*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

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Having all the depth of a pavement puddle, my attention was caught by the intriguing title and enigmatic cover to this urban fantasy – would I enjoy it?

lastcallatthenightshadeloungeCollege 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.

I was a tad concerned that it would lurch into horror, but I needn’t have worried. There is nothing in this fast-paced, enjoyable paranormal adventure to keep me awake, apart from the fact that I didn’t want to put it down… The idea of using cocktails to focus and strengthen the inherent life magic running through the body is a really nifty one and Krueger uses it with deftness in this appealing story.

I enjoyed The Devil’s Water Dictionary, which is the almanac that demon-fighting bartenders use to mix up their magic elixirs, and extracts appear throughout the story. It gives recipes for a variety of cocktails, as well as potted histories of how these have been used in the past – think of the asides J.K. Rowling added about long-dead witches and wizards in the Harry Potter series. This is a more intense version. Did I skim any of these extracts? Yep, near the end, when the action was hotting up and I was keen to know what was happening to Bailey and her companions. But afterwards I flipped back to read those extracts again, because I enjoyed them.

One of the other main strengths of this story is Bailey Chen, the driven, geeky heroine who seems to have hit something of a dead end, when she is offered a job at the rundown Nightshade Lounge and stumbles upon what really goes on there. She is clever, courageous and good in a crisis, but she is also arrogant, judgemental, with poor people skills and I found her immensely appealing. She is supported by a cast of quirky characters, who are all rather eccentric and a convincing villain. I was also pleased to see that her parents turn out to be pleasant and make a real effort to try to help her do the right thing for her own happiness – in YA/New Adult books, I do get a tad fed up with authority figures being psychotically unpleasant.

In short, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romp, with plenty of action, appealing characters and a nicely original twist on the usual urban fantasy trope. If your taste runs to urban fantasy adventures that aren’t unduly gory or steamy, then consider tracking this one down – it will make an ideal summer read. The ebook arc copy of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
9/10

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13 responses »

    • Well anytime you want a bit of a break from anything too apocalyptic – I’d recommend this one for some enjoyable mayhem, with an original twist – and a cocktail stirrer…

    • Hi Charles,

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. I’ll get to it as soon as I can – realistically it’ll be after I break up for the summer holidays, now. I can’t believe that’s only two weeks away… In the meantime, I hope you manage to get a chance to relax a bit, as I think you’re ahead of us and are already on your summer vacation. Take care and have some fun:)

  1. Oh my goodness! Your opening line got me laughing. Often I feel that way about myself. LOL

    This sounds like such a fun book. I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for your wonderful review.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Wendy:) I’m hopeless! I don’t read blurbs these days as I get a bit fed up how spoilery a lot of them are – but a lovely book cover and catchy title in my favourite genre and ALLLL those good intentions to NOT get any more books before I’ve read a few more of the ones stacked up in the spare bedroom go flying out of the window… And yes – this one is fun and something a bit different:)

  2. I spotted this on Netgalley but didn’t request it because I’m a bit behind and feeling guilt ridden. It’s really good to know it’s a fun read – I will have to keep it on my list.
    Lynn 😀

    • *sigh* Tell me about guilt-ridden – I keep telling myself I need to read more and buy less! And then a spiffy cover comes along… I’ve all the backbone of a jellyfish where books are concerned.

  3. Sounds like fun!
    Though when you wrote:
    “There is nothing in this fast-paced, enjoyable paranormal adventure to keep me awake, apart from the fact that I didn’t want to put it down…”
    I thought “this is exactly the kind of horror that scares me”. Last weekend, around 3am on Saturday, I was almost falling asleep standing, but still, lying in bed, I was thinking whether I’d manage this last 100 pages of the book before I drop… 😉

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