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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.

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.

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

August 2022

THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is the first book that I have read by Jennifer Hillier. As this is her seventh, I am trying to figure out how it took me so long to find her work. It kicks off with Paris Peralta in the bathroom with a straight blade in her hand, and her husband dead in a bathtub full of blood. She is arrested, but her biggest fear is not being caught for this murder. She is worried that her picture will be plastered everywhere, and the past that she has so cleverly hidden will come back to haunt her --- and with it, another murder that she could be charged with.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

August 2022

There are times when I “miss” a book and play catchup. That is what I did with LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus. I think it was because a few people told me that it was similar to another book that I did not like. But then I heard raves from others. So exactly four-and-a-half months after hearing about it, I picked it up. And I found myself not just loving Elizabeth Zott and her quirky ways, but thinking about how this woman was really making strides at a time in the late ’50s and early ’60s when women’s roles were a lot more traditional. Plus, I love clever, which is exactly what this book is.

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda

July 2022

Each time I picked up THE LAST TO VANISH by Megan Miranda, I immediately found myself caught up in the town of Cutter’s Pass, North Carolina, which sits along the Appalachian Trail. I felt the small-town vibe where everyone knows everyone and their history. Show up new to work in town and people take notice. In the summer, this quiet place comes to life as tourists go there to hike the trails, raft and commune with nature. If they find themselves staying at The Passage Inn, they will meet the manager, Abigail Lovett, who has been there for 10 years. It’s one of those places with a cozy lobby where you can grab breakfast and the staff is always ready to share a great spot for you to visit, a little nugget that will make your vacation memorable.

The Shore by Katie Runde

July 2022

Through the years, I have read many books that have taken place at beach locations, but I am trying to remember one set at a New Jersey beach. Here in Jersey, where I am from, we do not go to the beach --- we “go down the shore.” So I was really excited to get my hands on a book called THE SHORE by Katie Runde. It is set in Seaside Beach, a beach town well known to Katie as she grew up there; while this is not “her story,” she borrows from her own life for inspiration. Growing up in a shore town means working all summer to make enough for your family to survive the winter months when these towns become quiet and a version of a special paradise for the locals.