Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

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Member Reviews

This is my first go at epistolary fiction. Not sure it will be a favorite of mine as it by nature made the story feel a little choppy. I love Pepper Basham’s historical fiction works. This story has her same witty writing and lovable characters. I rarely ever read just a straight romance book, historical fiction is my first love so I missed that “more meaty” addition to storytelling. I enjoyed the characters, the lighthearted and fun banter, and all the bookish details. One of my favorite parts of the story was the sweet interaction between Izzy and her family, even Josephine :) The story was a nice change of pace but I think I’ll stick with historical fiction. 
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read for honest review.
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I wasn’t sure about the idea of a book consisting mostly of e-mails and texts, but boy was I wrong! I fell in love with Pepper Basham’s writing instantly; it’s delightfully witty and absolutely hilarious. 

I don’t know if people still write love letters; we may have stopped doing it all together in favor of heart emojis and puppy eyes GIFs. But that would make a book that reminds us of the art of correspondence even more adorable and romantic, wouldn’t it?

I loved Izzy; she was strong and full of joy of life despite her difficult past. And Brodie… Heroes like him have a special place in my heart. I’ve always loved the quiet, bookish type with dry sense of humor. These two were such a perfect pair of book nerds 😍

Next to messages between Izzy and Brodie there are plenty of those between them and their families which is a clever way of introducing side characters in an epistolary novel. And we got to meet Luke - the funniest, smartest and most lovable brother figure I’ve read in a long time! To be honest I’m still not sure who I love more, Luke or Brodie.🤔

What didn’t exactly work for me in this story was the love triangle at the beginning. It didn’t go far but it felt like cheating nonetheless. Even if I appreciate the comedy of the moment when Brodie and Eli met. Another thing- the whole stipend business was asking for trouble and I was annoyed at how Brodie handled it. 

What is worth mentioning, this is a book about devoted Christians, very open about their faith, so be prepared for a lot of talk about God and church, and a very conservative approach to sex. 

Other than some passionate kisses there is no steam in this book, not even behind the scenes. When Izzy visited Brodie she didn’t stay at his place even though they were already officially a couple and the ‘forever’ had been mentioned. She stayed at his mom’s instead. It was important for the story that Izzy was a perfect fit for Brodie’s family, so maybe it did make sense, but it seemed odd that a thirty year old woman would stay at her boyfriend’s mom’s rather than with him or in a hotel. 

Having said that, I'm fully aware that not everyone is a perv like me and some readers feel uncomfortable with too much on-page touching. Moreover it's the author's right to approach the topic in line with her values and I respect that choice. 

To sum up I absolutely recommend this book to everyone who loves to laugh and read books. I will definitely check more of this author’s work, especially if Luke gets his own story 🤤. 

4.5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Authentically Izzy was intriguing for me since I love books, It was witty, charming and perfect to lose yourself in as you read it.
It is humorous and a joy to read.
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Give me a bookish heroine and I will adore her!
Give me a bookish hero and I will swoon from start to finish!
And then give me gorgeous settings (both an island loaded with history and the Appalachian mountains) and I'll pack my bags to leave tomorrow!
This book was such fun!  I needed a book that could make me laugh and just have a great time while reading it, and this fit the bill!  That's not to say that the story doesn't touch on some powerful themes, because it did that as well.  But not in a heavy way.  Maybe it was the bookish nature of Izzy that helped me to connect with her.  And maybe it's my relationship with my own cousins (some who were more like siblings) that helped me feel the family dynamic was real.  And maybe it's the fact that I've spent so many years communicating with one of my closest friends via email that had me enjoying the epistolary format.  But all of it combined made this book fantastic!  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there is one scene in particular (no spoilers!) that convinced me I will love Luke forever!
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I really wanted to love this one but it ended up being a bit too slow paced for my liking. The cover is super cute though!
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The book was sweet , frustrating and loveable at the same time.  I loved the epistolary part of it, it reminded me of Guernsey potatoe peel sociiety. You Will love tha characters. You Will love the bookish quoted and banters.  A book with books yay. Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest opinion
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Oh, my heart! I loved this gentle story about how two kindred souls met and fell in love. Epistolary novels are not my typical go-to choice but the emails exchanged between Izzy, her cousins, and Brodie did a great job of fleshing out the characters and telling not just the bare facts of what was happening but also their true thoughts and feelings as they shared their reactions. Sometimes they made me laugh out loud and occasionally I shed a tear but always they were erudite and witty. The author, one of my favorites, always has a way of reaching my core and touching my mind and heart with her words while at the same time imparting some truth while she entertains me. Favorite Quote: “Oh, my dear boy, when a man loves a woman well, and she is a woman of any worth at all, she not only blooms beneath his love but takes every opportunity to love him in return. She cannot help it.” Highly recommend! I received a complimentary advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this voluntary review contains my honest opinions.
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3.5 rounded up 
I really enjoyed the beginning of this story, I thought the back and forth in text messages between Izzy and her cousins were really cute. I also enjoyed the interactions between Izzy and Brodie, especially when she was thinking her cousin Josephine was behind it. However, over 50% of this book is emails, texts, and dating site messages. It began to drag a bit, and I skimmed many of them. There were just so many messages between so many people, I had a hard time concentrating on what they were talking about. 

