In an effort to give back something to the romance writing community I've learned so much from I've become a book reviewer. To date I've reviewed for Amazing Author's Showcase (no longer around), Paranormal Romance Reviews, and Science Fiction Romance Magazine.
Mind you, getting the free books hasn't hurt.
What I'm looking for in a book is a solid story told in an interesting way. Characters that make me laugh or cry. Language that makes me smile. I love words, phrases that sing. If I'm intrigued by a book, entertained by it, thats worth a four out of five from me. If it goes beyond that, if I can't help thinking about the story hours after I finish the book, then it's a five, no question.
Story is everything. If we don't have a tale to tell, then there is no reason to write the book, I don't care how well anyone writes. And as for the rules, the only rule I worry about is whether the story fits the genre. Romance has a HEA. Science Fiction has cool hardware stuff. Comedy must be funny. Horror and Suspense must frighten, at least a little.
So, give me a good story, end it in a satisfying way, and Im a happy reviewer.