Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Review”

Audible Review: A Purple Place For Dying

The Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald inspired numerous thriller and mystery writers, so I thought it would be a great idea to check out these books for myself. The audiobooks for the Travis McGee series are exclusive to Audible, and I recently completed the third book: A Purple Place For Dying. Each book includes a color in the title, making for unique and interesting names. As with the previous two entries, this novel was highly enjoyable.

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Review: Cats Comes to Philly

From June 18 through June 30, Cats, the award-winning and record-breaking Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, is in Philadelphia. I had the opportunity to see the show and it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I love cats (my wife and I have two that we adopted), and I love musicals. I also adore Barry Manilow’s interpretation of the signature song from this show: “Memory.” However, I found this show to be one of the weirdest musicals I’ve ever seen.

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Patti LuPone: Don’t Monkey with Broadway

Patti LuPone brought her one-woman show, “Don’t Monkey With Broadway,” to Verizon Hall in Philadelphia on June 9 and it was phenomenal. The two-time Tony Award winner performed classic Broadway show tunes by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. She also told stories in between songs about how her life-long love affair with Broadway began and her concern for what the Great White Way is becoming today.

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Review: Alive by Tommy James

Tommy James, best known as the lead singer for Tommy James and the Shondells, is back with a new album: Alive. Overall, I’m impressed with the vocals and music. However, there are a few duds and the album has a disjointed feel to it.

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Book Review: The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver

I love thrillers and I’m a huge video game fan. The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver is supposed to blend the two together. The problem is video games aren’t referenced until over 100 pages in. To make matters worse, the first chunk of the book is rather boring. Even more puzzling, what appears to be the main mystery of the story is resolved within the first 130 pages. Not all thrillers need to follow a formula but they should be well structured and true to their description. As a video game fan, I was let down. As a thriller fan, my interest became non-existent after 130 pages. With this in mind, I can’t recommend this book. It’s a shame because I was looking forward to reading it.

Rich Dad Poor Dad: 20th Anniversary Edition

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is the #1 best-selling personal finance book of all time, which is quite an achievement since it came out in 1997. The audiobook version of the 20th anniversary edition of this book was just released, and it’s worth picking up. While his subsequent books pale in comparison to this one, Rich Dad Poor Dad is still an excellent read with useful lessons. Even better, the book is updated (for 2017, at least) so you’re getting Robert’s thoughts on what’s happened with money, investing, and the global economy over the past 20 years. These updates are interesting because they demonstrate to the reader whether or not Rich Dad’s lessons hold water. The narrator of this book does a fine job and is pleasant to listen to throughout. If you’ve never read Rich Dad Poor Dad, I recommend you do so and this is the version to get.

WWE SmackDown: 20 Years and Counting

DK is back with another hardcover book about WWE. This one, WWE SmackDown 20 Years and Counting, celebrates the first 20 years of WWE SmackDown, one of WWE’s most popular and iconic TV shows. Is this book worth your hard-earned cash? Watch my video review below to find out.

Audiobook Review: Fake by Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author Rich Dad Poor Dad, has a new book entitled Fake: Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets. I chose to review the audiobook version of this book, and the narrator did a fine job with the material. That said, Fake is best described as a conspiracy book, explaining how certain key aspects of our society – money, teachers, and assets – aren’t what they appear to be. For example, he argues that U.S. currency is hanging by a thread and that “God’s money” (i.e., “real gold and silver”) is the way to go, for a variety of reasons. Kiyosaki also says that owning gold attracts money, as if it has some supernatural powers. While some of his logic in the book makes sense, the supernatural elements and conspiracy theories make him seem paranoid and out-of-touch with reality. Worse yet, entire sections of this book are copied and pasted throughout. In other words, identical sections and stories in one chapter appear in another. This has been noted in numerous Amazon reviews for the book, and this egregious quality-control error is present in the audiobook. That makes me wonder, did the narrator have to read the same parts over and over again? If so, wasn’t he wondering to himself, “Boy, this sounds familiar? I swore I already read this.” With all of this in mind, I can’t recommend this book. There are some interesting concepts but the quality control issues and goofy content in this book aren’t worth your “fake” money.

 

Backstage Pass by Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley has always been my favorite member of KISS. I’ve had the good fortune of doing a cover story interview with him, taking part in a backstage guitar meet and greet with the Starchild a few years back, meeting Paul numerous times during KISS meet and greets backstage, interviewing his son Evan for his first U.S. cover story, and much more. His music, personality, and sense of style are appealing and admirable. I loved his first book, Face The Music, so I was eager to check out Backstage Pass.

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Audiobook Review: Breathe To Succeed

Breathe To Succeed is focused on the power of mindfulness and owning one’s breath. As someone who does DDP Yoga every day, I fully understand the power of my breath. While this is an important concept to understand and master, it doesn’t warrant an audiobook that is nearly five hours long. The narrator does a fine job with the material, and the author clearly cares about the subject matter. However, I think it would be better suited for a TED Talk or a podcast episode, not a full-length book. Therefore, I can’t recommend it unless you know absolutely nothing about owning your breath and are willing to sit through a nearly-five-hour discussion about it. If that sounds appealing, this is the book for you. If not, you should read a more comprehensive book on mindfulness.

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