Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

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Member Reviews

Told mainly through emails/letters/texts, this was such a heartwarming, feel good romance between two strangers who meet online and discover a shared love of reading and books. From completely different worlds Izzy is a small town librarian who dreams of opening her own bookstore and slowly falls for the man she meets on a dating app her family/friends set her up on. 

Perfect for fans of books like the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which is even referenced in the book). I loved Izzy's journey of self-discovery, her close family/friend relationships and the way she takes a leap falling in love with both a man and his remote British island home and the struggling bookstore she knows she can help revive. Much thanks to NetGalley for an early digital copy and Librofm for a complimentary ALC in exchange for my honest review.

Steam level: kissing only
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Unfortunately I just couldn't get into the epistolary style story. I was really interested by the concept but couldn't connect with it. The characters spoke very formally and I didn't feel like I got to authentically get to know them
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Isabelle Edgewood is stuck in her world and her cousin Josephine is ready to play matchmaker. Josephine signs her up for an online dating service. Either Izzy can update it or delete it. With the help of her other cousins, Luke and Penelope, she updated profile. The emails between Luke and Penelope are funny. Throughout the process, I was smiling. Until she meets Brodie through the app. She doesn't believe it is possible to meet someone who loves book as much as she does. Through the emails and video calls, the introverts have found themselves. When he comes to visit, everything is even better than online. When it comes to going to visit Brodie, she would need to get on a plane. She is terrified of flying but it was all worth it. She falls more in love with him and where he lives. A misunderstanding drives her back home but her cousin Josephine goes into labor. Upon the birth, she realizes she has found her home. Now to go back and get her HEA.
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Epistolary romance filled with nerds and book lovers? SIGN ME UP! Actual book filled with way too much prose and Christian romance. No thank you.

There is absolute an audience for Christian romance, and this should be marketed to them.  Not the general romance reader.

This is a creative book with an interesting premise, it’s just a shame that it’s not reaching the right readers.
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What a delightfully fun novel! I've loved everything I've read by Pepper Basham, but this one takes the cake. It's an epistolary novel, told in the form of emails and text messages, and I loved that! It's such a fun way to tell a story, and it's done perfectly here.

Izzy and Brodie were the perfect bookish duo. They were so relatable. I loved all their quotes and references, especially the Lord of the Rings ones. I enjoyed seeing them open up and share their authentic selves with each other. It was neat seeing them discover new things about themselves along the way, too.

Not gonna lie, Josephine got on my nerves quite a bit. I know she was only trying to be helpful and that she only wanted the very best for Izzy, but, my goodness, her delivery was lacking, to say the least. But I think we all know someone like Josephine, so that was very relatable. I really liked Luke and Penelope, though. I'd love them to get their own stories.

I highly recommend this feel-good, heartfelt, and romantic read. It had me laughing and put a big smile on my face. Even now, thinking about it, I can't stop smiling. It was so, so good!

I received an early copy of this book via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.
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Authentically, Izzy just was not the book for this reader.   I just couldn’t get interested in the plot.  I feel the book is well written and has a good concept .  I give it the four star rating because I am sure other readers will enjoy it.  My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance book.
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A great book that is written mostly through texts and emails which is such a fun way to read a book! Izzy's cousin Josephine creates her an account on a dating site. Izzy updates the account just to get her cousin off her back and makes her profile picture that of a LOTR character. She surprisingly gets a message from Brodie whose banter is refreshing. Josephine still continues her matchmaking antics as Izzy continues to message and video chat with Brodie. Only 0ne major problem, they live an ocean apart. Their families are a mixed bag of hesitant and supportive. I don't want to give away any more, but Authenically, Izzy is a must read! Pepper Basham created such lovable, real characters. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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This book was just not for me. 

It wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just grew very repetitive for me. The characters did not feel real the way they spoke just threw me off, the premise and the format of the book was enjoyable but not enough for me. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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It pains me to say that I had to dnf this book.
The blurb sounded amazing and I couldn't be more excited to pick it up but the email/letter style of writing just wasn't for me.
I thought maybe the style will change but it didn't. Maybe someday I'll give it another try but it's not today.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Authentically, Izzy
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle eBook 
Date Published: 11/15/22
Author: Pepper Basham
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Fiction
Pages: 352
GR: 3.80

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

My Thoughts: This story was told in a unique fashion, through a series of emails and texts. While I was not thrilled about it to begin with, it really grew on me. Izzy is a strong, quirky woman and lives life to the fullest, the perfect heroine. Brody was quiet and reserved but had this sense of humor that was entering, also a perfect hero. They really matched up quite well. This was a closed door Christian romance with a love for Lord of the Rings. The side characters, including the family members, loved to meddle and play matchmaker, which makes for an interesting story. The one con would be the love triangle in the beginning of the story, I do not want to give to much detail to not spoil for other readers.  The characters were well developed with depth, witty banter, chemistry, and intriguing. The author’s writing style was unique, complex, creative, and engaging. I would recommend this book, it releases next week!
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

I think this might just be my favourite romcom read of this year. It’s everything a book lover could want in a story; romance, humour, loveable characters, witty banter, and a lot of bookish talk and quotes.

I loved that so much of the story was told through correspondence between the cousins discussing Izzy’s romantic failures and insecurities. You get to see the different personalities shine in a way that doesn’t always come across in other stories. The way the siblings chide each other, the fondness they have for their cousin, the ever-present guidance - not always helpful - that they offer her, it all makes for a fun story.

And of course there is the beautiful romance blossoming between our MCs. I can’t tell you how many times I sat there grinning while reading. Such fun characters with a wealth of literary knowledge. I adore them. And as a side note, I now want to visit Skymar and see this wondrous place for myself.

All in all, a fabulous read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommend.
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Izzy is a librarian and a book lover.  In her introverted way she loves fictional characters over real humans.  She meets Brodie after her sister signs her up for a dating app.  He loves books and even owns a book shop but he lives in Europe.  

I’m not going to lie but this took me a while to get into.  Izzy is fun and clever with tons of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones references but the format is difficult.  I knew it is an expository book for the most part.  So it is written in the form of letters and later texts.  But when reading on my small device I sometimes couldn’t see easily who was writing or receiving the letter.  I found myself back checking often until I got more use to the format.  

This is a clean, (they are on different continents for a lot of the story), wholesome story.  I enjoyed the humor but at times it felt drawn out.  Also the angst moment didn’t seem that big of deal to me.  Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The bookish community is going to fall head over sneakers for the authenticity and originality that is this unconventional tale.  

I can’t say that I’ve read a lot in the epistolary style, but there was something delightfully quirky about this one (albeit a little overwhelming), with all the matchmaking, book talk, and the cutest long distance, online relationship transcribed predominantly through emails and text. This was a lighthearted and cozy read with a sense of family and found love at its heart that was lovely to see unfold from both points of view, especially for Izzy as she wrestled with her place in the Edgewood clan. 

A tale of two hearts, twin passions, and meddling families, Authentically Izzy was fluffy and fun and such a book loving vibe. I laughed along with Izzy’s honest ramblings, grinning at all the puns and bookish content shared between her and Brodie, and Basham transported me with their enchanting portrait of the Skymar Islands in those few descriptive scenes in the second half. The writing was eloquent, and the characters were mostly charming as they boasted proudly of their distinct personalities and passions. And Brodie, a book lover's dream! I only hoped that there had been a little more narrative incorporated around the emails so that I might have fallen more in love with them in action. Otherwise, Brodie and Izzy have achieved for themselves that once-in-a-lifetime fairytale that we book lovers only dream of!  

Packed to the brim with quirky characters, banter and humorous tangents, and a plethora of LOTR and other classic references, it was a pleasure to tagalong on this heartfelt journey with Izzy as she discovered, and fell in love with, her authentic self. Now, if we could be so fortunate to have a Luke story unfold next, I would be most thankful! 

💋Online Dating / Long distance
💋 Epistolary Style
💋 Soulmate vibes
💋 Quirky, loveable characters
💋 Wholesome, Christian Romance 

I received an advanced copy thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction, and I am voluntarily leaving my honest review.
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An epistolary novel about books and book lovers?  Yes, please!

