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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A summer essential!
Having already been a HUGE fan of Lisa Dickenson and her fabulous writing, I was so excited for You Had Me At Merlot!

Elle and Laurie are two friends who seem to be the only ones left – they’re both single, they’re both not getting married or having babies or anything else remotely couple-like. Elle is TOTALLY cool with this –...
Published 8 months ago by Megan ReadingInTheSunshine

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite enjoyed the first part and part 2 but I do ...
Quite enjoyed the first part and part 2 but I do not like to have to pay for each part separately, so I won't buy the next part(s)
Published 6 months ago by Chris


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A summer essential!, 22 July 2014
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
Having already been a HUGE fan of Lisa Dickenson and her fabulous writing, I was so excited for You Had Me At Merlot!

Elle and Laurie are two friends who seem to be the only ones left – they’re both single, they’re both not getting married or having babies or anything else remotely couple-like. Elle is TOTALLY cool with this – she’s got her independent life, her job, and she’s completely happy without walking down the aisle any time soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now. So when Laurie begs Elle to come on a singles holiday to a gorgeous Vineyard is Tuscany, Elle isn’t so sure. You Had Me At Merlot holidays offers sunshine, fun and the chance of romance, and with ten days in the sun with her best friend and wine – how bad can that be?

Ohmygosh I LOVED THIS I loved this I loved this! Lisa is such a fantastic writer – she always manages to draw me in straight away and You Had Me At Merlot grabbed me straight away.

I liked Elle and Laurie from the moment I first met them, I found I could really relate to aspects of their personalities and it was a truly fun and exciting ride sharing this journey with them! Even in the first part of the book, I felt as though I had known them both for years and like they were my personal BFF’s.

You Had Me At Merlot is such a feel-good book! I laughed out loud so many times and at one point I even had tears rolling down my face where I couldn’t contain myself. And the romance too – I giggled, I swooned and oh my heart MELTED.

The setting of Tuscany was BEAUTIFUL – with sunshine, wine, and vineyards, I genuinely wanted to pack my bags and hop straight on plane! Honestly wine and a vineyard in a beautiful location in a book – this is genuinely the most BRILLIANT idea ever! A tip for you all: sit out in your garden on in the sunshine with some wine while you read this – it’ll be like you’ve been transported there! Whilst reading I could see the beautiful setting, I could feel the atmosphere around me, it was wonderful. I loved the life at the vineyard, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of the characters on the holiday and around the vineyard, Lisa has written a great mix of people with fun and quirky personalities and Lisa’s writing constantly made me feel like I was part of it all.

You had Me At Merlot is in four parts and I actually really liked this, as I found I could read each part in a single sitting, which is fantastic for if you’re busy, on the go or reading in your lunch break or on a journey for example. I really liked the thought that I had the next part to eagerly look forward to and I enjoyed getting excited about devouring the next part.

You Had Me At Merlot is PERFECT for reading this summer! With a gorgeous setting, fun and romance – You Had Me At Merlot is a summer essential!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most hilarious novels I've read in yonks!, 10 Aug. 2014
By 
Zarina @ Page to Stage reviews (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
*** REVIEW OF ALL FOUR PARTS - NO SPOILERS ***

Lisa Dickenson won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award for her first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas. While I haven't had a chance to read it yet (which will be rectified soon!), after reading the snort-out-loud funny You Had Me At Merlot I completely understand why her witty writing was favoured over many other fantastic debut novels.

Elle is one of the few people in her social circle who is still single. She is totally okay with that though, as her life revolves around her work and she loves that she can do as she pleases without having to consult an other half on everything. But when her bestie, Laurie, breaks up with her boyfriend she is not as contempt with singledom as Elle is. Laurie is determined to get married as soon as legally possible and in her desperation to find a man to help her obtain this goal she's willing to do just about anything.

When Laurie suggests a singles holiday, this sounds like Elle's worst nightmare. Being forced to spend what should be a relaxing break from work with a bunch of strangers whose sole focus on the trip is finding their perfect partners? Yikes. But plied by a getaway to the stunning Italian countryside and the promise of lots of wine, Elle reluctantly agrees to come along. She intends to visit only for the picturesque views and alcoholic beverages on offer, but with romance lingering in the Tuscany air will she too find a handsome beau to spend the hot Italian nights with?

