Book Review, Books!, Signal Boost

Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Hey all, Dani here.

I picked up this book to read it for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon because one of the challenges was to read a book you got because of the cover. Well, it was the cover that made me want to know more about the book and then the summary made me go “yeah, I want to read that now.” Thankfully this book did not disappoint at all. Come on, it features magical alcoholic beverages.



In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a “real” post-college job.

Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.

But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?

This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I loved that this book featured a Chinese-American protagonist, and more than that I loved that she was a recent college graduate trying to figure out her new adult life. That was an aspect I related to so much, because even though I graduated with a Master’s degree almost six years ago, I still find myself struggling sometimes, and finding jobs in my career field can be difficult.

Thanks to her old friend Zane, Bailey is working as a barback at the Nightshade Lounge. One night he leaves her to finish closing up and she finds this secret compartment of liquor and decides to make herself a screwdriver. On her way home she finds herself confronted with a monster and fights it off with super-strength that she didn’t realize she had. As it turns out, a properly made Screwdriver grants that power unto the drinker. And so Bailey is brought into the world of monster-hunting bartenders.

Let me just say that this concept was absolutely fascinating to me. I would totally read a whole series dedicated to this concept because it was nicely developed with all sorts of history to the different components of mixed drinks and everything.

As Bailey trains with Zane and his bartender friends–who are all really interesting and I’d like to read more about them at some point–more secrets are revealed and it seems that not everything is as simple as it initially appeared. Also, there’s this search for the proper recipe and components for a Long Island Iced Tea, because if made the right way, the one who drinks it can become immortal.

There was nice action in this story and the intrigue/discovery revolving around these monsters and some details about the Council for the bartenders was just fascinating to me. Any time I had to pause in my reading for a little while, I basically started counting down until I could read again. I flew through this book.

Will the monsters overtake Chicago? Will the Long Island Iced Tea be mastered? Will Bailey continue bartending or find a “real” job? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Summer Biannual Bibliothon Wrap Up

I read The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 5: Imperial Phase I by Kieron Gillen, Sandman, Vol 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman, Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger, and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh during the Readathon.

Challenges completed: Group Read (Flame in the Mist), Book-to-Movie Adaptation and Banned Book (Dead Poets Society), Cover Buy (Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge), Throwback Challenge: Graphic Novel (Sandman), and LGBTQIA+/Emma’s Favorite Genre (The Wicked + The Divine).

So, though I didn’t read all of the books I wanted to or listed on my TBR, I did manage to read a decent number of books and complete the challenges.

19 thoughts on “Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger”

  1. Groovy book concept baby… erm sorry about that Austin Powers moment… I think I’ll have to add this to my enormous TBR pile. It sounds like a book I need to experience. Something tell me that a glass of champagne would be appropriate instead of a cup of tea to accompany the read. I wonder what demonic power that initiates? If I had hard liquor, I’d most probably pass out. Or vom.. or pass out while spewing.. Now why did I type that? Dear God make it stop!
    Anyway, great review. Certainly piqued my interest. Love discovering new reads through your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I haven’t watched Austin Powers in sooo long. This makes me kinda want to. And I think a mixed drink or straight liquor (whiskey, vodka, rum, etc) would be more appropriate to this book, though if champagne is your preference then that’s okay too. I hope you enjoy this book when you get around to it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Atmosphere wise I feel bad that I read this book at work. It is something that should be read while relaxing at home, with a mixed drink to consume at the same time.


      1. Or to pick up another book with similar themes. I’ve had A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly sitting on my shelf for over a year. I may need to read it soon.


      2. OOhhh I haven’t even heard of that one! Illegal magic sounds really good! I hope you get to it soon!
        I read A little Touch of Magic by Lucy March and it was just a cute little could be standalone (there’s a companion novel with a different character) so if you want something lighter you should check that out!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good to know! I’ll check it out. Oh, and also in the vein of magical alcohol, there was a YA novel that came out last year called Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn.


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