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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.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

September 2017

I love powerful slim novels where each page matters as the writing is streamlined and thoughtful. That is what I found reading Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel, STAY WITH ME. It opens in the early 1980s where two university students, Yejide and Akin, have met and fallen in love. At a time when polygamy is actively practiced in Nigeria, they embrace a modern approach to relationships, vowing to have a single marriage.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

September 2017

In YOUNG JANE YOUNG, Gabrielle Zevin, who many of our readers know from THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY, has written a book that at its core looks at what happens when you are young and make a mistake. Well, not just any mistake, but rather you have an affair with your very high-profile boss, a Congressman, when you are an intern and you get outed for it. Where does one go on after this? Well, if you are Aviva Grossman, you leave South Florida and head to Allison Springs, Maine --- and you change your name to Jane Young and become an event planner. Yes, you are following me here, an event planner in Maine.

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

September 2017

About six months ago, I read an advance copy of Liz Nugent’s UNRAVELING OLIVER in a few hours while my husband was watching a golf match in the other room. I was so excited about it that it’s been hard to not have it in stores to share with our readers until a couple of weeks ago. What kept me plastered to that couch? Liz’s plotting chops as they produced one reveal after the next. One really does unravel Oliver Ryan from page one. Ahhhh Oliver!

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

August 2017

I enjoyed Shari Lapena’s A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE as much as her mega-hit from last year, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. It’s the kind of book where my head was swiveling while I was reading as the plot twisted one way and the next. I love swift plot changes, as they keep me reading! Shari also has a very distinctive voice and style after just two books. Just reading the opening paragraphs, I knew she was the writer.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

August 2017

In EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker, the two Tanner sisters, who were 15 and 17, disappeared three years ago leaving almost no clues behind. Now the younger one, Cass, has returned. But where is Emma, her older sister? Cass, who shares a story of her escape from captors, has many of the clues. Or does she?

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

August 2017

For someone who burst on the scene just two years ago, Ruth Ware has been busy and truly has sealed her place in the world of psychological thrillers. The opening chapter of THE LYING GAME set up a brilliant read. Three boarding school friends are sent the same text from the fourth friend: “I need you.” And they immediately come running.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

August 2017

In Michelle Richmond’s THE MARRIAGE PACT, Alice is an associate in a high-powered law firm who works long hours, and Jake is a marriage and family counselor. They live in San Francisco and are getting married. Before they are married, someone who Alice casually met through work asks to be invited to their wedding and bring a unique gift --- the opportunity to read The Pact, which outlines steps to be taken in marriage. They sound lovely for kindling romance and passion: 1) Always answer the phone when your spouse calls; 2) Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly; 3) Plan a trip together once per quarter; and 4) Never mention The Pact to anyone. I was thinking it would be fun to plan 1-3 with my husband.

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.