, like the volta line of the sonnet, which signifies a change of direction. Hatchling is different again. The act of lips coming together haunts the story like memory, a nostalgic symbol of what has passed and what could possibly be again.

In fact, what I liked about Hatchling - apart from the sumptuous world-building - was the resonant presence of Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I found obvious parallels between the tribal Druj and the Chimaera of Eretz, not to mention the double lives idea employed so effectively in Daughter.

My favourite story, however, is Spicy Little Curses. I adore fairy tales and the fairy tale literary form, which Taylor uses to brilliant effect. The story has a multi-mythical feel, with strands pulled from mythologies as disparate as Greek and Indian. The structure is tight, the pace fluid, and the narrative embodies a perfect balance between immediacy and distance.

If I had any criticism to make at all, it would be that Goblin Fruit ends too abruptly, perhaps because Taylor spends so much time painting Kizzy for us. It actually reads like the beginning of a novel, rather than a short story. You're lulled into a feeling of length, which the sudden end quite jarringly destroys. I was a little disappointed, but only because I'd come to like Kizzy as a character and didn't want to say goodbye just yet.

Overall, Lips Touch is a beautifully crafted collection. Taylor's writing is intelligent and imaginative, delving beyond the physical act of kissing into a subtle world that is as rich and strange as the human heart.

This is the kindle edition, but I have the Hodder hardback, sumptuously illustrated by Jim di Bartolo, which is the perfect book for anyone with a love of fantasy or fairy tales.
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on 1 November 2013
This didn't disappoint in the least, laini Taylor is a master of her craft ... The most beautiful prose I've ever read. I loved daughter of smoke and bone and days of blood and starlight so had been eagerly awaiting my next fix...this book has confirmed laini as my favourite author .. Nothing else comes close
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