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Matchsticks

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Following the Ravening, the world changed for everyone. For Agatha Ward, once a successful interior designer, those changes have been a succession of one miserable year after another wherein she has only barely managed to survive through simple labor. Selling match sticks outside in the snow on solstice night is not her idea of a good way to spend the holiday nor a promisi Following the Ravening, the world changed for everyone. For Agatha Ward, once a successful interior designer, those changes have been a succession of one miserable year after another wherein she has only barely managed to survive through simple labor. Selling match sticks outside in the snow on solstice night is not her idea of a good way to spend the holiday nor a promising beginning for the new year, but she hopes to make enough to at least buy some fuel for heat and some food. When a golden stranger steals a pack of matchsticks and leaves behind a box with five gold matches, she is drawn into another world inhabited by monsters. Ruling over them and the northern mountains is a winged king of the north wind, Aquilo. He is dark and cold as winter itself, but as she returns with the flare of each matchstick, she discovers a warm heart and hot glances behind that icy reserve that makes her long for forever. If only she wouldn’t keep returning every night back to that same frigid street. With her matchsticks running out, will she have a chance for happily ever after? Aquilo has known no warmth or comfort. His fortress is as cold and lonely as he is. With naught but his griffins for company, and the ogres and lupi who serve him, he yearns for any sort of spark to warm him. When a human arrives on his mountain, her presence seems impossible but no more so than the spark that heats within him at her nearness, yet every night she disappears. He’s certain that another god is toying with him, yet the longer she is there the more he realizes that she is all that he wants. But will he find her in the human world before the brutal harpies snuff out her light forever? This is a Happy ever after reimagined retelling of the fairytale The Matchstick Girl in the Dark Spirits Universe.


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Following the Ravening, the world changed for everyone. For Agatha Ward, once a successful interior designer, those changes have been a succession of one miserable year after another wherein she has only barely managed to survive through simple labor. Selling match sticks outside in the snow on solstice night is not her idea of a good way to spend the holiday nor a promisi Following the Ravening, the world changed for everyone. For Agatha Ward, once a successful interior designer, those changes have been a succession of one miserable year after another wherein she has only barely managed to survive through simple labor. Selling match sticks outside in the snow on solstice night is not her idea of a good way to spend the holiday nor a promising beginning for the new year, but she hopes to make enough to at least buy some fuel for heat and some food. When a golden stranger steals a pack of matchsticks and leaves behind a box with five gold matches, she is drawn into another world inhabited by monsters. Ruling over them and the northern mountains is a winged king of the north wind, Aquilo. He is dark and cold as winter itself, but as she returns with the flare of each matchstick, she discovers a warm heart and hot glances behind that icy reserve that makes her long for forever. If only she wouldn’t keep returning every night back to that same frigid street. With her matchsticks running out, will she have a chance for happily ever after? Aquilo has known no warmth or comfort. His fortress is as cold and lonely as he is. With naught but his griffins for company, and the ogres and lupi who serve him, he yearns for any sort of spark to warm him. When a human arrives on his mountain, her presence seems impossible but no more so than the spark that heats within him at her nearness, yet every night she disappears. He’s certain that another god is toying with him, yet the longer she is there the more he realizes that she is all that he wants. But will he find her in the human world before the brutal harpies snuff out her light forever? This is a Happy ever after reimagined retelling of the fairytale The Matchstick Girl in the Dark Spirits Universe.