There are not enough adjectives to express how fantastic this novel is! The writing is incredibly funny, witty and refreshing, and I would liken it to that of the equally fantastic Lindsey Kelk though that wouldn't be fair to either of the two ladies. While they both manage to make me snort out loud on the train up until the point that people start staring at me, not to mention make me swoon quite literally over the gorgeous men within their pages, they each have their own unique voice when describing their heroine's hilarious escapades. And hilarious they are.

The novel is being released in four digital parts throughout July and August. While I'm normally not a fan of short stories or books that have been split up into smaller segments, because so often the lack of page numbers results in a lack of plot and character developments, this superb romantic comedy singlehandedly shows that it can be done well. Each part had its own engrossing storyline with plenty of surprises along the way and ending on a nail-biting cliffhanger that will have you counting down the days until you can get your eager hands on the next part in the series.

You Had Me At Merlot is one of the most hilarious novels I've read in yonks and I absolutely loved it to pieces. Lisa Dickenson's writing is fresh and a lot of fun, and I'm super excited to have found a new voice in women's fiction whose books I will be looking out for from now on!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and heart-warming, 7 Aug. 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
This is such a cute story, I adored it. Thank God I got sent the four parts because I devoured the whole book in a couple of days. Elle, our heroine, is such a cute girl, and so funny. She doesn't want love, she doesn't need a man in her life, when would she have time to perfect her dance routines if she had a boyfriend? But she is a great friend and agrees to go with Lauria to a singles holiday in Tuscany, as I said, such a good friend, I mean who would leave work behind and go on a holiday in Tuscany just to help a friend... OK, I would. And you would too. But you get the image, she is cute and nice.

What she doesn't expect is to find so many options for love in Tuscany: there's George, the loaded American womanizer ready to become Elle's sugar daddy, and there's Jamie, the gorgeous Italian wine-maker. If you want to know who is going to win Elle's heart you'll have to read the book but I know who won mine: Tuscany. The setting is so perfect, and Lisa describes it so perfectly. I could totally picture myself in a bathtube, looking through the windows to the sun setting on the vinyards while a gorgeous Italian works from sun to sun. Okay, maybe Jamie won my heart a little bit too...

All in all, You Had Me at Merlot is the perfect summer read: hilarious and heart-warming. It has this feel-good sparkle than will have you turning page after page and will leave you with a huge smile in your face. So, don't doubt it, get all 4 parts right now, they are all available now and enjoy the sun and magic of Tuscany. You are in for a real treat. Lisa is one of the funniest and wittiest writers you can find and I'm sure big things are coming her way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious, sweet, superbly written, 6 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
I’m finding it really hard to find the words to describe this book. Gorgeous, sparkly, smiley, sunshiney, winey, (I’m sure those last two are words and if they’re not they should be), funny, (I have to mention funny, because it is quite simply hilarious) heartwarming, wonderful and fun are a few great words to describe this book, but also addictive, unputdownable and amazeballs are some other accurate words.

I have read quite a few intense books recently and it was wonderful to step into the sunshine, quite literally, with this book and experience the fun, frivolity and frolics of Lisa’s wonderful writing.

Lisa just has a unique, gorgeous writing style. It’s silly and funny and it stands out a mile in a sea of other romcom writers. When the story opens with Elle triumphantly ringing her friend to declare she has learnt the dance moves to All The Single Ladies by Beyoncé, I just knew I was in for a real treat. Lisa’s writing just bursts with smiles, giggles and full on belly laughs, her wit and humour just sparkles from the page.

Her descriptions were so vivid, so well defined, I could clearly see the beautiful vineyards and countryside of rural Tuscany. I’ve never been to Tuscany before or visited a vineyard or had any real desire to, but Lisa’s beautiful writing has me yearning to visit, to drink the wine in the sunshine, to explore the countryside on the back of a vespa, eat wonderful Italian food and fall in love with the Italian men.

The characters are just perfect, Elle reminds me quite a lot of me, the silly things she says, the tricky situations she lands herself in, her insecurities, her dreams. I loved her, she was loveable, funny, kind, she was the perfect female lead.

Jamie was a gorgeous, vulnerable, hunky, strong, brooding, perfect Italian Stallion. I fell in love with him as soon as I met him.

I completely fell in love with Laurie too, Elle’s best friend and the reason Elle finds herself in Tuscany in the first place. She was fiercely loyal, fun to be around and I loved her relationship with Elle. I actually wanted Laurie as my best friend. Lisa’s characters are real, tangible, wonderful people.