But, once we get somewhere in the second part (there are three) we get some in-person interactions between Brodie and Izzy and I loved those. Whenever they were on the page together I was completely sucked in. I loved the setting of both small towns our characters were from, and the Brodies family with one exception were truly wonderful and welcoming to Izzy. I loved seeing them fall in love, and Izzy getting her dream.
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I thought the first half was practically perfect, ready to join my list of epistolary favorites with Dear Mr. Knightley and Guernsey, but I was so jarred when it switched from epistolary to third person all of a sudden over 50% into it. The second half felt like a draft to me, struggling to find its tone and voice in each section and jumping back and forth from limited perspective third persons to epistolary to even a couple sections with a near omniscient narrator. There were even a few slips of “me” and “I” within the third person sections. To me, it felt like the author lost her editor midway through the book. I just found myself so disappointed and want to beg her to please take this draft and do the hard work to finish her epistolary masterpiece! It’s such a good story with such compelling characters!!!

And my final vent is the title!! In my humble opinion, this book should 100% have been called The Book Matchmaker. Authentically Izzy is just not a compelling title to me, and I only read this book because of the author's name and the description. I would never have picked up this book based on that title. I felt like whoever decided on the title only read the first half of the book because it seemed like such an obvious and compelling title choice for someone who read the whole book, but that goes back to my earlier comment about it feeling like this book lost its editor halfway through!

I found it so frustrating that this book that could have been great ended up just good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.
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Authentically, Izzy does a fantastic job of giving us two main characters who are both adorable book nerds, generously sprinkling in book references, and describing both libraries and book stores in a lovely way.  I didn't love the story as much as I really had hoped and think that is due to the structure, pacing and predictability.  I didn't mind the story told in email and text messages but thought the transition about mid way through when we got large sections simply narrated was awkward.  Overall I felt the story dragged and just took too long, especially when the outcome seemed easily predicted.  Even though this was just an okay read for me I'm still planning to read the author's other work and in fact have one just in from the bookstore waiting for me.  Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas-Nelson for an early copy to read and review.  This book is expected out mid-November 2022.
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This book is a must-read for romance and book lovers. It is witty, charming, frustrating, loving, and wanting to curl up on the couch in one sitting type of reading.


Thank you@NetGalley,@ThomasNelson, and @pepperbasham for this advance read.  
#NetGalley #BookTwitter #AuthenticallyIzzy
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How I love epistolary novels! And especially one with the warmth and heart of Authentically Izzy! This wonderful story is told mostly through emails, texts, and the messages that Izzy and Brodie exchange through an online dating site. There is something extremely intimate about reading the personal thoughts and emotions exchanged through their written exchanges, a form of communication that fosters honesty and authenticity. I adored that Izzy and Brodie were bookworms of the highest degree; as a bookworm myself, I feasted on their quotes and opinions of the books they loved! I was fully involved in Izzy’s life, including her relationships with her cousins, with her blossoming romance with Brodie, and with her own feelings of self-doubt and her sense of not belonging. I enjoyed that Lizzy not only found someone who shared her love of books, someone who was kind and caring—but most importantly, Izzy found herself. I was also more than a little in love with Brodie, too.
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I have this worry that Pepper Basham is stressing about the release of Authentically, Izzy, and I want to alleviate that stress. Let me tell a story of my own…

