Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

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Member Reviews

(DNF at 22%) I wanted to like this book, but it was really disappointing. The idea of having two characters fall in love through letters and bond over their love of books sounded so fun. I typically enjoy epistolary novels, but the letters in this book did not flow together smoothly, making it hard to read. Also, the characters were not engaging and were very two-dimensional. I usually love when books have references to other books, but the references to Lord of the Rings and other "nerdy" books were overwhelming and made reading the letters confusing. I couldn't engage with any of the characters or the plot, and I stopped reading after 22% of the book.
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I absolutely loved this new contemporary novel by Pepper Basham!
This book is an epistolary romance, meaning that most of it is written in the form of emails and texts, and I enjoyed the format a lot!! The back and forth between the emails and texts made the story fast-paced and kept me hooked! 
This story is very fun and lighthearted and made me smile a lot! I loved our bookish, introverted MC's and their hilarious families! (I especially loved Luke and I'm really hoping he gets a story!!) All of the book/movie/tv references were super fun too! 

Read this book for:
-epistolary format
-online dating
-long distance romance
-sweet romance/kisses only
-'soulmates' vibe
-a fun, lighthearted read
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* I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson. 

I was really hoping for a cute and slightly quirky romance book about a book lover on a dating site. And essentially that’s what this book was. Unfortunately, it was not one that I enjoyed. 

I didn’t realize that most of the book would be emails and texts back and forth (which I should have given the description on NetGalley, so that one’s on me!!) but there is no interaction between the characters outside of emails for most of the book, though we do get some regular style writing after part 2 and especially into part 3. The entirety of part one is rambling emails about how Izzy met Brodie over video chat and what they talked about. I would have much rather read about them actually meeting over video call and then reading some emails to her cousins. The emails were a pain to read because almost every one of them had a PS or (PPS or PPPS) which got really annoying really fast. They’re also filled with really “dorky” references to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, which honestly given how many people read and watch those movies today, isn’t all that dorky anymore. 

I also couldn’t stand Josephine. As a fellow Josie it didn’t feel great lol, but she is honestly rude and doesn’t listen to Izzy at all and she’s super demeaning about Izzy’s dreams until Izzy calls her out (over email, mind you) and then at the end Josephine is like “oh I’m sorry :(“. But the whole book its “oh I hope you’re having fun with your little …” (fill in the … with anything she’s doing). Izzy is talked to like she’s Josephine’s child (she’s 30!) and she’s constantly telling Izzy that Eli is the one for her, when everyone knows he isn’t! 

Also, just a heads up: Izzy and her family are pretty religious so they talk about going to church and their faith a fine amount. Didn’t really bother me too much though.

Overall, this could be a good book for somebody but that somebody was not me this time.
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Rating: 4.5 Stars

When her meddling cousin creates an online dating account for her, Izzy finds a man who might be bookish enough to win her heart.

My face hurt from reading this book because I could not stop smiling. It was sweet, adorable, touching, and very bookish. This charming and heartwarming tale won me over, and below are several aspects of the story that really made it a wonderful experience for me.

What I Liked

• I am a fan of epistolary novels, and I thought Basham did a nice job connecting me to the events I did not get to be part of in real-time as well as creating a cohesive narrative and helping me get to know all these fantastic characters. The exchanges between Izzy and Brodie were precious. Those two fit together perfectly, and the emails and texts between Izzy and her cousins were hilarious.

• So much book nerdy goodness! Classics readers will truly adore the bookish filled banter, but I think all book nerds will be able to lose themselves in the exchanges between Izzy and Brodie. They were some serious book lovers.

• I could feel the love and affection all these people had for each other. The relationships between Izzy, Brodie, and their family members were so warm and lovely. Izzy might have wrestled with her place in the Edgewood clan, but that came from inside her, not from her family who took her in after her parents passed away and fully claimed her as their own.

