Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MG Historical Fiction Review: Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr


29866071Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr
Publisher: Pajama Press
Format:  Hardcover
Number of Pages: 408
Publishing:  October 27th,   2017
SourceIn exchange for an honest review, a review copy was received from the publisher.

Why I wanted to read this:  Wendy Orr is the author of Nim's Island, which I've read and enjoyed and once I read the premise of Dragonfly Song I was intrigued by how it is based on the legend of King Minos of Crete. and the Minoan civilization.  

    
 Aissa was born with an extra thumb on each wrist, which her mother the priestess claims makes her an "imperfect" child, not fit to follow in her footsteps of singing to the snakes.  When the chief takes it upon himself to remove the child's imperfections, he ends up dying the very next day.   The priestess sees this as a bad omen and summons her wise-woman to take the baby away and offer her to the God's.   Keyla instead takes Aissa to farmers, where she is happy living with Mama, Dada and her sister Zufi until raiders attack the farmhouse.  Sensing the danger, Mama hides Aissa, telling her to stay quiet, "don't make a sound."  Aissa is so very young and takes Mama's words literally and doesn't speak a word again.  Mute and alone,  Aissa is finally rescued and unfortunately given to an unsympathetic Aunt, who feels she's cursed, and abandon's her at the priestesses Great Hall.  Aissa is to become a servant in the Lady's kitchen.  Meanwhile, The Bull King has come to the island with an offer to the Lady and her new chief,  in return for supplies and one thirteen-year-old boy and girl as tributes in his bull dances each year, he will provide protection from the Raiders.  If the tributes can survive, they will be returned to the island and no further tributes will be selected.  At the age of twelve, Aissa is cast out of the kitchen by the other staff for being seen as bad luck.  Left all alone,  she see's her only means of survival to offer herself as the next tribute for the Bull King.    
   
 Dragonfly Song is written in two parts, Book One chronicles Aissa's early life and events leading to her decision to become a tribute to the Bull King.  Aissa deals with lots of loss at an early age, and even becomes a slave within the priestesses Hall where she is further bullied, spit on, teased and given the nickname of No Name.  When she somehow summons dragonflies around her, she is banished, left to starve and ends up hiding among the rocks surrounding the sanctuary.  She spends her days spying on the villagers, the priestess performing her snake singing and scavenging for food.   Aissa's one longing is to be free and I wanted this for her as wellDragonfly Song is written in both free verse and prose,  which I thought was an interesting choice at first,  yet Orr's transitions come together smoothly, developing Aissa's character and giving insights into her inner thoughts.  Aissa was so resilient and even a bit silently rebellious, which I really appreciated about her character.  My favorite moment occurred after she was bullied by two of the servants and her new outfit ruined, Aissa then snuck into the Lady's washroom where she took a long luxurious warm bath, despite what the consequences would be if she were caught.  Kindness was something Aissa never received in her first twelve years of life, and even when she does receive some from fellow tribute Luki or the goat herder's daughter,  it's foreign and something she shy's away from.  Yet, despite everything she grows into this strong girl determined to win her freedom and show everyone what she is capable of.    

The second part of the story begins with Aissa traveling to the Bull King's island and her training to become an acrobat in the bull-dancing games.  Things don't necessarily get easier for her there but she does make friendships and everyone shares in the desire to make it out of the games alive.  And oh how the games were dangerous.  Essentially, they grab this charging bull by the horns and try to flip over their back without getting impaled, all to honor the Bull King.  Thrilling to say the least.  The second part of the book went by very quickly, and before I knew it was over, but what a fascinating look at the Minoan civilization's culture, religious practices, with the priestess performing her snake singing, the ways that they celebrated the changing of seasons and the practice of offering tributes to King Minos.   This is a picture I found online to give you an idea of what the bull dancers looked like.  


By ChrisO at English Wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7480255

Dragonfly Song Blog Tour: Guest Post with author Wendy Orr



I'm really excited today to be a part of the blog tour for Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr.    Be sure to check out all the other tour stops at the bottom of the post with links to author interviews, book playlists, guest posts and reviews.  I'll also be posting my review later in the day, so feel free to stop by and check it out.  

