Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

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Member Reviews

There is something special about a story that is told through letters! I feel like you get to know the characters in a different way. You get ALL.THE.FEELS in this sweet romance! 

I received an ARC through Netgalley and all opinions are my own.
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3.5
First, I want to say I absolutely ADORE Pepper Basham’s books. One of them is my top read if the year for me. She is an amazing author and does a kissing scene like no other. However, this epistolary style just is not my cup of tea. I loved the Lord of the Rings themes and her wit was awesome. I enjoy many genres, but this particular one is hard for me to get into. However again, despite my own preferences, I highly recommend the work of Pepper Basham. 

My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinion in this review is expressly my own.
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DNF @ 10%

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to like this book -- the concept from the blurb seemed really cute, I loved that the MC is a big Lord of the Rings fan (the thing that really drew me in the most), and I actually enjoy the format of the back-and-forth emails and letters.

I should have done more research on my own before requesting this ARC, however -- it wasn't marketed as a Christian romance book on NetGalley, and that alone would have told me that this isn't a book for me and I wouldn't have requested it. Not my cup of tea. It's obvious from the jump and the Christian-centric references are hard to miss, which is fine, as long as the book is marketed as so, so readers know what to expect going in. This alone wasn't the only personal shortcoming I had with the book, however. FMC's overbearing cousin is too much to handle from page one -- she's nosy, meddling, very clearly has a superiority complex, and basically treats her cousin Izzy, the titular main character, like a broken old maid weirdo -- because she's....30? and single? and has an interest in BOOKS and NATURE? I'm sorry, how are literally any of those things odd or out of the ordinary?? It's highly unrealistic. But it's also obvious that Izzy has her own shortcomings with herself, I suppose -- at one point, after meeting Mr Dreamy Guy on the dating website her cousin set her up on, she mentions that she prefers books to hiking -- then goes on in another email to her OTHER cousin who's less meddling but still meddles to let her know, and I quote, "Now I'm sure he thinks I'm a lazy, bookish simpleton. And probably fat." Huge yikes with the fat shaming there. Putting this book down at 10%; it is not a book for me.
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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. Some things were a bit inconsistent to me, and it felt too dragged in the middle, and too rushed in the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!
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4.5/5⭐️

I really loved this one, but the format may not be for everyone. It’s written (the majority of the time) through emails/texts. I wasn’t sure myself if I would get as much out of it that way, but surprisingly I felt that I got a personal and in-depth view of the characters with that format.
 
Isabelle is a young woman (upper 20s), who lost both parents at a young age and was raised by her aunt and uncle, with cousins (Josephine, Luke and Penelope) who became her surrogate siblings. She works with her aunt in the local library of her small hometown in North Carolina. To say she is a bibliophile is quite the understatement, and there are lots of bookish quotes/references scattered throughout the book. Josephine (controlling and pregnant with twins) signs her up for an online dating service since her matchmaking doesn’t seem to be working. Izzy decides to try it to placate her cousin and comes across Brodie, a fellow lover of books and part-owner of a chain of family bookstores, who lives on a small island near Scotland. They become friends, sharing their daily lives, hopes and dreams through emails. Brodie asks if he can visit her when he flies to NY for a conference, Luke and Penelope encourage her to take a leap, and he visits. They discover an instant attraction and decide to give the relationship a (long-distance) chance (as Izzy is afraid of flying). Things progress, including a blind date set up by Josephine and Izzy moving toward following her dream, and she gains the courage to fly and visit Brodie and his family. There are, of course, a couple of complications/bumps in the road as the story plays out.
 
I loved ALL of the characters in this one, mains and secondary. They felt real to me. There’s lots of great snarky humor, family love and growth (both personal and as a family). No sex, no language…just lots of heartwarming wonderfulness. Recommended. 
 
My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing the free early arc of Authentically, Izzy for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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*ARC Review* 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I was so excited for a different style of read when I received Authentically, Izzy. I have loved books told via letters in the post, and was hoping for good things for this. I am so sad to say that I could not get into it. From the beginning I had trouble understanding references, and the letter format made it hard to get to know the characters. If you like Lord of the Rings this book will be easier for you to understand, as I know nothing about the series and it is mentioned A LOT. 

I did appreciate how Izzy was, as the title stated, authentic. Her genuine was fun to read about, I just was not captivated by her or the other characters as I was too busy trying to figure out who was writing the letter and when. The letter format also left me wanting more romance.

This one was not for me, but it could be for you!
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I thought Authentically, Izzy sounded like a cute story, so I picked it up on a whim. I had to DNF this book at 30%. The books was just not one I enjoyed. There are some religious tones in this book that just make it hard for me to enjoy or review properly. I can see this being a sweet story, but there are some things that I struggle with reading and this story had a lot of it. This will be a book for some people, but was just not the book for me.
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One of my favorite books of this year! This epistolary tale is of two introverted bookworms who live across The Pond from each other meeting on an online dating site and falling in love. 

The book quotes, movie references, awkward small talk, and desire to truly love and be loved resonated with me so much. At first, I didn't know how I felt about the story being told through email threads and text messages, but after a while, it grew on me. 

Soon, I found it hard to put this book down and wanted to reach the end (to find out how it turned out) as much as I wanted it never to end (because I loved the story and characters so much). 

Well done, Pepper Basham! I look forward to checking out more of what you've written. If it's anything like this one, you've got yourself a new fan!

Thank you to the author, Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for an advance review copy.
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I’ve never read a book like this. It was written mostly as emails and text messages which was an interesting way to read a story. Izzy is a girl after my own heart. She’s a big nerd, massive Lord of the Rings fan, and loves books. Oh! And she’s bad at small talk—so she’s basically me. 😂 This was my first book by Pepper Basham and now I’ve been browsing her other books to add to my TBR. She has a TON of books that’s she’s written. 

Oh my word, the pop culture references. 😅 I loved it. I speak fluent quotes and it was fun how Izzy could do easily slip movie or book quotes into sentences. It was a fun read and speaking as someone who found their soulmate from across the world, it was adorable how Izzy and Brodie were able to become friends via all their messages to more. A lot of Brodie’s messages reminded me of a friend I have in Germany and Brodie’s sometimes professional way of speaking English was legit like my friend. I felt like I was with them in the Skymar Islands. It was an enjoyable read. ☺️ 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Read if you like:
- Christian Books
- Romance 
- Quirky Characters
- Meddling Families
- Pen Pals
- Matchmaking 

This one was definitely different from other books I’ve read, but it was still enjoyable as I tried something new.

This one also features a lot of bookish talk, so for people that love bookish plots with books this one is for you! 

This book does a lot of the story telling though written communication that is going back and forth between characters. If you don’t like reading correspondence this one may not be your favorite as there are a lot of those back and forth exchanges to read. 

Overall, it was enjoyable and I would read more from this author.
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Authentically loved it.  I wanted to read this book. It was a good read and I really enjoyed this from the beginning to the end of it.  Will read more and liked it very much.
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As much as I wanted to like this book, I just couldn't get into it. I hated to do it but I DNFd at 20%. At first the writing style was fine. It's epistolary which means it's written in the form of a series of letters (in this case emails and texts). The banter between characters was funny in the beginning, but it quickly got old to me. I'm not a huge fan of this writing style because I feel like it lacks character depth, but I tried to overlook that for the description--a quirky book lover trying to fend off her cousin's aggressive matchmaking while seemingly finding her perfect match. After reading other reviews I decided this book just wasn't for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
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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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