Title: Matches
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: RCubed
Release Date: November 22, 2014
Page Count: 17
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A poignant gay twist on the beloved Hans Christian Andersen classic, “The Little Match Girl”…

Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago’s frigid chill, it’s a fight for survival. Whether he’s sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm: memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

Rick Reed’s Matches is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Match Girl, a Victorian-era sob fest about a child selling matches on the street on New Year’s Eve, afraid to go home to a father who will beat her if she doesn’t sell her matches. She sits in the freezing cold and lights matches to keep warm, and in the glow of each match, sees visions of happy Christmas celebrations and of her grandmother, the only person who ever treated her with love and kindness.

Reed’s update is set in the freezing streets of Chicago, where Anderson is desperately trying to stay warm. Only a year ago, he had a good job, an apartment and a happy life with his partner Welk. But happiness and tragedy are two sides of the same coin, separated by only the thinnest of edges. Did you know that today, nearly half of Americans are one paycheck away from the street, yet we somehow think homelessness will never happen to us, or someone we know.

To say this story is merely poignant or sad is to sell it short. I literally sobbed reading this story. 5 stars.

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Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

A few “badges” from NetGalley:
100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader

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