What Makes Your Best Books List?

So, Publisher's Weekly's list of the 'Best Books of 2011' (for romance) is out there. In the top 4 are 3 historicals (a Mary Balogh, Isabel Cooper and Elizabeth Hoyt), one contemporary (Emily March - one of my faves!). The list got me thinking about what makes a great book for me - as a writer and as a reader. I read across the Romance and Mystery genres, so it isn't 'just' romance or a familiar author.

More than anything else, it is character. A great heroine, an amazing hero; together they, of course, create a rip-roaring ride. That, of course, is a very general and simplistic view, but really, it's just about character for me. I want to read about real women with real problems and real friends who help them get to the bottom of things; I don't want a damsel in distress who needs a big, strong man to rescue her from the big, bad wolf because she was wearing 5-inch platform heels as she ran down a cobbled street. Give me a break and break her leg while you're at it, what's she doing wearing 5-inch-platforms when running for her life anyway!?! I want to read about a hero would could blow Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson out of the water, but who also knows that the best moments in life are the quiet times spent with the one you love. So that is what I try to write ... and sometimes it works and sometimes it falls flat. But it's always a fun ride!

What about you? What makes a good book - as a reader and as a writer?

And you can learn more about my writing - and my debut book, What a Texas Girl Wants! - over at Bernadette Marie's website today, where I'm being interviewed!

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