Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Discovering Laini Taylor

Don’t you love when you discover an author so talented that you devour her/his work and want to tell everyone you know about it?

Two words. Laini Taylor.

The story of how I discovered Laini isn’t extraordinary. I had heard her name before, seen pictures of her distinctive pink hair, and read rave reviews of her novel Lips Touch: Three Times on some of the blogs that I visit. I’ll admit, sometimes it takes me a while to catch on and picking up this book to read was no exception. In fact, I knew that my library owned it. As I browsed the YA shelves seeking new reading material, many times I’d find Laini’s book, slide it off the shelf, gaze at the beautiful cover and put it back. “Maybe another day,” I’d say. Why? Sometimes because I already had 3 books in my arms, but mostly because of my own preconceived judgments, I’m embarrassed to admit.

Preconceived judgment #1 – It’s 3 separate short stories, not one novel, so I won’t really get into it. I’m not really in the mood for YA short stories. I want to get completely drawn into a novel and really get to know the main character. I just can’t do that with a short story.

Wrong. There are 3 separate stories but they have a common theme. And Laini’s gorgeous prose pulls you right in from the introduction of each story. Here’s an excerpt from the first page:

"There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a high school campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends’ laps?

Them.” (Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, p. 13)

Preconceived judgment #2 – The cover is intriguing but with a title like Lips Touch, it must be about kissing and I’m not really into novels heavy in the romance department.

Wrong, again (except for the cover and inside illustrations being gorgeous). Each story has a supernatural element and involves a kiss that is pivotal to the main character and the dilemma/consequences that may occur.

So why did I finally decide to stop in the middle of reading Going Bovine to check Lips Touch from the library? Laini's latest novel, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was released this week. It has received terrific reviews from bloggers who have read Advanced Copies and my curiosity started getting the best of me. But that’s not what made me jump in my car on a busy Saturday soccer morning to check the book out from my library [which was totally worth it for 2 reasons. 1 –They had the book, and 2 – I had a great conversation w/ the YA librarian about teen lit and authors we liked].

The night before, I visited the website of an independent bookstore in my area, Wellesley Books, to see if there were any upcoming author visits. It's been a while since I checked. Last year, I was lucky enough to meet Laurie Halse Anderson here. Guess who’s coming there this Friday? Laini! I decided right then and there to check out her book so I'd be familiar with her work. If all goes well, I'll be at Laini's book signing Friday night *crosses fingers*.

Simply put, Laini is an incredible storyteller. She weaves imaginative descriptions, intriguing characters, fantasy, and emotion together to create stories that you won’t want to put down. I'm really looking forward to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and plan to read her other works.

Have you read any of Laini Taylor's books? Are there any other books you can't wait to read?


  1. I've never heard of her. Another book to add to my over 100 to read list on Goodreads. ^_^

    You're not into romance yet you've been kind enough to volunteer to help me with my adventure romance query. What a trouper! *hugs*

  2. I just added Daughter to my to-read list yesterday. The same people talk about Laini Taylor who talk about Stephanie Perkins, and I *love* Stephanie Perkins - ergo, I should read Laini Taylor too. Thanks for the rec!

  3. I hadn't seen her books before, but yesterday I was looking for contemporary fantasy book titles I liked (part of a title brainstorming exercise) and I spotted her. I was intrigued, but that quote from Lips Touch has sold me.

    Off to Amazon I go! Thanks for the tip, Suzie!

  4. @Donna - I first heard of Laini's work from Natalie Whipple and Kiersten White. I do enjoy romance within other genres as long as it's not sappy and the main focus. For example, I adore the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And I can't wait to read yours!

  5. @tuuli - I recently found out that Stephanie and Laini are critique partners. I really think you'll enjoy Lips Touch. Their styles of writing are different - Stephanie's is contemporary, while Laini uses wonderful imagery, similar to reading a fairy or folk tale - but both are outstanding.

  6. @Ellen - Your welcome, Ellen! I'm really looking forward to her reading and signing tomorrow night.

  7. Remembered your recommendation and wanted to tell you I've Kindled it. I hope the illustrations aren't lost in Kindle black and white.
    I've all mobile parts crossed that you are able to be there tomorrow night!

  8. @cloudpic - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The illustrations are done in mostly black, grays, and white with a bit of red so hopefully they'll translate well on the Kindle. As far as the signing, all systems are a go so far!