Reviews

The Portal: The Chronicles of Caymin

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From Barb Taub:

“It’s always tough to create a believable middle book in a series arc, but Caren Werlinger succeeds brilliantly. The story arc takes Caymin and Péist both through adventures and through moral dilemmas, resolving them while still leaving enough threads open and a developing crisis to take us to the next book. I enjoyed the way Caymin’s character develops and grows, even as the slightly more alien dragon also tries to find his path as he matures. Caymin’s confusion about her attraction to another girl is sensitively and beautifully handled, fitting well into the context of the strong women who have guided her.” Read more HERE.

From Velvet Lounger:

“This is classic fantasy at its best. The world building is excellent, the incorporation of enough reality in the depiction of the lands and creatures grounds it in a history we can recognize, while sprinkling it with dragons, talking animals and portals to dream-worlds and time travel make it imaginary and unreal. Like many fantasy writers and fans the old days of Celtic and Druid has a built in attraction, calling to something in ourselves from a time both simpler and more complex.” Read more HERE.

The Beast That Never Was

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From Velvet Lounger:

“This is the 6th of Caren J. Werlinger’s books I have read and once again she has stepped outside of the traditional romance genre. After a series of extremely well done lesbian novels and the start of a mage/dragon lore fantasy series, The Beast That Never Was is by far the lightest and most fun of her stories to date.” Read more HERE.

From Lisa:

“A wondrous fairy tale for the modern age

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? If you look beyond your reflection, within the deepest parts of yourself and consider your emotions, what might you find? In an imaginative and thoughtful way, The Beast That Never Was leads the reader to think about such questions.” Read more HERE.

Rising From the Ashes: The Chronicles of Caymin

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From Barb Taub:

“When I started reading Rising From the Ashes, I was skeptical. Dragons in Ireland? I went straight to my favorite Irish myth expert, Ali Isaacs, who didn’t let me down. In her blog post, The Serpent in Irish Mythology, she recounts several stories of heroes battling dragons. And best of all, she mentions their Irish name—péista. 

So when the young apprentice mage Ash meets the strange creature who tells her it’s name is Péist, I knew we were in for some fun. ” Read more HERE.

Cast Me Gently

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From Publishers Weekly:

Werlinger (Turning for Home) sets this graceful and touching portrayal of first love, and its effect on family and friendship, against a backdrop of 1980s Pittsburgh, Pa. Pharmacist Teresa Benedetto works for her large Italian-American family’s chain of drugstores and feels stifled by their expectations. Bank teller Ellie Ryan is also restless, needing more to her life than work and the search for her homeless veteran brother. The attraction between Teresa and Ellie is immediate, but as their relationship grows, so do the choices that each of them must make: do they stay in lives that are familiar, or do they take the next step into independence and interdependence? (Read more HERE)

From Lost Bookmark:

I loved it.
I just adored everyone in it, I laughed, I cried, I relived events from my own past. I hungered for pasta and wine, and donuts and cappuccino.

This is billed as a “classic lesbian romance” and I don’t really do romance novels. But this was more than that to me. It was a really great story that was about a romance. (Read more HERE)

Turning for Home

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“Beautifully vivid and masterfully written, Turning for Home is an honest and rich telling of one woman’s journey to acceptance and happiness as she struggles to heal from the bitterly painful hardships of her life and strives to understand who she truly is without their weight. This isn’t a happy read by any means, but it is incredibly personal and powerfully composed. I found that the combined use of past and present narrations allowed me to connect very deeply with Jules as I came to know and love the both the vibrant child she was and the flawed but remarkable woman she grew to be. I highly recommend this book to any brave soul who wishes to shed a tear or two as they read what is easily, and without a doubt, one of the most poignantly heartfelt novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. I hope you have a box of tissues ready…you’ll need them.” The Rainbow Hub (Read more HERE)

” “I’m like you. Please help me get out of here.” Turning for Home could be the poster child for the “It Get’s Better” project. In fact, I wonder if the author, Caren J. Werlinger, has considered contributing her own video because I bet she would have a lot to add to the conversation. This is a book geared for adults, but it could be equally enjoyed by teens because a YA story is interwoven into the plot.” Jennifer Bardsley, the YA Gal (Read more HERE)

She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things

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“Caren Werlinger always writes thoughtful and thought provoking novels. No rote churning out of a formula time after time. Each of her books tells a very different story and speaks to us in different ways

“She sings” is, at heart, a ‘Traditional’ romance. Woman meets woman, both have insecurities and issues to overcome, but spend the book working through them. It is never absolute though, that this couple will resolve into the ‘happy ever after’ of less complex tales. Their past histories and present complications leave us wondering, throughout, whether one will have the courage to change, and the other will have the fortitude to wait, to trust.” Velvet Lounger Read more

“Another masterpiece from Master Storyteller Caren J Werlinger. Each of her books is so vastly different from the last. I never know what to expect. But the one thing I’ve come to expect and have never been disappointed in is, her writing is consistently good, her stories diverse and they are page turners from start to finish.

