2014 INSPY Award Winners

The INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2014 INSPY Award Winners:

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense:

Barefoot Summer Book ArtBarefoot Summer by Denise Hunter is the quintessential definition of Christian Romantic Fiction. The writing style is in a word lovely, with perfect pacing and wonderful descriptions. Barefoot Summer played like a movie in our heads. Denise created characters with flaws and very real emotions that kept us invested in their story and engaged with each new scene. Not just with the main characters, but the other plot lines as well. While the other four novels were great reads this one climbed it’s way to the top. Barefoot Summer truly is the perfect Summer read, and for many more Summers to come.

Debut: 

Katherine Reay’s contemporary epistolary, Dear Mr. Knightley is one of the most brilliant character studies to come about in literature in years. Book - Dear Mr. KnightlySometimes you are given a gift that everyone assures you will be delightful but you aren’t entirely sure the contents will be to your liking. This is a book where the hype holds up. All the references to classical literature – from Great Expectations to Austen to Narnia, could have made the novel seem detached, but Reay uses them with such talent and creativity, you understand the characters on a deeper level because of them and because Dear Mr. Knightley’s heroine was less “figment” and much more, real. Above all, those qualities are this debut’s crowning glory – it’s more than just an expert piece of fiction. Not only is Dear Mr. Knightley the perfect debut, it’s a must read for any lover of classics, particularly Jane Austen.

16033233General Fiction: 

The field of nominees for the General Fiction category had some of the best books we have read this year, making this year’s selection process difficult indeed. After a lot of in depth discussion, we are awarding the Inspy to Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes. A moving account of a woman’s struggle with self in the face of spousal abuse, this novel will touch your heart and soul. Powerfully personal, beautifully written, with highly relatable characters, Gina Holmes’ novel presents a message of love and hope that Jesus always offered to everyone He met.


Historical Romance: 

???????????????????A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund is an exceptional piece of Christian fiction based upon real events. The rich historical and cultural setting are characters in their own right, making the story come to life. The characters portray authentic growth as the story progresses, as well as an undeniable romantic tension present throughout, encouraging the reader to keep turning the pages. This beautiful story weaves in themes of trust, redemption, and the importance of having a relationship grounded in God, while emphasizing the importance of hope, forgiveness, and sacrificial love. Jody Hedlund is a skilled writer and her work displays the best of historical romance, both entertaining and speaking to the heart.

Literature for Young Adult: CaptivesSafeLands

Captives was a compelling and thought-provoking novel. Jill Williamson’s writing style, vivid imagery and intriguing plot keeps you on the edge of your seat. Captives also has insightful commentary on society. There was a large variety of characters with the light of the believers clearly contrasting the darkness and depravity of the society around them. Captives beautifully illustrates the bigger picture and how important it is to stand up for your beliefs. Thought-provoking and page-turning, Captives was not only far more than your typical YA dystopian story, but definitely one of the top YA novels of 2013.

Mystery/Thriller: The King

The King is suspense at its best and challenges readers to really think – what is our definition of a hero?  The author weaves a thread of faith throughout the novel that infused the story with hope, reminding us Who ultimately holds control and provides meaning when the journey becomes rough; captivating plots, intriguing characters, and twists at every turn immerse the reader deep into the tale. These characters: Patrick, Lien-hua, and Tessa held our heart and made us cheer for them. The writing was superb; this is definitely an author who knows how to write suspense while also endearing his readers to his characters. The story does not let you go. The King is a thought provoking read as much as it was a page turner…one to definitely be read with the light on!

anomalySpeculative Fiction:

Anomaly by Krista McGee featured fully developed characters exploring a world of both tragedy and hope. Details were revealed as they were needed, never intruding or halting the narrative but flowing alongside it. The protagonist Thalli is a heroine who learns to love without being defined it, combining creativity and logical reasoning, and able to eventually make her own choices while remaining compassionate to the needs of others. No easy answers are offered to the challenges she and the other characters face; instead, Thalli’s growing relationship with God gave her the ability to see past her fear and make choices not based on her own needs but those of others. The stark, first-person prose captured exactly what a young teen thrust in such situations might feel, neither drowning in the emotion nor ignoring it, but letting the reader truly live through another’s eyes.

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors! 

Author Interview: Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

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So thrilled to welcome Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, authors of the young adult shortlisted novel, Doon.  Be sure to play along with Carey’s writing space ‘I Spy’ at the end of the interview and leave us a comment with the number of items you actually did spy! Veronica doesn’t think she’s going crazy. But […]

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Author Interview: Travis Thrasher

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Thrilled to be bringing Travis Thrasher, author of shortlisted young adult novel Hurt ~ Book Number 4 in The Solitary Series to the Inspy’s blog!  As a huge fan myself of The Chronicles of Narnia series, I have a special affinity for Travis and his work.  We hope you enjoy learning a bit more of […]

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Author Interview: Stephanie Morrill

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We are thrilled to have Stephanie Morrill on the Inspy’s Blog today.  Stephanie is the author of shortlisted young adult novel The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet.  Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and the Ellie Sweet books (Playlist). […]

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Author Interview: Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel

Shannon's sitting room where couples come for marriage coaching.  The 'counselor character' in upcoming novel Veil of Secrets is based on Shannon's work as a marriage coach.

We are thrilled to welcome two very talented authors to the Inspy’s blog today!  Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel are the team behind General Fiction shortlisted novel To Know You. Years ago, Julia Whittaker gave up two daughters for adoption. Now she must find them to try to save the life of her son. Julia […]

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Author Interview: Jill Williamson

CaptivesSafeLands

We are thrilled to welcome author Jill Williamson to the Inspy’s Blog!  Jill is the author of the shortlisted young adult novel Captives.  Jill currently lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.  She enjoys working with teenagers encouraging them to respect their dreams.  Welcome Jill! In a dystopian future, eighteen-year-old Levi returns from […]

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Author Interview: Lynn Chandler-Willis

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We’re thrilled to welcome Pelican Book Group author Lynn Chandler-Willis to the Inspy’s blog!  Lynn’s novel The Rising is shortlisted in the Speculative Fiction category.  Welcome Lynn!   Summary from Goodreads: A dead child that isn’t dead. A cop out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes.       What led you to […]

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Author Interview: Lori Benton

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We are thrilled to welcome Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky to the blog!  Her novel has been shortlisted in the Debut Fiction Category. from Goodreads Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life […]

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Author Interview with Dani Pettrey

Book - Shattered

We’re thrilled to welcome Bethany House author Dani Pettrey to the INSPYs blog. Homeschooling mom of two and author of the best-selling Alaskan Courage series, her second novel, Shattered is a finalist in the contemporary romance/romantic suspense category. Summary from Goodreads A Thrilling New Romantic Suspense from the Genre’s Newest Star Piper McKenna couldn’t be more […]

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Author Interview with Julianna Deering

Rules of Murder

A native Texan, Julianna Deering has always been interested in storytelling and is keen on history, which is what inspired her latest series of books. The first novel in her new Bethany House series, Rules of Murder is on the shortlist in the mystery/thriller category. We welcome her today! Summary from Goodreads: Drew Farthering loves […]

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