Review: Lips Touch by Laini Taylor

Lips Touch: Three TimesLips Touch | Laini Taylor | Hodder and Stoughton Short Story Collection | Source: Bookbridgr | 266 pages | Young Adult | Fantasy
Release Date: October 24th, 2013
ISBN13: 9780545055857
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Review

I have been a huge fan of Laini Taylor for a number of years now. I need to get a move on and finish her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series but what I have read of that, I have enjoyed. When I found out that Laini’s short story collection was being published again, I basically asked the publishers how high they wanted me to jump!

I usually stay away from short story collections but this one was definitely worth the chance I gave it. This collection consists of three short stories where a kiss proves to be a turning point in someone life, albeit for the better or for the worst.

Goblin Fruit follows the story of creatures that try and obtain the souls of young girls. It is incredibly dark and majestic. The pacing was brilliant for a short story and I adored the ending. Not my favourite of the three but it was a great read and so eerie!

Spicy Little Curses was hands down my favourite of the three short stories. It follows the story of a cursed English girl whose voice kills anyone who is unfortunate enough to hear it. I found it cruel that this person was essentially a grenade in waiting. Again, I adored the ending and I honestly think that this could easily become a series.

Hatchling was my least favourite story by far. I can’t comment too much as I found it difficult to follow and I couldn’t even tell you what the story was about. I think that there was something wrong with me as opposed to the novel but I couldn’t work with this story at all. It definitely wasn’t the best way to end something that I initially enjoyed so much!

I think two out of three stories isn’t half bad when it comes to a short collection. If you love Laini’s writing style, you will definitely love these reads!

Goodreads Average: 3.84/5 (out of 7,111 ratings)

This novel was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
Advertisement

Blog Tour and Interview: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

23301770My Heart and Other Black Holes | Jasmine Warga  Hodder and Stoughton | Stand Alone | Source: Review/Bookbridgr | 320 pages | Young Adult  Contemporary
Release Date: February 12th, 2015
ISBN13: 9781444791532
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn’t equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all….and why he’s even more determined than she is.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman – a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back?

Review:

My Heart and Other Black Holes follows the story of Aysel and Roman, two teens that have come together in the most peculiar of circumstances. On April 7th, they are both going to commit suicide –together. They both have different reasons that have a common theme of family and the novel delves to why they have both come to this decision and how their relationship possibly changes it.

I adored this novel from start to finish. At just over 300 pages, it isn’t particularly long. However it does have a great pace. It is incredibly thoughtful in the way it has portrayed such a frank and upfront view of suicide. Aysel’s depression is described as a “black slug” crawling around inside her and eating away her happiness. I found this such a brilliant way of describing what she was feeling. Whenever she spoke or described what she was feeling, I just got it.

Throughout the novel you just don’t see Aysel and Roman alone. You also get to see snippets of their lives at home. How their mothers wince every time they see them and how they just want their children to get better. It is something I admired and appreciated as depression is something that doesn’t just effect the individual. Like throwing a stone in to a calm lake, it has a huge ripple effect.

There are many things that can be taken away from the novel. I personally was a huge fan of the emphasis on communication with family and friends and how cathartic it can be. Having a conversation with someone can be such, and proves to be a tipping point.

I wholeheartedly recommend this novel. It is such an honest view of what many have to go through on a daily basis. I can’t wait to see what Warga writes next!

Goodreads Average: 4.17/5 (Out of 369 Ratings)

Interview:

I was immensely lucky to obtain this book for review in the first place. What I was even more surprised about was the fact that I was contacted and asked if I wanted to ask Jasmine a few questions. I was so eager to find out the story of My Heart and Other Black Holes came to be and what went in to the writing process. I hope you enjoy her responses as much as I did!

1. What Inspired you to write about the hard hitting topic that is teen suicide?

“I wrote the book after the unexpected loss of a dear friend, and so while the novel is a complete work of fiction (not based on him or me or anybody I know), I do think my grief served as a chief inspiration. Additionally, I’d always wanted to write a book that really delved into the realities of depression from the viewpoint of someone who was actively suffering. I think one of the best ways to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness is to talk about it more frequently, and my hope is this story can be one more voice advocating for empathy and understanding for those who are struggling with depression and suicidal ideation.”

