In the Bookcase


Book Review: Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (5 star review)

Oliver Twist

written by Charles Dickens

608 pages // published in 1838 // British classic literature


One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, "Please, sir, I want some more." After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time—the terrifying Bill Sikes.

Rife with Dickens’s disturbing descriptions of street life, the novel is buoyed by the purity of the orphan Oliver. Though he is treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, his pious innocence leads him at last to salvation—and the shocking discovery of his true identity.

My Review

5 Star Rating

The rawness of humanity. The lowest scum on the streets. A boy thrown ito the mix, tossed and turned, this way and that. Oliver Twist.

Before taking on this novel, I had certainly forgotten how humorous that Dickens is in his writing. Even though the story may be so sorrowful, filled with the lowest of emotions, the basest of human actions, and the darkest of hopeless thoughts... he still infuses comedy into the commonplace and he knows just how to poke fun at the characters to make them appear ridiculous in their own peculiarities. Renewed again, I love reading Dickens for this reason.

This is an ideal Victorian novel, that shows both sides of the coin in terms of social status. Little Oliver gets the chance to experience it all. He gets thrown back and forth a bit between lives, but as the reader, we can really take in the contrast. It makes for an excellent historical study about England too.

Note to the discerning reader: May contain some mild swear words, and many are crossed out (only showing the first letter).

What memorable characters and heart-rending scenes this classic boasts. I enjoyed every page.

Add to Goodreads

This is book #11 for me in the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge.
[CATEGORY: 18th Century Classic]

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


WINNER of A Literary Christmas giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the lovely Christmas Ball Ornament made from book pages! ... Today it's time to announce the WINNER!

What literary-minded person wouldn't want one of these?

And... if you're not the special winner to be blessed with this gift, you can get these ornaments from the Etsy shop Sweet Berry Gifts -- for any of your book-lovin' friends (and yourself, of course!).


Here's the big announcement!


>  >  >

Congratulations to Antoinette M!

(I've already sent you an email, Antoinette. Please reply soon.)

- - - - - - - -

And in other news...

A Literary Christmas reading challenges continues!

A Literary Christmas: Reading Challenge //

If you're reading any holiday-themed books this month, please join us.


#LASTCHANCE to win this Christmas book ornament!

Today is the VERY LAST DAY to win this adorable Book Page Ornament! Just a few hours left...

ENTER NOW... and get EXTRA BONUS points if you sign up for A Literary Christmas reading challenge too! *hint~hint*


2 brand new Christian Fiction Christmas releases! >> #GIVEAWAY

Christmas Duet Blog Tour

Authors Rebekah Morris and Faith Blum have teamed up for a fun Christmas Duet Blog Tour!

Why Christmas Duet? Because both books have titles that have to do with a Christmas song! Be sure to check out all of the other participating blogs, as well as the GIVEAWAY!!! Find out more below.

His Law is Love

His Law is Love

by Rebekah A. Morris

Will hate and fear drown the song of Christmas love?

Amelia is eagerly anticipating her first Christmas in the west, but she soon finds that her brother-in-law's worry and her sister's exhaustion reach far deeper than the cares of a ranch and a family. A rash of fires and cattle thefts is plaguing the area, and the three young orphans they've sheltered are under suspicion from their prejudiced neighbors.

As hostilities mount, Amelia seizes every opportunity to help and encourage, but how much can one girl do? Will Reverend Brown win the community over to the true spirit of love? And will help arrive before everything they hold dear is destroyed?

Read an excerpt!

            Her attention was arrested by the minister’s deep baritone voice. “Christmas is only a little more than two weeks away, and at this time of year I am reminded of the words of my favorite Christmas song.” He stepped to the side of the pulpit and began to recite the words, but before he had reached the third line, the melody rolled from him and filled the church.

            “Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
            Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
            A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
            For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;”

            A thrill–was it of hope?–raced through Amelia, and she caught her breath as the voice seemed to shake the rafters of the church as the minister launched into the refrain.

