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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

(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…)