Packed with quirky and lovable characters, tons of humor, and a multitude of bookish references, I had a fantastic time getting to know Izzy as she fell in love, figured out her future, and discovered her authentic self.
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I was hyped for this book based on the synopsis. I was turned off at the beginning due to the format. I thought too much if the dialogue was in email format. A little bit of that would have been fine, but it went on too long. Later in the book there’s texting format, which was also bothersome.
I simply  couldn’t comment with the characters or the dialogue. I liked the description and Izzy wanting to open her own bookshop, but other than that, this book was a miss for me.
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This was a great choice if you are looking for something a little different in the sweet romance category. The book is epistolary for most of it and it took me some time to get used to that format but once I did, the story flowed really well. I loved Izzy’s relationships with her cousins - especially Luke and the messages between her and Brodie were fantastic. The conflicts are a little predictable but honestly, it was such a cute read, I didn’t care and really enjoyed it. I wanted a little more in the happily ever after with an epilogue but otherwise this was a great read. 

Romantic Content: Kisses
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Thank you Thomas Nelson Fiction for an early copy of Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. 🤍

It took me a while to get into this book. The email/SMS-only format of storytelling, along with the layout of the book on my kindle made it quite difficult for me to follow through the conversations, with the Thomas Nelson watermark occupying majority of the space for each page. 

What I did love are the characters - Izzy is sweet and postively charming, Josephine was adorably annoying and Penelope was cute. 

Rating Authentically, Izzy ⭐⭐⭐/5
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The format of this book was a tad bit difficult for me to follow. While the premises of the story seemed fun, especially in the beginning, I could not connect with the MC's romance. Unfortunately, this book wasn't for me. Thank you, Thomas Nelson Fiction, for a complimentary e-arc of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own x
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OH MY GOSH!!!!! I LOVED THIS BOOK. WITH MY WHOLE HEART. Authentically Izzy written by Pepper D. Basham was such a fun, witty, and hilarious story. I want to thank one of my goodreads friend, Dab for reviewing this book, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have found this book. I loved every minute of this book, it made me laugh more times than I can count. The only thing that didn't sit well with me was the love triangle in the beginning, but Pepper D. Basham made it where cheating wasn't involved. I don't know how I feel about a book being written in the form of e-mails and text messages, but this book confirmed that I love it. I didn't want this story to end anytime soon, but I wanted to know what was going to happen between the two main characters. I laughed so hard at time, I had tears streaming down my face. This was my first book by Pepper D. Basham, I instantly fell in love with her writing, so i'm definitely going to read her other books. Authentically Izzy is a book about devoted Christians, so there's a lot of talk about faith, church, and God, as a Christian myself, I appreciate an author writing about this. If a book doesn't make you laugh as much as Authentically Izzy did, then it's not worth five stars, but boy, I was laughing so much. 


Like I said before, Authentically Izzy is a book about devoted Christians so there's no steamy scenes, just a few kisses here and there. Izzy Edgewood is a wannabe book store owner, a Lord of The Rings lover, and a quote queen. After a few failed relationships, Izzy hasn't seen the dating world in a long time, but now she's ready for prince charming to come and sweep her off her feet. But, it's hard for Izzy to fall in love with a real human when she's been living in a world of fictional characters. Josephine, Izzy's cousin, makes Izzy a profile on a dating website, Heart-To-Heart, where Izzy could possibly find her true love. Authentically Izzy is a book that consists of e-mails and text messages between Izzy, her cousins, Josephine, Penelope, and Luke. This book was so beautiful is so many ways, but the cover is even more beautiful. As a quote queen, Izzy had so many heart touching quotes that will sit with me for a while. Izzy, I love you, you deserve the absolute world, and everything more. 

To Izzy's shock and maybe even suspicion, Josephine's plan is working. Soon, Izzy comes in contact with Brodie. Brodie is a Hobbit loving person who loves books just as much as Izzy. Izzy doesn't really believe Brodie for a while, she thinks it's her cousin Josephine she's been messaging back and forth with. Izzy lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, while Brodie lives an ocean away. Izzy and Brodie communicate through Heart-To-Heart and soon start writing e-emails to each other. After months of communicating through e-mails, and video chats, Izzy and Brodie decide to visit each other. Izzy has a fear of flying, due to losing both of her parents in an airplane accident. Is their shared love of books, family, and correspondence enough for Izzy to overcome her fear of flying? Izzy has had such a hard past, but despite that I loved her character.

