Great Reads

Spin by B. John Gully

Publish Date: 6/18/19
Author:  B. John Gully
Started: 8/12/19
Finished: 8/13/19
Pages: 96

Goodreads Summary:

In the midst of an election, a career politician finds that he is unable to sleep at night. The bags under his eyes are becoming increasingly noticeable as he yawns his way through interviews. His eight-year-old daughter seems to be mimicking his poor sleep habits, but to her, staying up late is as cool as it gets. The current trend in politics is an age of spin. If one is not careful, they may spin so much that they find it hard to rest. 

My Review:! Being in the book community, I get a ton of books to read. Many of them are sent from big house publishers, WHICH I LOVE. However, sometimes an opportunity comes up where I get to read something that is self-published and you just think to yourself, “someone should have picked this up!” Spin is just that!

Spin follows a mayor up for re-election and the qualms that follow such a high profile job. It follows what it’s like to be constantly “spinning” in the world of politics and shines light on the perspective of the candidate. 

This book had me laughing out loud countless times! From the second I picked up the book, I was immediately hooked. Gully has a real knack for writing. He was detailed and thorough the entire time without giving me too much information that I found myself skipping lines or paragraphs. No fluff involved! Super descriptive while being straight to the point and I SUPER appreciate that. 

Our characters were real and their relationships valid and believable. I zipped through the book. So why my four star rating for something that I loved? It’s just that! I loved it and wanted so much more! The book is short and sweet and I wanted more and more! Gully set this story up so well that he could have gone on! But, I get it. This was a snapshot of the life of a politician spinning and that’s what was accomplished. I just wish I could have gone on and read more about lives of the characters I grew so attached to after our unique conclusion. 

This is an awesome debut and I honestly hope that Gully gets around to writing more. More about these characters, or even a completely different premise and book, I’ll be lined up to read it! Take a chance and read an independently published book! It’s not something we get around to sometimes and this one was so well worth it. 

Great Restaurants

Duffenetti’s – Wildwood, NJ. STOP BY!

What’s better than spending some time during the Summer at the Jersey shore? The answer is finding a restaurant at the Jersey shore that’s so good you need to write home about it! That’s what Duffinetti’s is! This restaurant has a rich history and an even richer following! I don’t blame the following that this restaurant gets but that’s only just the start of it!

Duffenetti’s has been making Italian goodies starting in the 1960’s. 1965 to be exact. In the many decades, the restaurant has been an Asselta family staple. In the 70’s and at the moment, the gracious owner is Trish Asselta,  Duffy and Mary Asselta’s daughter. Even after closing for ten years for personal reasons, Trish knew that something was missing and in 2015, Duffenetti’s picked up a new location and has been back in business! Trish is so amazingly gracious, walking into the restaurant truly feels like walking into Nonna’s kitchen; but, that isn’t just Trish’s doing these days. Chef Stephen Quici came to Duffenetti’s in 2018 and if Duffenetti’s didn’t already have a following, Chef Stephen Quici added to it, for sure!

Chef Stephen Quici is out of this world. Culinary-trained, his food is amazing and the amount of love and hard work that he puts into his dishes back in the kitchen is beyond obvious! Quici has only elevated an already solid restaurant. He’s brought some amazing recipes and his dishes really shine.

My family and close friends have visited the restaurant many times already and no one’s stopping anytime soon. I had the pleasure of visiting Duffenetti’s last week and it won’t be my last. Trish does a wonderful time hiring entertainment. During my recent visit, there was a live singer who was singing amazing hits from Sinatra to Neil Diamond. It added to the wonderful atmosphere and delicious food I was about to experience! The ambiance of the room is great and you feel like you’re in an Italian restaurant but definitely still taking part of being at the Jersey Shore! Let me take you on this culinary experience I was able to partake in!

We started with long hots (don’t take the “hots” lightly, they’re insanely hot!). We also had some fresh bruschetta. I could have licked that plate clean! It was served on toasted seasoned semolina bread and also featured some fresh shaved cheese on top. We ordered a round of calamari because I don’t recommend ever going for Italian and skipping out on calamari.

Our waitress also brought us warm bread served with an olive oil filled with fresh herbs and cheese. The bread was so good our table devoured two baskets! To go with our dinner choices, a special house salad was brought out. This dressing is a Balsamic Vinaigrette but it’s a house recipe and so unique! It’s sweeter than what I expected but in a great way! You can take home a bottle while you’re at the restaurant or even order online and I highly suggest it!

