I'm an eclectic reader with tastes ranging from historical to contemporary to non-fiction. However, I tend to go back to a few genres when I'm either overworked or just feel the need to escape into a story I know I'll love.
Historical Western Romance: This is both my favorite genre to read and write. I enjoy going back in time to the American West or during the Civil-War era. The history is fascinating and teaches us to be grateful for what we have today. The semi-untouched landscapes and the years of discovery, chivalry, and adventure make for great stories. Johanna Lindsey, Kaki Warner, and Jo Goodman top my list of favorite authors in this genre, though there are many more.
Historical Romance (Regency, Victorian, American): The settings and the people draw me most to this genre. I tend to enjoy those stories that feature strong heroines and noble heroes. If the heroine is immature or whiny, that's it for me. If the hero has no redeeming qualities, I stop reading. Characters can easily make or break a romance novel for me. A touch of mystery and humor, or some adventure mixed in are the reasons why I love Kathleen Woodiwiss's books, Johanna Lindsey's Malory novels, Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series, and a plethora of other authors who write wonderful characters.
Highland Romance: This one deserves a category of it's own simply because there are so many Highland books out there. I'm not a fan of them all, I'll admit, but many are delightful. I prefer the stories that aren't heavy on the sex (I have a great imagination and don't need the play-by-play). Having said that, Julie Garwood's Highland stories are by far my favorite. Not long ago I had the pleasure of reading a Highlander novel by Paula Quinn that was wonderful. There really are too many great books to list here.
Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense: Sometimes I just need a good thriller or mystery. Much like the movies in this genre I enjoy, I like fast-paced and well-developed story lines. And sometimes I just like a good kick-butt, action-packed thriller to keep me up into the wee hours. I enjoy both contemporary and historical mysteries. Some of my favorite contemporaries are John Grisham, Julie Garwood, Charlie Donlea, Catherine Coulter, and I've recently had the pleasure of trying out a slew of new authors whose books were really quite enjoyable. I don't have any favorites per se in the historical mystery genre—there are just so many good ones—but I have enjoyed books by P.D. James and recently, Oscar de Muriel.
Historical Authors: I sometimes like to go back and read books by people who lived during the times in which their books are set. Some of my favorite authors are Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Sir Walter Scott.
What are some of your favorite genres?