So what makes my MR (Must Read) List?
When reading fiction it's almost exclusively romance novels.
A good story. Yes, very subjective.
Characters who are smart and honorable. Unfortunately, the formula often runs toward witchy women and stupid men. It's the Hollywood formula. It's why I don't watch much television.
Regency and contemporary are my favorite genres. I also enjoy Western. A few of my favorite authors write Futuristic, Time Travel, paranormal, and other Historical.
If there are lots of grammatical and spelling errors, the author will probably go on my NRA list. I know it's also the responsibility of the editor, but I struggle too much with reading to add endeavoring to decipher what was meant.
I'm willing to put up with occasional swearing but using Jesus Christ as a swear word is a No-Go for me. He is my Savior. He suffered and died for me. It tears my heart to hear or read Him used in a vile manner.
Too much swearing and I'm yanked right out of the story. I know some authors would tell me that they are only being realistic. I read to escape reality.
As for the love scenes, treating the act as if it's the same at eating and sleeping, without an emotional toll, is irresponsible. The World likes to pretend it's no big deal. The World cheapens a sacred act. I've read authors who write very classy love scenes. I do not expect non-Christian books to adhere to Christian standards. I do expect love making to be treated with respect.
I look for writers with a healthy perspective. I'm an abuse survivor. Books are written by people with real life experience. I know that's an obvious statement, but sometimes I wonder how much readers think about it. If a writer does not have a healthy perspective on life as demonstrated through their writing, I don't need any more examples of unhealthy. I think I've got that one down pat.
I enjoy animals being added, if it's appropriate. I'm annoyed when animals are added for the awww factor but then forgotten. The heroine owns a dog, and what happened to her dog when she "spontaneously" spent the night with the hero?
Final test for keepers: Did I finish the book uplifted?