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I have to tell you I am in love with the new Speed Read series by Motorbooks/Quarto Publishing. I was offered the first two books of the series to review- and what you should know is that I will own the entire series (which as it stands now will include six books- but personally I am hoping for more).  That is how much I love these books.

I will start with the first book- Speed Read Car Design by author Tony Lewin.  It’s a lovely, no-nonsense, no extraneous fluff, information book that gives readers the history and concept of modern car design.  The book is broken up into seven easily digestible sections (think chapters) starting with The Birth Of Car Design then moving quickly into a Century of Changing Shapes, then into Innovation, The Elements of Style, and then into Engineering, Interiors and Space. It then takes on The Creative Process and closes with What Comes Next, which as the title suggests is the future of car design. Each subsection with in the section has relevant and beautifully clean matte “old school” illustrations and each section ends with a topic glossary- which as a word nerd I absolutely adore.  I admit that my favorite sections personally of car design is the Creative process- specifically the subsection “The Step-by-Step of Car Design” which literally  breaks up the entire process of modern car design into six steps.  I also rather enjoyed perusing both the subsections “Techniques and Tools” subsection which goes briefly into specific modeling tools used in the process of car design and the subsection on “Fashion, fads and Corporate Styles” which details the specific designs and styles that are expected by certain auto manufacturers.  Speed Read Car Design was put together by Tony Lewin, writer and editor for Automotive News Europe, who it’s quite obvious has spent most of his  life driving cars, analyzing them and reporting on the ups and downs of the manufactures that build them and global cultural factors that influence them.  He has also authored several other books on automotive car design.

The next book in the series that I got to review was Speed Read F1 by Stuart Codling.  Much like Car Design, F1 is also split into seven sections (chapters) and filled with beautiful matte illustrations and relevant sidebars in each subsection.  Also each section also ends in that lovely glossary- which I love even more in the F1 book than I did in the car design book because sometimes racing terminology in F1 is different than I am use to and it helps this NASCAR and NHRA lover figure out what is being discussed.  The sections F1 is broken up in order are: Technology, Drivers, Rivalries, Racing Circuits, Flag To Finish, Staying Alive, and Taking Care Of Business.  As someone who has watched F1 on multiple occasions or but not closely enough to know all the intricacies this particular form of motorsport, I found this book refreshing as a crash course in the particulars of F1 and what makes it unique in the motorsports world.  Much like Car Design, F1 is also written in a clear, easy to read manner.  My favorite section in this book was Rivalries, which lists a several of the sports stand-out rivalries. Especially with some of the more historic rivalries, while I likely recognized the name of at least one of the drivers I was able to read through the particulars of what makes that specific rivalry contentious.  My second favorite section was the Staying Alive section as it detailed safety and how it has evolved with F1 through the years. Speed Read F1 was written by Stuart Codling, who you may know as a broadcaster and F1 expert if you already follow the sport. He has also been featured before in Amy’s #NASCAR Reading list for his Lamborghini Supercar book.  You can find out more about Stuart on his website StuartCodling.com.

The Speed Read series are kind of like a combination guide book and textbook (and I mean textbook in the most loving bookophile, booknerd way).  They are beautiful high quality paperbacks that measure approximately 6.9 x 8.9 inches.  Speed Read Car Design and Speed Read F1 are available now for purchase. I know I mentioned this before but I absolutely love these books and I am greatly looking forward to the future editions of Speed Read- which will include Speed Read Mustang and Speed Read Ferrari to be released soon and also will include Speed Read Supercars and Speed Read Porsche 911 to be released later in the year. I would like to see even more books in the series- including ones on different racing forms like NASCAR, NHRA, INDYCAR, etc but there is nothing in the works for that that I know of.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC):

I received both books (Speed Read Car Design and Speed Read F1 from the publisher in hopes I would reveiw the books. As with all my reviews on BadGroove, opinions on this book are my own. The links to purchase the book provided in this review are NOT affiliate links and I do not earn anything off of this review.

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

Sometimes publishers bring books to my attention or offer me a copy to review and other times when I am reviewing books it’s because I found a book that I had come across that fits with this column. This is the case with Start Your Engines by Jim Cangany.  I am not to proud or too embarrassed to say that while I read a lot of different genres (pretty much everything except SciFi/Fantasy because for some reason I just can’t get into those kind of books). This book falls into the romance genre which I have been reading a lot more of lately for whatever reason.

