Search results: you had me at merlot

Book review: You Had Me At Merlot by Lisa Dickenson

31 Jul

Merlot-covers-4x1-1024x395

Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine – she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

A couple of weeks ago I featured part 1 of You Had Me At Merlot in my Serial Spotlight. Since then I’ve been happily working my way through parts 2, 3 and 4 and I’m delighted to be back on Lisa’s epic blog tour today with a full review of the book.

As you will have seen from my review of part 1, I loved this book from the start and I’m very pleased to say that the rest of the story lived up to expectations making this one of my favourite reads of the summer so far! Lisa’s writing is bright, bouncy and laugh out loud funny but she’s also not afraid to make a serious point and I thought the messages in this story were spot on. Lisa tackles, love, friendship, glass ceilings, independence and happiness in a fresh and honest way and although You Had Me At Merlot is a lighthearted rom-com on the surface, it’s a pretty inspirational read too!

I already thought best friends Elle and Laurie were fab but as I read on I discovered a new favourite character; Elle’s colleague Donna. I love it when characters take me by surprise and Donna did just that. Her story is very much focused on her life and job and I was shocked to find out the reason she’d chosen to go on a You Had Me At Merlot holiday. As the story progressed I found myself smiling at Donna’s revelations and I’d love to read what happens next to her (hint, hint Lisa!)

There were plenty of surprises from the other guests too and Lisa cleverly kept me guessing as to what would happen to them all next and where the romances would spring up. Despite her best efforts, Elle finds herself more than a little drawn to the owner’s handsome son Jaime. He starts off as a bit of a Mr Darcy figure but we soon get to see the softer side of him and as he whisks Elle off for a day in Florence in part two of the story, the scene is set for romance!

The descriptions of Italy and food in this book are just brilliant – it will make you want to pack your bags and run away to a sun-drenched vineyard. But it was Lisa’s cliffhanger endings that had me dying to read the next part of the story and I thoroughly enjoyed the surprises and twists to the tale.

Whether you are holidaying or not this summer, You Had Me At Merlot will provide the perfect escape and I can’t wait to read more from Lisa Dickenson.

5/5

Parts 1-3 of You Had Me At Merlot are out in ebook formats now.

Part 4 will be released on 4th August.

Find out more about Lisa and her books at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

Serial Spotlight! You Had Me At Merlot (part 1) by Lisa Dickenson

14 Jul

The first part of Lisa Dickenson’s fab new four-part rom-com novel, You Had Me At Merlot is out today and Lisa is embarking on a HUGE blog tour to celebrate! I’m delighted to be one of the first stops on the tour and to feature Part One in my Serial Spotlight today!

Lisa lives beside the sea in Devon with her husband and her first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas was winner of the Novelicious Debut of the Year Award! You can find out more about Lisa and her writing at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/ or follow her on Twitter @LisaWritesStuff

merlot1Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine – she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

I’m absolutely loving all the serialised novels that are being released at the moment; so much so that I’ve given my Short Story Spotlight a sister feature … Serial Spotlight (original eh?!) And to celebrate this new feature on the blog, I’m very excited to share my thoughts on Part 1 of You Had Me At Merlot, which is released today.

It’s always exciting to discover a new author and Lisa Dickenson has jumped straight onto my ‘funny and fabulous’ list with part one of You Had Me At Merlot.  I loved Elle and her best friend Laurie straight away as their cheeky banter set the scene. Elle is as firmly committed to her single status as Laurie is determined to lose hers but as only best friends can, Elle agrees to go with Laurie on a singles vineyard holiday in Tuscany.

I thought Lisa did a great job of quickly establishing the girls’ friendship and setting the scene for the holiday and as the girls arrive in Tuscany, the descriptions are wonderful and really did transport me to another place! At around 50 pages, this is the perfect story to load on your Kindle as you set off on your holidays this summer and will just add to that ‘off on holiday’ buzz. Equally, if like me, you’re not off to a different country, You Had Me At Merlot will provide the perfect escape!

