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on April 25, 2016
Crimson & Cream is a classic fantasy tale of the best sort because as a reader I got to go on an adventure that contained trolls, dragons, wizards and brave orphan brothers, and I got to do it in a way that felt completely heartfelt, genuine and unique to this story. The characters felt true. The magic was enchanting. The descriptions and action sequences were deftly wrought. I had a habit of reading it before bed each night and it was perfect for that nighttime reading space. A twisting tale of a wayward seeker and his journeys, perils and lessons.
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on June 28, 2013
Crimson and Cream is the debut fantasy novel from author, C.M. Skiera, and a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an exciting series.

The story begins with Flotsam and Jetsam, twin orphans nicknamed for the water they were pulled from after fleeing from the men who killed their parents. Their parents had been killed for being sorcerers after the king outlawed magic. On their birthday, they sneak onto the grounds of the king's castle at the behest of the headstrong Jetsam, in hopes to procure fruit from the abundant orchard there. After being spotted, the twins are sent into a dangerous chase, one that serves as a catalyst for the adventure to follow.

This seemingly innocuous beginning turns into a quest to discover the secrets of the twins' past while being hunted by a bounty hunter whose sole motivation is to cement his legacy, no matter the cost. Intense battles with trolls, being abducted by a group of men with questionable motivations, fleeing from a vicious bounty hunter, and encountering a massive beast out of legend are just a few of the exciting situations we find the unlikely protagonist thrust into. And let me tell you, it's an intense, fast-paced ride until the end.

One thing that really struck me with Crimson and Cream is the massively emotional whack over the head that C.M. Skiera introduces fairly early into the story(sorry, not going to spoil anything here). Although the story doesn't quite reach the same level of emotional impact afterwards, the scene is bold, and is plays a pivotal role in character growth throughout the book.

The story is very well written and plotted. C.M. Skiera has a wonderful talent for description and dialogue, and his characters are unique and interesting. The story introduces several original concepts, though also treads familiar fantasy ground, mostly in Tolkienesque fashion(completely meant as a compliment). Though having Book One included in the title of this book, you can't help but be a little disappointed as the last page ends, leaving many unanswered questions. Hopefully we won't have to wait long for the answers!
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on September 6, 2012
I loved this well written fantasy book and hope the next two in the trilogy come out soon. The descriptive writing captivated me and as each chapter came to a close, I found myself wrapped up in the story and not wanting to put it down. The setting is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, complete with Orcs, Trolls, Elves and Dwarven legend. The theme of magic plays a large part in the story as well. What makes this story unique and interesting is the way the story rolls and new adventures pop up. I found myself wanting to know more about the main character, and loved the way everything is intertwined. I would recommend this book to everyone from ages 12-112. There is a bit of violence and death and sadness that I would not consider suitable for yonger readers. I think everyone, regardless of age or gender, will find this a great read that captures your imagination and have you wanting more!
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on October 26, 2016
Crimson and Cream, apparently the debut novel by C. M. Skiera, could be summed up by a single simple sentence:

“Well written coming of age/epic fantasy novel by an inspired new author.”

But that wouldn’t be doing the book, nor the author, proper justice – you see, I generally despise coming of age tales and read so much fantasy that the genre itself often tends to be mildly bland to me…and I am very picky about new authors. So read on and you’ll begin to understand exactly just how impressed I am with C.M. Skiera’s ‘Crimson and Cream’

.

C.M.Skiera, is a new name among writers to this jaded, 3 to 5 book a week, reader but it is a name I will be paying attention to in the future because however you chose to define ‘It’, C. M. Skiera possesses ‘It’ in abundance. He has the ability to write characters I love and characters I love to hate (Which is a very good thing for a writer to be able to do). The man has the ability to make me sad and, during dramatic scenes, make my pulse race. Mr. Skiera can also write in several styles in the same book and get away with it – the bland, pragmatic writing style used for a certain bounty hunter versus the descriptive, thought provoking style used for the other characters – he can mix it up and, in C. M. Skiera’s case, it Works.

The book itself is so good that I find myself hesitant to go into any detail on the plot – I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone and I believe if you read it, you Will enjoy it. Contained within it are Trolls, Kings, Wizards, Forest Nymphs and Orphans destined for greatness. It may even have an extremely large lizard or two. It is a book that will make you feel emotion when you read of the love between brothers and will excite you with epic scenes of violence – just as it will shock you with sudden death. I’ve actually seen where some people have felt this book is targeted at Young Adults but I don’t think so – I think it is targeted for just about anyone who enjoys a good, well written, finely crafted fantasy story.

Ultimately I would like to say:

Congratulations to Mr. Skiera on words finely wrought and on stepping forth to the number of writers gathered in the very front of my ‘to read’ list. I’ll be looking forward to more works from you in the future!
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on March 22, 2017
C.M. Skiera is a new name in the world of fiction writing, but his debut novel has brought him to prominence as an up-and-coming writer with wonderful talent and promise. His ability to wrap up readers in the story and the extent to which I identified with certain of his characters really captivated my attention, and in future I'm definitely going to be looking out for more great work from him!

