Lips Touch by Laini Taylor (book review).

‘Lips Touch’ is a bind-up of three novellas by Laini Taylor. They all take place in different worlds to each other and also to the worlds of Laini’s other books, but these short stories are all to do with kissing in its various forms. This is not only a set of beautiful stories, but there are also stunning pen and ink drawings by her husband, Jim di Bartolo, at the beginning of each story giving the reader some pictorial background going into the story.

Goblin Fruit

Kizzy is a young girl in a weird family who believe in things like goblins and putting the wing of a swan into a loved one’s grave so that the dead can fly away. Kizzy really should have listened to her grandmother’s tales of goblins and their tricky ways because Kizzy is just the kind of girl that today’s modern goblins go straight for.

The goblins in this story really do go all out to try and get Kizzy and they spare no expense in terms of what they will do. The pacing of this story was brilliant with it all speeding up towards that ending. I just wanted to be a ghost on Kizzy’s shoulder telling giving her advice about what was going on.

Spicy Little Curses

This story centres around the devil and his deal with a feisty woman who regularly goes down into hell to bargain for the lives of people who have died in tragic accidents. In this incident, they are fighting over the soul of a beautiful English girl growing up in India. The deal means that a curse is placed on her and one day she decides to see what would happen if she ignored that curse after living with it for years.

I felt that this story had close ties to traditional fairy tales where an evil fairy places a curse on a baby or young child and another good fairy tries to mitigate the damage by making a small change to the curse. It feels a little bit like the little mermaid (Disney version) where a beautiful girl cannot speak to anyone as her voice is cursed to kill anyone who hears it.

I loved the comparison in the book of such detailed historical elements about the Somme, then you’re reading about a devil who finds it entertaining to curse people so if they sneeze they will vanish!


In this story we follow Esme, who one day wakes up to find that one of her eyes has turned from brown to blue, to which her mother reacts violently. Her mother know that this means the Dry are now hunting them so they need to start running.

I found the Dry to be interesting characters. They seem to be creatures who can look into the eyes of a human and then take over their body for a short period of time. They can do whatever they like with the human they are in control of, then they leave the body and the human for them to deal with the consequences. We gets loads of background about the Dry here and they appear to be some kind of shape-shifting fairy vampire mash-up. Having read so much about them, I’d love for there to be more stories about them. My only dislike with this story in particular was it was very open-ended and I prefer a little more closure in my stories.

Laini Taylor is one of those writers who can write beautifully whether it’s a 600 page chunk of a book or a short 5 page story. Her writing style does change slightly between these two types of books but it is still at its heart Laini writing. Laini writes in such a way that she seems to take you gently by the hand and leads you through fantastic scenes until you’re completely entranced by what is going on and you can’t step out even if you wanted to. She has such a light hand and such an easy to read style it’s highly deceptive.

Overall, I loved this little book of short stories and would recommend it if you’re not sure about leaping into one of the larger books or series that Laini Taylor writes.

Sarah Bruch

August 2018

(pub: Hodder & Stoughton, 2013. 265 page illustrated hardback. Price: I pulled a copy for £ 1 (UK) from Pound Shop. ISBN: 978-1-44473-150-7)

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