2014 INSPY Awards Winners


Good morning, the Advisory Board is thrilled to announce our 2014 INSPY winners in each of our seven categories!

After months (and months) of hard work, lots of reading and plenty of notes, the Advisory Board is excited to finally share the winners of the 2014 awards program. Before we do, we’d like to give a shout-out and many thanks to our panels of judges for their willingness to participate. They’ve all beautifully considered each of the five books in the respective seven category shortlists and as a result, these seven novels have come out the victors. Many thanks go to each of you for being a part of the INSPYs. Without
you, this program wouldn’t be what it is.  

2014 INSPY Winners. Finally sharing the 2014 winners of our INSPY award! What's your favorite title? Text © INSPYs / Rissi JC

Secondly, I’d like to thank all of you, the bloggers, authors, tweeters and readers who have shared about this program and for being
our exceptional “street team” – you’ve created the excitement and given this program more notice than we can ever thank you for. Please know all those mentions were appreciated. 

Also, a big shout-out and congratulations to ALL of the nominated and winning authors. It’s because of your books we are able to have these awards. Thank you for what you write.

Without further ado, that announcement you’ve been patiently waiting for is here. Drumroll, please…

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

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense:

barefoot summer denise hunter

Barefoot 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. On Goodreads


Katherine Reay’s contemporary epistolary, Dear Mr. Knightley is one of the most brilliant character studies to come about in literature in years. Sometimes 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. Kightley’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. On Goodreads

2014 INSPY Winners. Finally sharing the 2014 winners of our INSPY award! What's your favorite title? Text © INSPYs / Rissi JC

General 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. On Goodreads

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. On Goodreads

Literature for Young Adult:

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. On Goodreads


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! On Goodreads

Speculative 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. On Goodreads

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors!

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed all of these, Gidget. :)

      We open the applications for judges in March! It's always a fun time and of course, as long as you have a blog, you're most welcome to apply. :)

    2. Absolutely! I'll be posting various updates at the end of the year when we get the 2015 awards in swing – first we open nominations (for the 2014 books), then we'll accept judging applications. :)

  1. Congratulations to all the winners! I've only read two of these, but now I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on the other three. I had such a great time as a judge, reading and discussing such great books with the other judges. Thanks again for having me on the team :)

    1. It was wonderful of you to participate, Jillian. :) Please, do feel free to apply again next time around.

      Cool! Maybe you'll find some new reads via the rest of the winners on this list. Enjoy!

  2. Thank you again for having me as a judge! It was an honor and I had a blast being part of the team. Also, congrats to all the winners! I haven't read any of the other books…I can't wait to check them out now. :)

    1. Thank you for joining us, Bekah – it was great of you to take the time and care to be a judge, thanks for doing that!

      I agree, it was fun to finally be able to share these winners and if Twitter is any indication, the authors enjoyed the fun surprise, on Saturday of seeing their books in the list. :)

      Enjoy the novels you haven't read yet. :)

  3. Some serious favorites here! Very happy with the results. :) I'm really curious, Rissi, what your take would be on these since you read them and helped get them down to the short lists. Did any of your predictions or favorites win?

    1. Yay! Glad some of your favorites won, Tressa; and that you're excited about the results. :)

      Oh, I am definitely happy with the books that won, and I'm thrilled for everyone who won. I am specifically excited about the speculative fiction category as well as DMK, and NOT in the least bit jealous about the task the historical judges had in narrowing that shortlist to ONE – man, there were some good ones in that category. Barefoot Summer is definitely worthy of winning, too. It's beautiful. :)

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