Many, many months ago I was perusing my favorite publishers in NetGalley when I came across Pepper’s novel, Authentically, Izzy, in Thomas Nelson’s galley shelf. The very first thing I thought when I saw the cover was, “This is perfection, I must request a copy NOW!” So I did, and Thomas Nelson delivered. I realized the book wasn’t releasing to the public until November, so I held out reading it until it got a little closer to publishing time. End of September came and I planned my October reads knowing that Authentically, Izzy had to be one of the books I read. I just could not wait any longer! I’m a full-time working mother. I teach by day and mom/wife by night. This means I have to plan down to the page how much to read each day in my free time (LOL, free time…what is that?) to make sure I get every book I need to read and review completed. I always go to GoodReads or Amazon before I read a book to check out page count so I can divide my pages properly according to my review and work schedule demands. I have to be very careful going to GoodReads or Amazon though because I tend to get caught up in reviews. I hate when this happens. I don’t ever like to read reviews BEFORE I review a book because it can skew my reading.

So, why did I tell you all of this? I’ll get to that in a minute. I promise.

Pepper Basham is one of my most favorite authors. I adore her writing style and love how endearing and relatable her characters are. She is queen at getting a reader’s heart to be super invested in her stories. I typically devour her books and then am left wanting more. I LOVE Authentically, Izzy. This story is magical. Izzy is the type of character I wish were an actual, real human because I want to be her friend. She is such an awesome heroine. I loved getting to be a part of her journey to understanding how un-dealt-with grief can deeply affect a person. How it can shape you into someone you’re not sure you ever wanted to be. I 100% loved how Brodie could see the amazing potential in Izzy from their very first interactions. If you read my reviews, you know that my #1 favorite quality in a hero is when he can see, when he pays attention to details. I love that quality, and Brodie has it in spades. I also love the instant chemistry between Izzy and Brodie, and how their relationship grows over the course of this story. Their early interactions are hilarious. I had some serious laugh-out-loud moments that I had to share with my husband. He laughed, too! But this story is way more than just laughs. It’s so much amazing heart and depth. My heart hurt in some parts. I teared up a bit. I even got a little frustrated at times. But I also cheered for Izzy and Brodie. I had all the feels with this book and I loved every single second!

So, now let me explain why I told you all that stuff about my reading schedule and GoodReads and comments. When I was checking out page #s for this book I saw reviews. Actually, my eyes didn’t focus on the reviews per se, but the stars. There were 1 and 2 star reviews. My heart dropped. How is this possible? What are they thinking? Then I read a couple reviews. Some people are not a fan of Basham’s choice to make Authentically, Izzy an epistolary novel. Let me address this issue — I adore that this book is written in modern-day letters (emails!). I found it incredibly clever. When Izzy and Brodie are in their respective countries, their interactions are through IMs and emails. When they are together in the same country, Basham returns to typical prose. Makes sense, right?! I did have a difficult time reading the emails until I realized that this book needs to be read in actual book form. I read on my Kindle. I love my Kindle, but it was no match for this story. I quickly switched from my Kindle to my NetGalley reader and had NO PROBLEM reading and loving and enjoying heartily this amazing story. So, yes, this story is formatted differently. Put your Kindles and eReaders away for this book and purchase an actual copy. I promise, you won’t have any issue getting into the storyline if you do.

Authentically, Izzy is a wonderful story that I loved wholeheartedly. Yes, it’s written in a unique format, but I found that to add to the magic of this story. I highly recommend this story. If you are a fan of humor and chemistry-filled Contemporary Romances, then Authentically, Izzy is a story you will not want to miss.

I received a galley copy of this novel in eBook form the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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I have taken some time to read this because the letter writing format doesn’t grip me. After many reading sessions, I can say that the story was good but the format wasn’t for me. I liked the names and the settings and some of the dialogue. But the format made it seem stilted to me, and I found it difficult to immerse myself. I’d like to be clear that another reader might feel completely differently. Thank you for the ARC.
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I so expected this book to be different! I'm a little underwhelmed.