            Not a sound was to be heard when the minister, having finished the first stanza and chorus resumed his place and looked around on his congregation.

            “Have you fallen on your knees before the King lately? Have you realized that your soul is not the only soul to have worth? Is not the soul of your neighbor worth as much as your own? Did not our Savior come to save his soul too? As this holy night, this night divine, approaches, let us remember why Christ came.”

Author Rebekah A. Morris

Author Bio:

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, the Christmas Collection series, and her best selling Triple Creek Ranch series.

Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t writing, include reading, playing with her seven nieces and nephews, and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. (Sometimes with the nieces and nephews!) The Show-Me state is where she calls home.


O Come All Ye Faithful & other short stories

O Come All Ye Faithful & other short stories

by Faith Blum

O Come All Ye Faithful
Edwin wanted to be home, but instead he crouched in a trench. The English on one side of No Man’s Land and Germans on the other. What a way to spend Christmas. Could anything make it better?

Peace on Earth
Emmie and Elana are estranged sisters, torn apart by an old boyfriend five years earlier. Will they survive a night in the same hotel room after a blizzard forces them together or will peace on earth go out the window?

Silent Night
Christmas decorating had never gone this wrong. Jenna had just started when a crazy, gun-waving woman, walks right in the front door and ties her up in her own Christmas lights. Will Jenna even see her family this Christmas?

The Gift Goes On
Four friends and a year to reflect on. The year had been good for Carlotta, but Priscilla, Remus, and Newton all had at least one trial through the year. A mysterious giver the previous year had helped them all out, though. What would this year’s gifts bring?

O Christmas Tree
Gareth loves Christmas. But more than that, he loves Christmas tree hunting. As the family prepares for their annual trip, Gareth can barely contain his excitement. But what are all the spray bottles for?

Read an excerpt!

Edwin blinked against the dim light of the dawn. What had awakened him this time? A dull boom in the distance startled him. Distant or not, that boom was much too close for comfort. Who had fired their artillery and where? It was far enough away to not be a danger to him or his men, but if it was the Germans, that meant another company was getting artillery shells lobbed at them. 

Not for the first time, Edwin wished he lived back during the days of King Arthur. Boulders catapulting toward him would be preferable to the devastation from a shell. He had always imagined boulders would be easier to see and move away from. If he couldn’t, then being crushed had to be better than shrapnel. He shuddered as memories of the army hospital tents came back.

The captain shouted orders to them and Edwin bit back a groan. Another day, another fight, another depressing… Wait, it was Christmas Eve. Not that it mattered, but being gloomy on this holiday was not something his sister would approve of. A smile flitted across his grim face. It didn’t stick, but that tiny seed of hope lifted his spirits just a little.

Author Faith Blum

Author Bio:

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl. She’s lived in, or outside of, small towns her whole life. The thought of living in a city with more than 60,000 people in it scares her, especially after some interesting adventures driving through big cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Faith currently resides in the middle of the state of Wisconsin with her husband and their cat, Smokey. She is blessed to be able to have writing as her full-time career with household work and cooking to do on the side. She loves to paint walls as long as she doesn’t have to do hallways or ceilings.

When not writing, you can find her cooking food from scratch due to food allergies (fun), doing dishes (meh), knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading, or spending time with her husband (yay!). She is also a Community Assistant for the Young Writers Workshop and loves her work there. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her on her website.


Giveaway grand prize!

Just like Rebekah and Faith teamed up for this tour, they have also teamed up on the giveaway!

Grand Prize: Paperback of each (US only)

1st Prize: eBook of each (International and US)

2nd Prize: eBook of choice (International and US)

Enter here >>>


Christmas celebration!

