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I have the privilege of reviewing yet another beautiful book of historic race photography for you my readers- this book is Riverside International Raceway by Pete Lyons. Riverside International Raceway documents the history of a track now gone (it is now a subdivision) in beautiful pictures and words.

Right from the back dust jacket of the book we are told that even diehard Riverside raceway fans “will admit the environment was usually too hot, sometimes too cold, extremely dry or depressingly wet, often windy and never ever a garden spot” however they still came in droves.

The book details the three decades or so of Riverside Raceway’s life and subsequent death. The desert, the races, the speed. It’s laid out in chapters that detail specifics of the track and the series that ran it including: FIA Formula 1, SCCA Pro Racing, NASCAR, TransAm, Can-AM, USAC, CART Indy Cars, IROC, Off Road (and the list goes on). A sampling of names in the book: Fred Lorenzen, Rick Mears, Geoff Bodine, Emerson Fittipaldi, Terry Labonte, Bobby Rahal, Tom Sneva, AJ Foyt, and native son Dan Gurney (who also wrote the book’s forward) to name a few grabbed while flipping through the book to remind myself of it’s contents  for review purposes. My favorite part of the book- beyond the photography, is  just a little sidebar on page 43 detailing the track’s history in film- being so close yet so far away from Hollywood. The book is chucked full of interesting sidebars- including one on how the track was used for teaching driving (page 74), the Olympic Relay (Page 83). There are so many photos that it’s impossible to pick just one…but perhaps the most poignant picture is the one on page 191- a photo of piece of the speedway and a Riverside Raceway patch.  Gone but obviously not forgotten by this book.

They physical book itself is a heavy duty book, with a gorgeous dust jacket. The book is 204 pages inclusive of the indexes.

Written by Pete Lyons, Riverside International Raceway clearly demonstrates Lyon’s obvious love of motorsports and the time period of Riverside.  Pete Lyon’s father, Ozzie Lyons was the U.S. correspondent to Britain’s Autosport magazine, and often took Pete with him during vacations.  It’s that kind of of exposure- from childhood through adulthood that allows someone like Pete Lyon’s to cultivate such a gorgeous book.

This book will satisfy the history buffs, the auto racing buffs and the photography buffs. If your father is any one of these? He will love this book for father’s day- or any day.

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.

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For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m looking at you): A copy of Riverside International Raceway was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

I have professed my love of books- not just reading but the physicality of the actual bound paper structure called books before and I have to tell you that I have just found another one that is as much a work of art as it is an actual book.  Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World by Colin Comer is absolutely stunning as far as book’s go- much like Shelby’s Cobras are when compared to other cars. This book is actually a special collector’s edition of the author’s book Shelby Cobra Fifty Years that includes new and updated material, including tributes to the late Carroll Shelby, poster-sized gatefolds with artwork by Hector Cadametori, and frameable garage art.

Something most of my readers know about me if they have been reading for any length of time is that I love American muscle cars- with Chevrolet’s  Nomad and Corvette being my all-time favorites. But the photos in this book are swaying me towards adding a Cobra to my “fantasy car garage” that I have built in my mind. The book starts off by detailing the how and why of Carroll Shelby, chicken farmer turned champion race driver, deciding he is going to manufacture cars and not just any kind car mind you but an ultra high performance car. It continues on through the production span of the Cobra. The book has several “pit stops” along the way – sidebars within the regular book that talk about or are interviews with people who knew Carroll Shelby or worked directly for him- my favorite of those is the interview with Phil Remington, Shelby’s lead engineer, on page 26-27.

And have I mentioned the photos? The photos in this book are just as stunning as the cars themselves- making it easy to appreciate their beautiful lines and structure- at least as far a piece of paper can possibly do a machine justice.  There aren’t just photos of the cars however in the book- there are graphics from magazines in the day like Road and Track (page 71), the promotional postcards (page 118), and the elusive 1963 dealer “snake skin” kit (210-211). There are also two “garage art” pull-outs featuring artwork but if you pull those out of the book to hang in the garage you are crazy- or ordered two books!  Oh and I mentioned the gorgeous photos right?

This book is by author Colin Comer. Comer has built a successful restoration business and collector car dealership and developed a passion for writing about cars.  He has written for many sports car and American car collector magazines, as well as publishing several books including this one.  In the book’s preface Comer shares many pictures of his own Cobras!

