A woman standing in front of a green-lit bar holds a glowing martini glass.

About the Book

Title: Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge
Published: 2016
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Chug-A-Lug
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Why Can’t We Not Be Sober
Bonus Factors: Magical Cocktails, Chicago
Relationship Status: Under the Influence

Cover Story: Chug-A-Lug

Who isn’t going to be intrigued by a book with a glowing cocktail on the cover? Why the hell is this cocktail glowing, you wonder, and find yourself picking it up to read the back cover. Good job, cover designers, that’s quite a hook—and I like the fact that it’s not whitewashed. Our main character is Chinese-American, and that’s pretty clear here.

The Deal:

Bailey Chen just graduated from college and is facing the usual 20-something demons—no job, living with her parents, and naturally, strapped for cash. Little does she know that taking a part time bartending job is going to lead her to start fighting some very real, and very scary demons.

It turns out that Chicago is plagued with evil creatures of the night, and what do you know? For once, booze really is the answer. It turns out that Bailey has a natural affinity for creating magical cocktails, which ward off and destroy demons. Will she, her kinda-sorta love interest Zane, and their ragtag group of elemental mixologists be able to stop the demons from killing more people?

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Who here among us hasn’t experienced that whole “crap, my collegiate safety net is gone, now what” feeling? (Pipe down over there, let me have this.) Bailey is pretty cool, and retains her sense of humor even in the face of some pretty incredible circumstances. The only part I didn’t love about her was how she treated her old friend, Zane, as a fallback guy—but then again, so many of us have been there, too.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

It’s a case of terrible timing with Bailey and Zane—he’s always loved her, she’s always dismissed him. But now, all this demon hunting and the magical cocktails are casting new light (see what I did there?) on Zane. She thinks he might actually be the one, but there’s a small problem: he’s got a girlfriend now.

Talky Talk: Why Can’t We Not Be Sober

I’ve seen this book compared to Buffy, and it’s definitely in the same vein (har har, GET IT?)—lots of quippy dialogue and snarky asides. (Even the cocktail recipes in the book have penciled-in commentary.) Sometimes it’s a bit much, but Krueger has a distinctive voice that makes the book an enjoyable, quick read. Bailey and her comrades never take themselves too seriously. That’s almost as refreshing as an icy Moscow Mule on a hot day.

Bonus Factor: Magical Cocktails

Two martini glasses with pink liquid surrounded by a shaker and flowers on a black background.

Booze! It’s not just for inspiring your best/worst decisions anymore.

Bonus Factor: Chicago

I snagged this book at BEA 2016, after already having spent a lot of time falling in love with Chicago. Reading this brought back everything I loved about the city, from the gorgeous architecture to the cool holes-in-the-wall that Posh, Mandy C., and I got to explore. When’s the next flight sale?

Relationship Status: Under the Influence

Book, when you promised cocktails like I’d never tasted before, you were right. I’ve always believed in the power of a good stiff drink, but this took it above and beyond. We had a fun, occasionally dangerous romp through one of my new favorite cities and came out the other side unscathed. It might just be this martini I downed, but I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Just don’t make me run around hunting demons. I hate running.)

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Quirk Books. I received neither money nor a pet unicorn for writing this review, despite how hard I wished for one. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is available now.