Book Review: Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle (Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle Book 1) by Amy Fecteau [+ Audiobook]

When Matheus gets turned into a vampire one night by the 1700-year-old Quin, his whole life gets turned upside down. Stuck with Quin out of necessity, Matheus finds himself trying to survive being hunted by vampire hunters, running from a mysterious new threat to vampires in the city, questioning his sexuality, and attempting to stay sane and alive as he learns the ropes of the supernatural world.

Book Review: Real Vampires Don't Sparkle (Real Vampires Don't Sparkle Book 1) by Amy Fecteau | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, LGBT, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, vampires
Title: Real Vampires Don't Sparkle
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 386
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


As much as I enjoy the typical vampire tropes, I also like when those tropes are turned on their heads, and that was one of my favorite things about this book. For one thing, these vampires were not all perfect and porcelain. In fact, Matheus described Quin as, “Not even his mother would have called him handsome, but people would have had a hard time forgetting his features.” (But Matheus liked his snaggletooth <3) He also had darker skin, rather than the usual pale, because he was Roman. And Matheus was the clumsiest character I've ever read about---he must've tripped and fell 27 times throughout the book. For another thing, Quin didn't abandon Matheus or treat him horribly, the way sires often do. I'm also always thinking about how I want more books with baby vamps who grew up in current times and are just kind of adjusting to life as a vampire, and that was exactly what Matheus was. It was also funny that Quin was not a morning (or night, I guess) person since you just never read about vampires struggling to wake up and mumbling and trying to go back to sleep. Last but not least, feeding wasn't sexy, it was just feeding, which was admittedly disappointing since I like that trope, but still.

“You’re looking for a meal, not a date. Don’t confuse the two.”

“I thought that was part of the package.”

“Tell me, did you usually make out with your hamburgers before you ate them? The answer better be no, or you are on your own.”

I have to admit though, I found this book funnier the first time I read it than I did the second. That’s probably partly because I already knew the jokes, but I think it’s also partly because I realized this time how judgmental and based-on-stereotypes some of Matheus’s thoughts and jokes were. That was the only thing that bothered me about the book.

There was still lots of other humor too though. Matheus, as I said, could be judgmental, and immature, but he was relatable in other ways as well as quippy and sarcastic. Quin was even more sarcastic when he wanted to be though. Not only is he funny, he’s just unhinged and deadly enough that he’s the type of character who’s likeable if you’re on his side but terrifying if you’re not. All the characters are great though with their own personalities, motivations, emotions, and complexities.

The man took a half-step back. Matheus didn’t blame him. No one wanted to trifle with someone who could smile through a shattered cheekbone.

But for all the humor, there was some deeper emotion and questioning of morality as Matheus struggled with becoming a vampire, like when he killed for the first time, and after the traumatizing experience in woods. There was also some darkness and intensity, like when they were being hunted and during various other scenes I can’t explain because of spoilers. And the author didn’t shy away from disturbing, gritty things in the darker scenes. It was kind of an odd juxtaposition, but it worked, and those scenes managed to suck me in even more than the funny ones.

But oh, the romance (or lack thereof) was the best part! Talk about a slow burn. I believe the anticipation of things is half the fun. So yes, please do torture me by drawing out the romance until I feel like I’m going to explode if they don’t JUST KISS ALREADY AND DAMMIT, MILO, COULD YOUR TIMING WITH INTERRUPTIONS BE ANY WORSE??? What was I saying? Oh yes. I love it because, once they do kiss, *sigh* it’s that much better. And this book was delightfully torturous in that regard.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. Milo interrupted.”

“Damn Milo.”

My thoughts exactly.

Not only that, Matheus and Quin made the perfect couple. And by couple, I mean not a couple. And by perfect, I mean they constantly bickered and only half-teasingly threatened to maim each other (as you do when you’re a vampire). But I have never read about two characters who just seemed to fit and complement each other so perfectly. Their senses of humor, their temperaments, and their personalities balanced and meshed so well. And I swooned so hard when Quin explained why he calls Matheus by the nickname Sunshine. Even though turning Matheus without consent was wrong (he’s a vampire, he’s been alive 1,700 years, I don’t expect paranormal/immortal creatures to act using the same set of morals as humans), Quin was good to him, taught him, tried to give him space, and did do some sweet things.