30 review for Matchsticks

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    An Excellent Retelling! Finally. FINALLY. Someone, aside from Terry Pratchett in Hog Father, SAVED THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL. The ten year old me who read that story unawares may finally be able to stop crying. FINALLY.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    This retelling concept of one of my all-time fav HCA stories was god-tier but the writing & execution was pitiful and very much not spicy. The extra star exists only for the stunning cover artwork.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jannie Cv

    A treat for a cold winter’s night! A creative (and more kind) rendering of the fairytale about a young girl selling matchsticks on a freezing street corner. This is very well done! I found it intriguing; it’s populated with immortals and humans, fantastic creatures such as griffins, ogres and the werewolf-like lupi. Considering the hardship Agatha has endured since her world collapsed around her, she is amazingly upbeat. She’s very accepting of the oddities surrounding her in Aquino’s fortress. It A treat for a cold winter’s night! A creative (and more kind) rendering of the fairytale about a young girl selling matchsticks on a freezing street corner. This is very well done! I found it intriguing; it’s populated with immortals and humans, fantastic creatures such as griffins, ogres and the werewolf-like lupi. Considering the hardship Agatha has endured since her world collapsed around her, she is amazingly upbeat. She’s very accepting of the oddities surrounding her in Aquino’s fortress. It doesn’t take long for those around her to treat her with warmth and pleasure in her company, even dark, cold-hearted Aquino. It is a pleasure to read, with a delightful romance, building at a steady pace. There are a number of obstacles - some, quite alarming, before the author draws us to a very satisfying conclusion. A must-read!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gabbibuu

    2.5 stars I feel like it would have been a 4-star read if their relationship had been further developed. It was basically insta-love/insta-lust? Definitely not Sanders' best work. 2.5 stars I feel like it would have been a 4-star read if their relationship had been further developed. It was basically insta-love/insta-lust? Definitely not Sanders' best work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brutally Honest

    This book is seriously WOW. I am speechless! I couldn't put it down and am up way past my bedtime. Wonderful pacing, I love the dark spirits world and I'm so happy to be revisiting it, and even better in the spring there will be more?? The characters are as usual great... A super solid read. This book is seriously WOW. I am speechless! I couldn't put it down and am up way past my bedtime. Wonderful pacing, I love the dark spirits world and I'm so happy to be revisiting it, and even better in the spring there will be more?? The characters are as usual great... A super solid read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hot Mess Sommelière ~ Caro

    Dnf @ 25% I tried This is my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, retold. Unfortunately I was not in the mood for the postapocalyptic Urban Fantasy vibes this was giving off. Why does everything have to be post apocalyptic? Just so the indoor designer main character could be stripped of her job and become a match girl instead? That's so dumb And then she starts renovating the demon lord (or monster alien lord or whatever)'s castle for him???? That's not the story! Stick to the damn fairy tal Dnf @ 25% I tried This is my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, retold. Unfortunately I was not in the mood for the postapocalyptic Urban Fantasy vibes this was giving off. Why does everything have to be post apocalyptic? Just so the indoor designer main character could be stripped of her job and become a match girl instead? That's so dumb And then she starts renovating the demon lord (or monster alien lord or whatever)'s castle for him???? That's not the story! Stick to the damn fairy tale at least in the broadest terms, goddamnit* * this does include the unhappy end for me and I'm guessing this gets a perfect HEA No thank you! Why not call this a beauty and the beast retelling? Since those are all the rage anyway.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    An enjoyable fantasy romance. This fantasy romance fairy tale re-telling was quite enjoyable. The writing and editing was pretty clean, with only the occasional typo. The hero was deliciously alpha and the heroine was deeply sympathetic. The New Year solstice holiday touches were delightful to read about. The novel had low angst and high stakes, which tends to be one of my preferred narrative structures for a romance novel. Reading this novel was a great escape on a sad day for our nation, givin An enjoyable fantasy romance. This fantasy romance fairy tale re-telling was quite enjoyable. The writing and editing was pretty clean, with only the occasional typo. The hero was deliciously alpha and the heroine was deeply sympathetic. The New Year solstice holiday touches were delightful to read about. The novel had low angst and high stakes, which tends to be one of my preferred narrative structures for a romance novel. Reading this novel was a great escape on a sad day for our nation, giving me comfort when I desperately needed it. Thank you for writing this novel, S. J. Sanders.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charity Wells

