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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.

The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

April 2023

Megan Miranda once again nails a twisty thriller with THE ONLY SURVIVORS. The premise drew me in quickly: “Seven hours in the past. Seven days in the present. Seven survivors remaining. Who would you save?”

Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo

April 2023

THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER is the kind of book that is a real treat. It has heart, soul, armchair travel and food. Both Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo enjoyed life with their mothers, who lived well into their 90s. Susan Patterson mentioned one day that she had “things I wished I had told my mother.” And from there the idea was born.

The House Is on Fire by Rachel Beanland

April 2023

It’s true joy when an author whose debut novel was a Bets On pick (FLORENCE ADLER SWIMS FOREVER) follows up with a book that I similarly want to rave about. Rachel Beanland’s THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE is a well-written, immersive work of historical fiction. Years ago, when Rachel moved to Richmond, her realtor showed her around town citing the location of a theater fire that killed a number of the city’s residents in 1811. This nugget stayed with her, and when the pandemic limited her travel, she moved on to do deep research into the fire, its origins and the aftermath.

Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline

April 2023

In LOYALTY, Lisa Scottoline takes us to Sicily in the 1800s where the Mafia was born. The Mafia was originally organized to offer protection from those who were trying to hijack lemon crops on their way to market. But this quickly became more criminal and radical, as the “price” to protect crops spilled into other businesses. And the idea of “the family” was born. Lisa brings us inside Sicily at this time, sharing a story through the eyes of four characters. One will be the head of “the family”; another will be cast from her village; a shepherd, who is a Jew, will lose his flock, and a lawyer will look for justice for a boy who was kidnapped. Once you start reading, you will wonder how these disparate characters will come together.

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

March 2023

PINEAPPLE STREET arrived just when I needed what I call an “escape book.” I had heard Jenny Jackson talk about this one at a publisher preview, and I knew her name as she edits a wide range of bestselling authors: Emily St. John Mandel, Kevin Kwan, Erin Morgenstern, Lauren Fox, J. Courtney Sullivan, Chris Bohjalian and Gabrielle Zevin, to name a few. So she knows her way around publishing, but this time she delivers from the other side of the desk.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay

March 2023

I remember reading DEFENDING JACOB in 2012 and being blown away by its ending. So when I saw that William Landay had a new book coming out, I was excited. Clearly our readers were as well; in a recent poll, ALL THAT IS MINE I CARRY WITH ME was the March fiction title that they most wanted to read. I really enjoyed it.

This time, Landay is publishing in a very different landscape. While I would classify DEFENDING JACOB as a legal thriller, I see ALL THAT IS MINE I CARRY WITH ME as a crime novel. We are living in a time when true crime stories are all over the media landscape. As I was reading this one, the Murdaugh trial was going on, and I kept thinking about how much can be hidden.

Go as a River by Shelley Read

March 2023

GO AS A RIVER by Shelley Read is set in a place that is very special to me --- the Gunnison Valley of Colorado. I have spent a lot of time there, and it’s where I met my husband, who, like me, hails from New Jersey.

In 1948, Torie is a lonely teenage girl caring for her father, uncle and brother following a car accident that killed her mother, favorite aunt and cousin. They live in the town of Iola. School already is behind her, though she normally would be of high school age. With her father and brother, she tends the family’s peach farm when she is not cooking and running the household. And yes, we can stop here for a second, as I never knew that peaches grew in Colorado. In an interview with Shelley, she said that she had not known about Georgia peaches!

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

February 2023

A couple of years ago, Sadeqa Johnson wrote YELLOW WIFE, her first work of historical fiction, which I made a Bets On pick. Her writing of character, place and story was so well done --- and I loved interviewing her about her inspiration for the book. I looked forward to what she would do next…and wow, THE HOUSE OF EVE delivers again. While her previous novel took place during the days of slavery, her latest is set in the 1950s.

Exiles by Jane Harper

February 2023

EXILES wraps up Jane Harper’s trilogy featuring Aaron Falk. I had read her last stand-alone novel, THE SURVIVORS, and none of the Falk books, but I picked up this one and slid right into his world. Jane did a terrific job of creating enough backstory for me to appreciate his character and understand what makes him tick. He is a federal forensic accountant who has solved many a case.

The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

February 2023

Hank Phillippi Ryan gives readers a total treat in THE HOUSE GUEST!

Here’s how it sets up. Alyssa Macallan’s husband has left her. Suddenly her very posh and elegant lifestyle is being tugged away from her. When she married Bill, she gave up her friends and work to live life on his terms. It was a glittering fun world of the country club set, but now it’s a very lonely one. He has the friends. For the moment she still has the house, actually two of them, but all the other trappings of a cushy lifestyle are vanishing. And she is really not sure what is going to come next.