I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend
Published by Oliver Heber Books on March 20, 2021
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
First in the Sunny Meadows cozy mystery series (it’s also the Fortune Teller series???) and revolving around Sunny Meadows, a psychic and sunny free spirit.
This is so sad at the start. Parents who don’t listen to their daughter who is only a good girl if things go right. What crap! Kids are people too, and should be encouraged to pursue their passions. Who cares what the neighbors think!
I do have to wonder at someone living for that long with her parents, but then Sunny is such a nice person. Probably couldn’t bear to hurt her parents’ feelings. Lord knows, they sure do insist on sticking their noses into Sunny’s business! I gotta confess that I did lose some of my anger at them when they take time off to support Sunny.
We learn all this through first person protagonist point-of-view from Sunny’s perspective, and I like that Townsend made me believe in Sunny’s abilities. There’s enough uncertainty as Sunny interprets what she sees…and she’s always right. I’m wondering how long it’ll take before Stone starts to believe in her…hmmm… Townsend also gives a plausible reason for Sunny to dive into investigating this murder, although the romance aspect was a little too jumpy. Okay, yeah, the police department actually assigning her to work with Stone wasn’t very plausible…but it was fun!
Sure, I enjoyed the do it-don’t do it back-and-forth in Sunny’s and Stone’s romance, even though it was too, too obvious. I also understood Stone’s frustration with Sunny’s interview style. I reckon Sunny has never watched a police show of any kind, lol. There was also the back-and-forth of their police partnership. That Sunny…she’s a hoot and definitely an assertive woman, *more laughter*.
That cat, lol, he’s a tricksy boy, and I’d sure like to catch him at some of his tricks!
What? What?!? “We can’t afford for anything to be free in these hard times”?? That’s when we need those freebies! Oy. Maude and Bernard certainly made some good points about how useful the library is. And that’s true for all libraries with the books, videos, and all the programs they provide.
The story is full of red herrings from who is colluding with who (and that is constantly changing) to job promotions of all sorts to fights, cheating, secret addictions, secret frame jobs(!), that secret witness… It’ll keep ya jumpin’.
I’m really confused about the library. Isn’t it, like, a requirement or something for a town to have a library? I mean, it is in my world…
My how times have changed. I’ve never heard of a woman being a III, as in Lucinda Griswold III. Lowercasing “bug” when referring to Sunny’s Volkswagen drove me nuts…!
That ending…crack. Me. Up. I’m looking forward to reading Townsend’s Corpse in the Crystal Ball.
It’s past time for Sunny to be moving out…finding her own way. She’s twenty-nine after all.
And, lucky girl, she’s got a trust fund that gives her an easy launch into her new career as a fortune-teller in the quaint town of Divinity, a sweet sounding town in so many ways.
Sylvia Eleanor Meadows changed her name to Sunshine “Sunny” Meadows, a.k.a. Tinker Bell. Morty is the white know-it-all cat who comes with the house and rescues Sunny again and again. Donald and Vivian Meadows are a world-renowned cardiologist and lawyer, respectively, and very hung up on social status. Eduardo is part of her parents’ staff.
Divinity, New York
Rosemary is a realtor with Rosemary’s Realty and sells Sunny the house, that Sunny calls “Vicky” over on Shadow Lane. Where Sunny will set up her fortune-telling business, Sunny’s Sanctuary. Dr Wilcox is the local medical man; Nurse Doolittle works for him, and is in love with him. Dr Sherry Parker is the local veterinarian.
Detective Mitchell “Grumpy Pants” Stone is with the Divinity PD, having fled the big city and his ex-girlfriend. Kip Johnson is the coroner. Captain Grady Walker is Stone’s boss. Spencer is the police chief. Officer Harlow has had some good training. Bobby Jo Sawyer is entering the police academy. Mayor Cromwell is anxious for the murder to be solved.
Smokey Jo’s Tavern is owned by Joanne “Jo” Burnham. Sean O’Malley works as a bartender nights; during the day he’s a trainer at Wally’s World, a gym run by Wally. Big Bertha is another of his trainers. The easygoing Edward Jones, a former big-city accountant, runs Eddy’s Gun Emporium. The Song Bird is a Japanese karaoke bar, where we discover the truth about Sunny’s singing. Kim is the bartender. Cole West is a carpenter who loves the Song Bird but lost his wife.
Papas Restaurant is Greek and owned by the bitter Callista Papas who’s married to a real horn dog, Damon. Mary Kinkaid is a kindergarten teacher. There’s a weekly game at Nikko’s Italian restaurant.
Gretta’s Mini-Mart is two blocks down from Pump Up the Volume Hair Salon and Spa, which is run by Tracy. Raoulle is one of her employees. The Bunco Babes are a group of women who like to hang out together and includes Lulubelle, “Belle“, who’s interested in Big Don at Don’s Auto. Warm Beginnings and Cozy Endings Café. Father Moody is with the Sacred Heart Church where the Mad Hatters — the hypocritical Alice Nikko, Shirley, and Mable — are busy church ladies too anxious to condemn people.
Amanda Robbins is the town librarian. The library is a nonprofit organization owned by the town but the town is broke. Carolyn Hanes is Amanda’s best friend, neighbor, and co-worker. Maude Sampson/Sanders is frequently confused about where she works and who people are. I guess that’s why she has two last names… She’s married to Bernard Sampson, who works at the mill. Holly Smith is the new library manager. Gladys Montgomery is the head of the Historical Society. Lucinda Griswold III is a wealthy woman with a soft spot for libraries.
Alex Pendleton is trying to buy the land the library is on and put up a chain bookstore. Or he’ll take the old Divinity Theatre Hotel.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a slightly distressed pinkish lavender background with a watercolor effect of purple around the gradated pale pink to darker pink in the crystal ball forming the background for a sunny-looking Sunny seated at a round table, I think, holding a large round plate with a magnifying glass and a cup of tea with a couple of leaves in the saucer. The platinum-blonde and short-haired Sunny wears a short sleeve pink T-shirt with a cream apron — I’m not sure what the mint green is…a chair? pants? Anyway, behind Sunny is a purplish table with a white kitty, Morty, sitting on top of it. At the very top is the series info in a deep green and the title immediately beneath it. On either side of the title is a crystal ball icon in a lighter green on the left and a couple of stacked books icon on the right. At the bottom is the author’s name in brown with an info blurb immediately below it.
The title is indeed a Tempest in the Tea Leaves when Sunny’s special tea is the cause of murder.