A comment that I frequently make on manuscripts is to point out a cool or distant POV. I make this comment in workshops, on rejections for full manuscript submissions, on client manuscripts, and even notice it in published books.
A distant POV isn’t always a problem—it might be done intentionally, either with a certain character or to indicate a certain mindset of a character at that moment—but in general, the author is unaware of what she is doing, and pulling us away from the POV.
One of the most common ways to express a distant POV is the use of filtering words. Let me give a quick example that I'll expand on later.
Andrea looked outside, where she saw two young boys playing in the street. Even through the closed window she could hear them shouting in excitement. It reminded her of the way her daughter had laughed and played, and she gripped the windowsill to steady herself.
I’ve marked the filtering words, which have the effect of pushing these details through Andrea’s senses, almost as if she’s telling us what happened. Change it up a little and we can get right into her head.
Two young boys were playing in the street outside. The window was closed, but their excited cries came right into Andrea’s living room. It reminded her of the way her daughter had laughed and played, and she gripped the windowsill to steady herself.
This is an example tossed out there, so it’s hardly deathless prose, but note how we haven’t lost either the visual or auditory sense and we are deeper into Andrea’s POV. Now let me show you how you can warm it up just a little bit more by changing the last sentence.
It reminded her of the way her daughter had laughed and played, and she gripped the windowsill to steady herself.
Her daughter Jillian had laughed like that, full of joy and life. My God, had it already been three years? She gripped the windowsill to steady herself.
This version is only slightly longer, but note how deeply we drop into Andrea’s head between the first and second sentence. That’s a hot POV, and it makes us feel more intimately a part of her story. We’ve gone from something a little dry, to something intimate.
I shouldn't have to tell you why a warm POV is almost always preferable to a cool one--my guess is that you feel it instinctively--but it has to do with how closely the reader identifies with the character, and that draws us more deeply into what I've called the fictive dream. Make us feel as though we are the character, not just reading about her, and we won't be able to put your book down.