Title: Deadly Delicious
Author: K. L. Kincy
An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills.
Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl-she’s no witch-but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire.
Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…
– Summary from the Deadly Delicous Goodreads page.
When Karen Kincy posted on twitter asking for reviewers to look at her witchy MG novel, I jumped at the chance. I had read one of Karen Kincy’s books before, and I had really enjoyed it, so I was thrilled when right away she agreed to send me a review copy. Due to exams at the time, I wasn’t able to give my attention as quickly to the book as I would have liked, but soon I found myself unable to resist and started reading it.
I soon discovered that Deadly Delicious is a wonderfully fun read, one that I would have definitely eaten up as a middle grade reader (like I did as a young adult one…) and one that I couldn’t recommend enough. Age boundaries were pushed out of the way as I was reading, and I was soon absorbed into the 1950’s, accompanying MC Josephine on her tasty adventures.
I loved being able to hear the character’s accents as I was reading, and being fully absorbed into the conjure cooking culture of Josephine and her family, and the other witches in the novel. Whilst remaining unique and apart from the traditional idea of witches, it still plays on the stereotype with certain ingredients, like moon butter and twisted nails.
Josephine was a very lovable main character, and most certainly a good witch, but there were times where I couldn’t help but wonder about Authelia and her side of the story. Just why had these girls fallen out? Why did Authelia and her friends feel the need to pick on Josephine? I’m hoping that these questions will be answered in future books, if Karen Kincy is planning on turning this into a series.
One of the main strengths of Karen Kincy’s writing was that it wasn’t patronising or ‘dumbed down’ to appeal to children. It was simply a fun and vibrant read, filled with tasty recipes and sassy grandmas.