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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 Other Family by Wendy Corsi Staub

February 2022

THE OTHER FAMILY by Wendy Corsi Staub has secrets cleverly layered in it that will keep readers guessing. The Howells have relocated from California to Brooklyn. While they thought they would end up in a cramped apartment, this family of four, including two teenage daughters, finds itself in a beautiful brownstone with a backyard and a garden.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

February 2022

BLACK CAKE by Charmaine Wilkerson is a brilliant and moving debut written in a completely compelling style. It opens in California where Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves her two children, Byron and Benny, with a very nontraditional inheritance. She has left them two things --- a traditional Caribbean black cake, one made with a family recipe, and an eight-hour voice recording that they are to listen to together with her lawyer present. They are not to share the cake until they have listened to the whole story. As the recording is played, they learn that their mother’s life is not what they have long believed --- and many family secrets are revealed. Her narrated stories will take them from California to the Caribbean and London.

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

February 2022

THE OVERNIGHT GUEST by Heather Gudenkauf has a chilling setting, literally and figuratively. Wylie Lark, a true crime writer, is snowed in while finishing her new book in a house where, decades earlier, two people were murdered and a young girl disappeared. As a blizzard swirls outside, she finds a child in the snow --- which begins her reckoning that the story she is writing may not end up the way she thinks.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

February 2022

GREENWICH PARK is such a strong debut novel. The plot came to Katherine Faulkner when she was in a prenatal class. Since all the women were pregnant, there was a feeling that they all should be friends.

In the book, Helen attends her first prenatal class and has a strange encounter with Rachel, who is also pregnant and immediately attaches herself to Helen in what feels like a smothering kind of friendship. At first, Helen appreciates the companionship. But as time goes on, Rachel becomes more erratic, and Helen begins feeling like she needs to find a way to escape this irrational creature. Rachel is everywhere that Helen is; it’s as if she has a GPS finder on Helen’s back.

The Maid by Nita Prose

January 2022

In Nita Prose’s debut novel, THE MAID, Molly Gray is a socially challenged hotel maid who prides herself on delivering top service to the guests at the Regency Grand Hotel. One day, she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black and finds him dead in his bed. All fingers point to Molly as the killer, so she works to unravel the mystery of what happened to Mr. Black to free herself as a suspect. Molly’s life has been shaped by the words of her Gran, who died a few months ago. She approaches each seemingly insurmountable task by sharing what her Gran would have said to do.

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

January 2022

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET is the latest book from Diane Chamberlain. While I loved her previous effort, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, this one surpasses it as my favorite. The novel takes place in the mid-'60s, during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, and in the year 2010. Some characters overlap, which is not often the case with dual storylines. Here, questions can be answered by folks who are still around, though whether or not they are being totally truthful remains to be seen.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

January 2022

As Xochitl Gonzalez’s debut novel, OLGA DIES DREAMING, started, I was thinking that it was going to be a light read. Olga is running a wedding planning business for the elite, and the tone has just the sense of humor you would expect from a really smart rom-com. But quickly I realized it was something more.

Going There by Katie Couric

December 2021

Years ago, I thought being a host of a morning show would be a great career for me. Then I realized that I would be heading to work around 3:45am to do that job, and since I am not a morning person, I decided that never was going to happen. That said, I have been intrigued by network television, both for what goes into making a broadcast behind the scenes and how it has changed since its early days.

Everything We Didn't Say by Nicole Baart

November 2021

In EVERYTHING WE DIDN’T SAY, Nicole Baart has penned a slow-burn thriller set in a small Iowa town.

Juniper Baker is back. Ostensibly she’s there to help a friend who has taken ill and to work with her at the local library. But coming back for Juniper means she needs to confront just a few things. First, there’s the teenage daughter she left behind --- the one who's been raised by her mother and stepmother. Then there are the neighbors nearby who were brutally murdered around the time she took off. Her younger brother was the lead suspect.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

October 2021

Liane Moriarty returns with APPLES NEVER FALL, which is a family tale. Bring on the Delaneys, who are well-known and loved in their Sydney suburb. For years, Joy and Stan ran a tennis academy that turned out champions, including their own four children. Now they have sold this family business and are trying to kick their lives back a notch, but this is proving to be pretty challenging. They seem to miss the sound of the ball smacking its way onto the court just a bit too much. They miss the energy of competition.