Tour Schedule:

November 26
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Cover Lover Book Review – Book Spotlights

November 27
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight
Kaylee's Kind Of Writes – Two Book Reviews
Jaye L. Knight – Excerpts

November 28
Lit Aflame – Book Review and Excerpt
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections – Book Review of His Law is Love
Jenny Berlin – Excerpts

November 29
Frances Hoelsema's Blog – Two Book Spotlights
Rebekah Ashleigh – Review of His Law is Love and Book Spotlights
Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors – Book Review and Spotlight
Salsa And Tea – Author Interviews

November 30
Purely by Faith Reviews – Two Book Reviews
Once Upon An Ordinary – Author Interview and Book Spotlights
In the Bookcase - Excerpts

December 1
Books, Life, and Christ – Two Book Reviews
Maidens for Modesty – Two Book Reviews
Chosen Vessels – Two Book Reviews
Harvest Lane Cottage – Two Book Reviews
Jessica Greyson – Book Spotlights
Twin Thoughts – Book Spotlights
Heart of the Rose – Two Book Reviews
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight and Review

December 3
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway winner


The Power of Storytelling for Christ

C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and the Power of Storytelling

article by Warren Cole Smith

"Artists such as Madeleine L’Engle and C. S. Lewis help us remember that the Bible is more than just a collection of stories. The bible is itself a magnificent story of the creation, fall, redemption, and ultimate restoration of all things...."

— Continue reading at

Let's discuss it!

Who are some of your favorite Christian storytellers?

What kind of storytelling do you think is missing from the market today?


Best deals + freebies in Christian Indie Books! >> Giveaway, Exclusive Interview ++

Welcome! I wanted to tell you about a HUGE sale that is going on this weekend! There are over 150 titles available and they are all either $.99 or FREE! There are also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well! And the good news is they are all clean reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale HERE. <<<<<<<<

There is also an amazing giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles from the sale for free! 

Angie Thompson is one of the authors featured in this sale and giveaway... and also in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW here on the In the Bookcase blog!

Let's start the interview!

Hi, Angie! I've heard great things about your books. I'm excited to read some of your titles soon. What is your favorite genre to write in?

Angie Thompson: Ugh…this is payback for all the times I’ve asked this question, isn’t it? At least you asked about writing, not reading… No, I take it back; that’s still such a hard question!

Since I bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball trying to answer this, I decided to go to the official source—my story files. And the answer is…historical! Which is funny, since only one of my published stories so far has been historical. But I’ve started more historical stories than any other genre, so there you have it! (If anyone is curious, contemporary appears to be my second favorite, followed by sci-fi/futuristic, kingdom adventure, and random things like allegory that defy me to put them into a genre.)

What kind of research have you found yourself involved in by writing? Is there anything you're researching now for your next story?

Angie Thompson: I definitely think there should be some sort of official author status on Google, just to let anyone who’s monitoring my internet searches know not to put me on a watch list! I was seriously a little spooked about what kind of red flags I might be raising when I started searching for pictures/layouts of the airports my characters were supposed to fly into/out of. 😊

I also have a bad habit of injuring my characters or making them sick, so I’ve ended up doing a lot of medical research for different stories. That’s especially difficult for historical fiction, because when I want to know about the treatment for scarlet fever, I’m not looking for fifty articles advising me to go to the hospital immediately… On the other hand, I decided not long ago to create a fictional medical condition for a futuristic story and suddenly found myself with piles of research on how to actually make it work in a convincing way. Did I mention I had also saddled myself with a main character who was a doctor? Oh, dear…

The good news is that my next story has passed the plotting stage and is into rewriting/editing, so hopefully I get a break from the random research for a while. Except that in the back of my mind, I’m still plugging away at that new medical condition…

What are some of the biggest inspirations you have regarding your writing? (Are there certain people, or books, or TV shows, etc.. that impact what you put into your writing?)

Angie Thompson: I get inspiration literally everywhere. One of the most bizarre (although also one of the most prolific) is dreams. If I have an interesting dream and enough time to mold it into something that halfway makes sense the next morning, watch out, world! My next book (or at least the one I plan to publish next) was inspired by a conversation my family was having one night, a movie I watched part of the same night, and the dream that melded them together the next morning. The idea for my first published book, Bridgers, was sparked by an episode of an audio drama. Other recent inspirations have been a Bible study, a kids’ movie, a favorite name, and—I kid you not—the most cliched opening line in history.

