Staying The Distance ~ Mara Dabrishus

"July Carter’s world is perfect from the back of a horse. From the ground, everything is a complete mess: her jockey mom ran off for California years ago, her dad always seems more interested in the horses than in her, and the horse July wants for herself will never be hers. 

Even though the New York racing circuit has taught her not to get attached, July can’t help connecting with Kali, a hopeless filly that refuses to run when it counts. When bankruptcy rumors start swirling around the barn, the future is murkier than ever. July can’t stand losing one more thing, and Beck, the barn owner’s son, knows more about the rumors than anyone else. July will get the truth, even if she has to pry it out of him, for Kali’s sake and her own." ~Amazon Description

Brittney Joy's Review ~ I'm a book hoarder ...  I have stacks of unread paperbacks and rows of unread e-books just waiting to be flipped through and I can't seem to get to them fast enough (that dang thing called life gets in the way). So, I've had Staying the Distance on my e-reader since this summer and after reading a few short pages, I wondered why the heck I hadn't started it sooner! I loved ... loved, loved, loved! For the past week, every time I picked up my e-reader, I felt like I was going to visit old friends. I adored every single character in Dabrishus's book and that rarely happens for me. July ("Juls") is a witty, hard-working, overly organized, die-hard-horse-lover and her thoughts and one-liners cracked me up. If I was seventeen again, we'd be besties! And, Beck . . . swoon. He's my favorite kind of love-interest -- sarcastic and mildly-cocky! And he can ride ... swoon again...

Not to mention, horses are heavily ingrained in this book -- which is set in the racing world. And, I'm wondering if the author had real-world experience on the track or if she's just a really good researcher. The details about the races, jockeys, barns and training was very interesting to read and I even learned some new terminology. Actually, I want to work at Blackbridge after reading this book. ;) Furthermore, each horsie-character has its own personality. The horsie body language, personalities, and experiences are spot-on and Dabrishus is OBVIOUSLY a horse-girl! I wanted to kiss Diver, ride Kali, and watch Lighter from a distance (while someone else rode him). Actually, crazy Lighter made me laugh out loud ... chipmunk! You'll get the chipmunk reference after you read the book.  

The mix of horses, a sweet love story, and family dynamics/drama kept me wanting more and I was sad to leave the characters after the last page ... good thing Mara is working on a sequel!