Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery, Book #1)
by Kari Lee Townsend
Release Date: August 2, 2011
2011 Berkley Prime Crime
Paperback Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-425-24275-9
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Author

3.5 / 5

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to her fortune telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.
My Thoughts
Tempest in the Tea Leaves was a fun and quick read that introduced us to a new host of characters residing in Divinity, New York.  The first novel in Kari Lee Townsend's new Fortune Teller Mystery series, Tempest in the Tea Leaves introduces us to Sunny Meadows, a psychic, who moves to Divinity in order to escape her loving, but controlling, parents, and to forge a life of her own.  While giving her first reading, she unknowingly becomes involved in the life of the town librarian when she has to warn the librarian against imminent danger.  When the librarian is murdered, Sunny must clear her name, and the result is a series of adventures and foibles that are fun and entertaining.
I have always been a huge fan of the paranormal cozy mysteries and this is what drew me to this novel.  I enjoyed the plotline, and although I guessed who the murderer was quite early on, it was still fun to follow Sunny through her various adventures, and meet the new characters in the town, knowing that I would hopefully meet them again in future scenarios.  There were lots of little twists and turns, some I wasn't quite expecting, such as Sunny hiding in a closet as two people put themselves in a compromising position and she couldn't get out.  There were a lot of comedic moments and I liked the fact that Sunny didn't always have an easy time while looking for answers.  I'm not quite sure I bought into the 'partnership' idea, but I went along with it for the sake of the book, and just enjoyed the scenario and tried to keep my skepticism at bay.
I enjoyed the characters in the novel, especially Sean and Jo.  To be honest, I wasn't crazy about Sunny for a lot of the book, although she did grow on me somewhat as the story continued along.  It was her mannerisms and her constant bickering that drove me crazy and it reminded me a lot of a spoiled child.  I didn't always enjoy the dialogue between Detective Stone and Sunny, but I do have to admit some of it was fun and interesting and witty.  There were times though, that I rushed through those scenes just to get the relevant information that I needed to solve the crime.  I personally think the author was trying too hard to create something between the two of them that just didn't work for me.  I am really hoping for some good romance in the next novel however, it just needs to feel more genuine, and there are genuine flashes of gold in Sunny that I would like to see developed as she has a big soul and really cares for those around her. 
One of my favourite things about this novel was Morty, Sunny's white cat, and I would love to know a lot more about this mysterious creature who doesn't eat or drink, and appears whenever there is trouble.  I also can't wait to learn more about Vicky, Sunny's house, which also seems to hold a lot of secrets.  Now these secrets definitely kept up my interest throughout the novel, and I laughed out loud at some of the scenes with Morty and Detective Stone and their interactions.  What fun!!
Tempest in the Tea Leaves was your standard light, paranormal cozy mystery novel that was fun, interesting, but did not have a lot of depth to it.  There is an incredible amount of potential to this series however, and I am looking forward to what the author has in store for us in book 2, Corpse in the Crystal Ball (June 2012), and book 3, Trouble in the Tarot (March 2013).  For now, don't hesitate to curl up with Tempest in the Tea Leaves, and read all about Morty and Sunny in snow-covered Divinity, New York.


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