Saturday, November 12, 2022

Today's read... A Light in the Window by Dan Lutts with Giveaway!

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A Light in the Window book cover

A Light in the Window
Charm Wars #2
by Dan Lutts
YA Fantasy
Released on 21 October 2022



ALYSE DEJUNE FLED Caldon to avoid becoming a pawn in her matriarch’s attempt to have the Dejunes remain a powerful First Family among their noblesse allies. She intends to seek refuge at her uncle’s legionary camp deep within the forest-covered wilderness of The Marches while he tries to patch things up between her and their matriarch. But even the best of plans can go awry, and Alyse’s does when she is captured by brigands. She believes they intend to hold her for ransom but soon learns they have a worse fate in store for her.

RILL LARKIN FINALLY achieved his lifelong goal of becoming a mage even though he alienated his family and his best friend in the process. Now a mage serving the powerful Estati Family, he is part of a search party that intends to find Alyse and bring her back to Caldon—by force, if necessary. But Rill didn’t anticipate having to deal with a band of brigands who vastly outnumber his small group of pursuers or with a brigand leader who loathes the Dejunes. Those miscalculation have horrible, life-threatening consequences for Rill.
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Action, determination, hope and intrigue come together to form an engaging continuation of the series.

Alyse is on the run, trying to reach her uncle and his forces before she's caught by the Matriarch and used as a pawn in a game for power, but fate has other plans. When a stop at an inn leaves her captured by brigands, she fears that it means her death, but when they learn who she is, the situation grows even more dire. Rill is determined to find Alyse and bring her back, but he's now caught up in trying to save her instead.

This second book begins where the first left off, and the reader finds Alyse and her friend trying to flee but unknowledgeable about the world they are attempting to blend in with. Their lack of understanding makes their mistakes frustrating but understandable and more realistic. But then, this entire fantasy tends to give off a more natural and realistic atmosphere, allowing the reader to gain a sense of familiarity with the world. The magic and action add the right touch of imagination and excitement.

It was easy to get caught up in Alyse's plight and, still, understand Rill's decisions, too. Even the side characters hold enough depth and individual desires to create tight weave of sub-stories, giving richness to every unexpected twist and turn. While a handful of moments passed too fast and others a little slow, the tale, generally, keeps a quick pace and grabs the reader until the very end. 


Two brigands—a man and a woman—sprang at Kate with their swords. She parried their blades, and the three of them danced back and forth across the floor planks, fighting. Instead of helping their two companions, the others watched the three fight as if they were observing a sports contest instead of a desperate life-or-death struggle. When the man stumbled away wounded, two of the onlookers replaced him. 

“That’s right,” Eye Patch said. “Wear her out. She might be young, but she won’t last forever.” 

“Tag-team match,” Pock Face said, laughing gruffly. 

Eye Patch sneered at Alyse, then nodded at a brigand and said, “Time to take the golden goose.” 

The man walked toward Alyse. The smirk on his lips told her he thought Alyse was easy prey. When he reached for her, she slipped under his arm and thrust her dagger into his side. He stumbled away, clutching the wound. 

“She stabbed me! The little bitch stabbed me!” Then his eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed. Blood flowed from his side, painting the floorboards red. 

Alyse charged the brigands who were fighting Kate. She knifed one in the back. 

With a shout, the brigands on the sidelines raced toward her. 

She spun around to face them, but someone came up from behind and put his arm around her throat. Another seized the wrist of the hand holding the knife and squeezed. Alyse struggled, but the arm around her neck cut off her air, and the fingers pressing her wrist felt like the jaws of a vise. Her hand opened unwillingly, and the dagger clattered onto the pine planks. 

Unsheathing his dagger, Eye Patch approached Alyse, grabbed and twisted a handful of her long chestnut hair, and jerked her head back. He positioned the blade against her throat. 

Alyse dared not move or breathe while her heart slammed against her chest, like a prisoner trying to break out of jail. 

“Drop your weapons, girlie,” he called to Kate. “Or I’ll slit her throat. Your matriarch won’t like that, eh?” 

Kate’s opponents stepped back out of sword range. Kate looked toward Eye Patch, keeping her sword and dagger up. 

Eye Patch drew the blade lightly across Alyse’s neck. Blood dribbled down her neck, staining the front collar of her white linen shirt red. He leered at Kate. “Want more blood?” 

He positioned his knife to make a deeper cut. 

Kate threw down her sword, her face a combination of anger and disgust. 

“And the dagger.” 

The knife clunked onto the planks. 

Two brigands seized Kate by the arms. Dagger in hand, a third walked up behind her, grabbed a handful of her black hair, and yanked her head back to expose her neck. Then the woman placed the blade just below Kate’s Adam’s apple and shot Eye Patch a questioning look. 

Eye Patch nodded. “Kill her.”

First book in the series
Charm Wars book cover

Charm Wars by Dan Lutts
“Welcome to Caldon, a land of mages and magic, where the noblesse possess massive political and magical power and destroy anyone who threatens the noblesse way of life—especially the commoners.”

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Dan Lutts author picture

And here he is...

Dan Lutts, the author of Charm Wars, was brought up in Quincy, Massachusetts, and began addictively reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman comic books at an early age, much to his mother's distress. In junior high school, he switched to reading science fiction novels. While in high school and college, he wrote science fiction short stories.

Dan taught history and archaeology in high school for ten years. After being laid off because of budget cuts, he used his love of writing to retrain and became a software technical editor and writer. He worked for several computer companies, taught technical writing at the college level, and worked as a freelance writer.

Dan loves to read and has varied tastes, including Young Adult, historical fiction, mysteries, 18th-century sea epics, and history. He especially enjoys Young Adult fiction and decided to try his hand at it. Charm Wars, Dan’s first novel, is the result.

Dan lives in rural Maine with his wife, Lisa. When he’s not working or writing, Dan can be found reading, making and shooting medieval arrows with his longbow, or playing with his dog and two cats—all rescue animals.

Author links:
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There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of A Light in the Window. Three winners each win a $25 gift card to either Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice). US Only.

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