Beginning with the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander and the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Leguin, Kyra Halland has always loved fantasy. She has also always loved a good love story. In 1990, as a new stay-at-home mom with a young baby, she finally decided to combine those two loves - like chocolate and peanut butter! - by writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels she wanted to read.
Complicated, lovable heroes; strong, smart, feminine heroines; magic, romance, and adventure; and excursions into the dark corners of life and human nature mixed with a dash of offbeat humor - all of these make up Kyra Halland's worlds. She is excited to share those worlds with readers, who she hopes will enjoy her stories and characters as much as she does.
Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, and two young adult sons. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up.
Where to find Kyra Halland online
Where to buy in print
The Warrior and The Holy Man
Haveshi, a young wife and mother betrayed by her clan, sets out on a path to regain what she has lost. Latan, a lowly clerk in a magical order, finds himself on a path of unexpected danger and self-discovery, guided by the warrior named Haveshi Yellowcrow. Two fantasy stories that make up a novella-length duology, set in the same magical world as Chosen of Azara.
In a world where music is magic, disgraced musician Sarya dyr-Rusac hears strange and powerful new music on the wind. Torn between the man who loves her, whom she can never have, and a beautiful man in chains who appears in her dreams, begging her to sing him free, she must discover the meaning of the mysterious music she heard before the world itself is torn apart.
The Lost Book of Anggird
Stodgy Professor Roric Rossony has been asked to find a way to stop the deterioration of the powerful magica, and hires Perarre Tabrano to translate books for his research. Caught up in their unexpected romance and by the most important work of his life, he goes too far in his research. Magical disaster strikes, and he and Perarre must flee in search of the secret of the magica's origins.
A Cure for Nel, and Other Stories
The Peach Tree: Lonely seamstress Sula will do anything to gain her greatest desire.
You Can't Take It With You: Uncle Morgi, the richest wizard in the city, has died, and his most valuable possession is missing.
A Cure for Nel: When Leya's daughter falls ill, their only hope is the man who abandoned them years ago to pursue his dreams of magic.
Chosen of Azara
In a quest that spans centuries, Sevry, the last king of the land of Savaru, searches for the woman who holds the secret to bringing his destroyed homeland back to life.
In Urdaisunia, a land torn by war and drought and abandoned by the gods, a widowed rebel and a prince walk intertwining paths of danger, love, and war to save the land they both love.
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Smashwords book reviews by Kyra Halland
- Grace Under Fire
on Aug. 02, 2013
Grace Under Fire is a wild ride through a world filled with tricky magic and lurking threats with two amazing characters. Grace is a Summoner with only middling powers but mad rune skillz who is sent to deal with a difficult problem that the other Summoners in her local group (Grove) would really rather not have to deal with. While trying to figure out what wiped out the entire Grove of Summoners in Spokane, she runs across a teenage boy, Robert, a foster kid who has just discovered his own Summoning powers to disastrous effect. Summoning is one of the worst crimes there is in this alternate version of our world, and Grace and Robert have to keep out of trouble with local law enforcement while battling a giant, evil, massively powerful, orange raccoon-porcupine demon from another dimension (dubbed "Rick"). It sounds absurd, and it is, but that thing is also one of the scariest monsters I've ever come across.
The book almost bogs down a little at the beginning, when Grace is explaining how Summoning and runes work, but her voice and the problem she's trying to solve are engaging enough that I kept going, and then she found herself stuck with a much bigger problem. And then it gets to the first chapter in Robert's point of view, and that's where the book really takes off, and never lets go until the end.
The story is told in alternating first-person point of view, which can be hard to pull off, but Grace's and Robert's voices are so distinct and the characters are so engaging that it works beautifully. Robert's voice and outlook especially made the book for me. He's a band geek (as a former band geek myself, I always appreciate finding one as the protagonist in a book, which doesn't happen nearly often enough), a smart kid, world-wise in some ways from being shuffled through the foster-care system for all of his teenage years but still very much a little boy in other ways. Grace is a fun character too, with her interesting combination of skills and obsession with good food.
The magic system is complex, and the one minor flaw in the book is that sometimes the explanations of how it works are a little complicated, but they're integrated pretty well into the action and once I got the hang of the idea behind it, it was pretty easy to follow how it worked.
The action is wild and suspenseful, and even when the fight against Rick the Demon Raccoon lets up for a bit, you still know it's out there and you're wondering how in the world Robert and Grace are going to deal with it. The ending fight is long, but the action is nonstop and constantly escalating, and I couldn't put the story down.
The writing is clear, smooth, and vivid, with a wry sense of humor and a lot of understated emotion.
The book seems to be aimed at an adult audience, but I think older teen boys would also enjoy it very much.
I highly recommend Grace Under Fire, and am looking forward to the next book in the series and more adventures with Grace and Robert.
- The Last Ranger of Sarn
on Dec. 30, 2013
The Last Ranger of Sarn is an epic fantasy telling the story of a young woman, Vespias, who grows to become the commander of the legendary Rangers at a time of terrible war against a demon-possessed prince and his armies of the undead.
Last Ranger is a big, sprawling book, mainly focusing on Vespias's growth and progress from hunter's child to commander of the entire Castian military. It goes into her early life quite a bit to show how she becomes the woman she eventually becomes, and illustrates the loves, tragdies, triumphs, and losses she experiences. I originally read this book a few months ago, and felt that other aspects of the story were shortchanged, but in this new edition, the book is well-balanced between Vespias's story and the events that led to the downfall of the Prince and his war against the Castians.
The book features of number of strong female characters, and I came to care about not just them but all the main characters. The writing is clear and easy to follow, though there are some missing commas.