Okay, okay, I wish this book had a playlist of songs that go along with the story. I don't know who I love more, Brodie, or Izzy's cousin, Luke. They were both sweet, and loving gentlemen. In my opinion, Luke was more like a brother to Izzy. After reading, Authentically Izzy, and meeting all the side characters, I would love for Pepper D. Basham to write a book about Luke. The e-mails between Izzy, Luke, and Penelope had me giggling non-stop. Izzy's love of quotes started rubbing off on Brodie and Luke, but when they tried to comeback with quotes for Izzy, it left a smile on my face. After reading this book, my face hurts from smiling and laughing so much. Thank you, Pepper D. Basham for writing such a beautiful story. If you love laughing while reading a book, then this book is meant for you. I fell in love with the story, and all of the side characters. As I said before, I didn't know how to feel about a book in e-mail form, but boy was I wrong, I love it so much. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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2 stars ☆ I think the letter/email style from this book wasn’t for me. It’s my first time reading this type of format throughout the book and I guess I didn't like it as I thought I would (especially since I loved when these type of things shows up in a book cause it either sweet or sad)

I get that the epistolary format really matches what the book is about but there are points where it’s hard for me to get through when it’s supposed to be easy. 

it’s a quick read and I had fun on some parts but I just couldn’t connect with the characters. 

It has potential but it doesn’t work for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the ARC !!
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DNF. The email-only format was too much for this long of a book. There needed to be more context to break up the emails. Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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I had really high hopes for this book, but unfortunately it just didn't hit the mark for me. I was also just having a SUPER difficult time reading it as the formatting of the book was brutal on my Kindle. The Thomas Nelson watermark was on EVERY SINGLE PAGE. And took up a third of the page, which made it really difficult to get into. The story being written through emails was hard to get into. So this plus the watermark was not a fun read for me. Maybe the physical copy will come through my library and I can come back on here and give it a solidly different review. Here's to hoping.
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3.5 stars rounded up
Okay, let me preface this review by saying I love me some Pepper Basham books. I started with The Mistletoe Countless and have been slowly reading through her backlist ever since. But ... I didn't love this book. I wanted to, and it had all the elements of a great story, but I couldn't get past the format. 

Authentically, Izzy is an epistolary novel that catalogues the romance between Izzy and Brodie (and to show you how Pepper Basham obsessed I am, I may have requested this book on NetGalley without knowing what it was about). 

There are some great characters.  Izzy was charming and funny, Penelope was quirky and had movies and acting on the brain. Luke was a grump who loved his family and Brodie was the perfect, bookish hero for Izzy. Josephine, Izzy's cousin was perfectly annoying, as was Brodie's brother, Anders. 

There's lots of bookish talk and bookish things and you will fall in love with the characters and the world they live in. I would have enjoyed this book more if there had been less epistles and more in person interaction. If you love quirky characters, epistolary novels, or matchmaker gone wrong, you should definitely check it out. 

Readers will be reminded that each of us are given gifts that should be used for the glory of God and we can't allow fear to prevent us from using them. 

I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher through NetGalley and Just Read Tours; a positive review was not required.
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If you love the epistolary style for novels then you are going to LOVE this book which is full of emails and text messages. I did get a kick out of the excessive use of post scripts since my friends and I used to do that, but epistolary is not my personal favorite even though that is how I got to know my own husband.

However when it gets to the in person parts of the relationship and it is no longer correspondence I fell in love. I did appreciate that Brodie and Izzy started out virtual friends but their in person connection was special too. I loved how he built her up and pushed her to pursue her dreams. I loved that he was wise in his decision making and level headed.

