Blog Book Tour | “Dragonfly” by Alyssa Thiessen

Posted Wednesday, 6 April, 2016 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Chapter by Chapter, where I receive opportunities to host Author Guest Features on behalf of the Indie Publisher Month9Books and review for Indie Publisher: Rebelight Publishing of whom I love the stories by their Middle Grade & YA authors! As 2016 started, I received more opportunities to read and review Canadian authors through Chapter by Chapter. I love being able to discover more #CanLit whilst appreciating the beauty of the stories I am discovering through this touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dragonfly” direct from the publisher Peasantry Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Small Press Canada:

It was with a happy heart of joy, I discovered this About the Publisher page wherein I learnt a few things about Peasantry Press which added to the joy of having this title in front of me to read! I have blogged quite openly about my love of #CanLit and Canadian authors – my continue pursuit to read more Canadian Lit throughout the year (as each new one arrives) and how happy I am I can host the authors from my northern neighbour through Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours as well as iRead Book Tours – as they both feature Canadian authors on a regular basis.

The interesting bit to note is that the author [Alyssa Thiessen] is a part of the Indie publisher and they are focusing on POD print runs for novels as well as circumnavigating the ebook trade. For me personally, I am thankful they embraced the POD side of the ledger, as due to chronic migraines I am a traditional reader of books in print!

The fact they encompass a nice bracket off literary offerings is quite keen to observe:

Adventure | Drama | Historical Fiction | INSPY

Mystery / Suspense | Romance | Science Fiction | Urban Fantasy & Young Adult

It’s their mission statement which struck a chord with myself – about whom the writers are representing on the ‘outside’ from the world of Major Trade that truly rung a level of truth with my own writerly heart. It’s something I’ve been contemplating of late and I think they rocked a mantra a lot of wicked good writers can personally relate too who are writing the stories they believe in even if those stories fit outside the norm of the trade and market. Stories which defy genre or re-invent an established vibe of a genre, whilst giving readers a new threading of narrative, character journey and an overall read that tries to take a reader somewhere new from a fresh perspective. This in of itself is inspiring.

The main reason I elected to become a part of this blog tour is because I have the tendency to seek out stories ‘from outside’ my natural wanderings – look no further than my *End of the Year Survey, 2015* to find out how oft I do this and how well I am succeeding at finding certain authors who catch my eye and give me something to chew on! In this continued pursuit of mine – Dragonfly stood out by it’s premise and by the fact I felt it was Urban Fantasy derived.

The secondary reason I appreciated finding Dragonfly is because the publisher is focusing on ‘clean fiction’ which fits well with my aversion to vulgarity in literature! One of the Urban Fantasy YA novels I’ll be reading this Spring was inspired by readers who like me, appreciated the premise of the context of the story (and series) but were not happy about the words – I’m referencing Trinity Stones and the joy I will have in reading the YA edition. I don’t mind a small blink of a strong word in reference but if it’s sprinkled so heavily it’s similar to eating too sinful of a chocolate cake due to it’s sugar content, then it goes from being healthy to something less desired. If Peasantry Press has found a common ground and middle road between genre, language and content – they have my gratitude! I can only hope others will follow in their stead!

This genre is one of the particularly particular genres I read wherein I am open to read the story but the story has to convince me to love it. It’s hit or it’s miss with very little wiggle room in-between because I have a particular reason for seeking out the stories that fit this niche and the mark of expectation is a bit on the higher end. I find this genre a bit over cluttered with ‘sameness’ so when I find a plot that feels pulled together in a fashion I feel behooves the genre, I’m more than game to read it, taste it and find out what makes it stand out.

I’m seriously wicked happy for discovering another Indie Press in Canada!

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Blog Book Tour | “Dragonfly” by Alyssa ThiessenDragonfly
by Alyssa Thiessen
Source: Direct from Publisher

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Miller is great at being invisible, despite the four, large, insect-like wings protruding from his back and his knack for high-rise robberies. He can remember almost nothing of his life before Nik found him and taught him his trade. Now he’s alone, and he likes it that way.