The story was split into four parts and at the end of each part Lisa left us with some corking cliffhangers that left me screaming with frustration that I would have to wait another week to find out what happens next, and I was never disappointed when the next instalment did arrive on my Kindle, Lisa delivered every single time.

I know Lisa has a huge career ahead of her as a romantic comedy writer, and one that is already head and shoulders above her peers with her fresh, sparkly gorgeous style.

You need You Had Me At Merlot in your life, perfect to read for by the pool, in your garden or as you’re sipping a warm glass of Merlot. Buy it now, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted, fun read, 6 Aug. 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
Having previously read Lisa's Twelve Dates of Christmas I was really looking forward to reading You Had Me at Merlot. It also has a fab title that just sticks in your mind.

You Had Me At Merlot is light-hearted, happy read with some serious bits thrown in. Elle is an easily likeable character and she works in Marketing just like me. Elle works all the hours that God sends and doesn't get any thanks for it. She is always trying to get her boss Donna to notice her, but it doesn't seem to be working. Apart from work Elle is very happy being single thank you very much, but then her friend Laurie begs her to go on on a singles holiday called You Had Me At Merlot in Tuscany Elle reluctantly agrees, but she is still staying very firmly single...

Lisa always manages to quickly draw you in to a story and I find that I finish the story really quickly because of this. The characters are also really well developed and have their very own very unique personalities and it made it easier to picture them, especially one of the characters George, that Elle meets who I had love/hate feelings for.

I loved how this was set in Tuscany. I truly felt transported there and was imagining myself lapping up the rays of sunshine and feeling very relaxed. I found that Elle has a lot of baths in this overlooking the vineyard and it was easy to picture myself relaxing there (on my own of course, not with Elle!).

What I thought was cleverly done was the way the parts were split up. At the end of each part, it left you wanting to read on and find out more, so anyone starting to read will definitely want to read on.

Overall a lighthearted, fun, happy read from the lovely Lisa Dickenson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 1 Aug. 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
So first of all the award for the most colourful book cover or should I say covers definitely would be awarded to this series, are they not amazingly summery too!

Now I knew when I started reading this that it would be good due to be several pages in and already dabbing my eyes from my laughter!

Now if you are a regular to my blog you will know I hate spoilers and with this series I totally want to avoid this so I am going to go with what I know best, rambling about stuff!

So YHMAM (too lazy to type out the whole title!!) is one of these rare books that manages to be really funny and a really good read at the same time, Elle and Laurie, single and out of luck escape to Italy to a single resort to see if they can find Mr Right. The scene that involved the airport and the plane was both hysterical and a little scary (turbulence eeek!), our two ladies Elle and Laurie are totally brilliant characters and a great supporting character is the gorgeous country of Italy!!

As the girls arrive at their beautiful resort they are nervously desperate to see the other guests which include much to Elle's horror a familiar face and an overzealous American. As they explore the resort and the country around them but the big question is will they find love under the Tuscan sun?

Single ladies Elle and Laurie's quest for love is one of the best books I've read this year plus a certain male character (remember no spoilers) will get you all hot and flustered.

The banter back and forth between Elle and Laurie is just brilliant too, they are both such likeable people and you really do want to get to know them better though after a few pages it feels like you have known them for years!

YHMAM is a great addition to your Kindle, if you are heading of to sunny foreign shores or even just your back garden you should download this now, the first three parts are ready and waiting for you and the final part is released on the 4th of August. After enjoying Lisa's writing so much I'm going to go and investigate her back catalogue.