Hardcover, 408 pages
Expected Publication:  October 27th, 2017
by Pajama Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, 
In exchange for an honest review, 
a review copy was received from the publisher for free. 
Also by Wendy Orr:  Nim's IslandNim at Sea
Find it:  AmazonB&NGoodreads

Publishers Description: 

The whispers say it’s not true that the Lady’s firstborn died at birth. They say it’s worse—the baby was born with an extra thumb dangling from each wrist. If she’s not perfect, she can never follow in her mother’s footsteps. Nobody but the old wise-woman knows what truly happened to Aissa, the firstborn daughter of the priestess. If they saw the half-moon scars on the servant girl’s wrists they would find it out, but who would look twice at lowly, mute No-Name? Then the soldiers of Crete come to the island, demanding children as a tribute for their god-king’s bull dances as they do every year. Aissa is determined to seize this chance to fight for her own worth and change her destiny once and for all.  Lyrically written and refreshingly unpredictable, Dragonfly Song is a compelling Bronze Age fantasy that suggests a fascinating origin for the legend of the Minotaur and his dark tribute.


The Weird Truth of Writing Dragonfly Song

Some stories start with neat, logical ideas. Others are born in such weird ways that you can only admit to your closest friends (and blog readers). For Dragonfly Song, the embarrassing truth is that nearly 30 years ago I dreamed about a white-robed priestess leading a torchlight parade up a mountain. I thought, ‘One day I’ll write a book set in Bronze Age Greece,’ because I’d decided that was where she was from.

Then about eight years ago I heard the Icelandic band Sigur Ros on the radio, and thought, ‘That’s the sound track for that story,’ – which was pretty weird since I didn’t know what the story was, and I never have any music on when I write. Anyway, I put it aside for a few more years – until I was doodling one day, and drew a sad faced girl with a twisted mouth and a mass of snarled curly hair.

I tried her story in a few different ways, until one night I was doing tai chi, and saw the shape of her story, enclosed in a blue bubble, which was so beautiful I cried. (I told you this was weird.) The next day I saw a dragonfly, exactly the same color as the bubble, and I thought, ‘Aha! Her name means dragonfly in her own language.’ (Because every once in a while I remembered that I was in charge of making up this story, and her name could mean whatever I wanted it to.)

I knew that she was the daughter of the priestess, but her sad face told me that she hadn’t had a good start. Of course I was also doing a huge amount of reading and research into Minoan Crete, and thinking about the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, so I decided that the only way for her to escape her sad fate was to become a bull leaper. Of course my Aissa is completely fictitious, but it is true that 4000 years ago, in the palace of Knossos in Crete, teams of teenaged gymnasts somersaulted over the backs of charging bulls. And these bulls, which are extinct now, were giant, with huge horns and hooves. So I’m sure that the bull dancers who survived must have been like rock stars – and also sure that not many survived for long.

The other weird thing for this story was that I always heard it in verse, but thought it was too long and complicated for that to work. Eventually I gave in; I wrote it mostly in verse and changed some sections into prose. And I had to write it by hand, listening to Sigur Ros.


The dragonflies kept on coming, right through the story, every time I decided something significant. When I finally sent the final draft, I went out to the backyard to lie down in the grass – and opened my eyes to a huge cloud of dragonflies hovering over me.



Visit all the Blog Tour Stops for Dragonfly Song: 

10/22    Unleashing Readers (Activity Guide and Discussion Questions) 
10/23     YA and Kids Book Central (Book Playlist)  
10/24     Log Cabin Library  (Guest Post)
10/25     The Children's Book Review  (Character Interview) 
10/26     Bluestocking Thinking (Review)
10/27     Charlotte's Library (Interview)
10/28     A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust (Interview)
10/29     Writer's Rumpus (Guest Post)



Wendy Orr’s Bio:

Wendy Orr was born in Edmonton, Canada, but grew up in various places across Canada, France, and the USA. She studied occupational therapy in the UK, married an Australian farmer, and moved to Australia. She’s the author of many award-winning books, including Nim’s Island, Nim at Sea, Rescue on Nim’s Island, Raven’s Mountain, and Peeling the Onion.

