Cover Image: The Witch in the Woods

The Witch in the Woods

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Member Reviews

"The Witch in the Woods" by Michaelbrent Collings is a captivating blend of Grimm fairytales and modern-day wonder. Twins Willow and Jake embark on an adventure filled with sci-fi elements, mysterious technologies, and a fairy tale forest. Their bond, clever storytelling, and unexpected twists make this middle-grade novel a delightful read. With its imaginative blend of genres and engaging plot, I think it deserves a solid 4 stars!

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I absolutely ADORED this oh my god

Jake and Willow are exactly the protagonists I love to see in middle grade novels, they know their strengths and weaknesses and lean on each other through it all to get the outcome they need. I loved their sibling dynamic as well and how much they cared about each other.

The world was also spectacular. I absolutely love fairytale’s, especially Grimm’s Fairytales, so seeing them retold in this whimsical way was so amazing. I felt like i was actually there in Grimmworld with these characters and felt goosebumps at the stakes.

I can’t wait for the next book!

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I’m going to preface my review with the fact that I was able to read an advanced reader ebook copy of this novel in exchange for honest feedback. Thank you to #NetGalley

I really liked the idea behind this book and feel that it may have potential as a series. However, I’m not entirely certain which age group this fits into. The novel is written with the genres of fantasy and science fiction woven together with fairy tale elements sprinkled in. There are a lot of details and there was an overwhelming number of events thrown into one book. The concepts would best fit an upper elementary or middle school reader. The classification problem is that the writing style of short, simple sentences best fits the younger age group - think “Magic Tree House” books age range. This book didn’t contain any illustrations, which was disappointing as I think they would enhance the reading experience. The niche for this book and the series to follow would most likely be older, reluctant readers. I hope that some black and white illustrations can be added. I’m definitely interested to read the next book in the series to see where it goes.
-3 stars

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I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC.

I didn't enjoy this one. The writing didn't mesh well with me. Despite having an interesting premise, I didn't feel like I was drawn into the story at all. I didn't really feel drawn to the characters or world.

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A bit slow in the beginning but well written with a good story. The anxiety of being the new kids with a grumpy teacher was one I could feel along with them. Kind of a weird premise but kids who like dark fantasy should enjoy it!

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Collings, Michaelbrent, Grimmworld: Witch in the Woods

When their parents get new jobs in New Marburg, Idaho, 11-year-old twins, Willow and Jake Grimm find themselves in a strange, new town a concoction of a famous billionaire. Nothing is as it seems. They even see a car levitate. The cops in town are robots. At school, their teacher, Mrs. Houseman, hates them and forces them to obey weird rules. Hall monitors at their new school are aggressively mean. When their father makes a breakthrough at the Tank, where he works, during a terrible tempest, the twin’s universe starts to blend with Grimmworld. This parallel universe is a place where fairy tales are real and there are no happy endings. To return to their own standard dimension, the twins will have to pair up with Old Eli to delve into the mysterious origins of their current locale and how it ties to their family’s history. Will they ever make it home? How does their family’s past affect their present?

The plot is well-developed and engaging. The world building is intense, well portrayed, and draws the reader into the story. The characters are intriguing, well-rounded, and help bring Willow and Jake’s world to life. Fans of mystery, fairy tale retellings, Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories, and adventure will want to pick this one up. Recommended for most library collections. Gr 3 to 6, 5 stars

Please note: This was a review copy given to us by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No financial compensation was received.

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I enjoyed reading the first installment of Grimmworld, it was a different take on the Grimm’s fairy tales that most people know already. I liked how the main characters were descendants of the original Grimm brothers and they get wrapped up in a story of their own. The descriptions were so detailed, that it was easy to picture what was going on. I look forward to the next book in the series.

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Mishmash of stories and adventures but it didn't flow well. Never really caught my interest and finally gave up on it.

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Twins Willow and Jake Grimm are making a reluctant move with their parents to New Marburg, Idaho. Both dad, Phil and mom, Dorothy have new jobs at The Think Tank Company.

Weird things happen from the get-go. Before they even leave on their cross country road trip, Willow and Jake are attacked by a strange man. Their parents react like nothing happened. Next, when they arrive in New Marburg, it’s a town full of inventions like flying cars and robots.

