INSPY News: Presenting the 2018 INSPY Award Winners!

June 29, 2018 4 Comments

The day is finally here, those 2018 INSPY award winners are ready to make their entrance into the world and shout their status as winners for all the book worms who loved the stories inside their pages!

INSPY News: Presenting the 2018 INSPY Award Winners! It's here! We're ready to present the winners of 2018. Text © Rissi JC

Before we get to said announcement, I just want to give a shout out to our amazing panel of judges (and mine specifically – you know who you are), and to my fellow INSPYs Advisory Board members. Kara, Jamie, Lydia and Rel – thank you for all the fun times, book talk and friendship over the years. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you all over these many years.

To the authors, publishers and readers, thank you for helping to make this program flourish and to allow it to exist.

Without further ago, let’s get to the moment you’re all really here for.

2018 INSPY Award Winners

Following careful consideration, our incredible judging panels (who we extend many thanks to) chose the 2018 INSPYs award winners in our seven respective categories. Following months of reading (by the Advisory Board and recently, our judging panels), planning, author interviews and emails in excess, the INSPY Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2018 INSPY Award Winners.   Below are the seven winning novels in their respective categories alongside a statement from our judges on the reasons why they felt the book deserves this years INSPY award.


True to You by Becky Wade is a contemporary romance that exudes excellence. The story’s slow-and-steady build-up pulls the reader in with the excitement of John and Nora’s genealogical search and the anticipation of a romance. When surprises catch both the main characters off guard, they each have to examine their own motives and learn the true meaning of surrendering to God’s power and will. The spiritual truths and deep emotions of this story make it impactful and engaging, while the development of John and Nora’s romance provides plenty of opportunity for sweet, lighter-hearted moments. True to You is not just a romance but a story of the interconnected relationships in life and how God purposes them for His glory.


Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano was both an enchanting surprise and a delight to read. As judges, we were incredibly impressed by the mystery, intrigue, and romance. Each layer held us captivate. One of Politano’s strengths, along with a haunting and unique storyline, was that not all characters turned out as the reader thought. With each new layer peeled back, Politano revealed deeper levels and deeper reasons for a character’s behavior, reasons and actions. Misunderstandings, revelations, and naturally weaved in faith make this entertaining and fantastic debut, deserving of the INSPYs award.


Going beyond the well-structured plot and detailed descriptions of the Dust Bowl era, where the reader can taste the dirt and feel the lack of hope, A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner will connect with readers of all ages. The author stayed true to the language used during that time and from one region of the U.S. to another, causing history to come to life. Main character Pearl Spence is wise beyond her years due to the circumstances she has endured. You will experience the faith upheavals along with her as she seeks to understand God and why things happen as they do.

There were no stereotypes when it came to the characters that were all wonderfully written. You will love some, dislike others, but feel bad for what all are going through. The Dust Bowl era was a terribly difficult time to live.

The Christian faith was apparent throughout and it grew with the book and characters. When it came to how the characters reacted to a tragedy, Finkbeiner was able to give a natural flow to their thoughts and actions. Different people react differently, regardless of their belief, and this is shown in a realistic and thought-provoking way. This book will stick with the reader after they flip that last page.


Many Sparrows by Lori Benton is a beautifully written historical novel and a heart wrenching tale full of believable and sympathetic characters. Reading this book is an experience for your heart, mind and soul, a story where each character is fighting their own battles of faith and their past, with no easy solutions. But through the characters, the reader is reminded of trusting in God’s timing and in His plan. Benton’s lyrical writing allows this story to not only come to life, but to transport you into the story. The pacing of the novel was excellent and the setting compelling. A story that was neither formulaic or predictable and held our attention from beginning to end. Seeing sorrow turn to joy, fear to trust, hate to love, and most importantly forgiveness to hope are the things that we, the judges, feel encompasses what the INSPY Awards stands for.


Unraveling is a well written story we couldn’t put down. It possesses a plot that keeps the story moving, high stakes, and a beautiful kind of allegory. It tugs on your emotions and invests the reader in the story and the characters. Beautifully written faith themes are woven throughout Unraveling, like light versus darkness (the depiction of the Verity and Void is exceptionally well used), and growing in one’s gifts (or Callings).  Sara Ella writes a wonderful romance including a swoon worthy hero!  However, it’s the characters that really stand out; the main character, Eliyana is very relatable. The author does a great job weaving many allegories related to the Christian faith into her fast paced book that you won’t want to put down!


Portrait of Vengeance, the fourth installment in the Gwen Marcey series, is action-packed and suspense-filled from beginning to end, with surprising plot twists and relatable characters. Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is an extraordinarily well-developed character and continues to entice readers with her complexity even after four stories. Author Carrie Stuart Parks deftly develops Marcey as a woman who struggles with her own issues but trusts God to help her rise above her problems, all while she fastidiously solves cases. Portrait fo Vengeance sees Marcey at the intersection of past trauma and present intrigue in the fascinating setting amidst the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. All these elements combined result in a breath-stealing mystery that will leave readers poised on the edge of their seats.


The Divide by Jolina Petersheim is a post-apocalyptic wonder that concludes the riveting and visionary plot introduced in The Alliance. Petersheim imagines a materialistically barren dystopian society that feels eerily plausible and immersive amidst rich atmospheric tensions. Casting Leora and the pacificist Old Order Mennonite community as the foremost survivors is novel and ingenious, granting Petersheim’s dystopia a context that is incomparable. With The Divide, Petersheim continues to challenge the expectations of “bonnet” novels by breaking the mould and surprising readers with the depth of emotion and complex narrative. She surreptitiously poses the questions to readers, “What would you do? How far would you got to ensure the survival of yourself and the ones you love?”

We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title.

Congratulations to the winners and all of the nominated authors! 

Which of these have you read? Do you want to read any of these? Think they sound like must reads? Tell us if you’re excited about any of these!!

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) True to You on Amazon | Lady Jayne Disappears on AmazonA Trail of Crumbs on AmazonMany Sparrows on Amazon | Portrait of Vengeance on AmazonThe Divide on Amazon

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Courtney Clark June 30, 2018 at 1:16 AM

    THANK YOU to the advisory board for keeping us all in line!! This is such an amazing award – – and it's a privilege to be a part of it. What a fantastic group of winners! (I need to read a few more of them!)

    • Rissi July 6, 2018 at 11:51 PM

      YAY for discovering new reads. Gotta' love the whole add-to-the-TBR life. Right!? ;)

      THANK YOU for being a judge, Courtney.

  • Paula July 1, 2018 at 9:53 PM

    Have not read any yet, although I have Lady Jayne. Would like to read several that won!

    • Rissi July 6, 2018 at 11:52 PM

      Fun! Hope you enjoy them all, Paula. :)

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