    Happy ending for the matchstick girl! I always felt bad for the poor little matchstick girl who dies in the snow, but this was a fantastic rewrite. Agatha and Aquilo were very likeable characters. The story was simple and easy to follow. Not as much action as some of SJ's other books, but still a fun read. Happy ending for the matchstick girl! I always felt bad for the poor little matchstick girl who dies in the snow, but this was a fantastic rewrite. Agatha and Aquilo were very likeable characters. The story was simple and easy to follow. Not as much action as some of SJ's other books, but still a fun read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angelina Shalupova

    2.5 cause i feel guilty. only read this cause of tik tok (i need to stop doing that) but i also have never read whatever this is a retelling of..? so obviously i had no idea what was going on or what the hell the ravening was. also it was too fast-paced for me they literally spent like 2 days together and got married likeeee get to know each other a little. anyways i need to grow a brain

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nancy VanSpunky Reads

    This story surprised me! Agatha is alone and cold. I would describe her existence as "just surviving." A beautiful stranger gives her a strange small box with 5 golden matchsticks. Striking the first one sends her to another world. Aquilo is a god. He is severe, cold, and lonely. But when he meets Agatha he feels a spark of warmth. He is increasingly taken with her and so is his griffin. Veli just loves Agatha. (I really enjoyed the affection he has for her.) Matchsticks is a love story that dev This story surprised me! Agatha is alone and cold. I would describe her existence as "just surviving." A beautiful stranger gives her a strange small box with 5 golden matchsticks. Striking the first one sends her to another world. Aquilo is a god. He is severe, cold, and lonely. But when he meets Agatha he feels a spark of warmth. He is increasingly taken with her and so is his griffin. Veli just loves Agatha. (I really enjoyed the affection he has for her.) Matchsticks is a love story that develops slowly. I love the Lupi people and the ogres. What first appear to be monsters to Agatha will soon become friends. Sanders was fantastically creative with this story and I thoroughly enjoyed it! You'll have to read it for yourself to see how everything unfolds. 4.5 stars!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I am Not a Christmas person. I may not be a Yule time girl, but I liked this. Then again, I might be biased because it's from S.J. Sanders. I still haven't found a book by her I didn't like. This for me was fun and brought back happy memories of reading Greek Mythology with my dad and how he would try and censor some of them but fail horribly lol. It was heartwarming and cute with the Griffins and other side characters that added a Lot to the MCs interactions. So I recommend that y'all, give it a I am Not a Christmas person. I may not be a Yule time girl, but I liked this. Then again, I might be biased because it's from S.J. Sanders. I still haven't found a book by her I didn't like. This for me was fun and brought back happy memories of reading Greek Mythology with my dad and how he would try and censor some of them but fail horribly lol. It was heartwarming and cute with the Griffins and other side characters that added a Lot to the MCs interactions. So I recommend that y'all, give it a read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nic

    Wow! So the little matchstick girl was always a fascinating story to me growing up. I loved how the little girl was transported to bigger and better things with each match. I loved this grown up version probably just as much! Each match brings her to a bigger and better world filled with everything I love. Magic, mythical creatures and the undeniable love of a soul mate. Can’t wait for more from this world! Brilliantly detailed and fun loving characters.

  13. 4 out of 5

    LuDena

    Fairytale Awesome story . I like this Match sticks story much better than the original. I am curious how agatha' s boss reacts when he finds the basket of matches and her missing ? Would he be upset he has to find a new employee ? Think she stole from him ? Was blood left at the scene ? However this is a short and I realize not everything can be added . I have enjoying the series. Fairytale Awesome story . I like this Match sticks story much better than the original. I am curious how agatha' s boss reacts when he finds the basket of matches and her missing ? Would he be upset he has to find a new employee ? Think she stole from him ? Was blood left at the scene ? However this is a short and I realize not everything can be added . I have enjoying the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mazzeran Moore

