Five Reasons to Read: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – A New-Adult Urban Fantasy that Blends Cocktails & Monster Hunting

Last Call at the nightshade lounge by Paul Krueger. Reviewed by CW, the quiet pond.


College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

CW’s Review:

I read Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge because someone – I now, regretfully, forget who – recommended this to me. I had no idea what this book was about going in, but despite this, I had the best fun reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. If you like the sound of an urban fantasy with monsters that roam the night, monster hunters that gain power from drinking magical cocktails, and have relatable ‘new adult’ themes, then read on further — because today, I’m going to give you five reasons of why you should pick up incredibly fun book.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger follows Bailey Chen, a recent graduate who doesn’t quite know what to do with her life. When she lands a bartending gig, the least she suspects is to be pulled into the dynamic and dangerous world of bartenders who belong to a secret society that hunt monsters.

1. About a girl just trying to find her place in the world

Though Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge isn’t a deep book (and I don’t think it has to be!), something I did really love was how relatable it was in the smallest ways. For instance, the main character, Baily Chen, is an Asian-American woman who just recently graduated from an Ivy League college – and doesn’t know what to do with herself or what she wants to do in life. She moves back in home with her parents (and I adored her parents; they were such good Asian parent representation!) to find a job, and when she lands her bartending gig, she doesn’t realise that where she belonged may have been with a centuries-old secret society of monster hunters. Who knew?

2. Blends magic with mixology

Never ever did I think I would read a book that was about magical cocktails. And yet, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge will make you feel like you unknowingly needed it. The bartenders part of the secret order in this book are not only knowledgeable about mixology, but also know how to concoct an alcoholic drink that will imbue its drinker with power. For instance, vodka gives its user super-strength, whiskey imbues the drinker with telekinesis, and rum allows the drinker to cast fire magic. I also loved learning about the lore of the secret society through little anecdotal excerpts about the fantastical history about iconic drinks – they were my favourite part of the book, to be honest.


If you love monsters in stories and love monster hunters who kick their monster-y butt, then you might love Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge! I never knew that I craved monster hunters so much (I mean, I liked Trail of Lightningso maybe I had a hint), but this book satisfied that craving. Tying into monster hunters, Bailey Chen’s character arc is tied to her growth as a monster hunter herself and how she becomes part of their order. It’s incredibly fun and the action and fight scenes in this book are so exciting.

4. Its silliness is its charm – and it is incredibly charming

If you are thinking about reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, don’t expect a book that takes itself seriously — because this book absolutely does not, and that’s what makes it so incredibly charming. There’s a bit of dry humour, lines that are incredibly over-the-top, but I think it’s that melodrama that works. I mean, the premise is about a secret society of monster hunters who drink alcohol and become power. It’s silly! But that’s what makes it so fun and perfect escapist material.

5. Has some surprising twists that I really enjoyed

Something you should also know is that this book also had a few plot twists. Though the plot twist may fall flat for some readers, it worked perfectly for me. The story develops in ways that you may not expect, but the developments take it up a notch and makes it so entertaining and exciting to return to. This is the kind of book that says, hey, just sit back and enjoy the ride – and if you do, then I think you’ll have fun reading this book.


I kinda wish there were more books like this (or, they do exist and I’ve just yet to find them) – books that are just pure fun, a little silly, and have those fun fantasy elements to keep things interesting. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge may not be your next favourite book, but it’s a hell lot of a good time.

Goodreads | Blackwells | Indiebound | Book Depository | My short review on Goodreads

Is this book for you?

Premise in a sentence: A recent graduate picks up a job as a bartender – and is pulled into a world of monster hunters and magical mixology.

Perfect for: Readers who want something fun and entertaining; readers who enjoy urban fantasy; readers who like the idea of monster slayers/hunters.

Think twice if: You’re looking for a more serious read or don’t really jell with ‘fun-just-for-fun’ books.

Genre: new adult, urban fantasy

Trigger/content warning: death of an animal, multiple blood mentions, fantasy violence, alcohol consumption

9 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Read: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – A New-Adult Urban Fantasy that Blends Cocktails & Monster Hunting

  1. You’re not the first person I’ve seen review this one and this book has been on my radar for a little while but this sounds really good. I mean, the magic through mixology was enough but it honestly just sounds really enjoyable and I remembered why I wanted to read after your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am pretty sure I have seen this book somewhere on my social media! Love the review–it definitely does sound like a fun read, and I have noticed that lately I am enjoying slight NA themes in the books that I read (a sign of old age perhaps?)

    Liked by 1 person

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