This story is told mostly through e-mails and text messages, which is fun at the beginning. But soon I started skipping over the sender and I got all confused about who was sending the e-mail to whom and it just got annoying. I would've liked to have some 'regular' dialogue in between the e-mails to make it all a bit easier to read.

The writing itself was entertaining, though the 'curse'words (Oh my heart. Squee). I knew it was a Christian romance going in, I didn't think it matched the time the story is set in. Also, the love triangle just was a huge let down (and with such a jerk of a man too). 
The 'romance' bit between Brodie and Izzy is realistic enough and quite entertaining. 

I could've strangled Josephine and Anders for being such complete busybodies. My goodness. Josephine set up Izzy's online dating account because 'she really needed to find herself a man of the realistic variety', but then completely started to go bonkers when Izzy and Brodie hit it off. Woman, butt out of other people's business! 

All together it was an entertaining read, but it felt alltogether too long because of the e-mail format during the first 60% of the book. I'm sure the book will appeal to someone, but unfortunately it wasn't me.
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The main reason I requested this book was the fact that it was an epistolary novel. Plus, a love story. Plus, elements like books amd library. One of my favourite love stories is an epistolary novel. But this one just didn't work for me.

Izzy works in a library and lives the life of a loner. So her cousin forcefully creates her profile on a dating site. After a little chiding, Izzy finally meets someone on the dating site
 and they begin to communicate through emails (even Izzy and her cousins communicate through emails). That person is Brodie. Then someone called Eli starts to frequent the library and Izzy kind of likes him and then writes to her cousins about him.

'Before I knew it, he’d asked for my phone number. While I stumbled through an answer, Aunt Louisa came up from behind me and gave it to the man.' (Seriously!)

They're (Eli's eyes) a deep, dark blue. His hair is light-to-medium brown and . . PS: His smile was his best feature in my opinion.'

Okay, so one should not use this format just for the heck of it. Not every story is suitable for this format, especially if there are 6-7 characters to deal with. In this book, frequent letter exchanges between 6-7 people made the read terribly confusing. After some initial correspondence, I was not interested in Izzy's (too frequent) conversation with her cousins. 

Brodie didn't seem interesting to me. Eli seemed interesting (from the blurb) but I lost interest with 'Before I knew it, he’d asked for my phone number…'

The letters are unnecessarily long, people talking about mundane things. 

To be honest, it doesn't work like that. And this book, sadly, didn't work for me. Very disappointed.
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I really tried to like this book, I really did. But unfortunately, it fell flat for me. The format, being emails, was not a drawback for me, but it was very slow. And I just could not get into it like I wanted to.
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“To quote a popular fiction that feels rather appropriate, ‘I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.’” -This book 
Pepper Basham has done it again! She swept me off my feet with an adorable story about romance and books.  
The format was a series of emails and or texts. It took a minute to adjust but I really ended up loving the letter form of correspondence. I actually met my husband on line so I enjoyed watching this relationship bloom. It was fun and just what I needed for a HEA. PB is a favorite for clean romance. I highly recommend this one. 
Thanks Thomas Nelson via NetGalley.
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I love Pepper Basham's previous Books, so I was determined to give this a try.....  never I've read a book like this,.....the story starts with an email between her and her cousin, regarding her love life, Izzy is a librarian and struggles with knowing where she belongs, and she has a bookish-loving heart....... thanks to her nosey cousin signing her up in an online dating site she met Brody. that also loves all things books.....this book was a lot of fun to read going back and forth with the email/text format that is for the majority of the book.....It was sweet how Brody and Izzy were able to become friends via messages and watch their friendship blossom into more. 

The epistolary format was a struggle and reading from my kindle made it hard to focus, it took me a little bit to get into it.  A bit slow romance, but still a fast read. I know this style of novel is not for everyone, but I think the author did a great job,

I loved the family dynamics. the built up of their romance.  Fun romantic story with relatable charatcters, sweet, charming, with both light and serious moments, and an all bookish loving heart delights in one book.

 "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
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Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.  All opinions are my own.

mmmmmm.  Nope.  I had to put it down.  I really wanted to like this title...it was a little too slow for my taste.
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