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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.

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard

March 2016

I always like Joyce Maynard’s writing and find her books to be compelling --- and memorable --- reads. In UNDER THE INFLUENCE, Helen’s life has unraveled due to her excessive drinking. Her marriage has fallen apart, and she has lost custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Her career as a photographer is on the skids like the rest of her life. Then she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, who are wealthy and connected philanthropists, and becomes swept up in their “fabulous” world. They embrace Helen and Ollie, who quickly become like extended family.

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

February 2016

While we were horrified to watch the events at Columbine, for Sue Klebold, this event was personal as it was masterminded and executed by her son, Dylan, and his friend, Eric Harris. While wrapping her head around the horror of what had been unleashed that morning, she grappled with losing the child she had loved, presenting her with a deep set of challenges. She looks at them in A MOTHER’S RECKONING: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy.

The Widow by Fiona Barton

February 2016

I love diving into psychological thrillers. A couple of years ago, I read a book called THE SILENT WIFE, which I loved and selected as a Bets On pick. In it, there was a wife who knew a secret about her husband and from there set a course to unravel and destroy his life. There was a moment when the entire story turned…and, ah, the tangle that was woven! Thus, when I read the description for THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton, I was riveted.

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

February 2016

I have been a fan of Heather Gudenkauf’s writing since THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE was published in 2009. So when I saw MISSING PIECES, I immediately grabbed it, knowing that Gudenkauf creates a well-paced thriller that always engages me. She did not disappoint.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

February 2016

I read --- and swooned over --- THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin. It’s a juicy story of the friendship between Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. Her friends, known to Truman as “the Swans,” included Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness and Pamela Churchill.

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

January 2016

ORPHAN X is the start of a new series for Gregg Hurwitz, and it’s fabulous. In it, Evan Smoak is a guy with a dangerous past. He was an orphan, and as a child was recruited into a deep-dark black box program called Orphan. He was the 24th recruit, hence his moniker X. He broke from the program and instead has now become a vigilante known as The Nowhere Man. But someone from his past is on to him and is out to get him.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

January 2016

I first discovered Sally Hepworth with her book, THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES. I knew then that she was an author to watch. In THE THINGS WE KEEP, Sally creates a terrific multi-layered story with interesting characters. In it, Anna Forster is just 38 years old and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She moves into Rosalind House, an assisted living facility, where she can be kept safe as her mind unravels. There she finds Luke, a resident who is close to her age, whose mind is unraveling with another disease. Love is an emotion that overrides the loss of memory, and Anna draws closer and closer to Luke.

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

January 2016

In Chris Bohjalian’s THE GUEST ROOM, a couple’s life is upended when the husband hosts a bachelor party for his brother at their home. Things get out of hand when the “adult entertainment” turns out to be two Russian women who are victims of human trafficking. The party turns ugly fast when the girls see a moment to free themselves from their captors --- and take it --- and those at the house find themselves wondering just what they were a party to.

After the Crash by Michel Bussi

January 2016

AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi is a novel about a night flight from Istanbul bound for Paris in 1980, where 169 (or is it 168?) passengers were killed as it crashed in the Alps. Yes, this sounds eerily like the horrific mountain crash that we heard about last year. In this book, a three-month-old girl survives. There were two babies on board: one from lesser means and one from a powerful family. Which did the child belong to?

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir - Audiobook by Ruth Wariner

January 2016

I listened to THE SOUND OF GRAVEL by Ruth Wariner on audio, and I already know it is a story that I will not forget any time soon. It’s a gripping memoir, read by the author, about her life growing up in a family of polygamists. She is the 39th of her father’s 42 children; her father was killed by his brother in a struggle for power in their church, leaving her young mother, Cathy, with four young children. Cathy is then chosen as the second wife of Lane, and she goes on to have six more children with him.