Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

After Anna is one of Lisa Scottoline’s best books, and it’s my favorite of hers since 2015’s Corrupted. Similar to CorruptedAfter Anna jumps back and forth through time. However, in this new thriller Lisa applies a unique approach. There are two main storylines: one moves forward in time, while the other moves backward. As I read this intricately-woven tale, I was amazed that Lisa was able to keep everything straight. Most authors would slip up at some point. I can only imagine how harrowing the revision process must have been for this novel. Aside from the technical virtuosity on display, this book sings from an emotional standpoint. The characters are intriguing, fully-realized, and unpredictably believable. And the plot’s biggest twist is one I didn’t predict, even though I was able to foretell some of the smaller subsequent details. After Anna is a five-star classic that all thriller and mystery enthusiasts should read. You won’t be disappointed.

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A Conversation With Lydia Criss

Lydia Criss is the former wife of Peter Criss, KISS’ original drummer, and she’s the author of the fabulous book Sealed With A KISS. Her book, which has received universal praise from fans, is a deluxe hardcover collection of more than 1,500 rare and unpublished photos, as well as fascinating stories and memories from Lydia about KISS’ early days and her life with Peter. It’s a beautifully crafted book that KISS fans should absolutely pick up, as it’s one of the most intimate and personal accounts by someone who was close to the band during its formative years. Lydia was kind enough to speak with me about her book, as well as her marriage to Peter, her career as a photographer, and more. I hope you enjoy our discussion.

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Janis Ian Sells Out Sellersville

Two-time Grammy award-winning folk music legend Janis Ian recently performed for a sold-out crowd at Sellersville Theater. A few years ago, Janis Ian made the choice to dramatically reduce her concert appearances to around four or five a year as a way to spend more time with friends and family. With this in mind, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to attend her Sellersville show, which was fantastic.

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Devious Dungeon for Nintendo Switch

Devious Dungeon is a medieval action platform title now available for Nintendo Switch. It features five worlds, 68 levels, level randomization, and much more. If you enjoy slaying monsters, collecting loot, leveling up, and upgrading your armor, look no further. For less than $10, this game has a lot of content to offer, and it’s easy to pick up and play, while still offering a decent challenge. If you’re in the market for a fun indie game with a cool retro aesthetic, check out Devious Dungeon.

Book Review: The Crash Bandicoot Files

Crash Bandicoot is one of my favorite video game characters of all time. The original trilogy of Crash Bandicoot games, which I played for hours on end on my Playstation back when they were originally released, is coming to Nintendo Switch this summer in the N. Sane Trilogy – a remastered compilation I can’t wait to dive into. If you need even more Bandicoot goodness to satiate your marsupial mania, you may want to pick up The Crash Bandicoot Files, a new publication from Dark Horse Books.

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A Conversation With Paul Anka

For more than 60 years, legendary singer and songwriter Paul Anka has performed and produced music that has transcended generations and left an indelible mark that will live on for years to come. Ahead of his May 5 performance at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, Paul Anka was kind enough to speak with me about his impressive body of work.

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Book Review: KISS Klassified

KISS Klassified: War Stories From A KISS Army General is an excellent book. A million books have been written about KISS in the 1970s. If you’re looking for one that does an excellent job of covering KISS from 1980 through present day, this book is the best around. Unlike other KISS books, this one isn’t a detailed history of the band during a particular period of time. Rather, it’s the author’s account of his experiences with the band during these years. Peppered throughout are 750 fantastic photos, as well as interviews with and commentary by members of KISS. My only complaint is there are some language usage issues, but that’s understandable because the author is from Sweden. That minor complaint aside, KISS Klassified is a top-notch book that was lovingly put together. The graphical layout of the book is phenomenal, the stories are entertaining, and the passion is palpable. KISS fans should absolutely check it out, as it’s one of the best books about the band I’ve ever read.

Starchild Speaks: Paul Stanley on Art, KISS, and Loving Life

Paul Stanley, founding member and lead vocalist for the classic rock group KISS, has an art show at Wentworth Gallery in Short Hills, NJ on April 28. I recently interviewed Paul about his artwork, KISS, and much more.

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Review: Midnight Deluxe For Nintendo Switch

Midnight Deluxe is a golf-like game set in perpetual darkness, where you fling Midnight, the square-shapped-shaped protagonist, through a series of obstacles in the hopes of making it to the beacon of light at the end of each level. As with the game that preceded it, 36 Fragments of Midnight, this is a charming video game with beautiful music and bite-sized levels that are perfect for the grab-and-go nature of the Nintendo Switch.

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A Conversation With “Big” John Harte

“Big” John Harte is the former head of security for KISS. He also worked for Prince, Iron Maiden, and Billy Idol, as well as numerous TV and movie stars. His autobiography comes out this summer, and he has a Pledge Music campaign going on right now that you should check out. John was kind enough to speak with me about his impressive and exciting career.

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