When Joshua unexpectedly meets Lexi on a job, his simple, uncomplicated existence shifts. Although he intends to remain uninvolved, something about her captivates him and he begins to let her in. As he navigates the strange nuances of a relationship with a girl as desperate to be different as he is to be ordinary, he becomes increasingly aware that he is not who he wants to be for her. Confronted by the past he’d forgotten and a family he didn’t know existed, Joshua must decide for himself where he belongs and who holds the key to his future.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780994021007

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy


Published by Peasantry Press

on 8th June, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 156

Published by: Peasantry Press (@PeasantryPress)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

*note: I marked my copy as an ARC as there was a miss spelt word

which was corrected in the final copy

Converse via: #PeasantryPress or #AlyssaThiessen

About Alyssa Thiessen

Alyssa Thiessen

When she's not donning her secret identity and saving the world, Thiessen keeps busy writing her next novel, reading something beautiful, teaching high school English, drinking coffee, cycling, and hanging out with her family - husband, kiddies, and miniature schnauzer.

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My Review of Dragonfly:

Peering inside the mind of a cat thief who has a jaded outlook on both life and his own existence is an interesting turning of the page to settle inside Dragonfly as your entreaty is from the hardened perspective of someone who likes to fly solo. You can tell this, simply by the mannerisms of how Joshua allows you this insight and how he talks about his own inclinations – it’s very much ‘matter of fact’ and has an absence of anything outside of the rudimentary necessities – such as why he picks his marks and why they are easy prey for his thieving. Even the theft itself is boiled down to something he needs rather than something he enjoys to do. At the same time, it leaves a small door open to understand the psychology of who he is and why he is making the choices that from an outside perspective appear self-defeating in nature with a strong intent towards self-preservation.

Joshua’s need for inclusion and for connection to another being was palatable when he first encountered a girl at one of the apartments he had marked. This short exchange between them lasted so much longer in his mind, as he propelled himself to go back over the dialogue and to seek out a way to carry it forward, if he dared to return; to speak to the girl again and find a connection between them as well. He presented himself as aloof in the beginning but with a layer of uncertainty at the same time. He is well-shielded both in emotion and in action; constantly overthinking his motions and trying to sort out the best nondescript way to survive.

The story is read from his monologue of disclosure, where we knit inside his interior world whilst getting thimble-full insight into who he interacts with in order to carve out his existence. He has certain people he seeks out to fetch him food and lodging but never shares the whole of this story. Like shapeshifters and other creatures oft-time found in Fantasy worlds, he has a night and day routine – he thieves at night and sleeps by day. It’s this monotony of routine that is ribbing him most as there is never a break in the pattern but merely different locales in which he leaves behind a wake of crime. Thankfully he’s limited himself to B&Es (break and entering) but he doesn’t appear to have any joy in it. The most happy he can be found to being is when he’s in slight – yet, he’s quite annoyed by how his wings function rather than appreciating the elevated height.

Joshua started to find purpose alight in his heart and soul when he had an unexpected meeting with Lexi – she was a stark contrast against him, a teenager living an ordinary life who ached for a bit of the unexpected and adventurous to arouse her out of her doldrums. He in turn, never knew he wanted for an ordinary life until he met Lexi. The two were an unlikely pair but a purposeful one – she knew how to coax out a bit of Joshua’s humanity and he tried to get her to emerge out of her shell; she was not one to willingly share pieces of her life anymore than he was of his. The curious part is how they interacted – she fiend illness whilst her family went out on the town and he fluttered in through the open window as if nothing was unusual about their rendezvous. Conversations before dinner, card games and laughter with a bit of music strummed in-between is how their relationship was founded; outside of the fact they both were hungering for ‘something’ neither could put a nickel of a face too.

Thiessen tempers the dramatic climaxes well, as this has a darker undertone haunting the arc where Joshua and Lexi are coming to terms with their relationship. In the darkness where Joshua lives most of his life, he’s found the seedier and grittier reality where domestic violence happens behind closed doors. He’s observant and emotionally detached until his relationship with Lexi brings him to a new point of view where he’s emotionally involved for the first time and recognises that to be a villain or a hero is a choice. He’s tackling the obstacle of indecision and the need to choose between where his beliefs and his morality stands on the issues of the greater good.

Pieces of Dragonfly broach spirituality on light tones of thought – pitching out a takeaway suggestion here or there, but not overtly so. I had wondered if the publisher might be focusing on the INSPY side of fiction but I think they are seeking to bridge the gap moreso than operate solely on one side or the other. The best YA stories let the reader decide how deep to explore the themes and subjects, and Dragonfly hones in on this best whilst presenting different perspectives on the whole more than once. Joshua by design has cardinal flaws and a misunderstanding of his purpose in life, but it’s how he’s choosing to change and what motivated that change internally that is interesting to watch unfold.