Start Your Engines by James Cangany

Start Your Engines is what would be called a second chance romance within the racing world. Ten years ago Brad Thomas and Gabrielle Marquez were friends who were just starting to explore the beginnings of a romance while also being fierce competitors on the track, when a crash killed a mutual best friend, and injured Brad bad enough that his career as a driver was over. Gabrielle left the United States to pursue driving in European series while the guilt that she caused the wreck that killed one and ruined a career ate at her.  Fast forward ten years and Brad Thomas is a race director for a smaller struggling team with a driver that just doesn’t seem to be working out.  When the owner of the team hires Gabrielle as a replacement driver will the two be able to work together for the sake of the team? And will the budding romance between the two rekindle?  Add in some possible sabotage into the book and you have the story. Will Gabrielle end up staying in the States or taking the offer of a lifetime in Europe to drive with an elite team?  You will have to read the book to find out what happens.  This isn’t a smutty romance- more along the sweet lines.  With some awesome racing action that I think drives the story along with it.  You will like this story if you are a racing fan, a sweet contemporary romance fan or both.  I enjoyed this story and I think you will too. It looks like this might be a first of a series of books- I can only hope that is the case because I would definitely be interested in reading more of these racing romances.

About The Author: Jim Cangany is a Hoosier through and through. He works in the legal field while looking for ideas for his next book.  You can find him online at JimCangany.Com or on Twitter @JimCangany.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC):

I purchased my copy of Start Your Engines by Jim Cangany for Kindle- it was not provided to me by any entity. As with all my reviews on BadGroove, the words and opinions on this book are my own.

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

It’s not often I can tell you that I heard about a book from a racer. Books for this column come to me by various ways. Some are by authors I already love. Some books are ones that are recommended to me by friends who know I like to read and have a thing for motorsports books. Some are offered up by publishers or publishing companies who think that they are something I will enjoy and would like to review here on the Reading List. But then there are the ones I find on my own. This one can kind of be categorized like that. I follow racer Pippa Mann on Instagram (and twitter) because I love her positivity in her posts.  She posted a photo several months ago of a book called “Chasing Checkers” that she was reading poolside and I admit that I was curious about the novel especially when the last name of the author caught my eye so I decided to look it up on Amazon. After reading the synopsis I one-clicked it immediately however I didn’t get to read it until last week. I figured at the least it would provide good fodder for the Reading List. But I am pleased to say that I am excited to bring you the review of this book.

Chasing Checkers by Christopher Hinchcliffe is a young adult novel that tells us the story of Teddy “Chex” Clark- a teen who has been racing since he was 7 years old. Teddy has always dreamed of being a racer. The book details young Teddy’s racing career in GoKarts, through a racing school series, to what will be the biggest race of his career. A race that brings with it the opportunity of a seat in the series the next year and purse money that would make paying for races much easier for Teddy and his family.  However just like real life, it’s not all about racing.  Teddy is faced having to deal with life beyond racing while staying focused on the task at hand. Teddy learns to deal not just with issues that race up in the cockpit but out of the cockpit as he balances expectations, family drama, and friends (old and new) along with his chosen passion of racing. All while learning the ins and outs of new car and a more competitive series than he’s ever been in before.

Readers don’t need to have motorsports knowledge to enjoy this book. It’s definitely an easy read for an adult and would likely be appropriate for children ready to jump from beginning chapter books to regular chapter books. The language is pretty easy and would probably work for newish chapter book readers. As an adult I enjoyed this novel and hope that we will hear more about Teddy. I recommend this book for young and old race fans who want a good novel about a young driver working his way through the motorsports world.

About the author: Christopher Hinchcliffe is a Canadian author from Ontario Canada who teaches legal and political philosophy on the side. He also happens to be the brother of INDYCAR driver James Hinchcliffe. You can find out more about him on his website: ChasingCheckersBook.com or twitter handle @CMHinchcliffe.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC):

I purchased my copy of Chasing Checkers for Kindle- it was not provided to me by any entity. As with all my reviews on BadGroove, the words and opinions on this book are my own.

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

Happy Motorsports May everyone! I am obviously a huge fan of motorsports in general- not just NASCAR although NASCAR the main focus of this blog.  So May is a big month in the motorsports world. I am pleased to say as a reader I have also been looking forward to May. Why? Because one of my favorite author’s was releasing a book today and I know you are going to LOVE it.

Speaking of readers- some of my fellow readers might understand this feeling I get. It’s a feeling of incredible anticipation that the next new book by a beloved author until that moment when you finally have said new book in your hands only to then experience a fairly significant dread about the fresh book in hand.  What if the book isn’t all that I hoped it would be? What if, gasp, I don’t like it? What if my high expectations are disappointed? Maybe I am alone in these feelings but I have them quite frequently with my “beloveds” as I call them when they have a release day.  I don’t get it when I am reading a new-to-me author because I usually go into those books with low expectations. But I hold my “beloveds” to a higher expectation and then I worry that I am setting myself up for a big disappointment.  Am I the only one?