The book is a definite show piece and something I have already cleared space for on my cluttered motorsports shelf on my bookcase. If your father (or anyone really) is a Shelby Cobra lover, just a lover of automotive history, racing history, or motorsports photography this book would be the perfect gift!

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.

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For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m Looking At You): A copy of Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski

Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski by Paul Parker

I obviously love to read- or I wouldn’t have created the #NASCAR Reading List feature here on BadGroove. But what you might not know is that I love books themselves. Yes, I am talking about those bound collections of paper with writings in them. I can’t tell you how much I miss bricks and mortar bookstores (the nearest one to me is in the next county- 27 miles away or so) because I would often just go to wander around and look at the books on those occasions that I didn’t have anything else to do.  If I had a huge house- I would devote a whole room to being a library, but alas I don’t have a house like that so I have a book case. A very crammed full book case at that, which is one of the reasons I invested in an e-reader. I now only keep physical copies of books I absolutely love as it’s all I have room for now.  Most of those books are works of fiction with a small  motorsports section that is crammed so tight I have had to weed through it multiple times. I  think I might fudge this one and put it in my photography section so I don’t have to weed out any more of my beloved motorsports books.

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer by Paul Parker has got to be one of the most gorgeous books I have seen in a long time. It’s a book of motorsports photographs detailing what is often called racing’s “golden era” – pre-WWII through the early 1970s.  But first let me give you a little background on who Louis Klemantaski is before we get into this beautiful book. (more…)

Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

A car in the pre-war section of the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August 16ht, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

As much as I love to read- I am not a huge fan of historical fiction.  To me the genre is a contradiction to itself- is it history or is it fiction? In my mind- you can’t really be both since history deals with real people, places, and times. Conversely, by it’s very definition, fiction is fabrication, and of the imagination.  Plus I tend to enjoy my books to be set in the here and now or that at the very least could be set in the now despite when it was written. That’s just my personal preference- what makes me me I guess. Does that mean that is ONLY what I will read? No- of course not.

When I was offered a reader’s copy of Tracks: Racing The Sun by Sandro Martini, I went into it knowing that I was going to be reading historical fiction. I figured since it was about racing I would at the very least give it a try. This is another case where I am so glad I did.

I don’t know if it was made more realistic to me because of attending the Historic Car Races out at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this year where I fell in love with the pre-war section of the paddock area.  Or maybe it had to do with reading and reviewing the Eddie Rickenbacker biography earlier this year…but Tracks: Racing the Sun was a lovely surprise I might have normally dismissed casually because of the genre.

The oval at Indy,’ I told him, is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, Rudi. It’s a daunting place. An American place: it sucks you in and makes a friend of you-

And then it kills you with a smile,‘ completed Varzi.”- pages 307-308 Tracks: Racing the Sun by Sandro Martini.

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Raced by K. Bromberg

 

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago right here in my last Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List, I adored all three books in K. Bromberg’s Driven Series. Those books (Driven, Fueled and Crashed) follow Rylee Thomas, a woman who has buried her past to the point of walking through life numb until she quite literally falls into the arms of smokin’ hot Indy Car driver Colton Donovan.  Colton on the other hand is the exact opposite of Rylee. Colton purposely lives a life in sensory overload to outrun the demons from a past he is afraid will not just catch up with him- but completely ruin life as he knows it.  The series is told primarily in Rylee’s point of view- with a couple of chapters in Colton’s point of view scattered into Fueled (Book 2), and more than a couple scattered into the final book, Crashed (Book 3).

“She thought I was done with her.” – Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Raced is NOT a novel in the trilogy (obviously since if it were then it technically wouldn’t be a trilogy). Raced is the much anticipated companion to the trilogy that is entirely in Colton’s point of view. It’s chapters revolves around several key scenes/chapters in all three books. Her fans begged for it and Bromberg delivered.

Personally, I had been anticipating Raced greatly after devouring the entire trilogy in a little over a weekend. Was Raced what I expected? Yes and no.  Yes in that Colton’s POV’s were exactly what I had hoped they would be: raw, honest and full of the conflict and emotion behind the race-face Colton wears through life. It was exactly what I wanted and what I got in aces (ha- pun totally intended).

What was unexpected? Two things. The first being a sob inducing scene between Colton and his father towards the end of Raced (that is all I will say- spoiler hounds).  The second second thing- I didn’t expect but totally loved was the author’s description that was before each of the chapters of Raced. These chapters let readers know what she was thinking, or why she picked a particular part of the saga to share in Colton’s voice.