    Great read This was an entertaining story. It kept my attention to the very end; which l have had trouble doing of late. The main characters are relatable, and it's well written. I don't believe in giving spoilers during a review. So you won't get in depth details here, however I highly recommend this book. If you've never S.J. Sanders also suggests you read all of her work. You won't be disappointed. Great read This was an entertaining story. It kept my attention to the very end; which l have had trouble doing of late. The main characters are relatable, and it's well written. I don't believe in giving spoilers during a review. So you won't get in depth details here, however I highly recommend this book. If you've never S.J. Sanders also suggests you read all of her work. You won't be disappointed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    hanavantae

    A dark retelling done right. Aquilo & Agatha owns my heart. Truly. Aquilo is a god, king of the north wind. He's cold and lonely and his fortress is just an endless chilly winter. Not untill Agatha was thrown into his realm, with blinding warmth and light that got him addicted to her. In other words, she brings life to him. And he yearns to keep her close and protect her. Bring life to him and his bleack fortress. Aquilo is just so so freaking adorable. He wants her with him ALL THE TIME, craves f A dark retelling done right. Aquilo & Agatha owns my heart. Truly. Aquilo is a god, king of the north wind. He's cold and lonely and his fortress is just an endless chilly winter. Not untill Agatha was thrown into his realm, with blinding warmth and light that got him addicted to her. In other words, she brings life to him. And he yearns to keep her close and protect her. Bring life to him and his bleack fortress. Aquilo is just so so freaking adorable. He wants her with him ALL THE TIME, craves for her undivided attention, looks at her like she puts stars in his dark sky, denies her nothing, uses his wings to keep her close whenever they're together, TOOK HER UP IN THE SKY TO SEE THE AURORA ( LIKE ?????). Oh god, he is just one cold lonely god that seeks life and warmth and Agatha is the one he has been waiting for. Agatha is such a likeable character too. There is nothing not to like about her. There's involvement of many other mystical creatures and i loveee how their appearances blend it so nicely, spicing the book up with interesting dynamics. Just so much wholesomeness in such short book. And oooof.....the 🌶🌶🌶 scene was 🤌🏻✨. When he bites her.....imma leave it at that😮‍💨. The conflict was done quick and resolved immediately but it was sooooo freaking satisfying. To see things finally slotting in, SO GOOD. Not gonna lie, when Aquilo unleashed his wrath...it was intense and ferocious😮‍💨 The plot development is constructed so perfectly. You can how the story moves from one point to next. The writing & worldbuilding is EXECELLENT. So detailed and descriptive, especially when it comes to visualizing how the setting & characters look like. They are TONS of mystical creatures ! And they are described in a way you can see them in your head as you read it. Overall, a definite 5 star read from me !!

  16. 4 out of 5

    JML

    4 &1\2fabulous 🌟s for Match Sticks Now wonder why S.J Sanders is one of my favorite authors the little match girl was actually a favorite holiday story for my sister and I growing up. Our parents would read it to us so when I saw this it brought back so many memories that I couldn't resist reading it. I was not disappointed. The book starts off on dystopian Earth after the ravening Agatha was once an interior designers a great reputation especially for her winter solstice work. Now she sells matc 4 &1\2fabulous 🌟s for Match Sticks Now wonder why S.J Sanders is one of my favorite authors the little match girl was actually a favorite holiday story for my sister and I growing up. Our parents would read it to us so when I saw this it brought back so many memories that I couldn't resist reading it. I was not disappointed. The book starts off on dystopian Earth after the ravening Agatha was once an interior designers a great reputation especially for her winter solstice work. Now she sells matches on the street corner just to and I enough money for best and a meal. A golden stranger give her a box of matches inside there are 5 golden matches and she strikes one . Aquilo is the god of the northern wind he brings winter to the land. He has been cold and lonely for hundreds of years his subjects read for him until one days he finds Agatha she just appears before him and like rabbit sunshine bursting through the clouds she's begins to warm his heart. Each night to both of their horror she disappears only to return when she strikes a golden match. As they grow closer there are forced who want to read them apart for ever but Aquilo will not let his Agatha to be will find to the very end for her. This is wonderful story of two beings finding joy, love and heat with one another in a less than perfect world. So deliciously good and we'll worth the read on a cold winters night!💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tierra Cox