2. What research did you do when writing My Heart and Other Black Holes?

“To be honest, I hardly did any research. I wrote the book from my gut and my heart and my own experiences. The one real piece of research I did was about incarcerated parents and visiting times. And though I didn’t do any personal research into mental health issues, my editor did have the manuscript reviewed by a respected psychiatrist and I was so pleased when he said that he found the book to be a thoughtful and authentic and responsible representation of teenage depression and suicidal ideation.”

3. I am a huge fan of finding out the motivation behind the names authors give to the characters? Why Aysel and Roman?

“I named Aysel after the Turkish word for “moon” or “moonbeam”–I come up with names for characters by thinking about how their parents would’ve named them, and I can imagine Aysel’s dad choosing to name his daughter after the moon. As for Roman, I googled popular male names in Kentucky and happened upon Roman and it fit for me. Again, I could see his mother having really been drawn to that name as I think it’s simple, but also almost noble-sounding.”

4. I took a lot away from My Heart and Other Black Holes. I adored the emphasis on the need for communication and how cathartic it can be. As the author, what did you take away from the whole process of building and writing you debut novel?

“Thank you so much! I think I also re-learned how important it is to communicate with the people you love and how toxic it is to keep your own darkness trapped inside of you. And more than that, how important it is to really encourage the people you love to communicate with you, to share what is going on inside their heads. Most importantly, it made me really think hard about that old adage that kindness and understanding are two of the most important forces on the planet.”

5. Finally, as mentioned before, this is your debut novel. Do you have anything else in the works at the moment?

“Yes! I’m working on a second novel which will hopefully come out sometime in 2016.”

Huge thank you to Jasmine for answering all of my questions in such detail. You can follow her over on twitter @jasminewarga and My Heart and Other Back Holes will be out on the 12th of February from all good book stores and online retailers.

Review: Alice and the Fly by James Rice #Aliceandthefly

21856416Alice and the Fly | James Rice | Hodder and Stoughton | Stand Alone | Source: Review/Bookbridgr | 366 Pages |  Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: January 15th, 2015
ISBN13: 9781444790115
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them any more. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple.

Review:

I haven’t been around in a while so do pardon how rusty I will be! No words can do this book justice!

Alice and the Fly follows the story of Greg, a painfully shy, introvert boy and how he wades his way through life. It is very slice of life, we see everything about him from his life at home to at school. All the way through I had this chronic hollow feeling in my stomach. I always felt so sorry for him.

The novel is told in diary form, specifically written in the dairy his English teacher gave him to express his feelings. This is a form of storytelling I always enjoy, especially this time round. All of the days had the dates on them but not all of them. You tended to find that the ones without really did come from somewhere else.

I am not going to touch on Greg too much. He is quiet and observant. You are not told until the end of the novel whether there is truly something wrong with him but from the get go you see something that it not quite right. His arachnophobia is chronic and at times painful to read. The true extent of his fear was so well written and something I appreciated very much in this novel.

One of the most interesting parts of this novel was not necessarily Greg himself, but those who surrounded him. First of all we have Miss Hayes. She notices that there is something wrong and tries to help him, assumes the role amateur councillor and promptly gives up like he is some kind of school project. His parents just want a quiet life. They mostly avoid him and even go as far as telling him to act normal on a supermarket visit. This broke my heart a little. Greg himself is stunned at the request so it lingered with me for a while and even upon finishing the book.

As I said before, this novel is very “slice of life”. There is the final unravelling in the plot, but something I found in this novel that was so different to the rest is the whole situation was completely avoidable. Most tragedies have a tendency of being completely unavoidable. No matter what order the events occur, they always end in the same way.  This one not so much. Although Greg has an illness, I always felt that he really is a product of his environment. I believe this is also a story that is true for many.

Alice and the Fly is a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that had me from start to finish. It is such a true and real portrayal of those who don’t quite fit in with the societal norm. It had everything for me and I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Goodreads Average: 4.32/5 (Out of 32 Ratings)

Disclaimer: This novel was sent to me for free in exchange for a honest review.