Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

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A magical world only Pepper Basham can create. What happens when two oceans-apart people meet online and fall in love? A battle of distance, identity and family entanglements ensue as the two fight for their "finally" happily ever after. Written in a combo of letters, texts and as it happens scenes, readers will be welcomed into Izzy's life as she learns who she is and where she belongs.
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Pepper Basham has written another delightful tale for book lovers. A large portion of this book is epistolary, so if you have never read a book in that style or have not read one in some time, it might take you a letter or two to get into the swing of the story. But, I found the epistolary format to be refreshing and especially relevant to life today. Personally, I carry on a lot of friendships via letters, texts, or emails, so I enjoyed following Izzy through her correspondence. Though a very small amount of the book is not in letter form, I found the characters in the story to be well developed and their personalities shine through so very well. The development of Izzy herself throughout the story was encouraging and challenging to me in multiple ways. I loved the contrast between Eli and Brodie, and how I as the reader could see the future unfolding before Izzy. I was reading with much trepidation, afraid that Izzy would choose differently than I had hoped she would! Izzy has such a large and looming set of life decisions before her, and so many people weighing in on those choices. I think Ms Basham takes the reader through some very realistic circumstances, and she delivers them as only she can do it: in a delightfully wrapped plot full of reality, depth, sweetness, faith, and some bookishly marvelous romance. I highly recommend this book. It is a delightful light read that has some surprising and refreshing depth inside its bookishly romantic plot.

I requested and received a copy of this book for review, but the words and thoughts expressed here are wholly my own.
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Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of the novel in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I tried really hard to like this story as it had so many elements that I love, but something just didn’t click and connect with me. 

I did not finish the book at 18% - this one just wasn’t for me.
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This one was cute. I liked the characters, the friendships, and Izzy's family meddling.
I liked the books throughout.
The format was a little hard to read on my device, but I think it will work better in paper. 

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC
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Thank you so much Netgalley for the ARC!

Original Rating : 3.5/5.

I've mixed feelings about this book. There are so many details that I loved but overall, it's just not my cup of tea. I sincerely hope others will give this book a chance because the premise is great, the characters are genuine and adorable and I absolutely love how they emailed each other using poetic, elegant expressions. The leads were so sincere and honest about their feelings and so innocent. That was refreshing to read. The bond between Izzy, Penny and Luke is GOLD. Luke is my favorite character by a large margin. He is funny, caring, mature and passed my husband material requirements with flying colors. In my case, I think I would have loved the book if it were more relatable. Izzy is characteristically polar opposite for me and though I understand why she is the way she is and admire her personality, I was bored. We are not compatible at all.  The same goes for Brodie. Even their sense of humor is different from mine. I'm a book lover myself but I can't quote lines from books like Izzy can. I have to admit I'm a little bit jealous. Her character development was brilliant. She was already a remarkable woman to start with and by the end of the book, she grew out of her shell and was working towards fulfilling her dreams. Unfortunately, I'm totally obsessed with travelling (Yes, extroverts can love books too) whereas she likes to stay indoors. A huge turn off. Reading the emails were a delight in the beginning but after a while, it felt repetitive and again, boring. I think the first non-email narration started on page 256 according to my Netgalley app. In short, I like the book but it's boring. Does that make any sense? 

But once again I would like to highlight that it is full of pure happiness, love and enjoyment with mature characters and free of cringey melodrama. If you want to read a feel-good book, I suggest you pick up this one.
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What a delightful and charming romantic comedy! I loved the banter between Izzy and her cousins. Their quips back and forth through emails and texts, especially between Izzy and Luke, had me smiling throughout the entire book. And how could I not fall in love with Brodie? Talk about the perfect package for a book-loving girl's heart. I loved watching such a sweet-natured romance developed between him and Izzy. Both characters were so adorable and quirky, I couldn't help feeling happy for them as they fell in love with their perfect match. The style of the story, which is largely told in epistolary form, did take me a chapter or two to get used to, but the personality that sparkled through on each page made it an easy adjustment. 

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This was a really fun (a lot), nice and quick read. There was the perfect amount of romance and I really loved the main characters (and also the side ones).
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Wow!  I love this book!  Before I chose it, I was not sure how I felt about the  epistolary format (story told mostly through correspondence); however, as a long time Pepper Basham fan, I had to give it a try.  I am so glad I did!  Ms. Basham demonstrates her amazing imagination, excellent storytelling skill, and writing prowess in creating this delightful, heartwarming read!  It didn’t take me long to get used to the format and get totally immersed in the story.  
I love Izzy and Brodie, the “perfect bookish duo” as dubbed by Brodie’s mother.  I enjoyed the way their relationship develops as they correspond then meet face-to-face.  In all the correspondence and interactions between Izzy and her cousins, I could feel the love they have for each other which sometimes leads to a little meddling—so realistic.  A wonderful cast of characters, sweet romance, numerous laugh-out-loud moments, and a plethora of bookish quotes and references make this a fun, entertaining reading experience.  
Amid the humor, romance, and fun family dynamics, the story also includes some valuable truths about the importance of authenticity as Izzy learns to (quote) “grab the reins” of her own life and be who she is meant to be instead of being what she thinks other people want her to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think lovers of all things bookish will adore this cleverly plotted, feel-good story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers via NetGalley with no obligation to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Can I give this book 6 stars? 