Since we're nearing the end of the year, tell us... what has been the most surprising book you've read in 2018? And (on a slightly different note) what is your favorite read of 2018 (granted you don't end up finding another favorite by year's end)? :D

Angie Thompson: Seriously?!? Favorite genre was unfair; this is just cruel! *sighs and goes to dig through my massive pile of favorite books*

Okay, there are several good candidates for the most surprising book, but I think I have to go with Castaways by Jes Drew. I volunteered to read it pre-release because I love survival stories, but I had no idea it would be so hilarious! Much better than I was even hoping for!

Now…if I’m counting my favorite read as a book I read for the first time in 2018, I think I have to give it to Becoming Nikki by Ashley Elliot. (It’s such a narrow margin, though!) If re-reads count, The Rivers of Judah by Catherine Farnes would be my hands-down favorite. Whew—that was grueling! Now I need chocolate. 😊

--- Find Angie online! ---

You can sign up for the giveaway in the Rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of THIS post!

Giveaway runs from November 22nd till November 26th @12AM ET Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally. 
2nd Place Winner Receives 20 E-books
Gather Round the Fables by Erika Matthews
The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook
The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook
Coffee Shop Christmas Ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
The Land of Cotton ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
Entertaining Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes
Secret’s Kept by Jennette Mbewe
The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue
Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert
Ashlynn's Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert
Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen
Burning Rose by Hope Ann
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley
October by J. Grace Pennington
Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox
My Compass Home by Michaela Bush
Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

Grand Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks
Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt
Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum
Kiera by Kate Willis
Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples
After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones
Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash
London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn   
When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn
Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman
Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Code by Angie Thompson
Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris
The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek
He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

Participating Authors

Kate Willis
C.B. Cook
Vincent Trigili
Malachi Cyr
E. J. Willis
Diana L. Sharples
Sarah Addison-Fox
Annie Douglass Lima
Marc Secchia
Katy Huth Jones
Savannah Jezowski
Kandi J Wyatt
Joan Lightning
Angela Watts
Ava Mallory
Sara Bourgeois
Jaye L. Knight
Sarah Ashwood
Killarney Traynor
Zanna Mackenzie
Valerie Howard
Bokerah Brumley
Kat Bellemore
Faith Blum
RJ Conte
Abigayle Claire
Tayla Alexandra
Kristen Iten
Emily Selby
Stephanie Damore
Erika Mathews
Frances Hoelsema
J. Grace Pennington
Rebekah A. Morris
Frankie Bow
Martha Fuller
Lena Karynn Tesla
Allison Tebo
Sarah Monzon
Victoria Lynn
Sonia Parin
T.I. Lowe
Lia London
Tammy Lash
maria grazia swan
Deany Ray
Paige Sleuth
Jenny Berlin
Annie Louise Twitchell
Jordaina Sydney Robinson
Kelsey Gietl
Kendra E. Ardnek
Frances Hoelsema
Stacy Juba
Laura Guenot
Michaela Bush
Tricia Mingerink
Hailey Rose
Ryana Lynn Miller
Angie Thompson
Nadine C. Keels
Kellyn Roth
Angie Thompson
Vanessa Rasanen
Julie C. Gilbert
Jennette Mbewe
C. S. Johnson
Amy Williams
April Lynn Newell
Lauren Lynch
Lea Doue
Kelsey Bryant
Avery Daniels
Sarah Holman
R.M. Archer
Emerald Barnes
Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
Cathy Perkins
Laura Jackson
P.D. Workman
Emily Hinkle
Hannah Loviisa
Claire Banschbach
Rebekah Jones
Faith Potts
Sara Willoughby

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And... while you're here...
Check out my own giveaway and A Literary Christmas reading challenge!