    I liked the idea of this book. Aquilo the north wind and the gods are real and theres some sort of post-apocalyptic situation. What was the Ravening? Why was there no further description of what exactly took place and when and why? Or even not why but at least give some sort of background as to what went on because I was so interested in how this world became a snowy wasteland and no one is explaining anything. The story itself it was nice, jumped into the sex near immediately, there was no wait I liked the idea of this book. Aquilo the north wind and the gods are real and theres some sort of post-apocalyptic situation. What was the Ravening? Why was there no further description of what exactly took place and when and why? Or even not why but at least give some sort of background as to what went on because I was so interested in how this world became a snowy wasteland and no one is explaining anything. The story itself it was nice, jumped into the sex near immediately, there was no waiting. I dont have any opinion about Aquilo other than hes the normal grrr me angry guy and moody and I like this one girl. Which I adore the I hate everyone but you trope so thats fine, but there wasn't a backstory to him UNTIL NEAR THE END, and that was kinda lackluster. As for the FMC, she was very ugh. Girl, why are you in a snowstorm leaving your mortal body in the snow while you spirit is flying elsewhere? Thats hands down the stupidest thing I have ever read. It was good but not great, however I finished it in one go.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Ky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A post-apocalyptic Christmas retelling of A Little Match Girl with a happy ending as well as some Roman Mythology. Seemingly random themes but it came together perfectly in this fantastical novella length read. Agatha, a human, is gifted magical golden matchsticks that when struck transports her to the fortress of Aquilo, the lord of the northern wind. Apollo, the harpies and other mythological beings also make appearances. This was definitely a heartwarming and wholesome read and I thoroughly e A post-apocalyptic Christmas retelling of A Little Match Girl with a happy ending as well as some Roman Mythology. Seemingly random themes but it came together perfectly in this fantastical novella length read. Agatha, a human, is gifted magical golden matchsticks that when struck transports her to the fortress of Aquilo, the lord of the northern wind. Apollo, the harpies and other mythological beings also make appearances. This was definitely a heartwarming and wholesome read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    S.J. Sanders just keeps getting better every time!! S.J. Sanders books, whether these short novelas or her full novels just keep getting better each one I read. Sanders has a great grasp of not just the sex, but human motivation and the mysterious monsters or not quite human beings. I can't wait to add more to my collection. Take a chance with one of her books and you won't be disappointed!! S.J. Sanders just keeps getting better every time!! S.J. Sanders books, whether these short novelas or her full novels just keep getting better each one I read. Sanders has a great grasp of not just the sex, but human motivation and the mysterious monsters or not quite human beings. I can't wait to add more to my collection. Take a chance with one of her books and you won't be disappointed!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    R

    Story about a guy whose first love dumped him and he couldn’t move on. The pain was just too real!! Wwwwaaahhhh wwwwaaahhhh. So he put on black eye liner and lived in a big cold empty house alone to brood in misery Then a hot former interior decorator comes into his life, paints the walls a brighter color, hangs Christmas wreaths, and informs the man that the color Black simply doesn’t suit his complexion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kourtney McClain

    Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I love all of SJ Sanders books and get so excited every time I get notified that she had released another one. This was another wonderful story by that captured my heart! I just love her characters so much and the worlds in which they live! Her ability to take me to new places is amazing! She will always be one of my top favorite authors!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Wow absolutely loved this re-telling of this fairytale. This one was so much better the the actual story. Loved the characters and the overall storyline. Another great story by SJ Sanders. From start to finish I was entranced. Cannot wait to see what she writes next. Again loved this one. A must read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diana Gálvez

    She did it again! I love me some SJ Sanders. Her plots and creativity are what grabs you, but the emotion from her characters is what keeps you coming back. I love this sweet solstice treat. I love how Aquilo simply decides to keep Agatha, no questions asked. They say a mate is a gift and there is no doubt that Agatha and Aquilo were each other’s. Plus those love scenes? Yum!