This was one of the funnest books I've read this year. The format of this book was so enjoyable, and this was the perfect book for book lovers. I mean, the magic of books that was portrayed in this was absolutely lovely. And I LOVED the MCs!! I truly did not find a singular character that I didn't like. 

I really don't have a single bad thing to say about this book. Highly recommend.
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Authentically Izzy was such a sweet read for book lovers and i really enjoyed it. There were so many bookish quotes and sweet moments that had me so infested with Izzy and Brodie's story. Not to mention all the book recommendations, it was a book written to have us bibliophiles swooning, and it delivered. 

I felt like the emails and text messages were such a nice touch, it made the story seem more personal and while yes, it was cheesy at times it was still such a great love story. Izzy's growth was also such a rewarding thing to watch. The confidence she found in learning to love herself was one of my favorite parts of the story. 

I highly recommend for book lovers who want a fun sweet, somewhat cheesy romance with a pretty good storyline.
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Review coming nearer to or on pub date.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.
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To me, autumn is the perfect time to pick up a book about books! There's just something about the cozy atmosphere the material presents that I can't resist.

I'm not a huge fan of stories written in letter form, so I struggled to get into this one. But that being said, Pepper Basham is a fantastic author and her romances are always fun and memorable!
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Authentically Izzy by Pepper Basham is perhaps one of my all time favorite bookish books. It was a slow start for me because of the epistolary style, but the characters were an immediate grab for me. I adored and laughed out loud at the antics between Izzy and her cousins. Izzy is witty and creative and decides to take a chance. Enter Brodie. Hands down, the best conglomeration of top book quotes, spanning the ages and genres. Book magic is often referred to in this book and it is the epitome of captivating book magic. The charm, the wit, the romance, the kisses!!! Even the descriptions of captivating islands, manors, and castles rounded out any holes. The characters were absolutely delightful and each fit their part perfectly…including the dogs. Literary lovers of romance MUST indulge in this piece of book magic. You will not be disappointed. There are so many wonderful angles: family loving you and all that entails, being cared for, being seen, amazing dialogue, coming into your own, travel, BOOKS, and realizing heart’s desires can come true. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own.
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I love Pepper Basham’s books. Her characters go so far beyond the superficial, and I always feel at the end as if I’m leaving friends. With Authenticity Izzy, written in a whimsical epistolary style, relying mostly on emails, letters, and text messages between Izzy, her cousins, and the ultra swoony Brodie and his hunky sweater vests, we get to peek behind the curtain and right into Izzy’s heart. While I wouldn’t say the epistolary style is one I would want a steady diet of, and it may not be for everyone (although who wouldn’t love it?) I found this to be a refreshing change of scenery (especially in certain settings—no spoilers!).  I adored all of the sweet book talk, literary references and quotes, and every precious moment between Izzy and Brodie. I can’t wait for Penelope’s story!
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"Authentically, Izzy" was a delightful story that celebrates books and the ways that books can connect people and enrich lives. Izzy Edgewood and Brodie Sutherland are both book-loving introverts who have not had the best of luck in relationships. Izzy lost her parents when she was still a child, and she was raised by her aunt.  Her cousins Luke, Josephine, and Penelope are like brother and sisters to her; their relationship and interactions are one of the things that makes this story so sweet. 

Josephine has long tried to play matchmaker with Izzy, wanting her to find the love and support that Josephine has found with her husband Patrick.  Izzy is friendly, fun, and creative -- which really shows in her role as assistant librarian and her methods of introducing children to the joys of reading and celebrating the importance of reading in their small town of Mt. Airy, NC. (birthplace of Andy Griffith). However, outside of her library activities and spending time with her cousins, Izzy most enjoys curling up with a good book at home, not the most conducive activity to finding a potential partner.  Josephine, meaning well, signs up Izzy on an online dating site, Heart-to-Heart, feeling "certain there's a book-loving man living relatively nearby waiting to speak bookish to [Izzy] 'til death do you part."  Izzy is not pleased with Josephine at first, and some of the first responses she receives to her profile are not the most encouraging.  However, in Brodie the Hobbit, as he introduces himself in his first message, Izzy seems to find someone who understands her in a way that no one else ever has.  Izzy is skeptical that Brodie is real, and even once it is established that he is real, Izzy cannot help but wonder if Brodie is really as wonderful as he seems.

