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Andi is an Elementary school teacher who moved into a housing development over spring break. While taking her first load out to the dumpster she finds a body already there. The body belongs to one of the corrupt leaders of the HOA, and Andi quickly learns why someone would want the board members dead. Jessie, Andi's sister who moves in with her is a police officer on an undercover assignment, giving the board leaders even more reason to not like the newest residences in their community. Jessie has also recently purchased a detective agency, and as she can't run it until her undercover assignment ends, she asks Andi to step in and ask questions for her. This is a decision Jessie will come to regret. As the story progresses several of the other members are attacked as the residences have had enough of the phony fines being handed out on a daily basis.
Pro's: This is a good story with developed characters, a little humor, and a lot of intrigue. You can disregard the cover for this one. It reads more like a traditional mystery than a cozy due to the violence and attacks involved. It is a clean read and I will definitely be reading more of this series.
Con's: The romance part of the story gets to be a bit tedious before it settles into the story smoothly. While this part of the story never takes over the storyline, leaving the story very much a mystery, the back and forth POV's about their previous relationship failures (both his and hers) got old after the 4th time of their recollections. I was really glad when they finally decided to put the past in the past and see what the future may hold for them.
Having myself once rented a house in a community where the Home Owners Association (HOA) was less than accommodating to association members, I could easily relate to this story. In this one, Andi Stevenson, a school teacher, and her sister, a cop on an undercover assignment, move into a condo where the HOA does everything it can to make life miserable for the association members, levying fines for absurd rule breaking, spying on the members and their homes, devising ridiculous rules no one could ever abide by, etc. To make matters worse, Andi’s one-time college squeeze is the HOA manager. As the story unfolds, the Andi and her sister confront association board members’ dead bodies, possible serial killer or killers within the community, unbelievable and absurd prejudice by the board members, and, in Andi’s case, the reality that her one-time college love may have been a lot more than that. The story flows along smoothly and quickly. My only question was why the association members let things get so far out of hand without taking some legal action. Late in the story, there is a feeble excuse given for this, but the excuse is just that, feeble. At any rate, this is a pretty good cozy mystery, with just enough reality and mystery, mixed in with the idea of romance between Andi and her one-time guy, to make things interesting. I enjoyed watching Andi and Luke, the HOA manager interact and rediscover their college romance, while Andi contrived with a few association members to track down and uncover clues about the board members and the deaths that occur. Though playing a minor role in all this, Andi’s sister as well as the few other neighbors who were helping Andi change things also lent to the intrigue and interest throughout the story. The author kept the tone light, though, in most cases, the situation was, I think, quite serious. The book also showed just how powerful association boards can become and how nefarious power hungry board members can become—if the members let them.
I have not read anything else by the author but will, after reading this one, add her to my list of authors to look for and read. Her style is smooth and light but definitely attention getting. The plot was realistic and attention getting. Characters were well developed, interesting and regular people. I think anyone who enjoys cozies that are a quick read and very enjoyable will like this book. I received this to read and review through the Kindle Scout Program.
I am a big fan of Kindle Scout and getting to nominate books to be published. That's what I did with Euphoria Lane. So when I got a copy free for nominating it, I wanted to see if it would be as good as I hoped. Since it had been awhile between receiving and reading the book, I didn't know what to expect. What I ended up with was a murder mystery with multiple good possibilities for the identity of the murderer. What I didn't expect was to learn about how awful some HOA actually are! Euphoria Lane was supposed to be the beginning of home ownership for Andi Stevenson-a chance to have her own house instead of unsatisfactory apartments. Sharing the house with her sister, a police officer currently undercover, seemed like a good fit. When she moves in and meets the property manager, it turns out to be her former fiance. That would be shock enough, but on her first trip to the dumpster, Andi discovers a dead body. It doesn't take long for the HOA President to express his dislike for the new owners, and begin a campaign to get rid of them and hopefully pin the murder blame on them. Andi decides to investigate and try to find the murderer. Her sister, deep undercover as a slutty waitress at a nearby bar being investigated by police for gambling, etc, also is in the process of buying a PI business. Although Andi is a teacher, school break allows her time to become completely embroiled in the murder and the PI business. The results are investigations that are aided by her former fiance and a couple new neighbors. Funny at times, nail biting at others, Andi plows ahead and keeps investigating through all kinds of disasters and problems. I like the way the other characters developed through the story and became stronger, as well as leaders in the community.This turned out to be a good mystery with an ending that was not what I expected. Throw in the romance of reconnecting with her former fiance, and you have a delightful book that was enjoyable from start to finish.
Schoolteacher and wannabe bakery owner, Andi Stevenson, becomes the proud owner of a dream home in Euphoria lane, an upscale condominium community, and looks forward to years of living in her own slice of heaven. Unfortunately she immediately encounters a dead body in her dumpster. Frozen speechless, she's rescued by her policewoman sister, who quips, "Great housewarming gift."
To cap off the disastrous start, Andi soon learns that the condominium property manager is the love of her life who abruptly dumped her nine years earlier. What's more, Euphoria Lane is anything but euphoric. The other residents are at war with the Board of Directors because they've been levying huge fines for small infractions. The dead dumpster diver was the BOD president and the police declare it's definitely a murder. When another board member is murdered, it becomes clear that Euphoria Lane board members have targets on their backs. Every resident is a suspect--including Andi--after all, she found the body, didn't she?