Friday, October 20, 2017

MG Paranormal/Ghost Story Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

27395333The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
Author:  Lindsay Currie
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Aladdin
Number of Pages: 304
Published:  October 10th, 2017

Source:  Purchased


Tessa's dad just got a new job in Chicago with the symphony, so their family packs up and leaves sunny Florida.  For Tessa, this also means leaving her best friend Rachel behind and moving into a creepy house built in the late 1800's.   A house that as soon as she steps into sets her skin crawling.  Shortly after moving in Tessa's younger brother Jonah begins to have nightmares, and strange occurrences start to happen like lights flickering on and off, rooms getting icy cold and a drawing pad that was inside a dresser is suddenly sitting on her bed with a drawing on it that Tessa knows she didn't make.  To distract Tessa from the situation her dad sends her out to explore the area which is where she meets Andrew, a boy her age.  Andrew meets up with Tessa the next day and offers to show her around school, and despite a flop during her introduction to the class where she tells everyone she thinks her house is haunted, the two seem to hit it off.  Tessa starts to disclose the strange things that have been happening to her at home and Andrew enlists the help of Nina, a girl who is knowledgeable about paranormal investigations and the history of their neighboorhood, specifically that it was once a burial site.  After Tessa hears an ominous voice in the dark saying "Graceland", the trio plan a trip to the Graceland Cemetery and find the gravesite of a little girl named Inez.  It seems Inez has led them here to uncover the story of how she died and to free her spirit.     

 This was the Halloween story that I was looking for.  Currie developed a wonderfully creepy atmosphere not only with the house and forces inside but the surrounding area of Chicago.   It tugged at all the right elements about Halloween that I love, an old house, a legend,  seemingly malevolent forces, even a trip to a cemetery.  There are lightning storms followed by one of the kids going missing and there's even a really disturbing ventriloquist doll that starts to shed tears.  The pacing of this was wonderful and it's the perfect story to make you want to leave the lights on.  Just loved it.  I really identified with Tessa's sadness over having to move away from her best friend Rachel, it's never an easy situation but it did take me back to my own times of moving around with my family when my dad was in the Army.  You never really get over that feeling and unlike Tessa, I didn't make friends as easily, but the whole situation felt true to the emotions.  Even her reasoning that it wasn't her dad's fault, just that the circumstance stunk.  Another aspect that I really liked was Tessa's "tug-of-war between her imagination and common sense."  How some things may have a logical/scientific explanation, but there were still things that couldn't be explained.  Overall a fantastic creepy ghost story with just the right amount of mystery that I enjoyed very much, and like so many others I'm hoping there will be more stories with these lovely characters.   

*The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street  has been nominated for the Cybils award and my review reflects my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Cybils committee.*

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

MG Fantasy: The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

23262326The Worst Witch
Author:  Jill Murphy
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Candlewick
Number of Pages: 96
Published:  August 5th, 2014

Source:  Library
Opening Line:  "Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches stood at the top of a high mountain surrounded by a pine forest."

It's Mildred Hubble's first year at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches and trouble seems to find her wherever she goes.   The Academy is getting ready for one of its annual traditions, providing each young witch with a new kitten to train.  There's even going to be a special presentation, and Mildred is worried something will go horribly wrong, despite her having a way with animals.  Yet the only thing that happens is she receives a tabby kitten instead of the standard black kitten like the rest of the girls.  She does have some minor difficulty training her kitten to ride on a broomstick, but so does her friend Maud.  Then Mildred gets into an argument with mean bossy Ethel and out of desperation for being put on the spot when Ethel says she can't perform a spell, Mildred turns her into a pig.  Mildred receives a reprimand from Miss Hardbroom and Ethel promises to get even.  Mildred is also put on notice that there better not be any further mishaps, especially with their annual Halloween celebration approaching.  This year Millard's class has been selected to perform a broomstick formation routine and nothing can go wrong as they are representing the school in front of the witching community.  Unfortuanently, that's exactly what happens when Mildred is forced to use Ethel's spare broomstick, the one that Ethel hexes.  No one believes that it was actually Ethel's meddling with the broomstick that caused the crash and not Mildred's carelessness as usual.  That evening, Mildred decides to run away, which is how she ends up overhearing a plot of a bunch of witches in the forest to turn all the witches at Miss Cackle's Academy to frogs.   Mildred knows it is up to her to save the day.  