Things getting even weirder when school starts for the twins. Their new 5th grade teacher is mean to them, always degrading the two for academic and behavior shortcomings. None of which are true. They don’t even get regular desks.

Soon enough, the school turns into a castle with a creepy hall monitor monster. They are suddenly in Grimmworld, where fairy tales live including Hansel and Gretel.

The wild adventure in GRIMMWORLD begins and without giving away anymore of this creepy plot, you meet a wizard, one nasty witch, and a naked mole rat. It all comes together in a “What’s going to happen next?” surprise from one chapter to the next. The ending sets up Book 2 making this series perfect for fans of fantasy and fairy tale plots.


1. The world building is an engaging accomplishment, giving you the sense of being alongside the main characters as they deal with this dangerous place.
2. The twins being so different. Willow is athletic, strong, talkative, and artistic. She loves to read fantasy and Sci-fi books. Jake is super smart, has a great memory, but is quiet and lacks confidence. Memorable characters that will carry the series forward.
3. If you like puns them get ready for a lot of them. They had me giggling many times.
4. The witch sends the creepiness scale to its maximum. She’s meaner than mean, likes to devour kids for a tasty meal, and always spins the tale in her favor. Middle grade readers will enjoy every aspect of the witch’s character arc.
5. This had a movie-like feel with the setting and strong characters. Here’s hoping one is eventually made.

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The gorgeous cover of this novel immediately caught my eye, which will draw readers into the enchanting world of Grimmworld. Twins Willow and Jake Grimm, both 11 years old, are forced to relocate to a new state due to their parents' new job opportunities. As soon as they enter New Marburg, strange things begin to happen.

This fast-paced middle-grade story follows their journey as they discover new friends, terrifying monsters, and various magical beings. Their school undergoes an astonishing shift into a castle, all while they fend off creatures pursuing them.

The twins are descendants of the original Brothers Grimm. Willow and Jake are transported to Grimmworld, where fairy tales come to life. The siblings clash with sinister figures and need to work as a team to keep them safe, protect their friends, and possibly save the world. Through physical and mental challenges, they develop confidence, and bravery to help them overcome past struggles in their lives.

Filled with action, strange things, and suspense, the story keeps readers on edge, and excited to uncover what unfolds next. Ending with a cliffhanger, the story leaves you craving the sequel immediately. Middle-grade audiences will enjoy the fantastic blend of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fairy Tales wonderfully crafted by Author Michaelbrent Collings in "The Witch in the Woods."

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The Witch in the Woods by Michaelbrent Collings is both magical as it is strange in this middle-grade brand new take of Grimm's Fairy Tale. ✨️

The Grimm twins are off to an odd beginning when the whole family decided to move to a particular place that has a sci-fi feel to it (robots, hoverboards, you name it). Although, none of those actually prepared them from what's about to happen next after a lightning strikes their house.

This story follows an epic whirlwind of an adventure. I was enraptured by this book the whole time I was reading it, honestly. Can't stop thinking as to how could I even resist these quirky yet fun tale?

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This is my first book from Michaelbrent Collings, but I’ve seen his books around for years. I love love middle grade fantasy and this book has it all. The pacing is fast and furious. The plot is exciting and page turning. And I love retellings. This book was perfect for me.

Willow and Jake just moved to the town of New Marburg and right away they are noticing things are not right. Without spoilers, weird stuff is going on and going on fast. Then bang! I loved the combining of the real world and the fairytale world and the “science” behind it, very clever. Jake and Willow are amazing in their own ways and strengthen each other. The author does a great job of making them the heroes of the story. And, wow what an ending! Loved the twists and turns.
I received a paperback ARC from the publisher and a Netgalley link. Huge thanks to the publisher. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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Michaelbrent Collings is a new author to me but The Witch in the Woods is Such a fun retelling that child, teen and adults alike can enjoy! Nicely done.

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*thank you to NetGalley for giving me access*
3.5 stars
It seems like the older I get, the more I struggle with reading middle grade; they really are a hit or miss for me. I love fairytales and I loved that aspect of the book but it wasn't giving me everything I wanted from it.
The book did end on a cliffhanger and if I ever find the sequel at the library or as an ebook I'll read it

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A fun, fantastic twist on the Grimm fairytales, particularly Hansel and Gretel! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s my first book by Michaelbrent Collings and I can’t wait to read more.

