#2 James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge ‘ZOO’ [READ WITH ANNA]

I have read this book a while ago; chose it to be one of my holiday-reads for my almost two weeks long trip to Montenegro this summer. It was both excellent and the worst choice possible. I will tell you later why.

One thing to know about me is I love binge-watching TV series just as much as I love reading. Although reading will win whenever I am too busy to do both, watching TV series is still one of my favourite ways of chilling when I need some down time at home.

That being said, this is how I learned about Patterson’s ZOO. There are TV series of the same title based on a novel with extraordinarily handsome James Wolk (I do like him, okay? Don’t judge me and my love for his cute smile :)).

I mean… Just look at him:


One evening I started to watch the series, and as I became more and more interested in them – I decided to give book a try.

It was my first book by Patterson. To be honest, I have never heard of him before. I went on a quick search through intricacies of the Internet and quickly realised he may be quite an interesting guy after all. Let me tell you he holds Guiness World Record for the first author to sell 1-million e-books. I hate e-books and I don’t know how much time did it take him to sell that many, but Guiness World Record is THE Guiness World Record, so woop woop congrats and yes, I am interested in your writing, sir :).

ZOO is described as a science fiction book and it is hard to label it differently. Nicely written story about an end of the world as you know it is a mixture of science fiction, action, thriller and a romance at the same time. Fast and interesting plot makes it impossible to put ZOO down earlier than at the very end of the book. Patterson describes a change of order; draws a vision of a disaster in ecosystem which results in human beings switch from predators to prey. Humanity loses its respect throughout nature. Weird things are happening and there is no logical explanation why. Although some situations seem unreal, they also seem quite possible if we don’t change our habits or general behaviour.

We learn how our choices affect Earth and this seems to be a bigger message of the book – to value what we have; to start healthier, more eco-friendly lives.

Maybe Patterson didn’t mean to send this message – it is him to answer that question. These are just my thoughts after reading the book.

So why buying this book is the best and the worst thing to do? Although I am giving it a strong 4, I admit I might have reached for ZOO  at the wrong time. When I go on a vacation, I usually take a long book to read (or two shorter ones), so that I will have something to read during my time away. As you already know, I hate e-books, so books can take quite a lot of space in my bag… Why the best choice? It’s a really skilfully written novel. If you are looking for a good and fast read – this is definitely your book. I found it easy to get into it and reading it was very enjoyable. Why the worst choice? Well, I finished it fast, and it happened to be my last book I had with me, so I was left with no book on my vacation… and that led me to actually read an e-book I got a year ago on Christmas.

But I will tell you about that e-book next week. :)

xx,  A

#1 David Shalleck, Erol Munuz ‘Mediterranean Summer’ [READ WITH ANNA]

I remember that day at the office when this book came out in our conversations. I heard my collegue saying that if I love travelling and trying new tastes, this book is perfect for me. It’ll take you on vacation, Anna, I heard, so imagine my excitement when I’ve got my copy.

David Shalleck is a very talented chef with an amazing story and life experience in cooking. He has been working in many prestigious restaurants all around the globe. He specializes in coastal Italian cuisine, French and Western Mediterranean too, which doesn’t always sound very exciting, but it sure as hell should get your attention. You may think, Mamma mia, food-o italiano, what’s so challenging about it?.


Well, my dear reader, there can be quite a lot and the book with its magical story is the proof that italian cooking doesn’t always mean spaghetti, nor bolognese, and that it is definitely more than that. Oh God, I’m so hungry when I think of that. Nom nom nom.

Mediterranean Summer is a perfect book for those who like to try the new. The new, yet local, way of cooking Italian. The new smells and colours of dishes. The new way to pick the best quality food. The new way to travel. All this in one book.

Shalleck gives you a foretaste of what is it like to live and work on a yacht – a place where two worlds combine; where, as a chef, you need to satisfy both needs of the crew and selective tastes of the owners and their guests. Time pressure, or a pressure in general, is unbelievable. The way the book is written puts you in front of the oven, right in a centre of a galley, with a pan in your hand and fresh local food in your fridge. It is not Shalleck who is having guests aboard in an hour. It’s you. You are a menu creator. You order the food. You go to the market to choose the best ingredients. Your choice, and yours only, can guarantee a success or be a reason of a disaster. Feel the stony breath of time passing you by? I did.

But if you think this book will take you to a stressful place, you couldn’t be more wrong. Shalleck describes ups and downs of his job on a yacht, and even though you experience those downs, it’s impossible not to see that living this way has its advantages too. One of my favourite moments in a book is when he describes the sea at 5 am, right after his morning stretching session on a deck, before the crew wakes up. I remember sitting at the lake side and looking at the water, allowing the book to take me to Cote d’Azur and see what he has seen. Do you know bliss? This is what bliss is, in my opinion, not having to rush anywhere, enjoying the calming presence of nature, being united with the power of the universe. Just enjoying what is there, right there in front of you. This book gave me many moments exactly like that. It also made terribly hungry :)

The book has a collection of recipies Shalleck created during his fascinating journey. I am not giving it a 5 because it was my first book of this genre, so I have no comparision with other chef-writers. Plus, it is not really a cook book, nor a travelling guide. It is something in between, and for this in between  I will give it a solid 4. Maybe 4,5.  But I definitely recommend!