The fab thing about serials is that you can read them in one sitting and they give you the chance to try new books and authors without committing to buying (and reading) a whole book – I didn’t want this one to end as Lisa introduces a great group of characters in Tuscany. Villa owners Sebastian and Sofia are already favourites of mine.

Laurie and Elle’s other holiday companions are a varied group in personality and ages and I can’t wait to find out more about them as the story progresses.  There are some fab surprises as the other holiday guests appear and I love the possibilities that Part One of this series has already set up (including  a little hint of possible romance for both girls!)

Lisa’s writing is sassy, funny and easy to relate to and with the parts being released weekly, thankfully there won’t be long to wait to find out what happens next to Elle, Laurie and the other guests in Tuscany. This is a great start to a new summer serial and I’d highly recommend adding You Had Me At Merlot to your summer reading list!

merlot all

5/5

Part One of You Had Me At Merlot is released today in ebook format.

Part Two is released on 21st July 2014

Part Three will be out on 28th July 2014

The fourth and final part will be out on 4th August 2014

Look out for my full review of all four parts when Lisa’s blog tour returns to One More Page on 31st July and please do check out the other stops on the tour!

 

Book review: Catch Me If You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

10 May

9780751565171Jess has decided it’s time to get out of her comfort zone and live a little. So when her best friend Bryony, a journalist on a gossip magazine, is sent to cover the Cannes Film Festival, Jess decides to seize the day and go along for the ride. Two weeks of sun, glamour and exclusive entry into celeb-filled parties is just the kind of adventure Jess needs.

Reality soon bites though when Jess and Bryony find they’re staying in a dingy hotel far away from all the action and Bryony’s expenses budget barely covers a glass of local wine. Undeterred, the two women are determined to live like the elite and enjoy one fancy night out to begin their holiday. So what if they have to tell a few white lies along the way? It’s just this once. No harm done . . . right?

Are you looking for a little escape? Well, I have the perfect escape right here for you – and you don’t even have to move to enjoy it! Lisa Dickenson’s sunny new novel, Catch Me If You Cannes has just been released in paperback format. The novel was originally released as a four part serial in ebook format and has now been packaged up with this fab summery cover, just in time for some holiday reading!

Last summer Lisa took us to Italy with You Had Me At Merlot and this year we’re heading to the South of France with Jess and Bryony for a fun and funny adventure at the Cannes Film Festival. With two fabulously funny leading ladies, a potential love interest (or two) and is buckets of quick wit and spur of the moment adventure this book is so much fun!

Lisa is great at creating characters that will make you laugh but also have more than just fun banter going on underneath and as I read this book and learned a little of each girl’s history, I took them both to my heart.  Jess runs a cafe in Cornwall and is taking the opportunity to escape some of the worries that have been preoccupying her lately by escaping for a holiday with her best friend.

Bryony is more than happy to have her friend along for the ride as she sets out to report on the film festival for the gossip mag that she works for whilst dreaming of the day that she’ll be taken seriously as a journalist. From horrible bosses, feeling stuck in a rut, dealing with failed romances and wondering what the future holds, Lisa hits on issues all readers will identify with whilst keeping the story light and making us laugh.

As the girls seize the chance to live a glamerous life of cocktails, parties and beautiful places and people for just a night or two they are forced to throw in a few little white lies. As the fibs build, Jess and Bryony find themselves caught in a number of tricky situations that I had no idea how the were going to get out of and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could.

The descriptions of Cannes and the surrounding areas made me wish I could go there and a visit to the playground of the rich and famous, Monaco also features. As a reader who loves travel and discovering new places, I really enjoyed the descriptions of beautiful new places. As Jess gets to know hunky love interest Leo, the exotic locations couldn’t provide a better backdrop and combined with a little mystery the story really sparkles and has some excellent twists.