Overall, engaging characters, an intriguing world, and lots of exciting action makes this a fun, gripping read.
- The Guardians Book 2: Sorcerer's Duel
on Feb. 28, 2014
[I received a free copy of this book as a gift from the author.]
Sorcerer's Duel picks up after the climactic battle at the end of Path to Vengeance. Grogaan and his team head for the Ladorran Republic to rest and put the pieces back together. While there, Grogaan's developing relationship with Ellarna deepens, and they both begin training in magic to become Guardians. Then the destiny which Grogaan has seen in dreams and visions and has dreaded begins to unfold around him.
This book was a lot of fun. It's space fantasy that owns its magic instead of trying to pass it off as pseudoscience. There are wizards good and evil, exciting space battles and shiny spaceships, interplanetary intrigue, and a good dose of romance. The first part dragged a bit; large sections, especially the diplomatic maneuvering after the evil Empire's latest moves and Grogann and Ellarna's magical training, are told in narrative summary. Which actually works pretty well for the training; I find long chunks of people just learning stuff to not be very interesting. But a few more specific scenes to show what they're learning and how would have spiced up that section a bit.
Before long, though, Grogaan's destiny starts to catch up with him, and that's when the pace picks up and it's non-stop to the end as Grogaan faces battles both external and internal, and Ellarna fights to save the man she loves. I really cared about what happened to the characters.
A fun read, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Especially recommended for fans of Star Wars or fans of epic fantasy who want to read something in a non-traditional fantasy setting.
- The Colors of Passion and Love
on Feb. 28, 2014
(I won a free copy of this book in the Library of Erana Valentine's Day giveaway, and I would like to thank Library of Erana and the author for the book.)
I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I won a copy of it. The cover on the edition I received looked like it might be a children's book (in spite of the title), but I was delighted to discover that it's a very charming romantic fantasy (and it's definitely for adults and older teens, with some mildly to moderately explicit love scenes).
Elly, the Princess of Quail, has the gift of the women in her family to see the colors of men's auras and emotions. So when she sees Magesty, the bastard son of an enemy king, for the first time, she knows they were destined to be together. Fortunately, Magesty is open to the idea, if a little wary. As the two of them are feeling their way around their budding relationship, a treacherous attack on the royal palace of Quail forces them, along with Elly's brother Jode and her best friend Daina, to flee for their lives, to take refuge in Magesty's realm and then to defend against more treachery.
I enjoyed Elly's character as she's in that awkward stage of being both a sheltered teenage girl and discovering love and danger for the first time in her life. She's brave and smart, and although she makes a few mistakes along the way, she avoids the trap so many spunky teenage fantasy heroines fall into of doing stupid things just to show that they're strong and independent. Magesty is also admirable; he's older and more experienced, but when he finds himself faced with a young girl - the daughter of his country's enemy, no less - claiming that they were destined to be together, he handles it well and becomes an ideal friend, protector, and lover.
After an intriguing and exciting beginning, where Elly and Magesty begin their relationship and the palace is attacked, parts of the middle of the book were slow. We get a tour of the lands that Elly, Magesty, Jode, and Daina pass through to get to Magesty's personal realm of Arete. They're being pursued by enemies, but there isn't as much sense of danger and tension as I would have liked, and some political intrigue also slows things down a bit. But the land is beautiful and Elly and Magesty's developing relationship is sweet enough to make that part enjoyable. Then the last part picks up again as their enemies corner them in their refuge.
Written in a clear, pleasant style, with lots of colorful detail (color is very important in this book), this is an enjoyable book and I would like to read more about these characters and this world.
- The Dreamweaver's Journey: The Age of Awakenings Book 1
on March 02, 2014
[I would like to thank Library of Erana and the author for the free copy of this book which I won in the Library of Erana Valentine's Day giveaway.]
The Dreamweaver's Journey is a sweet fantasy for preteens and teens that takes the reader on a tour of a world the author invented for her children. It starts out with two pairs of young sweethearts becoming engaged at a ball. When one of the teens goes missing, the other three go searching for her, and find themselves on an adventure through their magical world where they meet the mythical Guardians and learn more about their own powers.
At first I had trouble with this book until I realized it's written for a much younger audience than the books I usually read are written for. With that perspective, I was better able to enjoy the journey through the world and the gentle lessons (mostly gentle; there's one shocking moment) our young heroes and heroines learn. There's a framing device where the story is being told by a Storyteller to a group of children, which makes the target age of the book seem much younger. Going by the reviews, some readers enjoy this story around the story, but I found it distracting. The sections that cut away to the Storyteller can be skipped without missing anything important if you prefer to concentrate on the main plot. The novel also includes legends and history, which aren't essential for understanding what's going on, but are fun to read and add interest to the tour of the author's world.
The pleasant writing style invokes a charming, colorful world and is very easy to read. Recommended for readers of all ages who enjoy light YA fantasy
- Buck Johnson: Dragon Wrangler Collection I
on March 04, 2014
If you're looking for a western with something different, this has it all - cowboys, lasers, dragons, stoned lizard-people trail hands, holographic campfires and fake freeze-dried cowboy coffee, smugglers, and spaceships. Follow Buck and his sidekicks Skeeter and Snort as they round up dragons on a distant planet and drive them across the desert to sell, hoping for a payoff big enough to let them get off the planet and go somewhere else (where they can get a decent drink). The stories are pretty much self-contained, but they also follow one another in a longer storyline. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop; I had to find out what happened next. Written in an entertaining and down-to-earth (even though it's set on another planet!) style, this is a fun mix of authentic old west cowboy tales and science fiction.