As for our dinners, everyone was so happy with our dinners! I ordered chicken marsala and had it served over a bed of angel hair, a favorite Italian dish of mine over my absolute favorite pasta. It was so good that I ate the ENTIRE thing! I ALWAYS bring home leftovers. I try to have some self-control and always look forward to a second helping but, I.JUST.COULDN’T.STOP. I finished it and even wanted more!

My fiance’ had a chef’s special of Eggplant Parm with “the best gravy ever”. He enjoyed it a lot! Gravy is definitely a very subjective topic in Italian families and he had no complaints!

We had a chef’s special bronzino sauteed with escarole, beans, and bruschetta. Another plate-licking dish!

Also at the table was the crab cakes with a side of roasted veggies. The crab cakes are topped with a lobster bisque and had rave reviews!
crab cakes

Last but certainly not least, my father had the seafood pescatore (he’s had it every time he’s gone). It’s served with fresh shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, clams, and topped with a HUGE dungeness crab cluster. It’s sauteed in fresh Italian herbs, garlic, and white wine. It’s not only delicious but a beautiful dish!

Also, I did not have them but I’ve been told by MANY people how amazing Chef Quici’s gnocchis are! They are said to be literally melt in your mouth pillows. Literally, my only regret of the night is not ordering these!

We were so full that there was no room for dessert but I truly believe the food was so amazingly decadent that it wasn’t even missed!

If you’re in Wildwood, or even if you’re not and don’t mind the drive, I’d highly recommend shooting down to Duffenetti’s! It’s not something that you’ll regret. AND Duffenetti’s is NOW OPEN YEAR ROUND! That’s right, you can enjoy Duffenetti’s even during Jersey’s off-season. There’s no excuse not to give it a shot! I promise, it won’t be your last and make sure to tell them I sent ya!

Duffenetti’s can be found at:
Duffinetti’s Restaurant & Lounge
4600 Pacific Ave
Wildwood, NJ 08260
Restaurant: 609-522-0002

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT TOMORROW -Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Publish Date: 
 Katherine Center

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley who provided me this book to read in exchange for my honest opinion.

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds. 

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

My Review:

There has been many books that highlight mental illnesses recently. I think it’s great but because I’ve read so many recently, I think that I need a break and it may have influenced my overall thoughts on the book. Many of these books have been giving us just a glimpse on how dark mental illness can actually be and they’re all too similar in my opinion. I have recently read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (review found here) and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill which I really enjoyed and the review will be posted closer to publication date. However, even though I enjoyed these books, they are all too similar to one another.

Dear Lily is a tad different as it is presented by letters to our narrator, Joy, to her sister, Lily. It’s through letters that we learn of the struggles Lily is going through in her new country of Denmark. The letters convey so many different levels of emotions. I found myself laughing, cringing, feeling sad, and even upset during some of the letters. There is  a lot of depth to Joy and the letters definitely portray that, however; I was always searching for more. Many of the books that I’ve mentioned have done a good job just portraying everyday humans going through hardships and mental illness, and maybe that’s what’s needed but I am always looking for more drama and more of a story line to follow. This is at no fault to the book itself but more of my preference so I can see many people really enjoying Dear Lily. 

Overall, it delivers a great message and can be very insightful. The format was unique and really helps the story feel personal. I commend Davies for this and do suggest it for a light read on dark themes.


My Review:

Wow, just wow! I don’t usually enjoy romance type novels but I LOVED this. I actually almost put it down. It started very slow for me and it seemed like it was going to be predictable but it was not! There is definitely romance in here but so much drama I ended up loving it. At first I was thinking, “Okay, I get it. We’re going to read about a badass woman firefighter that isn’t getting the credit she deserves. She’s going to fall in love and repair some broken relationship with her mother.” And yes, there is all of that in there but so so much more! Once, I got over my hump of wanting to put it down, I couldn’t put it down!

The theme of forgiveness is so prominent in this story and I can’t begin to express how much I truly admire Ana. If this was a true story, she’d deserve all the awards not only in firefighting but in life itself. The book is inspiring in every way and I recommend the novel to everyone. I feel like there is so much that people who enjoy every different genre would enjoy this.

This was my first Center novel and as soon as I was finished, I ordered her previous How to Walk Away.  I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and it was my first five star read of books being published this year! It’ll definitely be a favorite of mine for the year and I will be purchasing a finished copy to admire for years to come!