  24. 4 out of 5

    BobaFett114

    Highly recommend! I love the Dark Spirits world! This is a fairytale set in the same time, but at the winter solstice. Agatha is given a beautiful matchbox with 5 special matches. These lead her to Aquilo, the king of the North wind. The author weaves an incredible story that I closed rich characters, action, steam, and love. I can't wait to read what's next. Highly recommend! I love the Dark Spirits world! This is a fairytale set in the same time, but at the winter solstice. Agatha is given a beautiful matchbox with 5 special matches. These lead her to Aquilo, the king of the North wind. The author weaves an incredible story that I closed rich characters, action, steam, and love. I can't wait to read what's next.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rim

    A very sweet, warm and lighthearted love story ^^ I surprisingly liked it more than I thought I would, but I still felt a little bit unsatisfied with the main characters back stories never being covered throughout the book. I mean, I still have a lot of questions left unanswered about them and that's a bummer. Anyway, the story was great and I loved it. A very sweet, warm and lighthearted love story ^^ I surprisingly liked it more than I thought I would, but I still felt a little bit unsatisfied with the main characters back stories never being covered throughout the book. I mean, I still have a lot of questions left unanswered about them and that's a bummer. Anyway, the story was great and I loved it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    I really enjoyed our main characters chemistry. Their sexual tension was good. I liked his description and his wings. I even liked the ogre and his wife. I think I wanted more time with them getting to know each other. Showing me instead of telling me and interspersing more of their time together between the mountain festivities.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julia Lins

    Enjoyed This Book Immensely! This is an amazing story of a lonely deity who magically meets a human woman. It is a story of heartbreak and rebirth. I highly recommend this book! I thoroughly enjoy reading books written by S. J. Sanders, one of the most talented writers I have ever encountered!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lily Pad

    Agatha claims she's an introvert, then not too longer later says how she misses her annual holiday party she used to throw before the Ravening? That threw me off. I think I'm not into instalove either, unless it's done right and well (Mine by Katy Evans comes to mind). It was a struggle to read and finish. I skimmed loads of pages. Agatha claims she's an introvert, then not too longer later says how she misses her annual holiday party she used to throw before the Ravening? That threw me off. I think I'm not into instalove either, unless it's done right and well (Mine by Katy Evans comes to mind). It was a struggle to read and finish. I skimmed loads of pages.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The first book in the Dark Spirits Fairytale series a story that kept me turning pages, I will warn do not start at bedtime. This is a retelling of the Little Match Girl. I loved the ending to Agatha Ward and the winged king of the north wind, Aquilo's story. I want to read the rest of this series. I read this copy through K.U. The first book in the Dark Spirits Fairytale series a story that kept me turning pages, I will warn do not start at bedtime. This is a retelling of the Little Match Girl. I loved the ending to Agatha Ward and the winged king of the north wind, Aquilo's story. I want to read the rest of this series. I read this copy through K.U.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Diamond

    SJ Sanders is one of the best world builders I've read and this book was no exception. I'm a sucker for the sunshine/grumpy one trope not to mention fairy tale adaptations. I never knew the little matchstick girl could be made into something not only so happy, but sexy! No worries, everyone is of age in this book. I adore this series and will be devouring more of it soon. SJ Sanders is one of the best world builders I've read and this book was no exception. I'm a sucker for the sunshine/grumpy one trope not to mention fairy tale adaptations. I never knew the little matchstick girl could be made into something not only so happy, but sexy! No worries, everyone is of age in this book. I adore this series and will be devouring more of it soon.

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