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Bookreporter.com Bets On...

With thousands of books published each year and much attention paid to the works of bestselling and well-known authors, it is inevitable that some titles worthy of praise and discussion may not get the attention we think they deserve. Thus throughout the year, we will continue this feature that we started in 2009, to spotlight books that immediately struck a chord with us and made us say “just read this.” We will alert our readers about these titles as soon as they’re released so you can discover them for yourselves and recommend them to your family and friends.

Below are all of our selections thus far. For future "Bets On" titles that we will announce shortly after their release dates, please visit this page.

Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker

September 2020

DON’T LOOK FOR ME is my fourth Bets On selection from Wendy Walker. People often ask me who to compare Wendy to, and I never can answer that straight out. Her books look at a psychological issue and delve deeply into it, which drops them into the zone of psychological suspense. But I find them to be sharper than a lot of offerings in this genre. They are rooted in topics that are not often addressed in thrillers. Here it’s “walking away,” something that actually happens with women as they abandon their marriage and head to build a new life for themselves without telling anyone where they have gone. Often when this occurs, there are children in the picture.

One by One by Ruth Ware

September 2020

ONE BY ONE is Ruth Ware’s sixth novel, and I have been a fan since book one. To me, this latest work is Ruth at her very best. It’s set at a ski resort...and on a very, very hot weekend, I found myself actually chilled as her storytelling was so atmospheric. Staffers from an app company called Snoop are off on a team-building retreat weekend at a luxury home where they will be attended to by two caretakers who are there to see to their every need. This will be challenging on many levels.

Monogamy by Sue Miller

September 2020

I heard about MONOGAMY by Sue Miller at a few publisher previews --- and shared it with our readers at a “Bookaccino Live” event. I loved it, and in fact I stayed up until 3am one night to finish it. It’s the story of a marriage, of vows and promises broken. Annie is married to Graham, but when he passes away, she learns a cruel secret about him, one that will have her questioning so much of her life. The character of Annie unpeels a lot of layers in her life --- who she was with the men in her life and who she is now. And, along the way, she tries to unearth who Graham was.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

September 2020

Brit Bennett’s THE VANISHING HALF has been solidly on bestseller lists since it came out in early June. And I see why. It’s about twin sisters who are born in the town of Mallard, Louisiana. The townspeople there are all light-skinned blacks who can pass as white. The town has prided itself on this tradition. The sisters leave town determined to strike off on their own instead of staying in a stifling place. When they depart, one marries a dark black man; the other marries white, and “passes.” And they have no contact for years. Through their children, a connection is made that will shake up both of their lives. It’s timely --- and smartly done.

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

September 2020

THE NIGHT SWIM by Megan Goldin is a book that I missed when it first came out in August. In it, Rachel is a true-crime podcast reporter heading into a town to report on the trial of a local athlete who is accused of rape. While she is there, a woman reaches out to ask her to investigate her sister’s death, which had been written off as a drowning accident when it happened decades ago. Something never felt right about this. Both stories have Rachel on her toes. Who is lying? What is the truth?

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

September 2020

I confess to knowing nothing about the penal colonies in Australia before reading THE EXILES. In it, Christina Baker Kline takes us to Australia in the mid-1800s when the country was being populated with convicts from the UK, who were sent there by ship, in droves. She tells the story through the eyes of three young women: one from England, one from Wales and one from Tasmania. She gives us such a strong sense of the country, which was so primitive.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

August 2020

THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE is the fifth Fiona Davis book that I have selected as a Bets On. It is set at the New York Public Library with two time frames, 1913 and 1993. The first revolves around a young family that lives in a seven-room apartment at the library. While I have spent many hours in the library, I confess to never knowing about this tidbit of history.

Brontë's Mistress by Finola Austin

August 2020

BRONTË’S MISTRESS is a brilliantly strong debut from an author you will want to keep an eye on. I confess to knowing much less about the Brontës than I feel that I should. Finola Austin’s novel was captivating from the opening pages.

It’s Yorkshire in 1843, and Lydia Robinson lives with her family in Thorp Green Hall. She’s dealing with two personal losses --- her mother and her daughter --- and a husband who has turned cold towards her. It’s not surprising that her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, catches her eye --- and suddenly she is wrapped up in an affair with a man who has a lot of baggage. It’s blissful for a while until things get out of control, and her regimented life is upended.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

August 2020

Reading Shari Lapena’s new thriller, THE END OF HER, meant that I spent a day where nothing else got done! Her books are ones that I literally inhale. I interviewed her last year, and we talked about how she carefully works to make her novels addictive --- from the overall setup to the brisk writing and the unstoppable chapter endings.

In THE END OF HER, Patrick and Stephanie Kilgour are new parents coping with twin infant girls who are colicky. Each night they walk the floors with their inconsolable girls, and then they trip through their days bleary-eyed. Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom, while Patrick is a partner in an architecture firm. While their lives are exhausting, they are happy.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

August 2020

A couple of years ago, I read SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney. I loved it, and it quickly became a Bets On selection. Alice is back with HIS & HERS…and wow, this is one twisty novel.

It has dueling multiple narrators who tell their sides of the same story of a murder case where the suspect could be them, or anyone. She is Anna Andrews, a television correspondent who has experienced a loss that she is drinking her way back from. Alice worked for the BBC for years and knows the television business from the inside, so she nails those details. He is a detective assigned to the case who becomes a suspect himself very early in the game. And then there is an anonymous narrator who can be either of them, or someone else. Someone is always lying, but who is it?