Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband.

Currently, she has two series, Pop Travel (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have a moral, plus a few laughs.

Broken Branch Falls by Tara Tyler

Gabe is tired of his goblin life. Doing homework for bully ogres and laughed at as the butt of pixie pranks, Gabe wants a change. When he and his friends step out of their nerdy stereotype and pull a prank on the dragons at the first football game, it literally backfires, bringing in the High Council who vote to dismantle not only Gingko High, but the whole town of Broken Branch Falls.

Gabe is now an outcast. But hope of fixing the fate of his town reaches his enormous ears. The Book of Ages, hidden handbook of the High Council, holds secrets and power. With the help of friends, old and new, Gabe has less than two weeks to complete his quest, solving riddles and facing challenges all over the sector, to find the Book and get it back in time to save Broken Branch Falls. After all that trouble, it better work.


Kids' note: "The one where Sherlock Holmes was a kid, and had to deal with magic, and didn't use drugs or cell phones." Curator note: "If you placed a 12-year old Sherlock Holmes in a boarding school very like Hogwarts, and introduced him to a Watson with way too much for his young shoulders to bear, not to mention a ghostly, perfectly convoluted mystery for them to bond over, you would get a recipe for a very fun book, and screenwriter and author Jose Prendes doesn't disappoint in mixing together his ingredients." – Alisa Gus, Curiosity Quills Press



  • "This is the great start to an very interesting middle grade novel that introduce you to situations much like we encounter in our everyday world where you got whole towns made up of instead of various races their are different creatures that are meant to live together but they are to remain separate to keep pure and this does not stick well with our main character."

    – J.R.'s Book Reviews
  • "Summed up, this is a fun story for young fantasy lovers and is sure to keep them hooked to the pages until the very end."

    – Bookworm For Kids
  • "I absolutely loved it. This MG fantasy has all the quirky charm and lovable characters as the Harry Potter series. I highly recommend this to readers of all ages. I can't wait for more books in this world!

    – Christine Rains



In the midst of celebrating, we are interrupted by the hostess dragon. "Well done. Please join me at the next challenge."

We sober when we see her standing behind a counter with four covered bowls set for us. Earlier, I was hungry enough to eat a bearhorse. Anxiety at what could be in those bowls has made me lose my appetite. Still barefoot, we walk over and each choose a bowl to stand in front of.

"These are fire slugs. You each will eat five of them to show your strength."

Slugs? Disgusting!

After assistants remove the lids, I force myself to look at the slithering, slimy slugs. They're alive! I gulp. The worried faces of my friends mirror mine.

Frowning back at the bowl, I try but can't think how I'm going to get these down. The squirming, crimson slugs smell like burnt plastic, a sour, sickly scent. I'm not going first this time.

Jordy pounds on the counter with a nod, picks up his bowl, and slurps them down. When he swallows, he slams his bowl on the counter and gives a huge burp.

The crowd loves it, cheering and roaring and laughing. Why are they laughing?

Argus accepts the challenge with a grin and copies Jordy. How are they...? I pause mid thought. As I look on the other side of me, Ona is wiping her mouth with her arm. She's done too!

But then, the effects erupt inside them. Jordy's triumphant smile with hands clasped over his head, turns into a wince as he doubles over, gripping his belly. One of the assistant dragons flies in and gives him a drink from a bottle. It's bubbly like seltzer water. When Jordy opens his mouth, smoke comes out and he douses it with the liquid. Argus and Ona start to feel the burning and reach desperately for bottles as well. Oh, beast. I know I can't do it now. There's no way.

Ona recovers enough to encourage me. She holds her nose and points at me to do the same and tries to smile as if she's okay.

Argus shows me that I should lift the bowl and chug the critters.

Jordy is too distraught and motions to the dragons for more water as the crowd laughs hysterically.

I stare at the slugs. Slugs. What do I know about slugs from biology? But these are fire slugs, and we

never studied fire slugs. I wonder how different they are from the tree slugs back home. If only I could—I

motion to the dragon hostess for salt, shaking my hand over the slugs like I'm seasoning them.

She gives me a smile and nods. Reaching under the counter, she produces a salt shaker and hands it to me.

Once I salt them, the big, fat, dark red slugs turn brown, shrivel up, and give a puff of smoke as they die. I

eat them easily with minimal side effects.

The crowd roars louder and my friends pat me on the back.

But we have more challenges. As the sun sinks and the sky dims, brilliant, white lights flicker on, spotlighting us. I don't know how much more fireworks I can take.