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INSPYs 2013

INSPYs 2013

Hey, all! In the last two months, I have been reading like crazy; the kind of reading that I quite literally felt like I was going to drown in. Here’s why. First reason being, there are too many awesome, wonderful blog tours out there tempting me when I’d open my email page – I just couldn’t pass up too many of them… so basically, I didn’t.

Then, I was honored and surprised by getting to participate in the 2013 INSPY awards which is a program that was created to honor the best in inspirational Christian fiction by the bloggers who read, review and promote the best in Christian fiction. Of the five categories, I was in the “romance” genre and here were the five novels up for the award.  

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Breath of Dawn by Kristin Heitzman

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz

To Whisper her Name by Tamara Alexander

…and the winner is:
The Breath of Dawn

Here is what all three of us judges agreed was the reason why:

“Irrespective of the category The Breath of Dawn was judged by, don’t let that fool you; this novel is much more than just a romance. It’s full of excitement, challenges and a heart-tugging romance that blossoms under the sanctity of marriage. Kristen Heitzmann deftly balances romance, suspense, history and a much-needed spiritual message without letting any element suffer out of respect to another. The romance between Quinn and Morgan is tender, yet blossoms into something more passionate over the course of the story. The growing relationship between our hero and heroine is believable, and assisted by fleshed-out secondary characters who begin to feel like family by the end of the novel. Quinn’s appeal grows when the reader learns that she grew up in a cult-like religious community, introducing a backstory that makes her all the more relatable. The discussion of the community is a bold move on Heitzmann’s part, but it is dealt with in a manner that is neither derogatory or sounds like a sermon. The spiritual message in The Breath of Dawn organically grows out of the story, tying all of these elements together to produce a well-rounded, satisfying story.”

The other winners were:
The Frist Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones (General Fiction)
With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (Young Adult Literature)

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (Mystery and Thriller)
Soul’s Gate by James L Rubart (Speculative Fiction)

I have to say that in reading these five books, I was blown away. Out of the five I’d not read four of them, I was pleasantly surprised by each, which disproved my theory that I could judge if a book was “right” for me – and though sadly not all can win, I honestly thought all five had something to offer. The INSPY advisory board made the right call in narrowing it down. There will be reviews posted on most if not all of these novels in the coming days and I’d love to know what you think of the books or authors when they do show up! Be on the lookout.

Thank you INSPYs (Lydia and Rel) for the pleasure and honor of working with you in this process – I sincerely thank you for including me in this; it was a wonderful learning experience! Also to Rachel Brand and Susan Brangz, my fellow judges; it was a blast working with you, ladies!

CONGRATS to The Breath of Dawn and Kristin Heitzmann for winning the 2013 title; it was well deserved. Cooler yet is that Kristin also won the Christy Award for her novel in the romance category earlier this week.

I cannot wait to see what will come for the 2013/2014 INSPY season.
It promises to be a terrific year!

2 thoughts on “INSPYs 2013”

  1. Dearest Rissi it was such a joy to have you on my judging panel! All three of you (Susan and Rachel) made the process of picking a finalist intellectually stimulating and I was so pleased to see everyone’s point of view. Looking forward to reading your reviews of the books 🙂

    1. Thank you for the opportunity, Lydia. It was a joy to be a part of this years INSPYs – and if it weren’t for you and Rel, I might not have known about this organization.

      I rushed through reviewing ‘Breath of Dawn’ last night (and it’s up on my “main” blog) since it was the winner. Needless to say given the hurried nature of the writing, I may be editing it here and there. 😉

      Looking forward to what 2014 bring to Christian fiction – and thank you for stopping by!

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