There are some authors I’d buy without reading any synopsis or knowing anything about the story. This is one such author. An author I trust will entertain me with a book I can’t put down.” Terry Read more

“She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things is extraordinary and impressive on many levels. It’s a romance that goes well beyond the everyday with the inclusion of literary references, metaphors, and a subtly nuanced plot. I think that the book description provides all you need to know in terms of a synopsis, so I’ll focus my review on some of the points that, in my view, make this book an amazing read.” Lisa Tu Read more

 

Year of the Monsoon

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“You know the kind of book where you deeply root for the two main characters? Like you really care about them? This is one of those.

Like Olive Oil and White Bread, this book skips the classic girl-meets-girl and begins with an already consolidated relationship. Leisa and Nan are together for 10 years when the story begins. Just like in any long partnership, their stability faces certain challenges: routine, work, intimacy, secrets, etc.

Right from the start the reader realizes that something is not right, like their pillars are fragile. Thus, when a series of events take place, it is expected that the structure cannot resist the storm – Leisa and Nan eventually crumble. Everything happens at once. Besides finding themselves again, they have to find a new way to make the relationship work.” Penny Read more

“Once again, Caren J. Werlinger has written an extraordinary novel. The first thing I noticed as I started this book was the completely new tone and point of view for her protagonists. It was a new tension that I’ve not seen in her other books. It was a bit chilling, but I knew that these people and this author would not let me down. It’s a remarkably fresh way of looking at “old reliable” relationships and some of the nuances that can plague long-time companions. I urge you to read this book… And then you’ll want to reread it! Honest!” Sheila Read more

 

In This Small Spot

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2014 Golden Crown Winner for Best Dramatic Fiction

“Is it necessary to say anything about a book after the word “Magnificent” is used?  Only if anything else helps to get someone to read this book.  If you read the blurb on the cover, just remember that this is not a book about religion, but about how religion can be one aspect that enriches a person’s life.

In This Small Spot is a powerful story about love, not just of the heart, but of the soul.  It juxtaposes two plot lines, one dealing with the profound love between two people and the other about the equally profound love of a woman for God and the community of women who bring her closer to his will, whatever that may be.” Piercing Fiction Read more

“I had an IM chat with a fellow author the other day. I asked her if she knew Caren Werlinger’s writing. My author friend wrote back immediately: “I love everything Caren writes. Everything.” I feel the same way. And that brief exchange made me wonder if Caren is the epitome of a “writer’s writer.” Somewhat similar to how Picasso is considered an “artist’s artist” but with one key difference: I can appreciate Caren’s writing as a reader, even while I am in awe of her writing skills.[I still don’t understand, or see, what Picasso is all about.]

I just finished reading “In This Small Spot” and I was just blown away. I wasn’t sure I would ever quite be able to extricate myself from the lingering aftereffects of the events and people in that story. Caren has once again given us models of strong, vibrant, and engaging women who, despite their strength and wisdom, struggle as much as the rest of us do when faced with decisions that affect the heart.” Sheila Read more

“This is a brilliantly written heart wrenching book about love and loss, set in an Abbey and built around a woman’s battles to survive bereavement and come to terms with her faith.

Dr Michelle Stewart looses everything when her life partner dies of cancer. She is adrift and lost in a world she no longer feels a part of. More than anything losing her partner makes her question the point of her vocation as a cancer surgeon, and her faith. She finds St Bridget’s Abbey by chance, feels pulled towards it and the peace it seems to offer.

So she gives up career, possessions, friends and family to see how monastic life will fit. And in doing so takes us into a world of women, isolated, cut off to a large degree, and choosing to take vows of poverty, chastity, silence and obedience. From of this life choice we see the nuns and novitiates struggling to overcome themselves, everything from chatting to being nosy to gossiping to wanting closeness and falling in love. As Micky goes through these emotions herself we are shown how even the women who have been in the Abbey for years struggle – it is clear the battle is never won, and even the elderly nuns can fall prey to pride and jealousy.” Velvet Lounger Read more

Neither Present Time

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2013 1st Runner Up Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Contemporary Romance

“Kalyanii reviews Neither Present Time by Caren J. Werlinger

It seems as though just about everyone has claimed insight into the nature of serendipity, destiny and happenstance. In fact, one of my most beloved quotes is attributed to former prime minister of Portugal and European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso:  “What people call serendipity sometimes is just having your eyes open.” Yet, how does a woman go about seeing clearly while she’s trying with all her might to remain in the dark, to live in denial of that which is plain as day?” Read more HERE

 

 

“Neither Present Time was an excellent and very enjoyable read! I loved that the novel had so many layers, and the ways that the different storylines were interconnected. I liked the way that the relationships and lives of Cory and Helen, and Beryl and Aggie paralleled each other in some respects. The lives and histories of the four women over the years are interwoven.

