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(This post was originally published on July 15th, 2014 based solely on the audio book but happy day it’s now been released as an ebook available on Amazon so I thought I would reshare this review because this short story is so dang awesome and suspenseful! — Amy):

“I am the car and the car is me.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second a 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 a 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 a short story by Simon Wood.  Let me assure you that there is nothing usual about this story and it’s telling. I was first exposed to this story as an audio short story and 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.  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 (no spoilers here) that Simon Wood does so well.  I highly recommend this short story! Order Tenths of a Second today- it is well worth the $0.99 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.

Recently I reviewed for you the book American Muscle Cars and if you haven’t been following my blog very long you probably got the idea that I love muscle cars. And while I don’t have the money nor the space to store a car collection- I like to think if I ever did  win the lottery so that money and space wasn’t an issue I would have a car collection and it would be heavy in American muscle. Anyway today I get to bring to your attention another beautiful book about American muscle cars called Wide-Open Muscle: The Rarest Muscle Car Convertibles by Randy Leffingwell and photographer Tom Loeser.

This book focuses on what is perhaps the least practical cars manufactured during the height of the American muscle car genre of the 1960s and early 1070s- the convertible.  The cars within the covers of Wide-Open Muscle are highly sought after and pricey in today’s collector’s market.  These cars were heavy, stuff and definitely not made for a casual Sunday drive- these were made to street race. (more…)

Hello my fellow readers and race fans- can you believe I already have another entry for the #NASCAR Reading list? And boy do I have another great book for you to add to your TBR lists!  That book would be the The Sheer Force of Will Power by David Malsher. I usually run hot or cold when it comes to biographies or autobiographies but as a race fan I LOVE this one! Maybe it’s because of it’s witty title (I mean seriously why didn’t make the correlation before between willpower and Will Power), or because my first race was an IndyCar race but when I was offered an opportunity to read this book for review purposes I jumped on it. I am so glad that I did.

First off, I use to be hard core into IndyCar driving back when the series was called CART.  When the series broke up to form IRL and CHAMP I kind of drifted back to NASCAR for my fandom. Now I am a devout NASCAR (Tony Stewart) fan yet I am a still a casual fan of IRL. If there is race on and I don’t have anything better to do I will watch it. Of course this holds true any time any type of motorsports- the other day I was watching dirt bikes because it was the only racing I could find, but I digress. So I “know” the IRL drivers in that, I know their names, car number, sponsors…the basics. But I don’t know their stories.  This book gave me the chance to dive into Will Power’s story and get to know Will on a deeper level. But I don’t think you have to be a Will Power fan to appreciate his story.

“You can’t leave it to drivers and say to them, ‘Take care of each other out there.’ That’s bullshit. We are paid to win, so we’ll do whatever it takes to win, and if that means going four-wide one inch apart, that’s what we are going to do.” – Will Power, pg 254,  Power, W., & Malsher, D. (n.d.). The sheer force of Will Power.

The book starts off with him growing up a child who “played racing” as a child. Of course it didn’t hurt that his father was a grassroots racer in Australia.  It follows his career through his eyes and the eyes of those closest to him, including his family and close friends.  It spans the course of his racing from a young boy in Toowoomba Australia (and now I know where the name of my favorite dish at the Outback comes from) as an up and coming driver in Australia, to his move to England for F1 and then eventually to America and then to Indy car and everything in between.  The book aptly covers both the extreme highs of winning a championship and the lowest of lows throughout different points in Will’s carrer. There are parts of Will’s career that will ring true to any racer, any style of motorsports- especially his early struggles to attain much needed sponsorship money as an early racer in Australia, to what could have been a terrible career ending injury at Sonoma Raceway. And then there is living the horrifying accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that took fellow driver Dan Wheldon’s life through Will’s eyes. Let’s just say it was a good thing I wasn’t wearing mascara when I read that chapter. (more…)

I love to read. It’s how I learn, how I escape. It’s something I try to do every day if and when possible. And when I come across books that I think fellow NASCAR fans would love I review them here- I have been doing it awhile now and you can read back through all those different book reviews here.  A few years ago I was introduced to the Kate Reilly Mystery series by author Tammy Kaehler. I was asked to review book two- which I jumped right into no quite realizing it was the second book of a series- and while the book read fine (and I LOVED it) by itself- I found myself compelled to go back to the first book and read that. I have been hooked on the Kate Reilly mysteries ever since and greatly anticipate the next one coming out. The reason these books fall into something I can review here on BG is because Kate Reilly just happens to be a young up-and-coming racer and the books tend to center each around one particular race.  When I saw on the author’s facebook page that the fourth installment of the series, Red Flags, was due this month I was beyond excited and not just because I would have a fiction book to review which I haven’t had in awhile, but because I LOVE these books.

You know that feeling when you are reading a series, or even just a new book by an author that you love and you are greatly anticipating the release of that book, but in the back of your mind you worry that you will be disappointed? I had that worry with this book because in my mind I had hyped it up and was so excited for the release that I couldn’t imagine it would live up to the hype in my head.  Well luckily for us all- it not only lived up to it- but it surpassed it.  I dare say that Red Flags is the best book in the currently four book series to date. And with that I will say while this book could probably be read as a standalone you will find it a much richer reading experience to read the other three books in the series (Deadman’s Switch, Braking Points, Avoidable Contact).

Now onto this book: Kate Reilly is a busy busy racer. She arrives in Long Beach for the Grand Prix of Long Beach busy- she is not just racing her car in the Sportscar event, but she is also coaching a celebrity driver in the pro-am race, and taking one of the steps towards her big dream- testing an Indycar in Fontana. Not to mention meeting with her two biggest sponsors- Frame Savings and Beaute. Yet the first thing we see of Kate in Long Beach? She is identifying the body of her despised cousin Billy who has Kate’s hero card in his pocket at the time of his obvious murder.  She vows that this time she will leave it to the authorities but of course she gets roped into investigating who might be responsible in this mystery that has more turns than a road course.  I don’t want to get too much into plot points with this book because I don’t want to spoil anything…but as far as plot lines go I was guessing who was responsible from the beginning and who I thought killed Billy and who actually ended up killing Billy? I never suspected that person. (more…)

(American Muscle Cars: A Full Throttle History)

If you have read BadGroove for awhile, you know that I am lucky enough to get to preview some of the most beautiful books about cars (and car photography) for my readers. I love to do it because it combines my long time love of cars with my long time love of books and photography. Anyway- I have been chomping at a the proverbial bit to get my hands on this latest book, American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History since the publisher sent me a list of books I might be interested in. Also if you have been reading BadGroove for awhile, then it comes as no surprise that I have a thing for cars in general- not just race cars.  And while I love and can appreciate a lovely sporty Ferrari or Lamborghini to me there is nothing more iconic, more representative of the word “car,” and nothing that will make me whip my head around faster to get another look than American muscle cars.  In my “fantasy” car collection, you know, the one in my head with the cars I would love to afford to own but can not because of money, space, time and well mostly money, American muscle cars are the most prevalent cars in that car collection.

American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History is just what it the title states- a chronological history of the American muscle cars from it’s infancy in the early 1960 through the cars coming out of Chevy, Dodge and Ford today as told by author Darwin Holmstrom and photographer Tom Glatch. But really the book is so much more. It’s a song to the era that born the machine. (more…)

A while ago I reviewed a book of Lamborgini Supercars and in the forward there was a little story that stuck with me. It states that the story behind Lamborgini as we know it today is that Ferruccio Lamborghini contacted Ferrari and told them the Ferrari he purchased had a repeating issue with the clutch slipping. Story has it that Enzo Ferrari told Ferriccio that he wouldn’t know how to drive a machine like a Ferrari and should stick to driving tractors. Why that story sticks with me I don’t know. I think it probably has to do with the fact that I see a lot of tractors on my daily work commute.

This edition of Amy’s NASCAR Reading List details the story of how FORD GT “humbled” Ferrari with their 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans in 1966.  Ford GT: How Ford Silenced The Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered Le Mans by Preston Lerner (author) and Dave Freidman (Photographer) however goes much deeper than just talking about the significance of that 1966 Le Man Victory for the Ford GT.  Technically the story starts with Henry Ford II hearing that Enzo Ferrari was considering selling Ferrari. He quickly engaged Ferrari in negotiations after taking time to review their operations.  Enzo Ferrari initially engaged in the negotiations but then suddenly and inexplicably withdrew from the talk.

