Book Review: Grinza’s Orchard by Leonard I. Eckhaus

Grinza’s Orchard is the story of a Gypsy girl growing up in the early 1900’s in Romania. At five years old she is gifted her own cherry tree and it becomes the centerpiece of the story as she grows up dreaming of one day having her own full-blown cherry orchard. To deal with some of the problems that she faces such as an unwanted boy who is attracted to her, a terribly hard decision she has to make to save her parents from illness during the coldest winter on record in their village, achieving her life’s dream of having her own cherry orchard and then suddenly losing it, she seeks help with visits to the witch Auntie Angelina and the Guru Sylvanus, who lives in a cave atop a nearby mountain. The story follows Grinza, her husband Clopin, and their children’s lives in the small gypsy village of Cojasca.

You will fall in love with Grinza…

Laugh with her as she is willing to try anything to get rid of her freckles… cry with her as she gives up her greatest possession to save her parents… cheer for her as she reaches her lifelong dream… and follow her as she grows up, gets married and has children of her own.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Grinza is a gypsy born in Romania in the late 1800’s. She has a cherry tree that she received when she was five years old, and she cherishes it so much that her dream is to have an orchard of cherry trees. This is her journey from that one tree to having that orchard as well as being blessed with a loving husband and three children.

Most of the characters in Grinza’s Orchard are good, hard-working people. Grinza and her husband are both willing to sacrifice any of their possessions for the people they love. If only more people were like them, our world might not be such a mess right now.

Grinza’s Orchard is a tale of dreams, love, life and death with just a touch of magic. It’s only 112 pages long, but it’s a sweet tale for children of all ages.

About the Author

Leonard Eckhaus is the founder of AFCOM, the leading organization in the world for data center managers. His comments and opinions have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the cofounder of LL MUSIC LLC and received two Grammy nominations in 2018.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Wish Rider by Barbara Casey


Seventeen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.’s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that

Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

Buy the book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble



My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. I had read The Cadence of Gypsies, the first book in The F.I.G. Mysteries and I was looking forward to reading book #2.

After Carolina was able to find her birth mother with the help of the F.I.G.s, one of the girls, Dara, wants to try to find her mother. Dara had been abandoned 10 years ago in a candy shop in New York. Carolina gets approval from the school and the F.I.G.s are off the New York City days after they just returned from Italy.

I like the characters in this book and how the F.I.G.s and Carolina are so supportive of each other. My favorite character, though, has to be Carolina’s mother, Lyuba. She’s a gypsy and has a lot of talent and wisdom.

The F.I.G. Mysteries are good stories and I like Barbara Casey’s writing. I did feel like there could have been a little more content in this one. There was a lot of back story from the first book and I almost felt like I was re-reading it in the first couple of chapters.

The FIG Mysteries for readers of all ages, but especially young adults and middle grade readers.


About the Author

2016-08-14_19-45-32Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:   Website



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Book Review: Grey by Christi J. Whitney

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Grey 2Title: Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1)
Author: Christi J. Whitney
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy)
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.

Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.

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My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

Sebastian Grey is a teen who is lucky enough to have someone to live with rather than being stuck in the foster system after his parents died in an accident. At least, that is what he’s been told. He has no memory of what happened before the accident and figures it’s best that way.

Grey is a young adult fantasy that includes a tragic love story. It flows well and is an interesting read but it’s also heartbreaking.

Few of the characters are what they seem at the beginning. Eventually, Sebastian is introduced to the world of Gypsies and gargoyles and his life will never be the same.

Grey is a good young adult antasy that I definitely recommend. I also recommend keeping a tissue handy.




I hear my name, but I can’t answer. I’m trapped by the image in my head.

It flashes again.


Rainbow-scorched leaves. Gypsy music.

 Caravans of faded paint.


‘Sebastian Grey!’

Dark and nothing.

I struggled for words. ‘Yes, sir?’

Are you joining this group or not? I need to get a list . . . ’

Another flash.


Bonfires. Starless night.

 A girl dancing. Ribbons in her hair.


‘For the last time, Mr Grey, wake up!’

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