When You Don’t Get What You’re Expecting

So, I just finished all 38 pages of Cara McKenna’s Brazen.
There.  Enjoy that cover goodness!  For about 37 pages I was in love with this short story.  It’s different.  It’s really hot.   Caroline and Sean are awesome together.  And Caroline put together an honest to goodness harem of young men who are on a schedule to come and hang out with her each evening.  (Or should I say hang out and come with her???)  But on that last page…  it’s not a happy ending.  They each go their own way.  I just didn’t see it coming and it really caught me off guard!  (Note to self: check tags on goodreads reviews to look for HEA before reading.)  I think I still would have read it if I’d known it was just about a short affair.  I think I would have liked it better for knowing what I was getting into, actually.  Which brings me to my point…

I hate it when I don’t get what I’m expecting!  I read to escape my real life.  I expect a HEA, and I appreciate some hot sex along the way.  But I’m picky about that, too.  I like to know what kind of heat level to expect before I read.  I’m generally ok if a book is hotter than I expected, but if I’m expecting explicit love scenes and I don’t get them, it leaves me disappointed.

Most of the time, reading for escape, I’m reading for an HEA.  The new 50 Shades trend of trilogies where you only get the HEA after all three books?  Drives me CRAZY.  I don’t want to wait that long!  But it makes me horribly mad to read and find a cliffhanger ending when I’m not expecting it!  That’s rare now, as I’m reading more reviews and on the lookout for such manipulations!  I’d rather think of the trilogy as one big book, and I don’t want to read them unless I can read them all.

There are excpetions, of course, because I totally love Dallas and Roarke (J.D. Robb) and I think I’ll read anything in the Kate Daniels world (though I’m a book behind!) and these are both series that stay with the same couple all the way through.  Oh, and the Adrian English series by Josh Lanyon goes on that same couple series list.  In each of these cases, the book itself comes to a pretty satisfactory ending, it just leaves you wanting more – not teetering at the edge of a cliffhanger.

So I know what I want.  And I’ll read reviews and snoop around to make sure I’m getting what I want.  And if I’m goign to step out of my usual, I like to know it going in.  (Ummm, yeah, people have mentioned that i might have some control issues.  It’s ok, I’ve got it under control.)  How about you?  Do you enjoy a surprise?  Are you ok with a cliffhanger?  What do you think?  ~Anne