I really enjoy Halloween with the changing of the leaves to more rust and yellows, it's a time for spooky stories with ghosts or witches.  Anything that fits into the theme of Halloween.  My first pick was The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, this is a series of books that I remember hearing about, but not one that I read growing up.  It was originally published in 1974.  How did I miss this book?  I'm sure that I would've enjoyed reading about a witch going to a witches school, learning potions, riding a broomstick and especially getting a kitten.  I also wasn't really into scary stories back then so this would've been perfect.  It was a fun early chapter book, not overly complicated with its plot, not creepy in the least, and there are lovely black and white illustrations.  Mildred was adorable with her fear of the dark, propensity to mishaps and I especially liked her kitten.  Although I was looking for something a bit longer, The Worst Witch would be lovely for a younger child who is just getting into wanting a Halloween story that isn't scary.  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

MG Adventure/Survival Story Review: Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

29774947Falcon Wild
Author:  Terry Lynn Johnson
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Number of Pages: 197
Published:  September 19th, 2017

Source:   A copy of Falcon Wild was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. 
More books by Terry Lynn Johnson with links to my reviewsIce Dogs & Sled Dog School

Opening lines:  " Stark senses my fear and pulls at the jesses around her feet.  I stroke her breast feathers to calm us both."

Karma loves helping her dad at the sanctuary providing demonstrations of their birds of prey, one day she hopes to start an apprenticeship to be a Falconer.  Karma also loves Stark, a gyrfalcon which she has a special attachment with after finding her on the side of the road and helping nurse her back to health. During one of their demonstrations, Karma is inadvertently injured by Stark but blames herself for getting distracted.  Then Karma gets the shocking news that Stark's owner has been located in Canada and she has to be returned.  To try and make the terrible news easier, Karma's dad offers to drive Karma and her brother across Montana to Canada to return the bird.  Reluctantly, Karma agrees and they set out on their road trip, only stopping when Karma convinces her dad to offer a lift to a boy her age who's hitchhiking.  Cooper turns out to be elusive about his reasons for needing the ride and only stays until they reach their next turn off.  As the family continues on their way they notice their cell phone has mysteriously disappeared and then they suddenly blow a tire causing the vehicle to flip, trapping their dad and accidentally Stark is released from her cage.  Karma is devastated but realizes that without a cell phone, she has to go for help, so she starts walking down the path they were heading before the accident.  Unfortunately, she too gets trapped in a pit, until Cooper suddenly appears saying he saw Stark circling overhead and offers to help her out.  Karma reluctantly teams up with Cooper and they continue to try and locate the highway, encountering many obstacles along the way.  

Johnson is wonderful at writing riveting survival stories, the kind of stories that instantly grab your attention with characters that you can't help but root for.   I also love her settings with previous books being in Alaska and Falcon Wild set in the backcountry of Montana with all the hardships that nature can possibly throw in your way to overcome.  Everything from hunger, wild bears, harsh terrain and unpredictable weather to an infection that is getting steadily worse.  Always with this sense of urgency.  Johnson also brings her passion for animal conservation and personal knowledge to the story through the details Karma shares with Cooper about her work raising and caring for birds of prey, falconry and her love for Stark.  It's immensely interesting and educational, not overly done and highlights the sort of bond that can exist between humans and animals.  At first, I didn't like Cooper as he's the one suspected in stealing the cell phone, but as he gets to know Karma and starts to share his own backstory, he also started to grow on me and their budding friendship was pretty sweet.  Karma and Stark are definitely the stars and I'm happy they were able to stay together.   Overall, this is another excellent survival story from Terry Lynn Johnson and now I'm looking forward to checking out her Survivor Diaries series as well.         


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MG Mystery/Adventure The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman

29847480The Great Hibernation
Author:  Tara Dairman
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Number of Pages: 272
Published:  September 12th, 2017

Source:   Purchased 
Opening Line:  "The bear was dead."

In 1674,  Captain Polonius and his crew close to starvation came to what is now known as St. Polonius on the Fjord.  Suddenly they came upon a bear and after having killed and consumed its liver they went into a state of hibernation, waking again in the Spring having survived the Winter.  This event has come to be known as Founders Day, or a day to revere the saints by participating in the annual tradition of taking a bite of a bear liver.  Everyone who is at least twelve years, four months and six days old must take part and today it so happens to be Jean Huddy's turn.  Jean tries to uphold the tradition but is unable to keep the liver down, resulting in her and her parents hiding the "evidence" and playing off her failure as nerves.  Upon returning to their farm to continue the celebration, Jean's parents suddenly fall into a deep sleep.  While back in town the same thing is happening to all of the parents leaving the children to fend for themselves.  Magnus, the son of the mayor then takes charge and orders the children to run their families businesses, do the same jobs they did and uphold their parents "civic duties" until they wake up.  Jean doesn't trust Magnus and his explanations for what has happened, especially when it seems like Magnus is trying to hold a special vote on a resolution to start a thistleberry plant in town.  So, Jean investigates on her own and finds a note in the lab coat of Dr. Fields, a prominent biochemist from town.  Suddenly, Jean might have a motive but she still needs to figure out a cure that can raise all of the parents from their slumber.  