Complicating things is that Brodie Sutherland lives in the Skymar Islands (a fictional country located between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands), where he helps run the family bookstores.  The government of Skymar, worried about population loss, has offered financial incentives to residents who convince people to resettle in the Skymar Islands.  That is the initial motivation for Brodie to try online dating, and it will prove to be a potential significant obstacle to the long-term success of Brodie and Izzy. However, before the story gets to that point (and it is obvious from the start that this will be an issue at some point), Izzy and Brodie will progress from e-mail exchanges to video chats to in-person visits.  

One of the things that makes this story so wonderful is how Brodie recognizes the things that make Izzy so wonderful, including her ability to convey a love of literature and her ability to connect people with just the right books (a book matchmaker). His belief in her and her abilities helps Izzy realize the fears and insecurities that have been holding her back and enables her to take risks on herself.

Much of the story is told through e-mails and tweets between various characters, mostly Izzy and her cousins.  This provides plenty of opportunities for literary references and quotes, and it is an effective method of developing and showcasing the personalities of the various characters. Brodie's family plays a less prominent role until later in the book, but his mother and sister are great characters as well. The two families are people you would enjoy spending time with, especially if you have a love of books.  I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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I’m giving this one 2.5 stars. I really really wanted to to like this book. Falling in love through letters or online correspondence is one of my very favorite tropes. However, there were just some things about this novel that did not work for me. The idea of using emails and texts to tell the story is intriguing, but it just didn’t work for me entirely. It was like having someone describe a movie to you rather than watching the movie yourself. I think the author would have been much more successful if she used traditional writing and featured the emails and texts between Izzy and Brodie.. As for the emails themselves, they were… wordy. Especially the ones back and forth with the cousins. I loved the humor they added, but I found myself skimming some of them to get back to Brodie’s emails. This is a beefy novel for the topic at over 400 pages. I think 100 pages could’ve easily been edited out. I found myself checking several times to see how far along I was in the book. That is never a good sign. While I loved the romance of the story, I think there were some missed opportunities there as well. It takes Brodie more than half the book before he even starts flirting a little. I know he’s not a ladies man, but it made it hard to feel the online chemistry. 

Also, the side plot with Eli… that could just be edited out completely in my opinion. He was just a distraction from the real story. 
I know this sounds like a harsh review. There really were some parts of the story I enjoyed, but I was asked for an honest opinion so here it is. I will only be posting this review to NetGalley because I don’t want to discourage others readers from giving it a try. Obviously it took courage to try something different in this book. Hopefully it resonates better with others.
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First of all, I loved that the main character Izzy is a librarian and book lover. I related to her preference for fictional characters over actual humans on a spiritual level. When her cousin signs her up for a dating site, she ends up meeting a fellow book lover - the problem is he lives on the other side of the world and she fears he might be too good to be true.

I also related to Izzy and her anti-social tendencies and her feelings of wanting more out of life. I loved that she was obsessed with Lord of the Rings, it made me wish I was more familiar with it. I liked Brodie as a love interest as well - a nerdy European book lover who lives in a cliffside manor and owns a book store? I want one.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Authentically Izzy is a well written romance that pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go until you've finished. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the literary references and the theatrical ones too. This is the story of Izzy, who lives in a quiet town in North Carolina. She is a librarian and content in her life, but does not push herself out of her comfort zone. She lived with her cousins from the time she was twelve. Her eldest cousin decides to upload her profile to a dating site and Izzy decides to give it a try. Here she meets Brodie, another book lover. Around this time, another suitor appears in real life. What takes place next is Izzy's realization of who she truly is, what has guided her behavior and choices thus far in life, and what she really wants. There are religious undertones throughout, but I was bothered by the ending. The tone changed and accountability was placed only on one character's shoulders, when it should have been mostly on the other's. Overall, I really liked this book, I just wish the ending could have been done better. I recommend it!
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Authentically, Izzy 
by Pepper Basham 
Pub Date: November 15, 2022 
Thomas Nelson  
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 
There's something so intimate about reading a story through letters, something that invites you in to witness a more personal connection that I think makes epistolary stories like this one resonate deeply. Author, Pepper Basham, well done! 
Izzy Edgewood is a wannabe bookstore owner, quote queen, and Lord of the Rings nerd who has been waiting for Prince Charming to sweep her off her sneakered feet. But it’s hard to meet people when you spend more time with fictional humans than real ones. This is why her pragmatist cousin Josephine decides to take Izzy’s future into her own meddling hands and create an online dating profile for the hopeful romantic.
I really liked this book! 
4 stars
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I'm absolutely smitten! There's something so intimate about reading a story through letters, something that invites you in to witness a more personal connection that I think makes epistolary stories like this one resonate deeply. Author, Pepper Basham, nails it!
Pepper Basham delivers a delightfully, joyful story brimming with all of the bookish quotes, heart-swooning moments, and the kind of characters who will find their place in your heart.
Thank you Netgalley and much appreciation to the author
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