The Best Books for Mood Readers

If you're a mood reader like me, you're always looking for that next great read, regardless of the genre.  To make things easier for you, I've curated a list of my all-time favorite mood reads.

Break out of your reading rut, and dive into a world of enchantment with a  selection of fantasy novels, immerse yourself in timeless folklore tales, or lose yourself in the intricate plots of literary and contemporary fiction. Delve into the depths of history with a few historical fiction gems or explore the boundless possibilities of the future with my top sci-fi picks.

With something for every mood, your next favorite book is just waiting for you in this list!  PLUS if you buy a book through this link, your purchase will support local book stores 🎉

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If you're in the mood for Fantasy:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - the Winternight Trilogy - Fantasy and Folklore for Mood Readers


If you're in the mood for Folklore:

Thistlefoot by Gennarose Northcot

Thistlefoot by Gennarose Northcot on

The Yaga siblings--Bellatine, a young woodworker, and Isaac, a wayfaring street performer and con artist--have been estranged since childhood, separated both by resentment and by wide miles of American highway. But when they learn that they are to receive an inheritance, the siblings agree to meet--only to discover that their bequest isn't land or money, but something far stranger: a sentient house on chicken legs.

Perfect for fans of Tim Burton, Madeline Miller, Katherine Arden and Russian Folklore. 

If you're in the mood for Literary Fiction:

Shark Heart: A Love Story by Emily Habeck


Shark Heart: A Love Story by Emily Habeck


Don't let this title fool you, Shark Heart is not a romance novel.  This weird and wonderful story is a beautiful allegory for chronic and terminal illness, told from multiple viewpoints.   

For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist's heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams.

At first, Wren internally resists her husband's fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis changes? Then, a glimpse of Lewis's developing carnivorous nature activates long-repressed memories for Wren, whose story vacillates between her childhood living on a houseboat in Oklahoma, her time with her college ex-girlfriend, and her unusual friendship with a woman pregnant with twin birds. Woven throughout this "heart-wringing" (Adam Roberts, internationally bestselling author of Salt) novel is the story of Wren's mother, Angela, who becomes pregnant with Wren at fifteen in an abusive relationship amidst her parents' crumbling marriage. In the present, all of Wren's grief eventually collides, and she is forced to make an impossible choice.

 A sweeping love story that is at once lyrical and funny, airy and visceral, Shark Heart is an unforgettable, gorgeous novel about life's perennial questions, the fragility of memories, finding joy amidst grief, and creating a meaningful life. This daring debut marks the arrival of a wildly talented new writer abounding with originality, humor, and heart.

If you're in the mood for Contemporary Fiction:

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

This unique and hilarious novel is the perfect palette cleanser if you're looking to reignite (pun intended) your love for reading. 

Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they've barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.
Madison's twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there's a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it's the truth.
Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other--and stay cool--while also staying out of the way of Madison's buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her--urgently and fiercely. Couldn't this be the start of the amazing life she'd always hoped for?

If you're in the mood for Historical Fiction:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett


The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

If you're in the mood for Sci-Fi:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This was a tough pick for me, because I equally love Dark Matter, Recursion, and Upgrade by Blake Crouch.  You really can't go wrong with any of these, even if you're not typically a sci-fi fan.