Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Nightcap by Kathleen O’Reilly

Dear Mrs. O’Reilly,

You came close to a trifecta. You really did but it’s with sadness that I’m going to have to grade this book down. Don’t worry, it’s not a D grade because so many things are still right about it that were right about the first two books in the series. But a few things missed and that’s enough.

It’s not that Sean O’Sullivan changes radically from the easy talking, female pleasing man we’ve seen already. The guy knows how to talk, kiss and finesse his way through relationships, racketball games and courts of law. Want something fixed? Sean’s the man who can. And he’ll leave most everyone with a smile on their face after he’s gotten his way.

It’s not that I don’t like Cleo Hollings, one of the Deputy Mayors of NYC who’s got a pair and who isn’t afraid to show that she does. This woman gets off on negotiating union contracts, thrives on the pressure of getting a strike bound city moving again, enjoys Town Hall meetings in which she knows she’s going to get yelled at. And she’s sexually aggressive too.

The dialogue is still wonderful. As I read the book, I kept marking scenes that I wanted to put up here until it got to the point that I was in danger of trying to quote 1/3 of the book. And that’s way too much to put in one review!

It’s not that I don’t like the conflict that you set up between Sean and Cleo. Both have high powered jobs that demand a lot of their time. Both have family demands to answer to. Both pencil people in during the spare 2 minutes they might have free. This is real life.

It’s that after setting up this great conflict, there’s not enough time to let it play out. Cleo has issues from a past relationship and it’s one in which she admits that the man wasn’t pond scum. I can see her hesitation since the reason he bailed is still an active concern. But. She and Sean are together for all of three weeks before Cleo is basically tossing the poor man to the curb and insisting that it’s Never Going to Work. Give the man a chance. Give the relationship a chance. Don’t rush him either in or out of it. I realize with a category length story this can be hard but it’s something you managed with the other two books so I know it can be done.

I know there’s a lot to like in this book. And that’s including the epilogue which I’m not a great fan of. I don’t think readers will go wrong trying it on its own or finishing out the trilogy with it. It’s got great characters, hotness and snappy dialogue. But I just wish it’d had more time for the resolution of all the that you included in it. B


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format and three signed copies from Kathleen. Woot! Make a comment, be eligible for the drawing. It’s that simple. Sweet.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Mad
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 15:03:03

    Count me in! :)

  2. cyclops8
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 15:31:37

    I’ve never read any of Kathleen’s books before. I’ll definitely give her a try.

  3. Laura K
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 15:32:49

    You know, that’s exactly why I can’t imagine writing category-length fiction. So frustrating to be forced to end the story when the characters need/deserve more time!

  4. Andrea
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 16:02:49

    Ooh! Looks like a good book to keep on the bedside table!

  5. Jewel
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 16:09:08

    I have read the first book and loved it. I also enjoyed the name the drink contest that went on with this trilogy a while back.

  6. Sarah
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 16:15:03

    I’ve loved this entire series so far so I cannot wait to reading the finaly book.

  7. azteclady
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 16:55:43

    *jumping in* Pretty please?

  8. Bethany
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:00:53

    I’d love to get this one, especially since I’m going to be getting the 2nd any day now. Also, I thought it interesting that the heroine on the cover looks very much like Anne Hathaway!

  9. azteclady
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:03:13

    I have the second, but haven’t been able to find the first anywhere :sad: That’s what happens when you get distracted… :sigh:

  10. Marianne
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:09:02

    Woo hoo… I just read “Sex, Straight Up” and would love to read this one, too. Oh yeah, toss my name in the hat!


  11. AB
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:10:47

    I liked Sean from the other two, so I’m interested to see for myself how his book turned out. Please put me into the drawing :)

  12. Liviania
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:20:47

    Eek, I still need to find the first two, somehow. Time to raid the second-hand stores.

  13. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:46:49

    (clutching head in hands). Note to self: Must… remember… conflict….
    Thank you, Jayne, as always, you are full of wise words.

  14. Libby
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 17:47:01

    I read the excerpt from the first one and was instantly engaged, and thought I MUST HAVE!!! But right now I’m on a huge book budget so I had to put off buying it. Thanks for offering such a fantastic giveaway!!!

  15. GrowlyCub
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 18:17:51

    I read no.2 before no.1 and loved it. No. 1 was good too, but not quite such an emotional read as no. 2.

