Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Review – KISS Rocks Vegas: Deluxe Edition

IMG_7725Today KISS released KISS Rocks Vegas and I received the Deluxe Edition, which features a Blu-Ray, DVD and CD capturing their 2014 Las Vegas residency. This set also features an exclusive CD of an acoustic set KISS did during one of its Las Vegas meet and greets. Check out my video review below to see what’s inside:

Book Review: Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

LisaLisa Scottoline released a terrific book this week entitled Damaged. It’s yet another compelling thriller from one of my favorite writers. What separates Lisa from her peers is that her books feature characters, plots and dialogue that have an unparalleled level of emotional depth. When you’re reading her books you can’t help but feel connected to the characters and the decisions they make. I had this experience when reading Damaged. Read more…

Working With James Patterson: BookShots Authors Tell All

IMG_7188In June James Patterson launched his BookShots imprint, and since then more than one million copies of these bite-sized thrillers have been sold. I recently spoke with two of the authors who’ve written books for this imprint: Brendan DuBois and Erin Knightley.

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Book Review: Bullseye by James Patterson 

Bullseye is James Patterson’s newest thriller and the latest entry in the Michael Bennett series. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. It takes several chapters for the protagonist to show up, which is never a good sign as that only delays my being introduced to the character to which I’m supposed to relate. And the premise isn’t all that compelling. It failed to pull me in and keep my attention like Patterson’s far superior thriller, The Games, which was also recently released. Every once in a while a good author releases a boring book. For James Patterson, Bullseye is it.

Heart, Cheap Trick and Joan Jett Rock NJ

IMG_7932Last weekend I attended a terrific concert dubbed the “Rock Hall Three For All.” On the bill was Heart, Cheap Trick and Joan Jett. While all three acts turned in great performances, Heart and Cheap Trick stole the show. The night was filled with more than 40 songs, many of them hits that the crowd knew and gladly sang along to. If you have an opportunity to see this great tour, do so. You won’t be disappointed. To give you a taste of what to expect, below are several photos and videos I captured during this special evening. Enjoy!

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Book Review: The Games by James Patterson

btn3-square-1536I just finished The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan and it was excellent. This novel was perfectly timed as it deals with two major sporting events, one of which is right around the corner: the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. There are two parallel storylines at play in this novel, neither of which I’ll divulge in my review because I don’t want to spoil either of them. However, I can tell you that the storylines are compelling and that both are brought to satisfactory conclusions. As with all of James Patterson’s thrillers, the pacing in this book is tremendous. The pages fly by and no words are wasted. Every page and chapter move the story and the characters forward, toward the novel’s thrilling climax. The Games is one of my favorite James Patterson books, and I highly recommend it.

Book Synopsis

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil–home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world’s largest Carnival celebration–knows how to throw a party. So it’s a natural choice to host the biggest spectacles in sports–the World Cup and the Olympics. To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But when events are this exclusive, someone’s bound to get left off the guest list.

Two years after the action nearly spilled from the field to the stands during soccer’s championship match, Jack is back in Rio for the Olympics. But before the cauldron is even lit, the only thing more intense than the competition is the security risks. When prominent clients he’s supposed to be protecting disappear, and bodies mysteriously start to litter the streets, Jack is drawn deep into the heart of a ruthless underworld populated by disaffected residents trying to crash the world’s biggest party. As the opening ceremonies near, with the world watching in horror, Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle. 

Journey Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Escape in NJ

IMG_7566With the 35th anniversary of the Journey album Escape, which spawned numerous chart-topping hits, right around the corner, the band is back on the road. This time they are joined by The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason. And Steve Smith is behind the drum kit, stepping in for the band’s former drummer Deen Castronovo. For those keeping count, this is the classic Journey lineup, minus one member: Steve Perry. I’m happy to say this was one of the best Journey concerts I’ve attended (this was my fifth), and my my pre-show meet and greet with Neal Schon exceeded my expectations. Read on for all of the details.

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Music Review: Beautiful Broken by Heart

BeautifulBrokenCoverToday, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart released their 16th album: Beautiful Broken. Heart has sold over 35 million albums during their impressive career, and this release is their first in four years. The album consists of reinterpretations of classic Heart tracks, as well as three new cuts. The title track and first single features a dynamic guest vocal contribution by Metallica’s James Hetfield with Ann Wilson.

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Cross My Heart and Hope To Die by James Patterson

patterson-ac2122uk-e1417455534602Cross My Heart and Hope To Die by James Patterson are two parts of one story. The first part takes place in Cross My Heart and it concludes in Hope To Die. To my knowledge, this was the first time James Patterson did this so, naturally, many fans were upset with the cliffhanger ending of the first book. I wasn’t because I knew this going in. If anything, it made me look forward to reading Hope To Die even more, so I could see how things wrapped up.

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A Conversation With Bobby Rydell

Teen-Idol-On-The-Rocks-CoverI recently had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Bobby Rydell, pop icon and author of the new memoir, Teen Idol on the Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances. During the 1960s Rydell scored 34 Top 40 hits, making him one of the top artists of this era. From “Wild One” to “Volare” to the summertime classic “Wildwood Days,” Rydell’s music still lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of music lovers. My interview with him below touches on all of the highs and lows of his career, including his new book. I hope you enjoy it.

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