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[L] Lips touch three times by Laini Taylor #AtoZchallenge


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I think it was at one of my book club meets that someone mentioned Laini Taylor and her superbly crafted stories. Intrigued I looked her up on Goodreads, and found a collection of short stories “Lips Touch Three Times”. Since these would let me delve into her writing style with ease, I immediately picked it up. I have re-read it 18 times and ill be picking it up several more times. Yes her writing is truly bewitching!

Title: Lips touch three times

Author:  Laini Taylor

Genre: Fantasy fiction

Publication: Hatchet

Laini Taylor is an American writer who specialises in YA and fantasy fiction genre. She aspired to write as a child but was 35 when her first novel Dreamdark:Blackbringer was published. However she is best known for her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. She has been notable awarded the Cybils Award 2009 and is also the finalist for the National Book Award 2009.

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Synopsis:

“Kissing can ruin lives. Lips touch sometimes teeth clash. New hunger is born with a throb and caution falls away.” ― Laini TaylorLips Touch: Three Times

Lips touch three times is an almost lyrical set of three tales spun around the all important kiss but that which leads to dark consequences. Each story draws the reader into the dream of that first kiss which is so magical yet seems unattainable and impossible. These are supernatural stories therefore the innocent Kiss is actually something which will ensure destruction of another kind.

The first tale is titled Goblin Fruit in which our heroine Kizzy yearns for a kiss. Her dead grandmother had often cautioned her of tales of goblins who masquerade as handsome men to steal away pretty girls by luring them with kisses. The kiss was deadly as it enabled them to take the girl’s soul with them.

“The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. ― Laini TaylorLips Touch: Three Times

16-year-old Kizzy paid no heed to these tales and thought of nothing else but to be kissed. Ah but the goblins have their eyes set on her and soon enough a very handsome boy enters her school. His looks have the girls swooning but he has eyes only for Kizzy. Soon enough the friendship blossoms and he asks her for a picnic date but the setting is a cemetery. Did our heroine pay heed? Oh no – not at all! So focused was she on getting that first kiss.

She enters the cemetery where the wind seems intent to whisper caution into her ears; make that her deaf ears! The branches deign to stop her but she pushes her way through to find her handsome suitor waiting for her. He plies her with delicious selection of chocolates, cheese and fruits.

Just as she is about to bite into a juicy peach, her intuition warns her that he is a goblin in guise of a boy. Who cares, thinks Kizzy as she is ready to trade her soul, so long as she gets her first kiss.

“It was Kizzy’s first kiss and maybe it was her last and it was delicious.”
― Laini TaylorLips Touch: Three Times

Spicy Little Curses Such As These is the tale about Estella who is an elderly Englishwoman residing in India. She has a job as an Ambassador to Hell. Our story begins with her negotiating with the Demon Vasudev about how many children can be saved in a natural calamity about to take place. She wants to save them all and agrees to deliver a curse to a new-born baby girl as a bargain with the demon. The curse is that when the baby girl Anamique will speak, her voice though very beautiful, will kill whoever hears it. Estella adds an injunction of her that she wont speak till she turns 17.

“This is the story of the curse and the kiss, the demon and the girl. It’s a love story with dancing and death in it, and singing and souls and shadows reeled out on kite strings.”
― Laini TaylorLips Touch: Three Times

Vasudev is furious when no one dies as Anamique grows up. Estella is happy that she saved some more souls from the demon. When she turns 17, the young girl falls in love and decides to finally find her voice to agree to her suitor’s marriage proposal. Aghast, Estella tries to stop her but is too late. As Anamique opens her mouth to say yes, her lover stoops down to kiss her.

What happens next? Does the devil get all the souls he wants? Or was Estella clever enough again to save them? Was this kiss a good one or did it have disastrous consequences too?

Third tale is titled Hatchling which talks about a young 14-year-old girl, Esme who wakes up to discover one of her eyes has turned blue. This freaks out her mother who immediately makes plans to flee with her. Unsure of such a strong reaction, she questions her mother Mab who tells her the Druj (demons) are after her. Mab had escaped from them while Esme was in her tummy and now they have found her.

While being chased by an army of Druj, they are saved by another demon Mihai who has his own agenda to fulfil. He was the one who had helped Mab escape years ago and now tells her to go find Yazad. Mihai takes Esme to an enchanted kingdom to wait near the lifeless body of the Druj queen who was his lover many eons ago.

“And Esme remembered in a rush–the wolfsong, the haunting, lyrical spirals of it in the dawn quiet and the feeling of euphoria that had attended it. Even in recollection the howling uplifted her like the crescendo at the end of a symphony and made her heartbeat quicken.”
― Laini TaylorLips Touch: Three Times

Meanwhile Yazad tells Mab that he too had a blue eye incident but it happened as he was keeping a demon safe in his body. The same has happened to Esme and she needs to let her go.

So it transpires that the Queen’s soul is inside Esme and is needed to rejuvenate the dead queen, but when she is brought to life; she lets all hell lose. Mihai and Esme run for cover in opposite directions. No true love ending or was it? Well you need to read the story to know what happened next.

Lasting Impression on me:

I am in love with her writing style; it includes lyrical figurative elements that tease my imagination to no end. The words haunt the mind, long after one has shut the book. And the premise of each tale is so delicious, I bet the synopsis has got many of you drooling in anticipation.

