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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.

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

August 2015

I read EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford back in December in an early manuscript. I was on the Outer Banks, the wind was blowing and I craved a big, juicy book. And that is exactly what I got. At the time the book did not have a cover, but when I saw it, I thought it was perfect. The gilded chandelier screams Lilly Pulitzer, the patron saint of the old moneyed set. Set in 2006, before the big money crash, it has all the go-go-go juices that fueled those days.

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

August 2015

Confession: I know Elisabeth Egan, the author of A WINDOW OPENS, well enough to call her Liz. She is open, honest, fun, funny and wickedly smart. Whenever I meet with her, I crave more time and walk away smiling. She had mentioned through the years that she was writing a novel, and as soon as I saw there were advance copies, I had to read it. If you have not met Liz, you will know what she is like once you read this book. It’s open, honest, fun, funny and wickedly smart just like her!

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

August 2015

A couple of years ago, I watched Hemingway & Gellhorn on HBO and enjoyed the energy and drive that the well-known couple put into the chase to “get the story” during World War II. There was action, adventure, danger and commitment. Hearing that Meg Waite Clayton’s THE RACE FOR PARIS was set in Paris during the war and featured two female correspondents, I was eager to read it. And I am so glad I did. It is a look at the war from the perspective of those who were committed to sharing the action with the folks back home. And it is set in a time when journalism was a reporting art form, not the opinionated blasts that seem to permeate today’s news.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

August 2015

I discovered Mary Kubica last year with her debut novel, THE GOOD GIRL, so when PRETTY BABY came my way, I was one eager reader. Now I am known as the kind of person who is not fun to watch television or go to the movies with. I am prone to saying, “I figured it out,” which makes my husband and sons crazy. Well, Kubica completely “got me” as I did not see where this story was heading.

Let me back up here. For the last few weeks on the corner by our office, there have been a number of homeless men who sit with a sign asking for money. What is interesting is that there are different men there each day, and they each have the same sign. I walk by and think that somewhere there is a camera here, and this is a social experiment to see how we are reacting. Keep this in mind as I tell you the opener of PRETTY BABY.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

August 2015

I love dark psychological thrillers; I’m not sure what that says about me. Thus, when IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware came across my desk, I looked at the cover and thought this was my kind of book.

Bachelorette parties were not in vogue when I was married, but I know enough about them from our staffers to recognize that they have enough components to set up a good story. Plunk together women who know each other from various points of their lives, and, well, the opportunity for tension is there. But what if you are asked to join this weekend soiree by someone you had fallen out of touch with? Why are you there? What does this gathering mean for you?

Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade

August 2015

Last year, I read THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters and enjoyed it. When I saw that ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade was being compared to it, as a historical fiction title, it immediately caught my attention. The book opens in the early 1900s with Rachel Rabinowitz becoming orphaned at the age of four, separated from her brother and placed in the Hebrew Infant Home in Manhattan. While her family home was a crowded tenement, the orphanage she moves to lacks much beyond the basics, the victim of poor funding and overcrowding. There are moments of hope for adoption and a better life that are quickly dashed, and Rachel realizes that life for her will be within the orphanage walls.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

August 2015

I loved THE PARIS WIFE and thus eagerly anticipated Paula McLain’s new novel. I am happy to share that I feel the same way about CIRCLING THE SUN, which has Paula’s signature writing style --- it informs, engages and entertains. I received an early edition back in February, which had no flap description copy to orient me. I did no research about the book in advance and instead just started reading. I settled into the story of Beryl Markham, who grew up in Britain but moved to Africa as a young child. She is an accomplished horsewoman, aviator and adventurer.

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

August 2015

Linwood Barclay writes books that are fast-paced, full of drama and memorable characters. BROKEN PROMISE lives up to all of those expectations.

David Harwood is back in Promise Falls, NY, with his nine-year-old son. His wife has died, and his newspaper job has gone away; his life is unraveling. He’s way down on his luck. But life on the home front in Promise Falls has its own set of challenges as this sleepy town has its own problems.

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi

July 2015

I approached WHEN THE MOON IS LOW by Nadia Hashimi with the typical trepidation I feel when an author whose previous work I loved delivers her second novel. Her debut, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL, was brilliant and one that I saw as on par with Khaled Hosseini’s three works. But oh, does Nadia deliver! This book is just as brilliant. I loved the characters, the pacing, the story, and the way I empathized for all those who struggle each day to find new homes and lands when the worlds that they know have been forsaken by violence. The fear and sadness that is part of these people's lives is quite overwhelming.

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

July 2015

I can depend on Chevy Stevens to deliver me a page-turning thriller, one that I usually read in one sitting. And she does just that in THOSE GIRLS. The book opens in a small town in western Canada where the Campbell sisters --- Jess, Courtney and Dani --- live pretty much on their own. Their mom has died, and they have bonded together to survive life with their alcoholic father, whose appearances at home are sporadic and volatile. Fear surrounds them; it defines their world.