The Witch in the Woods begins with two endearing 11 year old twins faced with leaving their friends and home in California for a small, mysterious town in Idaho. As they’re packed up and ready to leave, a strange man appears in their backyard looking like something out of a sci-fi movie and appears to be threatening them. Though they try to tell their parents, they don’t seem to believe them. Along the way, even stranger things happen and when they finally get to their new home in New Marburg, Idaho they discover they’re living in a Think Tank city with robots, cars that act like hoverboards, and a strange house with walls impervious to nails.

While their scientific parents are busy working on a secret project, Willow and Jake attend an advanced school with a mean teacher who seems to be out to get them from the first. When their already fantastic world is turned upside down after a terrible lightening storm, they suddenly find themselves in a fairytale world with a creepy forest, talking naked mole rat, and a terrible witch who’s captured their new friends. Can they solve the witch’s riddles to free themselves and their friends from her clutches?

I love middle grade books that are imaginative and well written. It’s also refreshing to read a book about siblings who truly love and support each other. Willow’s musical, loves to read, is smart, and social. Jake’s quiet, smart, kind, likes facts especially about animals and excels at remember them. I found myself on pins and needles cheering these kids on as they use logic and smarts to solve the witch’s clever riddles.

There’s also a sci-fi element with the parents working on a project that’s bringing about the collision of the fairytale world with our world. I loved that this story didn’t dumb things down for kids or use annoying potty humor. It’s intelligently written with scientific theories like string theory mentioned that might have kids googling to find more information. The book ends on a cliffhanger with a couple of twists I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book.

I definitely think both middle grade boys and girls who like fantasy, sci-fi, or fairytale retellings will enjoy this! There are some scary elements with a witch who enjoys eating children, and some mild peril/violence which might be a bit frightening for younger readers. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own and voluntarily provided. 4 1/2 stars!

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The Witch in the Woods is the first book in The Grimmworld series. It is a quirky tale that takes a family who moves to a new town for the parent's jobs and mixes the children up in a Grimm fairy tale that is tossed on its head. The children are twins, and each brings their uniqueness to the team that takes on the strange new world they have been thrown into. I love this kind of tales that take a story we know; in this case, it is the Grimm Fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, and then the author plunks it in the center of a mass plot line that involves kids who have no idea what is going on. The kids are stuck in a new school where things are beyond weird; the parents have new jobs that they won't talk about, and odd things keep happening to them. The target audience will love the twist the author puts on the Hansel and Gretel tale and may even pique their curiosity about the original tales.

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This is not a tale for the faint of heart. Jake and Willow face moving across states, a new school, bullying by a teacher, fairytales come to life and danger to their family and the world.
This tale is an ambitious undertaking in crafting a world at once familiar and fantastical.
One lesson from the tale is that kindness opens doors.
I think this book would be better for an older middle grade reader. There are some rather adult issues for Willow and Jake to grasp and I don’t think a younger reader would be the best audience due to some rather scary things in this tale.
I wasn’t sure part way in whether I would recommend this book or not, but by the time I finished I felt strongly that this first book in a series has lessons to teach and it’s entertaining along the way.
Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to read this book.

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The children had mixed feelings about this book, some loved it ,others thought it was ok but not so great. I liked the way the Grimm stories were used in a new way. Would like to read more in the same series.

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Super cute.

It was definitely an interesting adventure.

Thank You to Michaelbrent Collings and SShadow Mountain Publishing, for the digital ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

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My thanks for the ARC goes to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing. I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

Genre and Age: Middle Grade Fantasy, Fairy Tales (ages 8-14)

There are so many exciting things in this book that start in chapter one. It takes until about 25% through before the reader gets to the woods to meet the witch. But I don't think this will upset the kids because there is so much else going on. You've got a castle, Star Wars like swords, fairies, unfair teachers, mysterious companies and conspiracies, and MORE!

I think kids will gobble it up. The contrast between the main characters is great! Kids will relate to one or the other. Using some STEM skills to solve problems is a bonus. It's a colorful splash of a book. One conflict is solved in this book, but there is more on the horizon.

Happy reading!

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