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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.

All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

March 2018

ALL THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS by Elizabeth J. Church is set in 1960s Las Vegas and features a troupe dancer named Ruby Wilde, who gives readers a fabulously well-written look into life behind the scenes on the Strip. Ruby grew up as Lily Decker in Salina, Kansas. Her parents and sister are killed in a traffic accident, and she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle. Her uncle sexually abuses her, and she is pretty lost and alone.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

March 2018

EDUCATED by Tara Westover is a brilliant memoir by a young woman who grew up living off the grid with her Mormon family in Idaho. No school. No doctors. And not even a birth certificate to note the date of her birth. Most everyday ways that we live our lives are viewed as "outside" and "wrong."

As you can imagine, Tara’s family lives a tough life. They bear witness to devastating accidents, and instead of seeking traditional medical care, her father allows her mother to treat them with healing herbs. These are used for typical scrapes and scratches, as well as horrific burns from gasoline explosions. For months, her mother cowers in the basement as she recovers from what clearly was a concussion. There is familial abuse, which is tragically ignored.

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

March 2018

In ROSIE COLORED GLASSES by Brianna Wolfson, Rosie is the fun mother. With her daughter, Willow, she will play dress-up; a party with a candy fest in the middle of the night is not untypical. Rex is less impulsive. He is the serious parent. While Rex loves Rosie, their lives collide too much to stay together. After the divorce, the children bounce between the two parents. Rex is a traditional dad, while Rosie’s behavior becomes more and more erratic.

Readers see that something is not normal here. Rosie is bipolar, and she is unraveling. What does Willow see? Does she still wear the rose-colored glasses, or is she ready to understand her mother for who she is?

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

February 2018

I was lucky enough to read THE GREAT ALONE in manuscript. When you read a book like that, there is no setup, no flap copy, no intro to the story. It’s just you and the words on the page, with no one telling you what you are going to see. Immediately I was caught up in the beauty and grandeur of Alaska that Kristin Hannah describes on the pages, as much as I was by the story. Alaska is a place that I have wanted to visit for a long time.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

February 2018

I loved Tayari Jones’ 2011 book, SILVER SPARROW, which was a Bets On selection, and I have been looking forward to seeing what she would write next. Patiently. It’s been seven years, something she is all too aware of! When I opened my advance copy of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, I was reminded again why I love her work. She captures people and emotions so well. Her characters get messy, get confused, get undone, and then put themselves back together again.

Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz

February 2018

HELLBENT by Gregg Hurwitz is my favorite of his three books in the Orphan X series. For those who do not know the series, its hero, Evan Smoak, was raised to be part of the Orphan Program, one of a group of children taken from a group home at the age of 12. He was trained as an assassin. One day he ditched the program and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man.

Evan helps people in need via a referral program. Once he helps one person, they are then told that they should pay it forward by referring someone in need to him.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

February 2018

NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland was one wildly compulsive read. One of my publishing colleagues told me that I would not be able to put it down once I started it, and she was right. I was reading on a Sunday and stopped to eat dinner. As soon as I put down my fork, I raced back to the couch to finish it, vowing to return to do the dishes later; I had to know what was going to happen next.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

February 2018

In ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL by Sarah Vaughan, James, a British politician, has been accused of a horrific crime. His wife, Sophie, is embarrassed by the accusation, but stands by him. She doubts he could have done this terrible thing, right? He is a good father, and a rising star, with connections to the Prime Minister, who he has known since his schoolboy days. But she also knows that James has a big secret from the past --- one that could haunt him if it is uncovered. This has her wondering, though she so wants to believe him.

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

January 2018

Carnegie. It’s a name I know well; after all, Carnegie Hall is just blocks from my office. But I confess that I knew little about Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish businessman who made his fortune in America. Marie Benedict’s CARNEGIE’S MAID drew me into his world through historical fiction. In it, Clara Kelley has made inroads into his family’s Pittsburgh home in the role of an experienced Irish maid. Actually she is a poor farmer’s daughter who sailed to America to help save her family by sending money back home.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

January 2018

Marriage. There’s a line that one can never know what happens in a marriage. It’s between two people. That’s maybe not quite so in THE WIFE BETWEEN US. Here we have a marriage that unraveled, a marriage that’s about to get started, and a twist I did not see coming.