I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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To be completely honest I could not follow the story through just emails/letters…. I felt like I was just skimming through rather than reading it fully and enjoying… I just wasn’t able to connect with the characters.
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Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham 

A very cute epistolary novel. This is a book you’ll want to slow down for and savor. It is character driven, full of growth arcs and romance. The kind of  romance only book lovers can truly appreciate. 

There are several laugh out loud moments and then moments that left my heart in a puddle. 

No two people were ever as perfect for each other as Izzy and Brodie. They are the most adorable bookish nerds there ever were. 

Read if you like: 
🏔 Star Wars, LOTR, or fandoms in general 
🏔 slow burn romance 
🏔 meddling family members 
🏔 quirky characters 
🏔 Bookish men with accents
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Four and a half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham is a delightful bookish romantic comedy that is mostly emails and text messages, but I found them to be well written and drew me right into the story. 

Story Recap: 
Izzy Edgewood wants to own a bookshop and find the love of her life.  While her best friend can’t help her with the bookshop, she can help her find the love of her life by setting her up on a dating app.  

She “meets” Brodie on the app, and they start to correspond and they realize they have a lot in common. But, they live thousands of miles away from each other.  After months of correspondence, will they ever meet? And if they do, will they meet each other's expectations? 

My Thoughts: 
I was surprised when I saw that almost the entire book was made up of emails and text messages, but once I started reading, I realized that the two main characters are both bookish people who are also good writers, and that make this epistolary style of story work for me. 

Izzy is a strong bookish woman who just wants to own a bookstore and find someone to love. She’s funny and has a supportive and interfering family. And Brodie is a wonderful hero, he’s kind, with a delightful sense of humor.  He also has a supportive family.  

The messages and emails are not just between Izzy and Brodie but include each of their family members too.  In this way, we get to meet and enjoy Izzy’s sisters and brother and Brodie’s family too.  They are all such wonderful characters and I enjoyed the way they each had their own style when writing.  

This is a clean romance with some religious content, but it was not overwhelming.  I enjoyed the fictional country where Brodie lived and his family and bookstore.  

I highly recommend Authentically, Izzy to anyone who enjoys clean romance.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This is a cute and light-hearted romance novel about two people fall in love through exchanging email letters before they even meet in person. 

It’s unexpected to find myself invested in this book. Its unique writing style of series of email letters and SMS is actually enjoyable to read. It feels like as if Izzy is a real person who’s me sharing details of her life to me as my bestie in real life. Apparently, Izzy Edgewood is an easy book character to connect to. I like her personality for being true to herself and definitely NO drama in life. She’s straightforward and humorous. 

The book is divided into three parts. At first, I am thinking that reading a series of email letters would be boring. Well, some parts could be a little unexciting, but the quirkiness of the other book characters has kept me engaged and interested. The wittiness and entertaining exchange of conversation through letters are well-written. In fact, there are a lot of inspirational quotes that I loved. I write them down in my notebook. 

Another thing that makes this book a one-of-a-kind is the map of a fictional island called Skymar Island. It’s somewhere in between Scotland and Netherlands. It’s actually interesting and attractive (if it’s colorful). Although one of Izzy’s love interests isn’t in the royalty bloodline in this novel as expected, he’s still close to that. Skymar Island is a rich country where the citizens experience winter half of the year, cool mountains, competitive government and small businesses. Not to mention, people live in manor houses. 

All in all, it’s an easy and perfect fine read for bookish people. If you think you’ll enjoy this book, consider these tips: 

✔️ book quotes and love for literature
✔️ Lord of the Rings references
✔️ matchmaking and pen pals
✔️ snarky dialogues
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i wasn’t able to get on board with the letter style of the book. I personally don’t like books with even text messages in them so this was really not my style. it was an interesting take and super original though.
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I loved this story so much! For any of the fans of Beach Read by Emily Henry, PICK THIS BOOK UP! Izzy reminded me so much of January, and I think for anyone who dreams of escaping to a little town in the middle of nowhere just to read romance novels and listen to Taylor Swift!
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