What I loved the most about her tales is her Heroines who seem to have an opinion and didn’t mind going against the conventional wisdom. They knew what they wanted and were willing to take the risk to get there – never mind the consequences!!

These are three stunning fairy tales but with a very modern bent of mind. The setting maybe Victorian or mythical, but the mood is one of self-assurance. On top of it the tales have a wild, almost brazen feel to them that titillated the mind. Her characters struggle with decisions and go against the edict to assuage their own conscience.

It helps that her tale-telling is layered with imagery laden words that sketch out details as fine as a gossamer wing. Oh and did I tell you that the book has some gorgeous illustrations which lend to each tale so beautifully that you have to pick it up to see it.

On that note, I picked up the popular series of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and loved it enough to rate it a 3 1/2 star. The premise, setting and the characters are done superbly; it’s the tale-telling that I have a bone to pick with. I thought these three novels could be condensed into two as the tale meandered a lot. Not to take away from it, her tiny novella embedded in this series was the best thing I read in a while – do check that one out.

My rating:

Though the book is a YA, I feel the mood is a little dark for young teens and an older set should perhaps read it. Just for that this one gets 4 1/2 star rating. Taking away 1/2 star for the dark tone.

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P.S: 

I am on a no-book-buying pact as I am pretty much broke; not to mention that I am running out of space as well!! But in case anyone wants to trade their books or send me gifts, please do check out my Wishlist on Amazon & Want to read on Goodreads.


Coming up tomorrow is [M] Many lives, many masters by Dr. Brian Weiss

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually it’s better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner

Some of my previous  posts you might be interested in catching up on

 

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Passionate about everything design, I am in love with photography, travel and baking. My writing journey was initiated with my letter writing hobby as a child and has metamorphosised into serious blogging. I indulge with reading fantasy fiction, day dreaming and sipping good wine.

27 thoughts on “[L] Lips touch three times by Laini Taylor #AtoZchallenge

  1. Hari OM
    True fairy tales have always been dark – they were invented to try and keep youngsters on the right side of moral! Trouble is, teenagers will be teenagers – and we’ve all been there!!! Nice write up. YAM xx

    1. Ha ha Yes I know what you are saying Yamini; its funny what is layered underneath the innocent fairy tales. Or have we been reading too much into it? I love the fairy tales as is and hate all this hullaballo of finding darker meaning in them! Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

  2. the writing looks excellent and the tales of caution exactly what will appeal to YA readers (and older ones) with the hinting at the dangers of kisses and more. The stories sound deliciously scary.

    1. Yup these are tales of caution and yet the caution is thrown to the winds in these tales; not really sure if the teens would benefit from such a message 😉

  3. I had come across The smoke and bone series in my college days. It didn’t interest me much.. but these reviews are telling me to read the author. Would pick this too.

    1. Oh please do start with this one though the first part of the SMoke and Bone series will also blow you away; its the other two parts that lack the same intensity that relaly let me down on the whole series. But the little novella embedded in smoke and bones series is devastatingly gorgeous to read too! Try these two first from her Pratikshya – you wont regret it!

  4. You had me at “re-read 18 times”. I think this is going on top of my TBR list. Have never heard about Laini Taylor, but now I am very very intrigued and interested. Thanks for sharing, Shalini!

    1. Hey Thanks for such amzing words of praise Shilpa; reinforces my confidence as a reviewer. I am so so happy to know peeps are loving the books I am sharing and no one is bored! Wait till you hit P – that one is quite a shocker after all this 😉

    1. Thanks so much Rohan; these are dark tales but so layered with images that one is just blown away! Hope you will enjoy them too.

  5. Such a clever way of reviewing books. I am yearning to know more about these stories and what happened to the protagonists. This one goes on the list too, Shalini. I just hope I can lay my hands on them and get the time to read them all.

    1. Thanks so much Anshu- you are too good for my vanity woman 😉
      I hope you are able to read these books too- these stories are just too yummy to pass up for sure.

    1. Seriously!!! Me too! I just had to pick it up and when you read that first line about the Kiss – it renders your imagination speechless! 😉

    1. The quotes are unbelievable no? What depth of writing in this one!!! I just loved it to bits and had to share! Glad you liked that bit and hope you would get around to reading this one Shalzz!

  6. You’re picking out such gems. As a rule I avoid dark tales but this is so intriguing and what you said about strong feminine characters – that makes me want to pick it up.

    1. Oh yes this one would appeal. I loved this writer’s imagination process through out her three books – this one, first of the Smoke & bone series and the little novella in that series! Amazing stuff! Please do read and then share your views 😉

  7. I do enjoy her writing. I’ll be adding this one to my when-I-need-a-little-dose-of-dark-writing list. The idea of scent goblins in the first tale is creepy and fascinating – always a good hook.

    1. Yup – the book blurb was quite enticing with these details and I ended up picking it up and then hunting for whatever this writer had written.I was rewarded with the Smoke & Bone series!

  8. The series of books sound amazing marrying the tale of victorian era with the modern age. A tale of kissing sounds like a novel way for a thriller and romance. I always wanted to pen such a story on a 30 something who yearns but whose lip was never sealed. Let’s see, I might pen a post.

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