Skip to main content 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.

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

November 2022

Ahhhh, who would not love the concept of heading off to a fabulous luxury cabin with a few friends? That is the premise of Lisa Unger’s latest thriller, SECLUDED CABIN SLEEPS SIX. This special getaway has been planned by Mako, who has become a tech mogul, as a way to celebrate his sister Hannah’s birthday. Our reviewer, Ray Palen, got it right when he said that this one has a “slow burn.” Suspicions quickly surface as you know this beautiful spot is not going to be placid and warm in Lisa’s skilled hands.

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

November 2022

MAD HONEY had its origins in a very different way. In 2017, Jennifer Finney Boylan had a dream that she wrote a book with Jodi Picoult, and she tweeted about it. Jodi got wind of this and said, “Let’s do it.” Previously her only co-writer was her daughter, Samantha van Leer. What Jodi and Jennifer created together is a novel that takes on an issue as Jodi’s books are wont to do. At the same time, it blends in experiences that Jennifer knows all too well as she is transgender. 

Told in alternating narratives, we get to know these characters, yet we do not see from the start exactly how they will impact one another.

Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard

November 2022

Every time I read a book by Joyce Maynard, I find myself remembering the characters for a very long time. This is exactly what happened when I read COUNT THE WAYS. It came out in hardcover last year, and I had every intention of reading it then. But life got in the way, so I read it this fall in anticipation of interviewing Joyce. It was billed as her most ambitious novel to date, and indeed it is. The themes that I have come to love in her books are there --- family in all its messiness.

Honor by Thrity Umrigar

October 2022

I discovered Thrity Umrigar’s work back in 2006 when I read THE SPACE BETWEEN US. It’s a book from which I drew so much meaning; I still know exactly where it is on my bookshelf. Her latest novel, HONOR, once again brought me memorable characters and a lot to think about.

In it, Smita, an Indian American journalist, has been asked by her colleague, Shannon, to cover the verdict of a trial in a small Indian village for her. For years, Smita has traveled the world working on stories but with one proviso: she will not go to India. However, Shannon convinces her that this assignment is urgent. Meena, a young Hindu woman, married a Muslim man. Her family is so shamed by this union that a horrific act of violence was committed on the couple by her brothers. And they are on trial.

Never Meant to Meet You by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans

October 2022

NEVER MEANT TO MEET YOU is the second book from the writing team of Alli Frank and Asha Youmans. Their first, TINY IMPERFECTIONS, was a 2020 Bets On selection. Remembering how funny it was, I could not wait to see what they would write next. From chapter one, I found myself laughing.

Marjette Lewis is a kindergarten teacher in a tony private school. Right before the school year starts, Marjette’s next-door neighbor, Noa Abrams, loses her husband, and Marjette is not quite sure what to do. The woman is sitting shiva, and Marjette knows that food would be a great thing to bring. So she fries up some chicken and brings it next door in what may be the first time fried chicken made its way to shiva.

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

September 2022

While Alice Feeney crafts a good plot, what I really enjoy about her writing is her twist of a phrase. As I read her work, I find myself folding down one page after the next where the writing gives me pause. Her plotting aside, this is what makes me want to read one of her books, and DAISY DARKER fits the bill for this. I am not sharing them here as I want you to uncover these little Easter eggs of word joy for yourself.

The Real Mrs. Tobias by Sally Koslow

September 2022

I have long enjoyed Sally Koslow’s writing, and her latest, THE REAL MRS. TOBIAS, is another great read. The book revolves around three women, all of whom are known as Mrs. Tobias. The first is Veronika, the matriarch of the family. A psychotherapist, she sets a very high bar for everyone with her lovely dinners, impeccable outfits (she does not know the meaning of the word casual) and exacting nature. The second is her daughter-in-law, Mel, who also is a therapist, albeit with fewer degrees than Veronika, which is duly noted. Mel has an artistic nature and is more of a free spirit. The third is Birdie. She is married to Micah, Mel’s son, and her daughter is Alice, a very doted-upon little girl.

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

September 2022

I started reading CARRIE SOTO IS BACK when I was on vacation. Taylor Jenkins Reid has the ability to draw me into a great story quickly, and I knew this was the perfect time to get away. Let me start by saying that I knew very little about tennis going into this. Sure, I had hit a bit when I was younger, but I never took it seriously or watched it on TV. I was aware of the majors and when they happened, but I wasn’t familiar with most of the names except for the big ones (yes, Serena among them). So, with the U.S. Open on the horizon, I was ready to drop into Taylor’s tale about tennis.

Bully Market: My Story of Money and Misogyny at Goldman Sachs by Jamie Fiore Higgins

September 2022

Over the last few years, what happens in the financial industry has had its time in the spotlight with shows like “Billions” on Showtime and “Industry” on HBO. You watch and think life on Wall Street is really over the top. But that is the Hollywood fictionalized version, right? So when I heard Jamie Fiore Higgins talking about BULLY MARKET: My Story of Money and Misogyny at Goldman Sachs at a Simon & Schuster preview event, I was intrigued. After all, her book is a memoir, not some storyline gone wild just to drive ratings.

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark

August 2022

I typically am a very quick reader, but I found myself really slowing down to read FELLOWSHIP POINT by Alice Elliott Dark. Why? The beauty of her writing is as special as the story. And, ah, the story.

We have two very different women. Agnes Lee is an author, now in her 80s, who is best known for her children’s book series about a young girl named Nan. But unbeknownst to anyone, she also is the author of the bestselling Franklin Square novels, and she has one more story there that she would like to tell. Her childhood friend is Polly Wister, a well-off married woman with children. Polly’s life has been devoted to the happiness of her husband, who is demanding of her time and rather egotistical. And her children challenge her world, where she just wants peace and harmony.