Quite fittingly,

I played the radio in the background whilst I was reading Dragonfly, which generally isn’t what I do, as I opt instead for musical compositions within the ambient spectrum – lyrics and the uptempo stylings of pop music isn’t quite my ‘go-to’ for reading, but as I was attached inside the pages of this novel, I found myself finding it quite fittingly authentic to hear such tracks as the following:

Why I elected to remain ‘mum’ about one portion of the story:

Not that I’m a book blogger who writes spoilers – mind you, but there is such a beautiful surprise inside this novel, I felt pulling back from one portion of it’s internal heart was best. I wanted the readers who read this review to feel inspired by the uplifting central core of Dragonfly based on what I was revealling up to a certain point of the novel. The rest – ah, that’s a delight to be found for a first-time reader, and I wanted it to be completely anew and refreshing for those ‘first eyes’ on the text itself!

On the writing style of Alyssa Thiessen:

The only time I felt a bit deflated is right in the beginning, where I could not hear the wings as Joshua tucked them behind his back – I thought they might make a slight swoosh or a flutter or a swish, as wings by nature do have a perceivable ‘sound’ even if they are quite faint to the naked ear. Thiessen chose instead to focus on Joshua’s more humanistic nature rather than his insect attribute, but for me, it’s the silence of the wings that I felt were a bit oddly placed. I did smile when the wind took the wings for a bit of a lift once he was airbourne but it struck me odd they were silent otherwise.

As I was reading the story, I was trying to decide if this story would fit best under Upper YA or New Adult, as it’s a story set on the fringes of both age guidelines for the genres, as I best understood to know the differences through a Guest Post by Amy Durham. Generally, I distinguish Upper YA vs NA by the contents of the story (i.e. traditional YA can include vulgarity with more regularity than when I was growing up) and/or the journey the character takes on throughout the chapters. I think readers will find both distinctions on behalf of Dragonfly are equally fitting – as language aside, as this is a non-issue for Dragonfly, I think what charms the story for me is how well lived the narration takes the reader towards understanding the path Joshua is walking.

What I enjoyed the most about Thiessen’s style is how she united the genre with a ‘clean story’ where she uses strong narrative insight to noodle out the harder bits without the reflex to write-in an explicit as most in the genre have the tendency to do. Her choices are harder – she’s writing a strongly lit story about injustices and choosing between right and wrong in an immoral world where the distance between truth, light and lies are blended into obscurity. She’s writing a story-line where characters are contemplating their instincts and their beliefs, but also, why settling for the status quo is their norm. It’s a daring piece to write because she’s taking chances on willing the reader to take this journey with her even if they are pulled in and out of their comfort zones – not just for genre but for the subject matters she’s addressing.

It’s very much a slice of Realistic Fiction set against the backdrop of an Urban Fantasy.
She gets her reader thinking – and that’s the beauty of it in the end.
More, of this please, Peasantry Press!

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Reader Interactive Question:
There are shapeshifters and there are creatures who have an extraordinary story of their own to be told about what makes them unique by design. What types of creatures and beings do you appreciate reading in Urban Fantasy and what endears you to them the most!? Is it their humanity or their quest to be more human?

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{SOURCES: Cover art for “Dragonfly” along with the author photograph & biography, book synopsis, the individual blog tour badges and the Chapter by Chapter badge were all provided by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours and used with permission. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment banner created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

I devoured this story to such an extent, I finished it before I realised I hadn’t tweeted about my reactions as I was reading! Therefore, I’ll populate this section with the tweet s/o I’ll be sharing and/or the comments I might receive via Twitter.

 

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 6 April, 2016 by jorielov in ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Canadian Literature, Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, Coming-Of Age, Domestic Violence, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Literature for Boys, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy




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One response to “Blog Book Tour | “Dragonfly” by Alyssa Thiessen

  1. Andrea ( aka rokinrev)

    Hi there my friend! I just want to wish you happy spring! This book looks great…and….I got Keys for the Watchman the other day and am so glad you connect with Emma@ Le French Books where I netgalley read for them!

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