Lisa certainly knows how to write a killer one-liner and Catch Me If You Cannes is full of them – I defy anyone to not smile while reading this book. I loved enjoying sunshine, smiles, glamour and romance with Jess and Bryony at the Cannes Film Festival and the ending of the book was the icing on the cake!

5/5

Catch Me If You Cannes is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Sphere.

Find out more about Lisa and her books at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Exclusive cover reveal! Catch Me If You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson

18 Jan

I’m a HUGE fan of Lisa Dickenson’s laugh out loud rom-coms so I was VERY excited to be asked if I’d like to reveal the gorgeous new cover for the paperback release of Catch Me If You Cannes. Of course I said yes so here without further ado is the beautifully sunny new cover for this fabulous book which will be published by Sphere on 4th May!

Cannes

 

WARNING: reading Catch Me If You Cannes may result in embarrassing outbursts of belly-aching laughter on public transport. Romantic, funny and full of Cannes Film Festival magic, it’s perfect for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Paige Toon and  Mhairi McFarlane.

Jess has decided it’s time to get out of her comfort zone and live a little. So when her best friend Bryony, a journalist on a gossip magazine, is sent to cover the Cannes Film Festival, Jess decides to seize the day and go along for the ride. Two weeks of sun, glamour and exclusive entry into celeb-filled parties is just the kind of adventure Jess needs.

Reality soon bites though when Jess and Bryony find they’re staying in a dingy hotel far away from all the action and Bryony’s expenses budget barely covers a glass of local wine. Undeterred, the two women are determined to live like the elite and enjoy one fancy night out to begin their holiday. So what if they have to tell a few white lies along the way? It’s just this once. No harm done . . . right?

Full of hilarious one-liners, sparkling blue seas and plenty of romantic moments, Catch Me If You Cannes is the story of two friends, a few white lies and one very sticky situation . . .

lisa dickensonLisa Dickenson is the pseudonym for Beyoncé. OK, FINE, THAT’S NOT TRUE.

Lisa lives by the Devon seaside, stuffing cream teas in the gobs of anyone who comes to visit, and writing stuff down that she hopes is funny.  Her first novel was the copyright-infringing Sweet Valley Twins: The Twins Holiday Horror, which she wrote in primary school and gave up on after five pages. Twenty-ish years later Lisa went on to be a *real author* and wrote the Novelicious Debut of the Year, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. In summer 2016 out popped You Had Me at Merlot, and in winter 2016 she released the fabulous Mistletoe on 34th Street. Catch Me if You Cannes will be her fourth book available in paperback.

Chat to Lisa (and tell her how much you love her new cover!) at:

www.lisadickenson.com
Twitter @LisaWritesStuff
Facebook /LisaWritesStuff
Instagram lisawritesstuff

Short Story Spotlight: Catch Me If You Cannes – Part 2

11 May

9780751557473The second part in this hilarious four-part romantic comedy, from the author of You Had Me at Merlot and The Twelve Dates of Christmas – winner of the Novelicious Debut of the Year award.

Jess had been feeling on top of the world – she’d had the best night out with Bryony, making lots of fabulous new friends, and she’d MET A BOY! Now, all of a sudden, her carefully constructed (if slightly exaggerated) facade is about to come tumbling down. She’s had a taste of how the other half live and she’s not ready to give it up just yet – especially if it means also giving up Leo. But how long can Jess and Bryony continue pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes before they’re in too deep?

Each Monday this month I’m posting a review of a part of Lisa Dickenson’s fun new novel, Catch Me If You Cannes. The book is being released in four ebook parts throughout May and is just perfect to get you in the mood for sunshine and holidays!

In my review of part one last week I said I couldn’t wait to read more as the girls had got themselves into a bit of a tricky situation by pretending that they were staying at a very posh Cannes hotel and then having to follow through on their fibs! I wondered how on earth they’d get out of it without losing face in front of the new friends they’d made but quick thinking Jess and Bryony managed to do it! The result is more high jinx as they caper through the hotel to make their escape and the opening to part two of the book certainly made me smile.

