Lips Touch: Three Times, by Laini Taylor and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009)

Kissing is the underlying theme of these three novellas, as Taylor weaves a set of stories highly reminiscent of Tanith Lee‘s Flat Earth series. “Goblin Fruit” is a literal and metaphorical descendant of Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market”, in which a young woman’s yearning to escape the reach of her old-fashioned family draws the attention of beings who feed on such desires. “Spicy Little Curses Such As These” focuses on a woman in India cursed with a voice that can kill all within earshot, courtesy of a spiteful demon. Will she risk killing everyone she knows, to voice her true feelings, just once? In “Hatchling,” a girl discovers the link between her mother’s nomadic tendencies and the fate of an ancient race of immortals, much to her dismay. Written with a darkly romantic tone, filled with lush descriptions and fleshed out by Di Bartolo’s exquisite illustrations, this collection haunts long after the last page is turned.

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