    I was interested to see that you guys felt the other way around. I would almost think that due to new author voice, except I read a couple of the Red Choo books and liked them, too, but again not as well as Sex, Straight Up. Daniel really made the story for me. The woman, not so much, but Daniel really carried the story even though she was such a ditz.

    Btw, I checked for Nightcap today and everywhere I looked the April books (Walmart and KMart in my neck of the woods) were still out, Liviania. If you get a chance today or tomorrow you might still manage to put some money in Kathleen’s pocket.

  16. Stacie McClellan
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 18:23:39

    I love the Blaze line. Put me in for the drawing please.

  17. Danielle
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 18:25:38

    This book sounds so good. Thanks for the review.

  18. sula
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 18:41:51

    I read the first book and found much to like about it. The heroine in this one, as you described her, sounds really interesting. Count me in. :)

  19. katiebabs
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 19:36:26

    Kate the contest ho is here :D

  20. Jayne
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 19:40:58

    We decided to go ahead and put this review up before the street date of May 1st so that people would have a chance to go out and get it before stores yank their copies. Categories, ya know…gotta move fast.

    Of course the ebook version is already out and ready to be read.

  21. GrowlyCub
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 20:44:44


    I went looking today because I was told that they put out the month’s Blazes the last week of the previous month and I didn’t want to miss it, since there’s only a Walmart in our little town and that one not exactly romance friendly either (had business in the next bigger town today which boasts both a KMart and a Hastings. The Hastings doesn’t deign to carry any categories.)

    I’m glad you are doing the category reviews early because with the first O’Reilly I went looking for it all over creation in late March and it was not to be found anywhere any longer.

    I really think Silh/Harl would do their authors a big favor by cutting back number of books per month and leaving them on the shelves longer instead.

  22. Jen
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 20:48:41

    I read and enjoyed this book over the weekend. The epilogue was one of the best I have ever read.

  23. Gillian
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 21:04:54

    Definitely interested in this. I’ve loved elements of both the previous books but have felt frustrated by the category length. It might just be a matter of expectations, since it’s been ages since I’ve read categories. But I’m definitely interested in more from this author.

  24. Amanda G
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 21:22:48

    I just read Sex, Straight up last week and really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to read the next one.

  25. miaserene
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 21:58:27

    Hmm, strangely enough your review makes me want to read this book when I thought I wouldn’t. I read Sex, Straight Up last week and wasn’t enticed by the hint of a revenge-seeking premise in the blurb for this one. But Cleo sounds like a heroine I could respect a lot, from this description.

  26. Pam P
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 22:30:32

    I think I’d like it after reading your review, count me in, too, please.

  27. Lam
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 22:57:14

    I have the first in the series, and LOVED it even though I’m not a huge fan of contemporaries…So I’d like to be counted in for the draw too please! :)

  28. Kat
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 02:16:26

    I WANT THIS! Because I have been looking for books 1 and 2, and I even e-mailed the publishers and they never replied, and now I don’t know WHEN I’ll get to read this series, and I’m still missing book 2 from the other series she wrote, and… Well, you get the drift.

  29. Larissa
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 02:20:25

    Would love to give her a try!

  30. Beth
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 05:13:56

    I just read this one (so I don’t need a copy, thanks!) and what didn’t work for me was Sean. I had read the two previous books (Sex Straight Up was close to a perfect category IMHO), and in those books, Sean screwed anything that moved, unapologetically, for pleasure and personal gain. That guy was not (or not believably) in this book.

  31. Jayne
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 06:14:19

    Hmmm, now I did think Sean started out the same as in the previous two books but then changed as the relationship with Cleo expanded into something permanent. It didn’t seem as if he did the 180 degree change that so many secondary characters do when they become the lead character in their own book.

  32. morgan saylor jones
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 07:36:09

    Grade B romance by an author who takes criticism gracefully…

    sign me up.

  33. anne
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 09:21:55

    Thanks for this chance. Looks great.

  34. Rebecca
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 10:16:54

    I’d love to read it, count me in.

  35. Jill D.
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 10:51:06

    I read the first one, have the second one in my TBR pile. I just need to get to it. Ahhhh, why do I feel so behind all the time in my reading?!

  36. TLS
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 11:49:49

    Please enter me in the contest.

    BTW, for those people looking for the 2nd book – I just checked eHarlequin. While the 1st book is sold out, the 2nd one is still available, as is Nightcap.