(more…)

The Driven Series by K. Bromberg.  If you haven’t heard about this series- let me give you a quick synopsis of what I can easily say is one of my favorite series.

Colton Donavan is an INDY driver who always seems to have a beautiful blonde on his arm. Rylee Thomas works at a halfway house with boys who are suffering from abuse and have no one else.  She would do anything for her boys.  Colton and Rylee’s paths cross in a chance encounter at a charity gala for THE HOUSE, the halfway house that Rylee works at when Rylee falls into Colton’s arms when he rescues her from a claustrophobia inducing closet. The series follows Rylee and Colton as they are both drawn to each other yet each having baggage keeping them from fully committing to each other.  This series is full of the feels…trust me.

The series has a companion that wasn’t released during my first review of the series. That companion is called Raced. And I did review it happily after it was released. You can read that review here, but to give you a quick idea of what it is- Raced  is NOT a stand alone book- but just parts of the original story from Colton’s point of view (something you get in the main series as well).

Why am I bringing up a past review? Easily. I wanted to share with you that if you are interested in the series- now is a great time to get into it? Why? Because the author has released a special boxed set that includes the three original books of the trilogy (Driven, Fueled, Crashed), the companion to the trilogy Raced, three additional scenes featuring Rylee and Colton, as well as an extended except from her upcoming novel Hard Beat (to be released November 3rd, 2015) and the entire prologue of the lastest novel in the Driven Series, the much anticipated (by me) Aced (due out in January 2016) which is known by fans of Bromberg as the “ten year gap” novel that will actually cover the ten year gap from the last chapter of Crashed ended and the last epilogue in that book- which is approximately 10 years later.

Our paths should never have crossed.
 
Colton Donavan was arrogant, exuded that bad boy vibe, and embodied everything I never wanted. And yet all it took was one night, one hallway, and one stolen kiss for me to know I hated him and desired him instantly.
 
My heart was healing. His soul was damaged. But with one bid, one little boy, and one carnival, I couldn’t walk away and he wouldn’t let me in.
 
But I don’t give up that easy.

The best part about the Driven boxed set (besides the prologue to ACED) is the fact that the chapters from Raced are interwoven into the series- so that there are repeated chapters occasionally as one is the chapter from RACED.  THIS IS GREAT for people like me who like to do rereads with Raced so I don’t have to keep going back and forth between two different books on my ereader.

The Driven series boxed set is actually on sale this (September 14th) week for $4.99! After the first week it will go up to $9.99 which is still quite the deal for four books!  Get it soon though because this special Driven boxed set will only be available until October 16th, 2015:

Amazon http://amzn.to/1ibQt6M
iBooks: http://apple.co/1XUlg89
B&N: http://bit.ly/1JUSj2t
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1K9HOMr
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1L0DjnX

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. And heck yes I bought the boxed set! I love the idea of reading the series without having to go back and forth between the companion plus…I REALLY want to read the prologue to ACED!

When I was in college- I read a lot of children’s books. Why? I was a liberal studies major with a CLAD (Culture and Language Development) emphasis – meaning that I was in the grammar school teaching credential track.  I took multiple literature course including one specifically on multicultural children’s literature.  I learned how to evaluate children’s books on cultural diversity, language development and more.  It’s a skill I wouldn’t ever put into use beyond buying the occasional book for my three nephews since my actual job has nothing to do with children or literature.

When the oldest nephew of my three nephews was three (he is now 7) he had overheard me talking about a leaky tire I had on my car.  He told me he was going to build me a car. That car was going to be purple (my favorite color) and would have wood wheels so that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a flat tire and he was going to build it for me in his garage. He has always been very mechanically inclined and minded. I remember when we had some plumbing work done on our house he sat on the front lawn putting all the pipes together in a specific order to create some sort of pipeline that made sense to him.  When he was in first grade he was in a special after school program that partnered with NASA to learn all about space. The kid is smart and when I was offered a copy of the children’s book How To Build A Car I immediately thought of him. When I got the book I couldn’t wait to share it with him.

How To Build A Car follows three friends (Eli the mouse, Hank the frog and Phoebe the sparrow) on their mission to build a car.  Eli has a huge imagination and has a great idea to make a real working race car.  He gets his friends Hank and Phoebe to help him with his grand idea.  With imagination and teamwork the trio work hard and persevere to build a real miniature race car. (more…)