This delightful story centers around Izzy who has had less than stellar luck in her dating life, including being left at the altar. When her cousin sets her up on a dating site, Izzy is not impressed, yet she begins corresponding with someone who she finds very intellectually stimulating and who also loves books. Unfortunately, he lives on the other side of the world. 

As Izzy and Brodie continue their digital relationship, they each open up more and the stirrings of something more begin. 

I loved the banter between all of the characters in this book and I adored that so many of my favorite books were mentioned.
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4/5 stars! Thank you NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for a honest review!

This was such a quick easy and fun read! Authentically, Izzy delivered an epistolary romance with the cutest characters. I loved reading along between Isabelle and Brodie's long distance relationship and how it translated in their emails! the emails and text messages were my favorite part because I felt so immersed in the character's life. it was hilarious, fluffy and romantic! Brodie was freaking adorable!! There is something about a book boyfriend that loves books that just melts my entire heart!! Brodie can literally QUOTE from Izzy's favorite books!!! I MEAN COME ON!!! Not mention his family owns a bookstore!!
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This book was hard to really get into. I love this type of trope but the emails was a little overwhelming at times even though it was quirky and at times fun banter, I love fun banter. It was a quick read but I was unable to connect with the characters the way I really wanted to.
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dnf 15% It’s not working for me. This book is entirely epistolary and I can’t connect with any of the characters because of it. I have read epistolary novels that have worked for me but I am struggling with this one. This is definitely a me problem but I’ve literally had to reread entire sections to follow who was writing to who and why. I may come back to it in the future but for now I need to just stop.
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I absolutely loved this book! It’s style reminded me of the princess diaries (my favorites when I was a teenager) but it’s so much better! A bookish woman and bookish man who “meet” through letters and become friends (and more), what more could I ask for! I also loved all the Lord of the Rings references (literally my favorites)! This book had a perfect blend of humor, romance, light-heartedness, and character depth as well. This is one of my favorite reads of the year and I highly recommend it! 

* I received an e-ARC copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I wasn't going to request Authentically Izzy for review because I'm not a Pepper Basham fan (and I know I'm in the minority in saying that). However, I am a huge fan of a good epistolary novel, so that was enough to twist my arm.

However, I read the first 20% and I'm not hooked enough by the characters or the tone to finish it. 

I think this is because the plot is all about the relationship, rather than that being the subplot (e.g. in Dear Daddy Long Legs, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Dear Mr Knightley, or Things We Didn’t Say).

The other reason I found it hard to get into was because of issues was with the formatting. I know this is the e-ARC (the endless Thomas Nelson logos are a huge clue), but the dating website headers continually refer to the site as Heart to Hear (not Heart to Heart), and don't make clear which character is writing. 

I therefore have to read for a couple of pages before I work out if the message is from Izzy herself, from one of her family, or from someone who has legitimately messaged her on the site (and if so, who?). That doesn't matter for a one-paragraph message when we can see the date, the message, and the sender all on the same screen. But it's impossible when the messages get longer, and that makes it hard to engage with the writing: I want to know who is speaking (writing) so I know whether this is a character I'm supposed to like or not.

I found it weird to think that there's anyone in the English-speaking world who hasn't heard of The Lord of the Rings (books or movies or the new TV series), or The Hobbit, in the same way I find it difficult to believe adults haven't heard of Fifty Shades of Grey or Game of Thrones. I can' believe that people haven't watched the movies or read the books, but they've surely heard of them whether we want to or not.

I would also point out that meeting a blind date at the restaurant rather than at the character's apartment isn't something to be mocked. It's sensible behaviour - no one should ever give out their home address to a blind date or some random person they met on the internet. 

There was some excellent writing. But it wasn't enough to make up for the things I didn't like. Sorry, because I really would like to read more books like Dear Mr Knightley or Things We Didn't Say.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity. I'm sorry I didn't enjoy the story.
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This is a sweet, cozy kind of romance for book lovers. I liked that it was told through e-mails and texts. It is a light, frothy read. Perfect for a gloomy day. Recommended for book and romance lovers. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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