When Crimson and Cream was recommended to me, I was expecting just another one of those light fictions which are fun but all alike. However, this has just replaced Fablehaven as my new all-time fave fiction novel! It has a wonderfully developed plot with thrilling twists and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. His characters are ones of intense love and hate for me, and as I followed the storyline I got caught up in it to a level that most fiction books don't interest me.

This is the first in the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, and I will be definitely buying the second, as well as the third when it comes out. Top quality work on a series that shows tons of promise, Mr. Skiera!
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on August 20, 2014
REVIEW ORIGINALLY WRITTEN 8/20/2014 AND REWRITTEN 3/13/2015 AFTER RE-READING CRIMSON & CREAM.

When the author of Crimson & Cream asked me if I was interested in reading the second book in The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, I jumped at the chance, having loved the first book. Since it had been seven months since I had read the first book, Crimson & Cream, I decided to read it again so the story would be fresh in my mind before moving on to the second book.

Re-reading this story, I remember how much I loved it, and yet the second reading gives me so much more insight. Now, I want to start with an explanation that sword & sorcery books tend to bore me, especially high fantasy, having read them for years and years, with the books blending into each other. This one did not bore me.

Starting with the story of Flotsam and Jetsam, twins hiding in a city where orphans are put to work in a mine until they die, the story takes off after an incident with a troll takes the life of Flotsam. Jetsam, on his own, has to find a reason to live and a way out of a town that he can't survive in. On a quest to lean more about his parents, who were once teachers in a school for mages before magic was banned, Jetsam wishes to find the renegade mage accused of killing the prior King.

This story is not just the story of Jetsam and the orphans of the city, but also the introduction to Seryn Vardan, the renegade mage who just happens to also be the brother of the current King. We also meet an honor-less knight, a greedy bounty hunter, a dragon, a black-mage, a cowardly squire, a dryad, and a few trolls and goblins. The characters are interesting and fun to read about, and the book speeds through while reading it. In fact, I started reading it shortly after midnight the morning of the 13th, and it is now 11pm on the 13th and I have already finished the book, only putting it down to sleep and go grocery shopping.

A fun and exciting story, full of magic but - more importantly - likeable characters, I highly recommend reading Crimson & Cream by C.M. Skiera.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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on March 20, 2016
I know it's only March and I still have about 75 books to go for my reading challenge this year, yet I dare to say this is the most surprising book I read in 2016!
From the epilogue on, I was captivated and C.M. Skiera kept me under his spell. Just like the maze in the caves of trolls and dwarves, every cavern of this impressive adventure brings a new set of discoveries full of excitement! My heart never stopped racing!
Looking very forward to find out what Mirrors & Mist has got in store!
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on May 15, 2016
I received this free from LibraryThing for an honest review.

Jetsam is a 13 year old orphan that loses his twin brother to a troll attack. He is then wrongfully accused of murder and that sends him on the run to escape punishment. His adventures lead him to run from a bounty hunter and straight into the arms of a not so innocent gang of a knight, wizard, and squire. After joining this unlikely crew, he begins to learn magic, has his mind controlled, meets a talking dragon, fights goblins, and meets a powerful wizard on the run.

I really enjoyed this lighter fantasy read geared towards a younger audience. It is not bogged down with so much world building but instead focuses more on the adventures that Jetsam experiences. I enjoyed the fights that occurred with the trolls, goblins, and dragons. I feel that this book is a perfect fantasy for those not familiar with this genre or for those who already enjoy fantasy and want an easy read. I think the author did a great job of giving the reader a fantastical story that leaves room for more adventures to come in a later book. I definitely want to read more.

I rated this 4/5 stars and recommend it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 21, 2016
[...]:[...]

A great fantasy/adventure that gets you interested and has a developed plot and world building. Loads of action, adventure, plot twists and turns. Great characters like Jetsam, Yduk, and Seryn. Interesting monsters and a dragon in several epic battles. The story provides for a descriptive violence not recommended for young readers. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy/adventure book readers

[...][...]
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on June 4, 2016
* I received a free copy of this book on Library Thing for an honest review. *

Crimson and Cream was one of those great rare finds for me. I was expecting a Y.A. read, but found myself in a world of fantasy and action. Two young orphan boys (who call themselves Flotsam and Jetsom) live without any adult supervision. They have to steal and scramble for food on a daily basis. They also have to worry about being caught by the kings guards and unfortunately one brother does get caught. This book is about a journey of what one brother learns what he is capable of on his own. He encounters trolls, ogres, wizards, and dragons. I definitely recommend reading this book! I stayed up late into the night reading this because I didn't want to put it down. Great read!
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