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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.

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.

The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict

January 2023

I am a huge fan of Marie Benedict’s writing. Her books are about women in history whose stories have been overlooked, often because they stood in the shadows of the men in their lives. THE MITFORD AFFAIR is a variation on this theme and focuses on three of the Mitford sisters. One is the writer, Nancy, and the other two --- Diana and Unity --- become known for their political leanings.

Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce

January 2023

REEF ROAD by Deborah Goodrich Royce is my first Bets On selection of 2023. Any book that is set in Palm Beach, Florida, and opens on a beach is going to catch my eye in January. But it starts with a less than serene scene as a hand is found by some boys who are surfing on a beach that has been marked as closed. It sets up the crime that will be revealed later on.

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

December 2022

A HEART THAT WORKS, a memoir by actor Rob Delaney, is my final Bets On selection of 2022. While it’s the saddest book that I read this year, it’s also one that I literally could not put down.

Rob’s son, Henry, was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just a year old. Rob's family had moved from Los Angeles to London for his work. His wife, Leah, gave birth to Henry there. For a while, their lives were crazy busy, which is what happens when there are three young boys in the house. Then came the diagnosis that changed their lives and took them on a journey that was not going to have a happy ending.

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

December 2022

Is it possible that SIGNAL FIRES is the first Dani Shapiro book that I have read? It definitely has me scrambling to see what else I have missed. But before I do, let me tell you why I am betting on this book, which completely grabbed me from the start and held me through 200 pages of characters and plot.

The book is set on Division Street, a quiet suburban block in Westchester County, New York. As it opens in 1985, there is an accident that will forever change the brother and sister who were in the car when it happened --- a terrible tragedy where a young woman died. And the first secret is laid out. From there, we delve deeply into the lives of two families who are neighbors. The accident happens on a night when Sarah Wilf has had too much to drink, and she tosses her car keys to her younger brother, Theo, so he can drive. Their passenger in the front seat is Misty Zimmerman, who dies when Theo loses control and hits an oak tree on the front lawn of their house. The family pledges to keep secret that Theo was driving. But the guilt that the teens feel will be something that they carry with them.

The Lifeguards by Amanda Eyre Ward

December 2022

Amanda Eyre Ward draws her latest work of domestic suspense, THE LIFEGUARDS, from a time of life that many of us know well --- when your friends are the parents of your children’s friends.

Here we have three women --- suburban moms Liza, Whitney and Annette --- who live in Austin’s Zilker Park neighborhood. Their boys --- Charlie, Xavier and Bobcat (Robert) --- are close friends and lifeguards at the same pool. These Three Musketeers, as they refer to themselves, are finally off on their own, or at least their version of this. Their moms hang out enjoying margaritas and conversation. Life is placid and good until one night when the boys ride their bikes to where their moms are drinking. While they were hanging out at one of Zilker Park’s watering holes, they found the body of a young woman. They are quick to note that they have no idea who she is. But something sounds just a bit fishy here.