As a part of Adventures in YA & Childrens Publishing's Million Visitor Blog Celebration there were tons of giveaways for authors and readers alike. I was lucky enough to win two books selected by Martina Boone, Laini Taylor's Lips Touch Three Times and What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (which I plan to review next.) If you haven't checked out their blog yet you really should, there is tons of information on publishing, guest blogger's and tips on writing and workshops. http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/ Thank you again Martina.
Lips Touch Three Times consists of three separate stories with a short graphic illustration prior to each that highlight specific plot ideas. At first, I wanted to see the graphic illustrations placed on the cover. Yet, there is something about the red lips that stands out and says YA to me.
The first story is called Goblin Fruit. It is about Kizzy, who has yearned to be "one of those girls, the kind with perfect hair and ankles that stood out in a crowd". Instead, she comes from a family who isn't seen as "normal." One full of old traditions and superstitions. Kizzy should have listened more closely to her grandmother and heeded her warnings about how Goblins tempt you with their fruit. Yet, when new boy Jack Husk comes to town, Kizzy is blinded to her fate. Of the three stories, this one was my least favorite. I was rooting for Kizzy the whole time, but felt more like I was watching a slasher movie and kept screaming at her "don't walk into the cemetery ". Yet, I really felt for Kizzy and perhaps that was what the author was going for.
The Second story is Spicy Little Curses Such As These. It begins in Hell where an English women (Estella) and Demon are coming to an agreement regarding 22 kids in Kashmir lives in exchange for a curse being placed on a child (Anamique) that makes her voice the most beautiful thing you ever heard but if you hear it you die. As Anamique grows, she has kept her "voice as a bird in a cage," that is until James finds her diary and falls madly in love with her. This was my favorite story. I love the beautiful prose and little details that Lani Taylor added to the story.
The Third story is Hatchling. Of the three, it is the longest with more time spent on character development and world building. Hatchling is about a young girl who finds out she is from another world, one her mother has been trying to protect her from for her entire life. Yet this world has a queen who raises children as her pets and she wants the child back.
Overall, Lani Taylor's fascination with ancient fairy tales and folklore from the British Raj and Persian religion of Zoroastrianism really stand out. One can easily tell that she must have done lots of research into these areas but at the same time has her unique spin on them as she weaves into each story the theme of a kiss.
ETA: Review copy donated to public library.