You had me at Merlot is awarded 5 out of 5

Thanks to Little Brown for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review
Originally appeared on my blog http://redheatherduff.blogspot.com/2014/08/merlot.html
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5.0 out of 5 stars This summer's must - read, 29 July 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
The books can be funny or funny. You Had Me at Merlot belongs to the highest category of funny, funny with a big F, tactful funny, hilariously funny, laughing out loud funny, making you cry with laughter funny. My kinda funny, absolutely.
And Lisa herself is one of the funniest, warmest person EVER. I often cry with laughter reading her one - liners on Twitter, so just imagine what's she done to me writing a whole book. I was in stitches. Lisa has incredible way of creating FUN out of a very ordinary sentence and describing situations that could be dull in a most witty way, and inventing situations that had me shaking my head, kicking my legs, gasping, rolling, together with a very honest, belly - laugh.
You Had me at Merlot is an instalment of 4 parts published in intervals, Part 1 - 14th July, Part 2 - 21st July, Part 3 - 28th July, Part 4 - 4th August. Be sure you won't forget to order them all!
The book introduces us to Elle. Elle is single, she enjoys being single in fact, she has a job that she loves and is good at and she hopes for a promotion soon. Elle's best friend Laurie is also single but she starts thinking that perhaps it's time to settle down. So Laurie, using many different arguments, persuades Elle to go on holiday with her. Tasting wine, driving Vespas, hot sun... And not forget that it's holidays for singles.
Elle isn't thrilled but with Laurie's persuading skills she soon finds herself on a plane to Italy. A very eventful plane. Of course, Elle is going to enjoy only wine, vespas and hot sun, she doesn't believe in relationships, for sure not in a relationship with somebody that she knows only for few days and is going to leave this part of You Had Me at Merlot holidays for Laurie. On the other hand, holidays under the sun, with a glass of wine in one hand and best friend - it can't be too bad, can it? But well, life - as usual - is full of surprises and hey, never say never!
And here starts the best holidays EVER. Holiday full of, yes, wine, Vespas and hot sun, but also many, many embarrassing situations, many new friends, attractions prepared by the owner of the hotel, hot men, unexpected visits from ex - girlfriends, playing spies and making wine with their own feet. And co - singles, in the form of Elle's boss, who arrived screaming and kicking, for a good start. Dream holiday, isn't it?
I fell in love with Elle and Laurie from the very beginning. Laurie became my hero after her Botox incident, it was HILARIOUS! Elle, with her down - to - earth, doesn't give a damn attitude could be my new book best friend. She was incredibly funny, incredibly clever, incredibly loyal and incredibly gullible and incredibly prone to accident, let's mention only her photo session at the museum or her Vespa ride. Only two out of the very, very many, one more ridiculous than the other.
The owners of You Had Me at Merlot were sweet and charming and I can't imagine now a better idea for my holidays, I could pretend I'm single for ten days, no problem. The attractions they prepared for their guests were brilliant, Sebastian with his direct attitude was just the best!
And Jamie. Helloooo!!! I had lots of luck lately for the best male characters in the books ever but Jamie is just THE best. He's not only sexy ad hell, he doesn't only look like a Love God, but he can make his own wine AND chocolate. Did all my dreams come true at once? AND he has a dog, leonberger. AND he's witty. But also stubborn. Oh yes, there were moments that I wanted to shake him strongly.
All the characters were livid, just popping out of the pages and coming to life next to you. All the other singletons on the holidays, even Elle's devil boss, who then appeared to be not devil at all, were fantastic, I giggled over them and their adventures, and especially over relentless in adoration lothario George. He was amazeballs! Lisa can create wonderful heroes that feel warm and totally realistic and are the most funny people in the world. The dialogues, the banter between them, the one - liners were one of the best I have ever read, and I know that I said it few times this year, but those are really THE BEST.
The book has absolutely the right pace and is a real page - turner. It belongs to my personal category of books that I want to finish asap but don't want them to end. Every page brought more sun and more warmth than the other, more laughter and more positive feelings. It had me hooked from the get - go and took me on a brilliant, adventurous and full of surprises and beautiful sights journey to Tuscany.
Lisa's humour is actually beyond description, what I would do to be at least half as funny as she is! But it's not only the humour that won me over, it is also the story, the plot which is simple but hooking and worked out for me, and the writing style: fresh, modern, fast, light, easy to follow and gripping too.

You Had Me at Merlot is as sunny as Tuscany itself and as tasty as the chilli wine made by Jamie. It is a MUST read for this summer, and not only for summer, I am going to re - read it as soon as I find some time. It absolutely belongs on my FAVOURITE shelf. And I will never be able to drink wine again without giggling over blind - fold wine testing. A warm, uplifting read, a feel - good read, with quirky characters, plenty of good humour, funny scenes and drooling over Jamie - highly, highly recommended.

PS. Please DO NOT count how often I used the words "funny", "the best" and "ever" in this review. Please.

Copy received from publisher in exchange for a review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You will be laughing out loud!, 22 July 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
Part 2 is where we meet Jamie! The owners son and the vineyard creator! We also are in for a surprise when we meet Elle's boss! This is not something you expect to happen to you on a singles holiday, oh and poor Elle, she has worked so hard with her image and reputation at work and now she feels she can't let her hair down as her boss, Donna will look down on her...

