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4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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on 18 July 2017
Very good read
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on 11 April 2017
I've wanted to read Lips Touch by Laini Taylor for such a long time, but I didn't actually realise it was available in the UK as a collection; I thought each of the stories were only available individually as eBooks. So you can imagine my delight when looking for the eBooks, I discovered that we could get hold of the collection! And I'm so glad, because these stories are just incredible.

Each of these stories is either inspired by or a reimagining of something else, as Taylor tells us in her Author's Note. Goblin Fruit is inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market; Spicy Little Curses Such as These is set during the British Raj, and is a reimagining of Hindu beliefs regarding Heaven and Hell, and the story also mentions similarities between it and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice; and Hatchling takes inspiration from the Zoroastrian faith. It made these stories feel a little more special, knowing they didn't entirely come from Taylor's mind, that there was a tiny seed that sparked the ideas. The collection is called Lips Touch as kissing is the thread that ties these three stories together, how a kiss, in each of these stories, changes everything.

Each story is also accompanied by illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo, Taylor's husband. The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking. So incredibly beautiful! I wish they were in colour, but the lack of colour doesn't take away from just how gorgeous they are. Each story has a moment where history is revealed; in Goblin Fruit, Kizzy remembers her granfmother telling her about how she had to save her sister after eating goblin fruit; in Spicy Little Curses Such as These, we're hear how Estella became the ambassador to Hell; and in Hatchling, we hear about Mab's childhood at Tajbel. In each case, bar Hatchling, the history is very short - less than a page, maybe more than a paragraph. But it's these moments that are illustrated, the small histories of the characters that, in the first two stories, we don't get as much detail about, but the detail is given in the illustrations that prelude them. As I recognised in the story what the illustrations were showing, I would flip back and forth, from reading to looking at the illustrations, now I understood the story the illustrations were telling. They were such a wonderful addition to the collection!

I'm going to talk a little bit about each story individually.

Goblin Fruit:
This story follows Kizzy, a teenager from a strange family with strange beliefs and a different way of living. They, especially her grandmother, believe goblins exist, that they once tried to take her sister's soul, but her grandmother had to save her. Kizzy isn't sure she believes in any of this, it's just the eccentricities of her family. But the goblin's are real, and they have their sights set on Kizzy.

This is a pretty short story, heavily influenced by Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. This story, like others, makes Goblin Mark a myth or a history, something that's known and from which they base their own stories. In a way, it kind of reminds me of how Isaac Assimov wrote The Three Laws of Robotics in his stories, and other authors since have taken on those laws into their own stories with their own robots. Something fictional has become a foundation on which other stories build upon.

It was really interesting to see how this story brought goblins into the present day, and how they would lore in and tempt today's modern teenagers. It was fascinating, but also kind of scary. As a reader, you know what's happening, though Kizzy doesn't, and there's this creepy, sinister feeling that bubbles underneath the surface. For a short that doesn't have a huge amount happen in it, it was pretty atmospheric.

Spicy Little Curses Such as These:
This short story was just so good! A demon who makes a deal with the ambassador to Hell that she can save the souls of the children who died in an earthquake, but only if she takes a curse of his to the Political Agent's baby daughter, in which whenever she utters a single sound, those who hear it will die. This story completely captivated me. How do you get around such a curse? And I just loved the idea of someone who barters for the souls of innocents with a greedy demon who relishes in the pain of others. Such a great little story, and I loved the ending!

This was my favourite of them all. This is more a novella than a short story, and is full of such wonderful world building. As I said above, the illustrations accompanying the stories are of a history, but there are so many histories in this book; Mab's childhood, Mihai's past, what Mihai did with the Queen, the history of the Druj. There are so many layers to this story, so many! And it was all so fascinating! This is the story I wanted to be a full length novel; though the story concludes, the ending is kind of the beginning of something else, and I want that story, too! It was SO good! It felt a lot like Taylor's other stories, filling me with awe and wonder. But it's also a pretty dark story, too. It was just completely wonderful.

This story collection is a definite must have for all Taylor fans. If you haven't read it yet, make doing so a priority. You won't regret it.
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on 8 April 2012
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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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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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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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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on 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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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 bone’-series. (UPDATE: this story has nothing to do with the series of 'daughter of smoke and bone' but that just goes to show how well Laini manages to build a world, because it's completely understandable).

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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on 21 October 2016
I’m not the biggest fan of short stories but this collection really blew my mind. For once, I adored every story in a collection – even if there was only three of them there was still the chance for me to dislike something – as Laini Taylor has created something wonderful with each story.

My personal favourite was the first story in the collection, the shortest, Goblin Fruit. I’m rather surprised to read that for some people this is their least favourite read, but I’m not going to argue the point as each story was wonderful in one way or another. It is easy to imagine each story as an actual book rather than as short stories, and I would be happy to read more about each and every one of them.

Each short story contains everything you expect from Laini Taylor. We’re given beautiful stories. We’re given the lyrical prose that leave our hearts skipping beats. We’re given mind-blowing world building. Yes, you heard that right, the world building is out of this world even though we’re only reading short stories. Seriously, how does she do it? Is there nothing this woman cannot perfect?

Plus, the illustrations! Her husband is truly talented. Not only do we have Laini Taylor’s beautiful words to read but also her husband offers up some gorgeous artwork. I can only imagine how wonderful their marriage must be through the shared work of their talents. It’s no surprise she creatures such beautiful words when she has a husband capable of bringing it to life through sketch.

Overall, Laini Taylor blew my mind yet again.

As a final note, I would like to ask what the hell this book was doing in Poundland. I went in to buy some drinks, saw this book and realised it was the perfect opportunity for me to read it despite my declaration to hold off buying any more books until I’d shifted through some of my to-read list. Honestly, I’m thankful Poundland but you shouldn’t be selling such perfection so cheap!
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