“How do I explain that the way she made me feel caused the demons I’d buried deep down to start to whisper that I don’t deserve anything from her.” Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Remember Raced is NOT a stand alone novel- nor does it claim to be one. Think of it as the extra deleted scenes from your favorite movie that you get when you buy the director’s cut. Raced adds a certain richness and emotion to the story told throughout Driven, Fueled, and Crashed.

If this companion leaves you wanting more of Colton & Rylee- fear not! K. Bromberg plans on releasing a yet-to-be-named novella that covers key points in the ten year gap that takes place at the end of Crashed and it’s epilogues some time in early 2015. Also fans of the trilogy can anticipate Slow Burn, a novel focusing on Haddie Montgomery (Rylee’s bestie and roommate) and Beckett Daniels (Colton’s crew chief and best friend) from the original trilogy. Slow Burn is currently available as a pre-order for it’s February 24th, 2015 release.

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For “Full Disclosure” I bought the original trilogy at the urging of a friend and enjoyed it so thoroughly so I ordered the reading companion as well. I was not asked to review it by anyone- I did so because I loved what I read and thought you might too.

Driven by K. Bromberg

This is my favorite kind of book review to do for BadGroove. Why you ask? Because it’s the kind that I share because I stumbled upon something I absolutely loved. This review was NOT solicited (you always know when I am because I put my usual disclaimer at the bottom of the review)- instead I am reviewing it because I had to share it with you all because it’s THAT GOOD. It’s the kind of review where I am thankful I can make it work for this blog because I know that some of you will like it too.

I was introduced to the Driven Trilogy by a Facebook friend. We were chatting back and forth about reading and books and she asked if I had  read anything by K Bromberg?  I hadn’t and at the time I happened to be in a reading mood but nothing I had downloaded was holding my attention enough.  So on her suggestion alone I downloaded the entire trilogy to my Kindle.  I devoured the whole three book series in four and a half days and it left me wanting more. I think it will leave you wanting more too. Luckily for us we don’t have long to wait.

The Driven trilogy is a racy romance but it is also so much more. It centers around Rylee Thomas, a social worker working with abused children at a halfway house (called THE HOUSE) that is much more like a home than most of these boys have ever known. One night at a fundraiser for THE HOUSE Rylee literally falls into the arms of race car driver and renown player Colton Donovan. (more…)

Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

Race car driver Kate Reilly is back in author Tammy Kaehler’s 3rd book in the Kate Reilly mystery series Avoidable Contact.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to get my hands on Avoidable Contact. I’ve read Kaehler’s first two books of the series (Deadman’s Switch and Braking Points) and I thoroughly enjoyed them both so I knew I was in for quite the ride.  I was definitely not disappointed.

“All the crap going on in the outside world can’t stop me from doing what I do best: kicking butt on the racetrack.”  pg 238, Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

In Avoidable Contact, our protagonist Kate is driving one of the Sandham Swift team Corvettes in the famed 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.  The book opens with Kate Reilly standing on a very crowded pit road amid the chaos and crowds that is pre-race.  With less than an hour until the green flag, Kate spots two police detectives “with their serious faces on” heading her way flanked by the second in charge of operations fro the newly formed United SportsCar Championship series (USCC).  It immediately concerns her and well it should.  They are there to tell her that her boyfriend Stuart was involved in a hit-and-run accident outside the speedway that morning and is in serious condition at a nearby hospital fighting for his life.  Stuart is in charge of operations for the USCC and it doesn’t make sense to Kate that he would even be outside the track an hour before the start of the race.  Pushing that aside, Kate decides that Stuart wouldn’t want her to not drive in the race when the only thing she could do in the hospital for him is sit in the waiting room. Kate is determined to press on in spite of what is going on at the hospital blocks away and decides to concentrate on the race and her car and in between her driving stints she can watch for updates on Stuart and help in the search for who ran Stuart down and why.  She pushes Stuart and the rumors floating around the track as far out of her mind as she can and concentrates on driving- except during her first stint on the track Kate witnesses a terrifying on track incident that heaves her and the entire USCC racing community shaken to the core.  Kate can only wonder if the on track incident is related to Stuart’s pre-race accident and if that was the case who was their next target?