After the opening escapades, part two of this book felt more relaxed than part one and I felt like I got to know Bryony and Jess better as they enjoyed the sights and sounds of Cannes. The descriptions of Cannes made me wish I could go there and in this part the girls also visit playground of the rich and famous, Monaco. As a reader who loves travel and discovering new places, I really enjoyed the descriptions of beautiful new places.

There’s still plenty of glitz and red carpet glamour to this part of the story including an exciting trip to a casino! Who couldn’t fail to be swept up in the romance of it all? The setting makes the perfect backdrop for Jess and Leo’s developing romance and their scenes in this part of the book are very sweet. Like Bryony though, I’m very curious to know what exactly it is that Leo does! Bryony’s imagination seems to be working overtime but if her hunches are right it could lead to heartbreak for Jess.

The book ended on another enticing cliffhanger – thank goodness there’s only another week to wait for part three!

Catch Me If You Cannes part two is released today in ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Lisa Dickenson and her writing at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

Short Story Spotlight: Catch Me If You Cannes – Part 1

4 May

9780751557466Jess has decided it’s time to get out of her comfort zone and live a little. So when her best friend Bryony, a journalist on a gossip magazine, is sent to cover the Cannes Film Festival, Jess decides to seize the day and go along for the ride. Two weeks of glitz, glamour and exclusive entry into celeb-filled parties is just the kind of adventure Jess needs.

Reality soon bites though when Jess and Bryony find they’re staying in a dingy hotel far away from all the action and Bryony’s expenses budget barely covers a glass of local wine. Undeterred, the two women are determined to live like the elite and enjoy one fancy night out to begin their holiday. So what if they have to tell a few white lies along the way? It’s just this once. No harm done . . . right?

Are you looking for a little escape this May Bank Holiday Monday? If like me you haven’t jetted off to somewhere exotic for a Bank Holiday long weekend, I have the perfect escape right here for you – and you don’t even have to move to enjoy it! The first part of Lisa Dickenson’s sunny new novel, Catch Me If You Cannes is released in ebook fomats today and it was certainly the pick me up I needed as I watched the rain come down earlier in the weekend!

Last summer Lisa took us to Italy with You Had Me At Merlot and this year we’re heading to the South of France with Jess and Bryony for a fun and funny adventure at the Cannes Film Festival. Part one of the book introduces us to the leading ladies, throws in a potential love interest (or two) and is full of quick wit and spur of the moment adventure. Although this is a quick read it really is an escape and I feel like I already know Bryony and Jess well.

Lisa is great at creating characters that will make you laugh but also have more than just fun banter going on underneath and as I read this part of the book and learned a little of each girl’s history I took them both to my heart.  Jess runs a cafe in Cornwall and is taking the opportunity to escape some of the worries that have been preoccupying her lately by escaping for a holiday with her best friend. Bryony is more than happy to have her friend along for the ride as she sets out to report on the film festival for the gossip mag that she works for whilst dreaming of the day that she’ll be taken seriously as a journalist. From horrible bosses, feeling stuck in a rut, dealing with failed romances and wondering what the future holds, Lisa hits on issues all readers will identify with whilst keeping the story light and making us laugh.

As the girls seize the chance to live a glamerous life of cocktails, parties and beautiful places and people for just a night or two they are forced to throw in a few little white lies. As the fibs build, Jess and Bryony find themselves caught in a tricky situation that I have no idea how they’re going to get out of! As Part One ended it left me wishing for more and I can’t wait for part two of the book which will be out next Monday!

Catch Me If You Cannes part one is released today in ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Lisa Dickenson and her writing at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

 

 

Author interview: Lisa Dickenson

21 Jun

The sun is shining (at last!) and I’m delighted to welcome Lisa Dickenson to One More Page today to talk about her fabulous summer read You Had Me At Merlot which has just been released in paperback. Lisa was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She’s now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who’ll visit. She is sadly still not Beyoncé.