The flashbacks were a great aspect of the book. They hardly seemed like flashbacks (the author uses the present tense as an interesting way to distinguish them) and I was always eager to catch up on Cory and Helen’s story. As someone who is fond of old books, I really liked the way that Cory’s book and the inscription played into the story.

I came to this book because I enjoy reading lesbian fiction, but I think that Neither Present Time will have broader appeal. Readers who like well-written literary fiction, and strong female characters will appreciate this book.” Lisa Tu Read more

“Such a beautiful, tender book.

Beryl has always been there for her family, for her controlling girlfriend Claire, for her job. She forms one thread of the narrative. The other is the passionate love shared by Corinne Bishop and her lover Helen. They are brought together by the serendipitous discovery of an old book, but they are truly united by themes of obligation and responsibility. At its heart the book asks the reader – at what point is it enough, and for these duties to end? What does it mean to share love?

A bald description cannot do this book justice. From a simple concept, Werlinger creates a world which is powerful and evocative, and filled with a cast of rich characters. It is almost not a love story; while the romance is sweet, Beryl’s true journey is towards herself. Corinne and Helen’s story is almost not a love story either, except that it profoundly is. It is not a story of falling in love, but of two people in their determination to stay there. The push and pull of a relationship made difficult by everything standing in its way. Not a romance, but a love that is renewed by the will and effort of its actors.” P. Industry Read more

 

Miserere

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Winner 2013 Rainbow Award for LGBT Historical Fiction

“Caren Werlinger has written a masterful and gorgeous story in Miserere. Like the other reviewers, I could not put this book down. The story is about redemption in unlikely places among people related by blood or historical proximity to one another against a backdrop of the travesties committed in Ireland during the potato famine and in American during the last years of legalized slavery and, again in America, during the late 1960s. The juxtaposition of the Irish problem with that of the slaves and other marginalized cultures and peoples in America was a flawless execution of seamless delivery by Werlinger–and at the same time, so sensitively drawn, so beautifully nuanced, so completely engrossing.” T.T. Thomas Read more

“Miserere is an amazing book.  It moves easily between episodes from the different time periods, capturing the feelings and complexities of each era.  It addresses instances from US history that are often forgotten or that are fading from memory and makes them feel alive and in the moment.  Intolerance, ignorance and the tragic consequences of war are not unique to one period, which proves the point that history has an unfortunate habit of repeating itself.  However, it also speaks to how the chain can be broken by the actions of a few good, and determined, people.

One note to lesbian readers, this is not your typical lesbian novel.  Those who think books must contain scenes of lovers and the exclamations of feelings won’t find those here.  There are relationships, but they are gentle whispers in a story that ultimately proclaims the right of people to be different whether the differences are cultural, racial, gender related or in sexual orientation.  The book weaves an essence around the reader that draws you in and is compelling in the need to consume the story.  Connemara Faolain Mitchell may be one of the most remarkable characters created in literature period, regardless of the genre.” Piercing Fiction Read more

 

Looking Through Windows

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2009 Golden Crown Winner for Debut Fiction

“Werlinger has produced a better than usual first novel. The writing is tight, the editing is good and the characters are written to be three dimensional. The plot flows well, is engaging and holds the reader’s interest. A couple of scenes are a little contrived, but not enough to detract from the story. Romance fans will like this book, but it has more development than the typical novel in this genre. The story goes into depth about the issue of trust and the emotional baggage that can come with it, especially in a situation such as Emily faces. One way to know that a character is written in a convincing manner is when the reader would like to take that character and slap her for some of the things she does. When a character elicits that type of response it’s usually a sign of “reality.” ” Sage320 Read more
“I have just finished reading this book, as well as reviews that have been posted here by others, and will give my honest opinion. The author adds a lot of detail, which I personally enjoy, and you can’t help but love the characters immediately. I certain could relate to one of them and that’s perhaps one of the many reasons why I have truly enjoyed reading this book. Everyone likes different kinds of books and you can certainly make your decision based on the good OR bad reviews, but it’s always a good idea to see for yourself. I loved the style, the story, the detailed writing, and the characters. This author hasn’t disappointed me so far, so I’m definitely buying more from her.” Maya Read more

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