This feeling of dread hit me when I pulled out the advanced readers copy of the latest Kate Reilly mystery Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler from the package.  I have loved all the previous books in the Kate Reilly series and I always greatly anticipate the next book in the series.  For those who are unfamiliar with the series- each book takes place entirely during a race weekend (or weeks in this case). My anticipation/dread was really two-fold for Kiss The Bricks. Not only is it the next book in the series about racer Kate Reilly but it also takes place during the weeks preceding and including the Indianapolis 500 (which takes place in real life at the end of this month). It’s an iconic race and so much could go wrong. But luckily this book did not disappoint me in either aspect.

“Racecars make it all better, even if they’re not running.”Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler

Kiss The Bricks follows our heroine, Kate Reilly, a female racer in the Indycar Series (if you haven’t read the series you should- while the books could read as stand alones- I really think that you would be doing yourself a disservice not to read from the beginning because you get to watch Kate develop as a driver and a person through the span of the books) during the month of May.  We begin with Kate pulling into the pits from her first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway confused why everyone around her suddenly seems out of character. Bald John is unusually fumble-fingered helping her get out of the car, her PR person greets her as she get out of the car with her water and towel- when usually a crew member does that. Something is definitely off and she feels it right away.  What she doesn’t expect is the reason WHY- that she was the fastest in first practice. (more…)

Motor Girls: How Women Took The Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy.

Sue Macy’s Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century caught my attention right away because I would have been a great target audience for this book when I was in the target audience age.  It’s audience is an upper elementary school audience and what a perfect audience that is for a book like this. I would have LOVED this book at that age because I was the only girl I knew who watched Motorsports on a regular basis. Also back then I loved a good library and read well above grade level. It was not uncommon during the summer for me to  library’s non-fiction section and pick a subject and read all the books about that particular subject.  I would have likely been drawn to the fact that this was about women and cars…and I liked cars and the publisher was National Geographic.   However even as an adult I loved this book and was fascinated at the history of women and the automobile as I read.

These days it’s more common than not to drive a car. If you saw me driving my Chevy Equinox down the road you wouldn’t give me a second glance unless it was to try to figure out my vanity plate: TSTEW(heart symbol) or to try to figure out what the stickers in my back window say/mean. The fact that I was a woman driving a car wouldn’t be a big deal.  But back when the “horseless carriages” were being first engineered, produced and then mass produced this the idea of a woman driving was a major deal. (more…)

I had been anticipating the release of “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive, & Destiny” by Joe Garner since I first heard about it.  I had it preordered at Amazon- and then cancelled my preorder because I found out I could get it sooner if I ordered it directly from Jeff Gordon’s online store.  I admit I had slight trepidation when I found out it was a biography and not an autobiography because sometimes biographies to me can seem a big like a flat historical account of someone’s life and I often times have trouble reading those kind of books but I ordered it anyway because if nothing else it would make for something right up Badgroove’s alley for the #NASCAR Reading List.  Well I have finally finished it (more on that later in the review) and I have to say that I absolutely  adored this biography about Jeff Gordon both on and off the track.

While the title might seem lofty “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive and Destiny” this book does discuss his dreams and focuses immensely on his drive to get there and what decisions he made when and why. This book by Joe Garner tells Jeff Gordon’s whole story from his humble beginnings in Vallejo, California right up to the man he is today and everything in between. And let me tell you this book was not the “flat historical” type of biography that I have seen many books about racers become.  The writing in this book is quite engaging and interesting and I learned a LOT about Jeff Gordon that I didn’t really know before including one very surprising fact about him and Dale Earnhardt Sr that I will keep under my hat so that you are just as surprised to read about it when I was.  My favorite thing about the book was that his parents and friends took such a huge role in the telling of Jeff’s story through their eyes. Kudos to them for taking part in telling the story of who is sure to be a Hall of Fame driver.

Because “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny” is the first ever authorized biography of Jeff Gordon- it has many full color photos not just of Jeff and his family through the various stages of his life and his racing career but of Jeff Gordon memorabilia as well adoring the pages. It even discussed things such as the alienation of his parents after his first marriage and his divorce ad well. It also goes into fatherhood and how it effected him. This book was truly a delight to read and it will take a proud place on my racing bookshelf- which was so full already I had to rearrange the racing shelf just to make it fit.

Joe Garner’s book about Jeff Gordon is 192 thick glossy pages chocked full of color photos.  My only complaint about this book is the size. It’s a large coffee table book at 8.5 in by 11.8 inches and is a heavy book weighing in at nearly 3 lbs- which is why it took me so long to read it. While it’s absolutely gorgeous- it’s also not the kind of book you can cuddle up with in bed or throw in your purse to read during lunch break at work. I have smallish hands and it was just awkward to hold for me to read for any length of time at one sitting.