  37. Allison
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 12:16:56

    Sounds like a read I want to check out. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  38. GrowlyCub
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 13:14:37

    I decided that I was a bit harsh in calling the heroine of Sex, Straight Up a ditz. I did like her quite a bit, but that hand bag thing really stuck in my craw. It made her seem like such a chick lit heroine and that just didn’t seem to fit the powerful emotional impact of the story at all.

    I saw Kathleen’s post about how that bit ended up in the book, and while I can understand it better, it put such strong negative connotations in my mind that even though I really felt this to be a great book, I was left with describing the heroine as a ditz because of it.

    Anyway, hope nobody decided not to read it because of my comments. I really thought it was a fabulous book. Daniel rocks. :)

  39. kristenmary
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 13:31:09

    Count me in. You and SB Sarah have sold me on this triology.

  40. Maureen
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 14:23:25

    Please enter me!

  41. Ann M
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 15:20:37

    Hope it isn’t too late to be entered.

  42. acdaisy77
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 16:56:32

    I would love to win this. Count me in if it is not too late.

  43. Jayne
    May 01, 2008 @ 18:44:03

    Okay, the random winners are

    11 AB
    16 Staci McClellan
    27 Lam

    Email me Jayne @ with your snail mail addresses. It will probably be mid next week when I get them mailed out.

  44. azteclady
    May 01, 2008 @ 19:34:35

    Congrats to the winners!

  45. GrowlyCub
    May 06, 2008 @ 15:04:46

    Just finished Nightcap and am trying to figure out what I think about it. I liked it, but I think Jayne summed up my issues with it pretty well.

    I don’t know that it necessarily needed to be a longer book, but the pacing seemed not quite ‘there’.

    And I really don’t know what I think of the epilogue. I notice Jayne didn’t mention it.

    I just re-read it while writing this post and have to say I really don’t like it at all. Very chicklit-ish.

    Overall, I still like Daniel’s story best, then Gabe’s and lastly Sean’s.

    What’s in the pipeline? Any more Blazes coming soon?

  46. Kathleen O'Reilly
    May 06, 2008 @ 15:36:45

    GC, not sure if this is directed to me as “writing Blazes” or Jayne as in “reviewing Blazes” but I’ll be forward and possibly stick my foot in my mouth. I have three standalone blazes coming out next year, not sure of dates yet, and then, I’m pretty sure there’s a trilogy in 2010. The 2010 trilogy is not contracted, only a thumbtack on the line-schedule board, which means that in the case of total destruction of the earth and all mankind, it will not exist. :)

    Thank you for reading them.

  47. GrowlyCub
    May 06, 2008 @ 15:43:38

    Yup, I was asking you, sorry to be unclear. :)

    2009, I mean… really, 2009? What am I going to do until then? Could you maybe write something quick for one of the e-pubs, so we don’t have to wait so long? Or do you have option clauses, too, that mean you cannot write for anybody else?

    I’m only half kidding here, btw. I think Daniel’s going to be one of my favorite heroes.

  48. Kathleen O'Reilly
    May 06, 2008 @ 16:22:10

    Well, there is this horseracing book coming out in September… It’s not a Blaze, it’s a Silhouette continuity thing, 12 books by different authors that follow a couple of plotlines through the 12 books. Mine is Courting Disaster, and it’s about this C&W singer who falls for this hot-shot race-car driver (Formula One, NOT NASCAR, and if you know the difference, you understand )…

    I’m glad you like Daniel. I loved him, but he wasn’t my favorite hero, I’m a Sean-girl. I know, sacrilege, but that said, I did cry a whole lot in Daniel’s book when I figured things out about him. That whole needing-to-touch people thing always made me bawl.

  49. GrowlyCub
    May 06, 2008 @ 16:29:38

    Oh. Is that a SD? And yes, I know the difference although I will admit to not being infatuated with either sport. :)

    I’m just a sucker for tortured heroes (oh, no, here she goes again listing her favorite books, Rake and the Reformer, Another Dawn, One Fine Day and One Summer).

    Sean, well, Sean was golden… he had it too easy! :)

  50. Jayne
    May 07, 2008 @ 06:53:40

    Actually I did mention the epilogue in the last paragraph. I didn’t hate it which is saying a LOT for me since most cheesy, overly baby filled epilogues make me nauseous.

  51. GrowlyCub
    May 07, 2008 @ 07:01:00

    Mea culpa. :)

%d bloggers like this: