Year 5: The 2015 INSPY Award Winners

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another season has arrived, another year of INSPY awards season has passed. Of course, what you'd all like to know is, which books won? But first, thanks and appreciation to all of the publishers and publicists who year after year help in making this program succeed. And of course, to my fellow Advisory Board members: thanks so much for making these awards fun year after year. Love working with you ladies. Most importantly, our judges! Following the terrific work of our six judging panels, our amazing judges - bloggers and readers, have carefully considered, and discussed the books, and gave of their time to participate. We had some veteran judges and some newbies who kindly applied, all of whom we were thrilled to welcome.

Today, the Advisory Board is thrilled to announce the seven novels that stand out as clear winners in their respective categories. Join us in congratulating all of the nominated authors and the seven authors who won this years INSPY Award.



Book - Meant to be Mine
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense, Meant to Be Mine (Bethany House) by Becky Wade: 

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade is the epitome of Christian romance. The chemistry between Ty and Celia is fabulous, and we could feel the sparks in every interaction between them! While the romance is spectacular, this book has so much more to offer. Beautifully written, it is an emotional experience in the best way. Wade’s descriptions of the characters brought them to life, and their relational, emotional, and spiritual journeys rang true. The other four novels in this category are wonderful, but Meant To Be Mine’s excellence is unable to be denied.

Book - Miracle in a Dry SeasonDebut, Miracle in a Dry Season (Bethany House) by Sarah Loudin Thomas: 

We chose Miracle in a Dry Season not only because of the talent of the author, but because it is a unique and engaging story. A refreshing tale of miracles, love, and laughter set in the 1950s, Sarah Loudin Thomas pens an intriguing take based around the miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Through the story, characters – led by the primary character, Casewell, and events we gain a deeper understanding of faith and what it means to embrace the gifts and blessings God has given us.

General Fiction, Saving Amelie (Tyndale) by Cathy Golke: 
saving amelie

What a challenge, to pick one winner from five fabulous titles including Biblical, historical and contemporary fiction. We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 INSPY Award for General Fiction is Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, which impressed us all with its complex characters, fascinating historical detail, and bold yet subtle Christian message. The story is set in Germany in the early days of World War II, and plot centres on rescuing the deaf Amelie, from her father and from a regime which prized “perfection” over the sanctity of life. The characters face danger, hardship and uncertainty over the course of this thought-provoking and sometimes harrowing read. We were particularly impressed with the sensitive way Gohlke showed how God can use ordinary people in the bleakest of circumstances.

Book - Mark of DistinctionHistorical Romance, Mark of Distinction (Tyndale) by Jessica Dotta: 

We chose Mark of Distinction because it exemplifies the historical romance genre and confronts unique spiritual themes. Jessica Dotta has woven a story with a captivating setting and characters. The writing style and mystery of the plot draws the reader from the beginning into a Victorian society of restraint, secrets, and consequences. At its center is the theme of full surrender and trust in God. With complex characters and a unique voice, the story unfolds with unexpected twists and romance.

Literature for Young Adult, Storm Siren (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber:

Book - Storm SirenOur panel decided to choose Storm Siren as the winner for the YA category. Nym deals with insecurities about her elemental powers and wondering why she was born with such a curse. This makes Nym relatable to young women all over the world and from every generation – we have all dealt with insecurities at some point in their lives. To see Nym have to come to terms with how she was created and to use those powers for the greater good shows tremendous character growth. Another reason we chose Storm Siren was because of the amazing and magical world that Mary Weber created. World building is one of the first things in a Fantasy novel that draws you into the story. Oh…and who doesn’t love a map inside their book!

Book - A.D. 30Mystery/Thriller, A.D. 30 (Center Street) by Ted Dekker:

A.D. 30 is a fast-paced adventure that keeps you turning the pages until the very end. Ted Dekker delivers a powerful, faith-filled story that brims with perils – each with their own kind of mystery and suspense, struggles, and most importantly hope. Dekker takes us on a journey to Jesus through the eyes of the daughter of Maviah, a gentile and an outcast, readers rediscover the message of Yeshua, experiencing it as never before. Dekker masterfully conveys the depth of God’s love for us — a knowledge we often hold in our heads, but fail to carry in our hearts. Warring kingdoms, power-thirsty adversaries, and fickle rulers are only a few of the obstacles in Maviah’s journey that keep the reader flipping pages. Whether she will succeed in her quest is a mystery. An uplifting and simple message, encased in a sweeping historical epic, is the primary reason it was selected it to be the winner of this year’s INSPY award.

Speculative Fiction, Spirit Bridge (Thomas Nelson) by James L.Rubart:

Book - Spirit BridgeSpirit Bridge is a brilliantly written story that was thought provoking and yet easy to follow as a standalone novel, though it is the third and final book in the Well Spring series. The story-world was populated with an excellent group of lead characters who were complex and easily relatable in their struggles in both the physical and spiritual realms. Their struggles challenge the reader to examine aspects of their own lives.  The story’s message, dying to self and keeping the enemy from gaining a foothold, was clear throughout, not getting lost in the suspense and action of the story. Spirit Bridge fully satisfies the reader’s expectations of the genre. It is a powerful spiritual thriller, with the speculative elements underpinning the novel and not requiring any further explanation to better understand it. Spirit Bridge is very worthy of the INSPY for Speculative Fiction.

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

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors! 


If you'd like more information about the INSPYs award program, please visit our website at There you'll find all of our category description, past year's winners and our judging panels, and press releases.


  1. Congrats to all the winners and authors!!!

    I am beyond thrilled to see 'Meant to Be Mine', 'Mark of Distinction', and 'Storm Siren' up there!!! Those definitely deserved the win. As for the others, adding them to my TBR now. ;) And you can definitely tell the judges were carefully considerate from those statements they put together. So, so good.

    So much fun, Rissi! Thanks for sharing... and for all the hard work you put into the INSPYs!! :D

    1. Echoing your thoughts, Bekah! We were thrilled to congratulate all of the authors who won. There's an amazing array of talent all of them possess and their fellow nominees are amazing, too.

      Yay for growing TBR's. INSPYs is amazing for many reasons, but discovering new books is definitely one of the best. Happy reading!

  2. Thank you for serving on the Advisory Board, Rissi! The INSPYs are such a wonderful, unique, and well respected award. They serve as a huge encouragement to authors and publishers.

    1. It's my pleasure, Becky. Thank you for crafting stories we all love to read. We're thrilled to have an opportunity to recognize these novels and their authors, and get bloggers involved in a fun award program. :)

  3. Great list! I'll definitely have to make sure I read all these. I loved Meant to Be Mine and its author too, so I'm glad to see it won. :D

    1. Becky is a fantastic author and person. I agree. Though I've not had a lot of social media or email contact with her, what I have has proven that. And of course, her books speak for themselves. Hope you enjoy the rest of these, Tressa. Always fun to discover new books! :)


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