That said, if you are a NASCAR fan I would suggest a read- I don’t think you will be disappointed and you will certainly learn something new- I sure did. If you are a Jeff Gordon fan- it’s obviously one of those must read, must own items.

About The Author:  Joe Garner is a former radio executive and author who lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has authored 11 media-enhanced books, which have sold more than 2-million hardcover copies, and achieved multiple New York Times best sellers. Joe’s books have also been bestsellers in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly. He had worked with Jeff Gordon in 2006 on the book SPEED, GUTS & GLORY, about landmark moments in NASCAR history where Gordon narrated the video chapters that accompanied the book. You can find out more about Joe Garner on his website: JoeGarnerCompany.com or on twitter @JoeGarnerAuthor.

Related Fun Fact: BadGroove had the opportunity to interview Jeff Gordon back in 2012- with Misty taking point on that interview. You can find it located here.

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For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC): I purchased this book with my own money and reviewed it because that’s what I do occasionally for this website. Not only did I purchase the book but the opinion about the book is also my own.  No books were harmed in the making of this review. 

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

As my readers know, I will occasionally post a book review here and there when I come across something race or car related that I think my readers will enjoy.  I have been lucky enough to read several this year but I have three more that I would like to present to you as my three most standout books from 2016 as the year draws to a close today. These books are all for the car enthusiast and are of the coffee table variety.  Here are my standouts in reverse order: (more…)

(cover art provided by publisher)

I’m a Chevy girl. Three out of the four everyday driver vehicles I have owned in my life thus far, including my current Equinox, have been Chevrolet. My parents currently own two Chevrolet vehicles as well (A 2012  Malibu and a 2017 Silverado High Country). I am a Chevy girl through and through.  When the “new” Camaro debuted I drooled and seriously considered making it my next car. I didn’t because it’s a bit impractical for someone who commutes on a 5-day a week basis and drives 1000 miles on road trips a year. Plus I’d cry if it got dinged and I park amongst college students who don’t seem to care if they fling their doors into the side of your car, drag their backpacks along the side of you car SUV, or tap your truck in the parking lot. Plus, in all honesty, one of the biggest reasons I didn’t get a Camaro is that I’d likely get myself into trouble with a high performance modern day muscle car like the Camaro because let’s face it- I already have kind of a lead foot. So, instead I drool at the ones at the dealership when I take my Equinox in  for service or give ones I run across in the wild a long, loving look (I promise I am just admiring it not casing it Camaro owners).

I was not disappointed by Larry Edsall’s Camaro 2016: Chevrolet’s Modern Performance Car.  This book is made for the Camaro enthusiast.

The book details the blood, sweat, tears and engineering behind the newest Gen6 Camaro and details it’s ultimate production. But first it starts with a little bit of history- detailing several of the previous generations of Camaros and the return of the Camaro in 2010 which to be successful needed to satisfy the expectations of both longtime staunch Camaro/Chevy enthusiasts as well as catch the eye and imagination of newer car enthusiasts- which no doubt was a daunting task.

The the book gets into the good stuff- what went into the Gen6 Camaro creation including one of my favorite parts of the book the four pages of concept design illustrations of the Gen6 in Chapter 4. But don’t be fooled- the book doesn’t just talk about the design concept but instead goes in depth with chapters on the design and features of the exterior, interior, power plant under the hood, even the assembly plant and the launch of the car in May 2015.  Basically- this book is the birth story of the Gen6 Camaro complete with a shout out to it’s direct family tree.

While I highly recommend this book- it is for different reasons than I usually recommend books of this nature. This one I don’t merit solely on it’s photography – not that there isn’t any- there is and it’s fine representations of the drool-worthy Camaro- but I actually recommend Camaro 2016 based on the words that tell the story of the Camaro from many perspectives and includes the voices of the very people involved with the designing and making of this modern iconic car, right down to people on the assembly line.

The book itself is a wonderful, high quality 160 page hardback book that includes both color and a few black and white photos that is 9.8 inches by 11.2 inches…just perfect for the car room, living room or book shelf of your favorite Camaro or Chevy enthusiast.

Author Larry Edsall spent 12 years at AutoWeek magazine after working as a sportswriter/editor for daily newspapers in Michigan. He then moved on to establish editorial content for automotive websites and was featured on the National Geographic television special “Driven.” He’s the author of nearly 20 books, is the editorial director of ClassicCars.com, writes a weekly feature for the detroit news and is an adjunct faculty member at the school of journalism and mass communications for Arizona State University.  You can find some of his writings here on ClassicCars.com or you can find him on twitter @LarryEdsall.

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For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC): I received a copy of Camaro 2016: Chevrolet’s Modern Performance Car from the publisher for the possibility of review on this blog. The words and opinions on the book are my own. 

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List