One of the things that I so enjoy about Dairman's books is her descriptions of food.  All Four Stars is one of my favorite books.  The main character, Gladys Gatsby's desire was to become a food critic and so she traveled around New York sampling some of the most delicious sounding cuisines and oh what a variety of foods she chose.  Dairman's food descriptions always make me hungry, just look at this one from The Great Hibernation, 

"In the kitchen, the aroma of the roast mingled with scents of honey baked root vegetables, garlicky mustard greens, buckwheat biscuits, and the condiment that graced every table in St. Polonius, sweet thistleberry relish." 

 I also love how Dairman's books are so wonderfully diverse not only with the foods she includes but also with her characters like Isra, a Thai boy who is put in charge of making all the meals for the children at his families Thai restaurant.  Isra is very focused on making his parents proud and having the business flourish.  He also illustrates the challenges of coming to a new country and being accepted into the community.  And Isra also cooks these mouthwatering sounding Thai foods, mmm.  There's even a recipe for Rice Paper Rolls with Pork at the beginning of one of the chapters.   Just love it.   The Great Hibernation is also an exploration of traditions, a right of passage that only happens when you get to a certain age with a particularly amusing result.  In this case, all the teens and their parents fall fast asleep and the younger children take charge performing their parent's job responsibilities.  Jean's best friend takes over her mother's beauty parlor cutting hair and one little girl is put in charge as the court-appointed lawyer and I just love when she suggests her client take a "please" bargain, so cute.   Even eight-year-old Alex, who drives his dad's snowplow made me chuckle as I was trying to picture his little feet trying to reach the peddles to make it run.  Then there's Magnus, who took his role as the son of the mayor overly serious and although he says he's following the charter as it's written, he also bends the rules the way that he wants.  He's pretty bossy and his sidekick police enforcers aren't any better pushing around the younger kids and locking up others to hide what's going on.   I was just waiting for them to get what was coming to them.  The Great Hibernation is part mystery, part exploration of the advancement of science and how building a thistleberry plant would impact everyone in town, glorious food, and Jean who with the help of her friends set's out to save their parents.    

*The Great Hibernation  has been nominated for the Cybils award and my review reflects my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Cybils committee.*

Monday, October 9, 2017

MG Adventure Review: Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar

33799086Race to the Bottom of the Sea
Author: Lindsay Eagar
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Number of Pages: 432
Publishing:  October 10th, 2017

Source:   Giveaway sponsored by ArmChair Book Expo and book provided by Candlewick Press

Opening lines:  "Two scoops of mashed fish guts.  Four gallons of blood.  Mix together in a barrel then pour into the ocean."

Fidelia Quail loves four things, her parents, the ocean, sharks and inventing new things.  One day she hopes that her inventions make it past the clerks in the patent office, the same ones who can't seem to take an 11-year-old seriously no matter how remarkable her inventions are.  Today Fidelia's parents are in her research submarine, the Egg, while above a nasty storm called the Under Tow is creeping closer.  It's the kind of storm that landlocks everyone until it passes and this is the last chance for the Quail's to tag any of the sharks in the area before they migrate.  Fidelia also really has her heart set on finding out who's responsible for diminishing the halibut supply.  When Fidelia's parents are killed during the storm, she blames herself and her inventions.  Her only comfort is her Aunt Julia, the local librarian who takes her in.  Aunt Julia thinks it would be better for the both of them if they weren't surrounded by all of their memories of Fidelia's parents in Arborley, and she makes plans to move them to the city.  Fidelia decides to take one last look at her old house before leaving and is kidnapped by Captain Merrick the Monstrous and his crew, Cheapshot Charlie and Bloody Elle.  Captain Merrick was looking for her parents, but being the kid of two of the most famous marine scientists must mean she has some knowledge about the sea, especially how to safely get to the bottom of it and recover his treasure.  Fidelia is at the mercy of pirates, and Captain Merrick plans to hold her parent's prized journals hostage until she agrees to help.