There is so much we learn in part two and the pace of the book is excellent, we are introduced to the first 'getting to know one another' challenges is a blindfolded wine tasting game. This is where guests will be matched up depending on the wine they seem to have a taste for. Then jumping straight into grape crushing and a trip to Florence! This part really has it all; if you weren't already racing through the book, you will be now!

We also begin to see a different side of Elle, she wants to keep a low profile and has stated she is not interested in finding a partner, this is not the reason she is on the trip! However 'George' the most annoying character in the world is born and continues to try his luck!!!

I absolutely loved the trip to Florence, from visiting myself I felt I had been transported back there again and could picture where all the characters were. If you haven't been to Florence, after reading part two, you are going to want to jump on the next plane there, even if it is only to see the statue of David...

I would say the trip to Florence I think is one of my favourite parts of the book at the moment, not only is it a beautiful setting but it just seems to be turning out wrong for poor Jamie and Elle, everyone on the trip is annoying and you just wish they would bug off!

So here are some of my favourite quotes from part 2...

''Yes, go in, look around, go up the dome if you dare.'

Jane stepped forward. 'Is there a lift?'

'There's not going to be a bloody lift, you bloody idiot!' shrieked Vicky.'

I loved this, had me rolling in stitches! I also loved the photo incident with David, couldn't quote that! Would be the longest quote in the world! You will just have to grab yourself a copy to know which bit I am talking about!

''Well those mannequins do have fantastic bums,' I coughed.'

Admiring the views in a sexy undies shop... again very funny!

As you can see things are hotting up and you will need to pre order part 3 to continue with the story, it is ace and once you will want on your kindle this summer!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taste the heady wine and feel the Italian sun, 21 July 2014
This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
Imagine your quite scary, boss turning up on either your singles holiday or your wine tour depending on which version of your holiday you're plumping for - a horrendous thought for most of us, reality for Elle! Add to that an unwelcome suitor and we're off.

Blind folded wine tasting, grape crushing, secret notes and a trip to Florence are the back drops to our next full glass of merlot. Elle the one not looking for love seems to be the centre of attention, one particular gentleman going all out to proclaim his love for her - she may as well be talking a foreign language for all the notice he takes.

I loved the fact that the tables are turned, Laurie really is a romantic, happy to cheer on Elle as she supposedly seeks companionship with Jamie the vineyard owners son, trying to avoid any amorous advances from George, the American lothario - feeling safe with Jamie because he's not looking for love either. Although, 'me thinks the lady doth protest too much' and visa versa - there's a definite pot simmering here, one that I can see coming to the boil quite quickly.

I could so be in Italy now - the descriptions are so evocative and vivid, I can clearly see all the people, I can hear their voices in my head, warming my bones and removing my inhibitions. It almost felt like I was watching an episode of Coach Trip as the group wandered around Florence, the eclectic mix, forming unlikely couplings as they all smiled then stabbed each other in the back - if looks could kill!

The temperature is definitely rising, with the girls still making me laugh at their antics, they're daft, light hearted, they behave like children let loose in a sweet shop, but they're a lot of fun. I'd love to be in Italy with them, people watching from afar although I will never drink wine again without visualising a scene from this book - hilarious would be one description, gross would be another. But, for now I'm still loving Merlot, my usual Shiraz has been put to the back of the cupboard to gather dust.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy all four parts and read them now!, 7 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: You Had Me at Merlot: Part 2 (Kindle Edition)
Ok I've got to be honest about myself here; I love wine and I love chick lit, so I was always going to enjoy this book. But I was still pleasantly surprised at what a good read it was.

Delicious wine, good food, a beautiful country, sunshine, love, laughter, and friendship - what more could you want from a light hearted summer read?

I found it incredibly easy to relate to the characters and there was enough of a story line to keep me intrigued, although to be honest the setting alone was enough to make me want to read more. I'm genuinely a little bit disappointed that Bella Note isn't a real place.

I read a lot of this genre and I would honestly say that if you only buy one chick lit book this summer, make it this one.

The only disappointment was that it came in four parts so I was less engaged in the ending than I would have otherwise been. But that's not a problem for whoever is reading this as they have now all been published, so go ahead and download them all, pull up a seat in the sun, pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy!
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