Strong Female Characters! They don’t have to tote guns, being strong emotionally is more important. I do love a woman who can fight though. The woman with the hilarious comebacks who throws punches is my favorite.
Honorable Male Characters – even thieves have their own code of honor. If the strong woman is going to fall in love with them, they need to be worth it! They can become worth it over the course of the story, but I have to believe it.
Humor – even serious stories about heartbreak need a little comic relief from time to time.
New and interesting ideas, surprises, and twists. I’m not big on clichés. If a story has to have them, I at least want twists on them.
Characters with depth – multiple facets to their personalities, realistic imperfections, good characters who aren’t all good and bad characters who aren’t all bad, and good back stories.
Great writing – stories that flow, feel right, and keep me turning the page.
Plot beyond two people falling in love. I want interesting things to happen. It doesn’t have to be an epic battle. It could be a bunch of funny incidents, characters going through emotional growth, or some great secondary characters. I need spice to keep me interested.
Good grammar and spelling – It doesn’t matter to me who edited or proofread the book, just that it was done. If I run into multiple grammar, spelling, and word usage errors within a few pages, I will stop reading.
What Is Okay With Me
OTT or Instalove
Alpha males (dominating to some extent, jealous, possessive, etc. but NOT abusive)
Graphic sex scenes (as long there is a plot beyond this)
Dark elements (kidnapping, non-consent, etc.)
1st and 3rd close past tense
What I Hate
Man whores and players! OMFG! They are everywhere! A novel has to be brilliant in other respects for me to get past the lead male being a man whore. I like bad boys – bullies, loners, discipline cases, bank robbers, bikers, mobsters, mercenaries, pirates, ruthless corporate types, whatever, but men/boys who have sex with anyone and treat them like expendable trash, and especially those that lie to get it, piss me off. When girls fall for these guys, I think they are stupid, and I don’t like stupid lead characters. The girl also always seems to be a virgin in these novels. Now there is a big difference to me between someone who is promiscuous and a man-whore. My definition of a “Man-whore” – a man who lies to get sex, making women think he cares about them when he doesn’t. He might not be charging money, but he makes the women pay!
Cheating – once a couple is together, anything more than a little kissing is unacceptable. I definitely don’t want to read a graphic sex scene with Other Man/Other Woman. The only possible exception is a novel that is about the redemption of a cheater, which brings me to:
Easy forgiveness – I absolutely hate it when a girl forgives a guy for cheating after they are together. Making her jealous or getting revenge should never work to get the girl! If a girl is going to forgive this, it should require a ton of groveling and time.
OM/OW Drama (other man / other woman) – if a major plot element is an OW/OM trying to steal one of the main characters in a romance, I probably won’t like it. If this is a small part, it will annoy me, but I can move on.
Glaring inconsistencies, bad timing, and unrealistic problem resolution – Novels where everything happens over the course of a few days when it logically should have taken months. The girl who was raped practically jumps in bed with the guy. The abused girl who supposedly went mute but talks up a storm an hour into the story and becomes super bubbly on day two.
Novels that aren’t finished in one book – sequels are great, but they should be about secondary characters or the further adventures of… I want the main plot tied up in one book. I want my most important questions answered. If a really long book needs to be broken up, then I want a warning – call it “Part 1 of 3” or something. I can’t stand it when these sneak up on me! When reading published books, I never start a trilogy until all three books are available. Occasionally I will still love a book like this that snuck up on me, but I’m still pissed about it.
Horrible grammar, spelling, and word usage – I can’t even read things that have an error per page or more. They give me headaches. I will put a note in my review if I find more than four errors per chapter. If I find less than around thirty errors total, I will mark them along the way and send them to the author.
Other Things I Just Don’t Like
Women that are stupid or gullible
Women with low self-esteem
Perfect, one-sided characters
Overnight changes in characters
Mean and/or abusive parents
Fated Mate Rejection
Wimpy damsels in distress that do nothing to save themselves