There are a lot of interesting elements going on in Race to the Bottom of the Sea that I didn't expect.  For one, it's a pirate story filled with high sea adventure, cannons,  and a corrupt Navy Admiral in pursuit of Captain Merrick, his crew, and the treasure they have hidden.  There are lovely descriptions of life on the Jewel, hoisting masts, and removing barnacles.  Trying to evade the Admiral and rival pirates too.  While Fidelia brings all the wonder and knowledge of marine life to the story. Everything from the sharks that she encounters to her first glimpse of jellyfish.   She's bright and creative and knowledgeable and this gives her the perfect opportunity to show what she knows.  Interspersed within the chapters are passages from Fidelia's parent's book,  Exploring an Underwater Fairyland and pages from her parent's journals on their previous explorations which she uses to help her come up with a solution on how to breathe underwater.   Captain Merrick was a very complex character who I ended up liking more than I thought I would.  His story is told through flashbacks to events from his past, giving context for many of his actions and helping fill in the blanks for how the treasure ended up at the bottom of the sea and why it is so important to him to retrieve.   Merrick doesn't turn out to be as entirely ruthless as I initially thought, and his motivations make more sense as more of his history is revealed.  At 423 pages this was on the longer side, I did however become so engrossed in the story that it seemed to fly by. Overall, I enjoyed this pirate adventure with its determined and knowledgeable main character.  

Favorite quote:  "Knowledge is a vessel deeper than the sea.  A fool splashes in a pond and thinks he has the answers, but a wise man knows the only way to reach its depths is to ask questions."


*Race to the Bottom  has been nominated for the Cybils award and my review reflects my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Cybils committee.*

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Case of the Cursed Dodo by Jake G. Panda Produced and Directed by Roger Rittner


The Case of the Cursed Dodo
Book 1 The Endangered Files
Written by: Jake G. Panda

Unabridged Audiobook
Narrated by:  Michael McConnohie
Produced and Directed by: Roger Rittner
Voice Actors:
Length: 2 hrs and 34 mins 
Release Date: October, 3rd, 2017


The Endangered Files follows Jake, the hard-boiled panda detective, and an unusual cast of endangered creatures on a wild and woolly globe-trotting adventure involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing critters all hot on the trail of The Last Dodo.

Opening Line:  "We fade in on a holding pen deep in the Moroccan forest." 

The Case of The Cursed Dodo begins at the Last Resort, a wildlife hideout for endangered species and home to resident detective, Jake G. Panda.  Jake's job is to keep the guests of the Last Resort safe and outta trouble.  Jake receives an unexpected call from his friend the Professor who 's in Morroco and tells him about a suitcase he found in the middle of the Sahara desert, as the two are talking the line suddenly goes dead.  Sensing trouble, Jake heads to Marrakesh to rescue his friend.  While searching for the Professor, Jake get's captured by a group of poacher's and lands in a prison where he finds the professor.  After the two attempt an escape, they fall into a hole housing the underground hideout of renegades.  Jake and the Professor eventually make another escape and find the suitcase.  Inside the suitcase is a map and small green carving of a dodo, as well as many unanswered questions.    Eventually, Jake is able to put together the clues to determine who the suitcase belongs to, what they want and the mystery of the statue of the dodo.  

Prior to listening to the audiobook, I was familiar with The Case of The Cursed Dodo having read the book that this audiobook is based on several years ago.  Although I don't listen to audiobooks very often, I really wanted to see how The Case of The Cursed Dodo translated to audio.  One of the things that I recall enjoying about the story was that it seemed to have this visual component to it and a very classic detective novel style.  Each chapter of the story runs about eight to ten minutes in length and gives a very nice recap of events that occurred in the previous chapter.  With short chapters, you can stop,  pick it back up and be right back on track.  It's also 2 1/2 hours long, so great for a short car trip.  There are all kinds of animal sounds, singing,  sound effects like trains whistling and lovely music that accompanies the narration.  The sounds and music are wonderful, it's like a classic movie for your ears.  This was a wonderful audiobook, lots of action and exciting storytelling with multiple voice actors and the narration by Michael McConnohie was excellent.  It kinda reminds me of Chet Gecko (by Bruce Hale) and an old-time radio detective story, but with endangered animals and lots more characters. The sample below should give you a good idea of the authors writing style and the narration.   The audiobook is available as a 3 CD set or instant download via  Pulpradio.net  and Amazon A huge thank you to the author for sharing it with me.      
         

https://www.endangeredfiles.com/previews