The thing that I adore most about the Kate Reilly Mysteries is Kate herself.  She is a very real character- and while she is spunky she still has those human moments and flaws that we all have and that makes her very real to me.  She is not a crime fighting machine in the guise of a race car driver- she just happens to usually be in the wrong place at the right time and the drive to see things though.  While Kate is a female driver in a male dominated sport (although not really- as Kate isn’t the only female driver) readers aren’t continually hit over the head with the fact that she is a female.  Kate doesn’t see her self as a female race car driver- but as a racer and that’s it.  Kate Reilly is a multifaceted character that I can identify with on a personal level.  She is the reason that I love these books.  I also love that Kaehler actually incorporates a real racing series right down to the recent creation of the United SportsCar Championship Series created when the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series merged back in 2013.

What unfolds over the course of the race is a gripping tale with more turns than the road course at Daytona.  I am not going to go any further into plot of Avoidable Contact because I want you to enjoy it as untainted by spoilers as possible.  But I will say that of the three Kate Reilly Mysteries- Avoidable Contact has moved into first place as my favorite!  Readers get to see parts of Kate’s life we haven’t seen before.  And I will say this: expect to be left craving book 4 and to be saying things out loud like “Urg! But what happens next?!” after you turn that last page.

Author Tammy Kaehler is a technical writer in the Los Angeles area.  To go along with the release of her third Kate Reilly Mystery, Tammy Kaehler has been blogging about some of the research she did for Avoidable Contact.  These blog posts are a perfect companion to the book: Avoidable Contact – The Backstory, Avoidable Contact- Racing Into The NightAvoidable Contact- My Sleep Research, and Avoidable Contact- Daytona’s Checkered Flag. They give you just a little bit of insight on what kind of research goes into a book like this plus are just fun race experiences and you KNOW how I like those since I write them for BadGroove. Pick up a copy of Avoidable Contact today- I really think you will love it! I certainly did.

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For disclosure an advanced readers copy of Avoidable Contact was supplied for review purposes- but I would have had it queued up in my kindle pre-order queue if it hadn’t because I LOVE this series!

“I am the car and the car is me.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

Racers know that racing is a slippery slope of talent, speed, technology and for the up and coming racer sponsorship money (to buy the technology to create the speed to showcase the talent). It’s a sport where, to up-and-coming drivers, tenths of a second can mean the difference between hoisting a trophy in victory lane and having to scrounge around for the money to get to the track for the next race with equipment that may or may not be competitive enough to garner you with anything more than an “also ran” performance.

This is extremely evident to Martin Warwick, protagonist in Tenths of a Second, and driver in the open wheel Formula Ford racing series (yes it’s a real racing series- here is the Formula Fords wiki page if you are curious). He knows he has what it takes to make it as a professional driver but his equipment isn’t of the quality that can get him a performance that will showcase his driving talents. That is until the mysterious Mr. Mallory shows up in Martin’s garage stall at a race with an intriguing offer. While Mallory doesn’t have the much needed sponsorship money Martin’s hoping for, he has an experimental telemetry system that governs the car and driver. Mallory assures that utilizing his system will get Martin the type of performance that will turn heads and have sponsors throwing money his way. Martin signs up with Mallory deciding that he might as well give the developmental system a go because even if it’s a total flop at least it will get him a much needed engine rebuild and testing time at a track before the next race.

“Success was my nourishment, friend, lover and soul mate.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

As a result of his partnership with Mallory, Martin quickly finds him self on the fast track to the career as a professional racer that he has been yearning for. The question is at what cost will those precious tenths of a second come and is it worth it for Martin?

Tenths of a Second is an audio short story by Simon Wood.  Let me assure you that there is nothing usual about this story and it’s telling. I will be the first to admit that I don’t tend towards audio books at all because I find if I am not engaged with the actual reading of something my mind wanders and I lose interest. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE with this story (and I have even downloaded a second audio short by Simon but haven’t listened to it yet).  At first Tenths of a Second is like pulling up a chair and reminiscing with a friend as he tells his story, but with plot twists (that not be divulged here but trust me) that Simon Wood does so well.  I highly recommend this short (it’s about 40 minutes by my computer) audio story! Order Tenths of a Second today- it is well worth the $1.50- trust me!!

Simon Wood probably sounds familiar- I have reviewed his Aidy Westlake Racing Mysteries novels Did Not Finish and Hot Seat for BadGroove as well as interviewed the author himself.  Simon is a prolific author, ex-professional race car driver, and a licensed pilot. You can find out more about Simon and his books on his website.