Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy birthday, Lips Touch! *Another Starred Review!* Plus: Keep the kisses coming!

Happy birthday, Lips Touch! It seems like I've had a lot of happy birthdays lately: two new books and a new baby! We also celebrated Leroy's 15-3/4 birthday recently with a nice little meat cake :-) Still, I must soak these occasions up, because I won't be having another book birthday for a while. Got to finish some works in progress first.

And . . . Yippeeeee! Another starred review!!!! This one is from Booklist. Thank you, Booklist!

*Lips Touch: Three Times*
Taylor, Laini (Author) , Di Bartolo, Jim (Illustrator)
Oct 2009. 272 p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, hardcover, $16.99. (9780545055857).
Look beyond the title and cover art: Taylor’s three novellas form a triptych of beautiful fantasy writing reminiscent of Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman. Kisses are the unifying theme, with each story offering a different sort of locking lips, from giddy seduction to harsh power play. In “Goblin Fruit,” misfit Kizzy meets a fascinating new student, an unbelievably gorgeous young man who ignores the popular girls to seek her out. Taylor tantalizingly foreshadows the ambiguous ending, teasing and enticing the reader much as Jack Husk entices Kizzy. “Spicy Little Curses Such as These” is set in India and offers intriguing and culturally respectful glimpses of both Indian religion and British colonialism. “Hatchling” reveals a fully- realized world of sometimes malevolent immortals who steal and raise human babies as their pets. Present-day teen sensibilities blend with artful allusions to mythology and magic, pulling the reader into rich fantasy realms. The cover’s close-up of a lovely woman’s red lips, with red-orange flames licking at the super-imposed title, lacks the powerful, delicately structured, and subtle poetry of Taylor’s stories. But Di Bartolo, Taylor’s husband, provides skillfully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations that are a fine match for the lyrical, romantic text.

— Debbie Carton

I was also thrilled that Lips Touch was reviewed last Sunday in The Oregonian, our Oregon newspaper (I can't wait to read the other book mentioned, Flash Burnout, by Portland author LK Madigan). Thank you to April Henry for that review. And then there was the first posted Amazon review which really made my day. The reviewer, who blogs at, said, "Intelligent language seems to be failing me. I don't want to write a review so much as I want to jump up and down and squeal like a crazed fangirl. Lips Touch is chocolate in book form. It's dark, it's rich, it's delicious, and it's precisely to my taste." Isn't that awesome? Thank you, Kelly Lasiter!

So, Lips Touch! (Don't forget to enter the "First Kiss" contest from yesterday's post. The prize: a signed copy of the book.) And if you happen to be writing out your first kiss story for the purposes of the contest, you might want to pop over to Sunday Scribblings where the prompt this week, in honor of Lips Touch, is "First Kiss."

Sunday Scribblings is a writing prompt site that I co-founded shortly after I began blogging in 2006. I'd finished writing Blackbringer after two long years, and I'd sold it to Putnam (yay!), and while it was being edited, I wanted to write something different, just for fun. Sunday Scribblings was born as a place to do that, and I did, and I posted the stories on my blog. Several of those early stories, I realized, had an unplanned theme: kissing, and its consequences. They were interwoven with myth and fairy tale; they were creepy and sexy. They were, Jim thought: a book! And here is that book. I am so proud of it and I hope it makes its way in the world. Like a parent in a fairy tale, I feel like I'm sending it off to make its fortune with nothing but a loaf of bread and a rind of cheese in its pocket (okay, and maybe some chocolate). Maybe it will meet a witch at a crossroads and share its supper with her and be granted a wish.

Meanwhile, I've been taking some pictures. At my photography class this week we went "on walkabout" -- it's a night class down at the waterfront, so I used a tripod which I hadn't done in many years, and these are some of the pictures I got:

That's that scene in focus; here it is out of focus, which I know is a worthless picture, but I like this way it looks!
That was really fun. I'm learning a little, but mostly I'm getting a sense of HOW MUCH there is to learn! I don't have a technical brain, and photography is such a marriage of the artistic and the technical. I'll get better, anyway.

Cheers! Send me your kiss stories (see last post for details :-)


myrna said...

I love the lights and water in your photos. And I can't wait to read Lips touch!

GreenishLady said...

Laini, I wander away from blogs for weeks on end sometimes, so missed out on Clementine's arrival, and the chance to say Congratulations to you and Jim, and welcome to that sweet, gorgeous little girlie, and that's why I'm stopping by right now... and to say Happy Book Birthday, too, of course. I am amazed at your energy and continued creativity, and wish you all good things.

(ps... the word verification word turns up as "baziner"... good word, huh? You can have it, if you like!)

persnickety_jen said...

Happy Book Birthday, Laini! And a starred review that compares you to Charles de Lint AND Neil Gaiman! You are a total rock star.

You've spoiled us this fall, what with two books coming out so close together. It's going to be total agony waiting for the next... (No pressure, haha.)

Unknown said...

happy happy day.

what beautiful photos. and that last one isn't useless--the first thing I thought of when i saw it was that I would love to use it in layers and textures over other photos. it would add a beautiful magical bokeh. check out this photo:
it's in my favorites and I've stared at it tring to figure out how to make that kind of magic, and I think your photo is just the ticket.

anyway, I'm going to pick up my copy of Lips Touch today and I can hardly wait to start on my very own book chocolate!!

(and my word verification is shibil:)

johanna said...

Happy, happy book birthday! Yay! Congratulations on the starred review!!

Hmm...afraid my first kiss is not very story worthy. Wet and sloppy pretty much sums it up. Also, slightly unexpected.

Looking forward to Powell's on Monday!

Enna Isilee said...

I've got Lips Touch on hold for me at my local bookstore, and I'm picking it up today!

storyqueen said...

Laini!! She compared you to Gaiman!! Are you over the moon or what??

Going to bookstore to buy book tonight!!! (Completely fascinated by your concept.)



Laini Taylor said...

Brittany, I never knew that word "bokeh" before -- how cool! Thanks for teaching it to me. That is exactly what I like about this photo; my new lens seems to be good for getting these :-) Now, if the foreground was in focus, it would be a good photo, but then I think the bokeh would be really small. Interesting!

and I love that people are telling their verification words. I always write down the good ones!

Sarah Beth Durst said...

Happy book birthday, Laini and Jim!!! Yay! And congrats on the starred review! Very awesome.

Lexi said...

Happy Lips Touch birthday! It totally deserves all of those starred reviews! I can't wait to see the final illustrations.

Life is Good(ell) said...

Congratulations on the great reviews. Just getting reviewed by Booklist is a huge honor, and they don't give many stars so that is really impressive!

The Portland photographs are gorgeous, and are making me even more excited about my upcoming move.

Flemmily said...

I'm commenting solely because the word verfication is awesome.


Yes, I ready am I to read Lips Touch. Sounds fantastic.

Granny Smith said...

I feel inspired to learn a lot more about photography! Your photos are beautiful, and , for some reason, look to me very much like European scenes. Especially that first one. Venice, perhaps?

What a delicious treat it will be to read "Lips Touch"! Better than chocolate! Congratulations and happy book birthday!