This month’s set of book club picks is like a box of chocolates, and — Forrest Gump references aside — we have something for every taste, as usual. Just for fun, we’ve paired each of our offerings with a thematic chocolate, because … well, you know, everything goes with chocolate. Especially around Valentine’s Day. Indulge!

Espresso Mocha Crunch

Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush

Never has a blend of mystery, quirky characters and a sweet, frothy romance tasted this good. When Fabrizio, Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, the timing couldn’t be worse.  The fact that he has joined her competitor really brings her to a boil, though. When he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect. Can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end? Read our review here.

Ganache-Filled Chariot Wheel

Life Is a Ride by Chris Joseph

In October 2016, 59-year-old Chris Joseph was stunned when he learned he had third-stage pancreatic cancer. In the midst of the panic and tremendous fear that immediately ensued, Joseph followed the doctor’s orders and underwent chemotherapy — a choice that was almost a fatal mistake. He fired his oncologist and embarked on an alternative path of recovery, including both natural and Western medicine immunotherapy. Life is a Ride documents Joseph’s journey from terror and doubt to independence, redemption, love and hope.

Milk Chocolate Mango Brûlée

The Shade Under the Mango Tree by Evy Journey

Her heart broken, Luna seeks adventure – one in which she can make some difference. Lucien, a well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. His decision to go on reading changes his life. Months later, they meet at a bookstore. Fascinated by his stories and adventurous spirit, Luna goes to a rice-growing village in a country steeped in an ancient culture and a deadly history. What she finds there defies anything she could have imagined. An epistolary tale of courage, resilience and the bonds that bring diverse people together.

Bittersweet Heart

How the Deer Moon Hungers by Susan Wingate

Nominated for selection in the 2020 National Book Awards, this is the story of Mackenzie Fraser, who witnesses a drunk driver mow down her seven-year-old sister, and endures her mother’s blame. Then she ends up in juvie on a trumped-up drug charge. Now she’s in the fight of her life … and she’s losing. “A powerful and memorable saga that is hard to put down and lingers in the mind long after the story is over,” says Midwest Book Review.

Golden Aged Rum Truffle

Uprush by Jo Barney

Four old college friends convene for a weekend retreat at the beach house of Madge, a successful novelist. They discover that Madge has included them in her next book containing the stories of their lives following their days and nights in the sorority solarium smoking Pall Malls and talking as sexy as one could in the late ’50s. But she also has an important request of them — which may be more than they are willing to do. This story is about women facing challenging changes in their lives, holding to their friendships despite these changes, and understanding that they do have choices about which path to take next. Even at 60.

Chocolate Sea Salt Seashell

Augie Sweetwater and the Dolphin’s Tale by William Harrigan

Augie Sweetwater is a brilliant 11-year-old with a gift for inventing amazing things that always get him in hot water. Coop Cooperlick is the new kid in school, a 14-year-old with a passion for rock climbing and a knack for quick action. Mika Deerwood is a 13-year-old Native American with aspirations of Olympic gold in fencing. Together, they are going to make history. Demonstrating just what kids are capable of, this is a book that will bring out every reader’s sense of adventure — whether they be a child or an adult — and show them just how powerful friendship can be. Read our review here.

Visit our February Book Club Network page for more information about the titles above.

Not a member of our Network? Find out how your book club can receive a free copy of each of our monthly picks here.