As she struggles to cope with her shattered dreams of peaceful home ownership, she makes friends with a goofy group of women who wear anti-board t-shirts to every board meeting. She then takes it on herself to solve the murders and also locate the missing wife of a grieving resident. Her current bright spot is the re-developing relationship between her and the property manager, who gets very protective of her, indeed.
Euphoria Lane is written in a delightfully quirky self-aware tone. The story events rise and fall between dips of sorrow and murder interspersed with peaks of humor. The characters are a mix of personalities, each distinct and memorable. The book kept a smile on my face the whole time through and I can't wait for her next Homeowners Association Mystery. Tina Swayzee McCright is an author to watch.
I received a free early release copy of this book from the Kindle Scout program.
This was an enjoyable book, but it just wasn't great for me. The main character, Andi, just purchased and moved into a new condo, and has all the warm and fuzzy feelings someone has when they get a new home. But things take a nosedive fast, when she learns the Home Owners Association (HOA) has so many petty rules without definite guidelines, and the members of the board make it the HOA from hell. For one example, Andi gets fined for having 2 leaves on her back patio. (It is supposed to be clean at all times.) All the residents are getting fined like crazy. Meanwhile, the president of the board is found dead, and there is so much animosity between the homeowners and the board that anybody could have killed her. Things go from bad to worse, quickly. If something can go wrong, it does. Other people start disappearing. Meanwhile, conveniently, Andi finds out that the Property Manager for the Condo development happens to be her ex boyfriend, who dumped her in college and she never quite got over him. So there is A LOT of interpersonal drama going on here. This book is written in a way that indicates there is meant to be lots of humor in the various situations and conversations. Somehow, it just didn't work for me, though. It was slightly amusing at times, but there were no laugh out loud moments. It was cute and somewhat interesting, but it just didn't have me riveted to my seat. I will say that the book was well written, only a little confusing (because of the number of characters), and true-to-life in showing the tensions between homeowners and management/board members in general. It's just didn't quite live up to the expectation I had for it.
For Andi, moving into her first condo seemed like euphoria...until she finds a dead body in the dumpster and all the HOA fines start coming through. Geez, it seems like you can't even turn around without breaking some sort of violation from the homeowner's association. There was just too many rules! And if the dead lady in the dumpster was part of the HOA board, then any one of the neighbors could've killed her.
It would seem the town reverend is the prime suspect in the murder, but Andi doesn't think so. Of course, she didn't really set off trying to find the killer. She just sort've fell into the gig in the midst of fighting the jerk president in charge of the HOA board. And it would seem that everyone in town had an opinion to who dunit.
This little mystery was pretty engaging overall, but it was a little confusing keeping up with all the assumptions and the clues. I mean, it didn't quite make sense right away. And the fact that we were dealing with an amateur sleuth didn't make it that much more engaging. But I did feel for Andi as she helplessly fought to keep the HOA off her back, while, at the same time, trying to evade a killer.
This book came to me via Fussy Librarian, for free. It was downloaded to my kindle. I enjoyed the mystery. It was a "fun" read. The characters were believable but on the wonderfully outrageous side. It is by no means fine literature, but that wasn't my expectation. It's just a fun read. I may look into the series.
Honestly, mysteries and procedurals rarely keep my interest. I find that they either are so purposefully arcane that they don’t make sense or I figure the killer out by chapter two. It’s a rare delight to find a novel that makes a world so compelling, characters so fun and clean, crisp prose that keeps me engaged from start to finish. I, quite literally, picked up this novel with the intention of reading a bit and going to bed early, and ended up devouring it until the wee hours of the morning. The author whips up an icy cold lemonade of a novel - a bit sweet, bracingly tart and utterly refreshing. It has the pace and polish of a good network procedural and fans of the spunky outsider who finds a way to help the police when no one else can will be entranced by the bucolic yet sinister world that is Euphoria Lane. Also, the book will make you even more afraid of that neighbor complaining about your lawn, that’s for certain…
I know it's fiction, but if there's even a sliver of a chance that a fraction of the antics this Homeowners' Association Board pulls in this novel could actually happen, I plan to run in the other direction from any properties that have one. This book's storyline really hit home for me (on a much smaller scale) because I received an anonymous nasty gram from a neighbor within a week of moving into my home. I felt like I was being watched and judged every time I stepped foot outside for a while, so I could totally relate to Andi's excitement over her new place quickly devolving into buyer's remorse, thanks to unfriendly and (in her case) murderous neighbors. Overall, this book was a fast and fun read that kept me entertained the whole way through. I hope I don't ever find a seemingly perfect house on a road called Euphoria Lane because my recollections of reading this book will probably keep me from buying it.
This was a very fun book to read. The opening sentence caught my attention and I liked the main character immediately. All the characters were people I enjoyed finding out about. They were like real people, responding to real issues. The problem with the HOA was very believable, and frustrating. It made me want to find out what would happen next. The pacing was great. I really enjoy cozy mysteries and this one had humor, characters to care about and a murder that kept me guessing till the end. I highly recommend this book.