Just for fun, I put together a list of how I decide what goes on my to-read shelf. These are superficial, judging-a-book-by-its-cover criteria, but there are so many possibly-interesting books out there I needed to create some guidelines to follow.
First off, there’s the Goodreads rating. Now, I know better than to rely on crowdsourced ratings from the Internet (see also: Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.) however they can be helpful in aggregate. In general I look at reviews with at least 500 ratings to give it any weight. After that, my low-water mark is 3.70 (out of 5). A book would have to be pretty enticing for me to pick it up if the rating is below that.
What will definitely make me pick up a book: m/m paranormal romances go to the front of the line. Shifters, particularly wolves, are obvious as well. I’m a sucker for May-December romances, and the hurt/comfort trope as well. I’m a big fan of urban fantasy, and if there are queer characters so much the better (see also: Kai Gracen). Certain authors get my immediate attention too: Lily Morton, Kaje Harper, N.R. Walker, Andrea Speed, and a few others.
What will make me steer clear of a book? BDSM isn’t my cup of tea at all. Vampires are right out. Ew. MPreg is just so wildly anatomically improbable that I can’t take it seriously, but if the story is good I can disregard it. I steer clear of heterosexual romances, unless there’s a strong fantasy story with it (see also: Mercy Thompson).