As a reader, I'm very easy to please. Cover to cover, make me believe in the story, in the characters, in their world. Whether it's a sci-fi alien gig, or a vampire-werewolf thing, suck me in. If the characters are suppose to be attracted to one another, show me that they are, let them express it. If the villian is going to be a major stumbling block, show me why. That's all I ask for.
I know. I don't ask for much.
Honestly, that's just the basic idea of what makes a good book for me. I really prefer HEAs, but will take a solid HFN. A weak HFN only makes me feel incomplete at the end. The 'he might join her if' kind of ending. Blah. Not my kind of thing.
I love great characters. They give momentum and nuance to a story, whether it's just the H/h or half a dozen hangers-on. I will tell you, if you're shoving people into the story just to make page count, I can tell. I've come across quite a few where an extraneous character was just well...extraneous. Doesn't really hurt the story, but adds nothing just the same. I love Alpha males, but will take a solid Beta or Gamma with Alpha tendencies. Strong heroines need strong counter-characters. I love sparks between the characters. You know, because real life is just so dull.
I love worlds I can fall into. Doesn't really matter if it's Earth or some semblance there of. Pull me into the moment, the locale. I don't need a thousand explanations about how she became a vet, how a vet tech's day proceeds or why or how often they have to clean cages. Let me fill in the blanks. Granted if it's something a little less common, expound, but don't overinflate. Nothing makes me skip paragraphs faster than monotonous unnecessary overkill.
In essence, this is really how I write myself. A woven story where one facet feeds another to the culmination, with lots of tension, chemistry and anticipation. Keep in mind, this is ME, and we all know how weird I can be. So my reading preferences will most likely differ from yours, and that's okay. No two readers are going to catch the exact same images, patterns and nuances from the same story. That's why writing is subjective. We read the same story, but discover different details that stick. Often that's why reviews can be in the range of Great! to Sucked Swamp Water.
All I ask from a story is make me believe it, and I'm usually happy.