Lisa’s first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award and was an instant hit with readers who were won over by her wit, charm and naughty sense of humour – she’s got her fingers crossed that everyone feels the same about You Had Me at Merlot. Welcome Lisa!

lisa dickensonI loved reading You Had Me At Merlot when it was released as a serial (read my reviews here!), but for those who haven’t discovered its fabulousness yet, please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

Thanks for being there from the start, Amanda!  You’re such a champion :-)

Okay, in a nutshell, You Had Me at Merlot follows two friends who go on a singles holiday to a Tuscan vineyard.  One is excited, one is reluctant, but both are looking forward to some Italian sunshine and some wine.  And as they get to know the other guests, they get to know themselves a little better also.

The novel is set in a vineyard in beautiful Tuscany; how did you go about your research and what was the most interesting fact you found!?

I researched the book before it even existed, by visiting a few vineyards over the past ten years.  So when I started writing a book about wine, the memories all came flooding back.  I also drank a lot of wine, and gazed at Italian holiday brochures, all in the name of research.  The most interesting facts I found out while researching were a) that chili in wine is flippin’ AMAZING, and b) that one of the Assassin’s Creed games is set in a beautiful little medieval village in the Tuscan countryside.

 Laurie persuades Ellie to go on holiday to Italy with her; what are your top 3 tips for holidaying with friends? 

  1. Have lots of nibbles and drinks to consume during frantic chatter (now is not the time to diet).
  2. Pick a place a little out of all of your comfort zones, so one person doesn’t end up feeling like they have to be the holiday-mum/dad.
  3. Laugh and laugh and be kind and complimentary to each other at every opportunity.  Enjoy the sunshine or the snow or the storms and take time to remember why you LOVE these friends.

There are some mouthwatering descriptions of food (and wine!) in You Had Me At Merlot – what would the menu for your merlot 3dideal Italian meal look like?

And I can’t have a pizza starter, pizza main and pizza desert?  FINE.  Mmmm, I love Italian food.  I think the starter would have to be some Parma ham, some hard Italian cheese, some olive oil and garlic breads and chili jam… that kind of thing!  ALL OF IT.  Then pizza would be the main course, because pizza is heaven.  Then affogato – ice cream with espresso poured over the top.  And then a cheeky limoncello to finish up with :-)

Laurie and Ellie made me laugh and I loved their stories; by way of introduction, what would their Twitter Bio’s say?

Wow – good question!

Elle’s would be something like ‘Single and really not bothered about mingling, please stop pity-eyeing me.  Views are my own.’  And Laurie’s would say ‘Cracking photographer.  Always looking for hunky male models.  Master of disguise.’

But whether their profiles would change by the end of the book remains to be seen…

Who was your favourite character to write and did they throw any surprises your way as the story developed?

Lothario George was a fun guy to write because he was so vom-inducing until he showed me his true colours and then I started to kind of love him.  I didn’t know his back story when he first appeared at the vineyard, but he opened the door to me a few glasses of wine in.

And finally … what can we expect next from Lisa Dickenson?

Next up is Mistletoe on 34th Street, which comes out in ebook in September and paperback in October of this year.  And I’m just putting the final touches to it now!

Yay! A new Christmassy book to look forward to! Thanks Lisa!

 

Follow Lisa on Twitter for all her book news and Beyoncé -related chatter: @LisaWritesStuff.

And don’t forget to check out Lisa’s site at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/

9780751561937Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine. She likes her independent life, but Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. She has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

Full of sultry summer nights, hilarious moments and plenty of adventure, You Had Me at Merlotwill warm even the most cynical of hearts and have you believing in the magic of romance (and the power of a decent glass of wine).

You Had Me At Merlot is out now in paperback and ebook fomats.