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Bookreporter.com 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.

The Address by Fiona Davis

August 2017

THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis is set in The Dakota, the iconic luxury apartment building in New York. (You may recall that John Lennon was shot outside The Dakota where he and Yoko Ono lived.) I forgot how when it was constructed it was far from the developed part of the city --- the building was a true outlier, and people wondered if it would be filled --- which was interesting to imagine, as right now I feel like a rabid overdevelopment of the city is underway with new tall towers climbing into the sky almost daily. I thoroughly enjoyed the look back with details on the architecture and amenities provided to the residents. Care was given to every detail to ensure that the property was at the top of its game.

The Hamptons Murder Mystery Series by Carrie Doyle

July 2017

There’s something fun about discovering a series that you love and just binging your way through it. That is exactly what I did with Carrie Doyle’s Hamptons Murder Mystery series. The books are fun reading with a great cast of characters that includes her protagonist, Antonia Bingham, who is both an innkeeper and a chef. Her storylines weave in great background on the history of the Hamptons, as well as some mouth-watering food descriptions. Carrie worked for Ina Garten when she owned and ran The Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons, so she writes about food with great authority. She also has been a summer and weekend resident of East Hampton for decades, so she knows the lay of the land. Armchair vacation travel with a mystery; I love it.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

July 2017

“Don’t” is a powerful word. For Cass Anderson, “don’t” is what her husband, Matthew, says about her taking a shortcut on a road through the woods on a rainy, stormy night. But alas, Cass makes the turn anyway. She passes a car with a woman sitting inside, but keeping in mind her husband’s words about the dangers of being out there in the rain, she hesitates to stop to help.

The Child by Fiona Barton

July 2017

There is always some mild --- okay, maybe not so mild --- trepidation when I pick up a book from an author whose debut novel nailed it. So when Fiona Barton’s THE CHILD crossed my desk, those feelings ran through my mind. I thought THE WIDOW had a strong voice and solid plotting. In reading the opening pages of THE CHILD, I exhaled a bit as I quickly saw that Fiona was in a great groove. The story begins as Kate Waters, a news reporter, is intrigued by an article in her paper about a skeleton of a baby being found in the debris of a home that is being demolished. She wants to know more, so she heads to the scene.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

June 2017

We all have a list of books that we have read and know we will reflect on long afterwards. For me, THE BRIGHT HOUR, a memoir by Nina Riggs, sits firmly on that list.

While she was 37 and still undergoing a first treatment round for her breast cancer, Nina learned that her cancer already had metastasized and her prognosis sharply dimmed. After reading a “Modern Love” column that Nina wrote for The New York Times on September 23, 2016 about looking for the perfect couch for her family, it was clear that there was a bigger story there to be told. The clock was ticking…loudly. Nina wrote this book between October 2016 and January 2017 (yes, in three months), and it was published last week. Sadly Nina passed away before the book released; she did get to see the cover and the bound manuscript, which she even edited. She leaves behind a beautiful book about how you live when you are dealt a bad hand.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

June 2017

Lisa Wingate’s BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is historical fiction based on a real-life scandal. Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. Lisa tells their story writing parallel tales --- one set in 1939 and one in the present day.

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt

June 2017

Douglas Brunt’s novel, TROPHY SON, looks at the tennis world through the eyes of Anton, a prodigy who is coached and pushed to excel by his tennis-obsessed father, until he rebels against the pressure. I confess to having zip knowledge of tennis, let alone competitive tennis (I could not even score a match), but reading TROPHY SON I was quickly drawn inside that world and never felt over my head.

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

June 2017

Years ago, I discovered Heather Gudenkauf with her first book, THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE, and became a passionate reader of her work. In her latest, NOT A SOUND, she again delivers a sharp story with strong characters and a tightly drawn plot.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

May 2017

I love when an author tries something different, and it becomes the best thing he has written. Ten years ago, Mark Sullivan told me that he had heard about a man in Italy and wanted to write his story. I was told little about him, except that he was a hero from World War II with a big story to tell. But from the excitement that came over Mark’s face every time he talked about the book, I knew it was going to be something very special.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

May 2017

There is a true pleasure that comes from reading narrative nonfiction when a writer brings her subject brilliantly to life. Kate Moore does this with THE RADIUM GIRLS: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, and the subtitle’s pun is intended. Kate explores the lives of the women who worked in the radium-dial factories where they labored painting the dials of watches. These jobs were much-coveted as these ladies were seen as craftswomen, and their skill was highly paid, at a time when good-paying jobs for women were scarce.