I first read this series in ebook form, but I’ve also listened to the audiobooks, so here are my thoughts on the audio for the whole series. The narrator, James Patrick Cronin, is good at narrating, has a nice voice, and does a fairly good job of differentiating characters with voices and accents. I’d try more audiobooks by him. But I didn’t like how he voiced Quin and Alistair throughout the series. I didn’t mind the voices so much as the way he spoke in a less natural, more dramatic way. Their tone didn’t always match the emotion and situation behind the words, in my opinion. Maybe I’m just being extra picky because this is one of my favorite series, but it made it hard for me to sink into the emotional scenes with those characters. The other characters sounded ok though. And the narration and Matheus’s dialogue were still good. But I’d recommend reading the normal way if possible if you’re a picky listener like I am.

So overall, some of the humor was a little problematic, but I loved the slow burn romance, and the story and characters kept me hooked until the end! And having read this whole series multiple times, I can tell you that the story only gets better and is one of my favorites.

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read, slightly updated after my 2nd and 3rd reads.*

Reread Ratings:
4 Stars (1st Read – 2016)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2017)
4.5 Stars (3rd Read – 2020)


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  1. Lola

    Humor and sarcasm are sometimes hard to convey in a book, so I am glad to hear the author wrote that well. And what an interesting juxtaposition with how it can be both funny and dark, it sounds like it would work well. When it cmes to tropes I like it when authors keep some of them and be more original with others. I think you need to keep a few tropes for them to feel like that type of paarnormal creature, like vampires should drink blood. But I am all for a non gorgeous and clumpsy vampires!
    Ah I love that type of slow burn romances, they are the best! It’s torturous and so good at the same time. And yes once they do kiss finally it’s so much better and sweeter because of all that anticipation. You practically sold me on this book with that slow burning romance description only. I am not really fan of the title though and the obvious jab to twillight. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      The weird thing is, I feel like I kind of avoid funny books… but then when I end up reading them, I love them lol.

      Oh, yeah, I hate when a paranormal creature is changed so much that it’s not even that creature anymore. I read a ton of vampire books though, and I love getting to see all the different versions of them that authors create.

      THIS ROMANCE WAS LIKE THE SLOWEST OF SLOW BURNS. Lol. I loved all the tension. There were a couple intense scenes like I mentioned though (I can’t remember if they were really gruesome, but, I mean, there were vampires involved), and I don’t know if they’d be more than you’re comfortable with? But I only recall a couple, and I think you could skip over them without missing anything important, so I’m not trying to turn you off from the book, just giving you a heads up. To be honest, even though I never liked the sparkly vampire thing lol, I still don’t like it when books make jabs at other books, so I get why you don’t like the title. But I still liked the book 🙂

  2. Greg

    Yeah to me vampires should be terrifying and unhuman, not sparkly or angysty. I like the title of this one… and the humor sounds good too. If you’re going to have a vampire PNR you probably have to have that or it’d be too serious?

    Hope the next one is as good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I never liked the sparkly thing either, but I do like me some angst. I mean, even Louis in Anne Rice’s books was angsty 😛 and those were the vampires I grew up on. But this protag was too sarcastic about everything to be angsty lol. And the other one was a bit of a psychopath who all the other vamps were afraid of, haha. I’ve read another really great vampire PNR that was SUPER dark with no humor, so it can be done. But I really liked that this book was able to do both because I like dark, but I also like laughing. (Btw I finished the next one, and it was!)

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    You put this title on my tbr last week (?) when you quoted part of it’s synopsis. That was you, right? 😉 I’m so, so happy to know it’s worth the read. I love the title, first of all. But your review had me giggling and I love that this is a fresh take on vampires. Plus, the way you describe how Matheus and Quin seem to fit together so well, their sarcasm and slow-slow-burn romance, has me even more excited to read it. Thanks for a great review, Kristen. I’ll have to use some of my Christmas loot on this one. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yep, that was my book blurb post 😛 I didn’t realize you had put it on your TBR because of me! I would’ve liked maybe a little more romance, but I obviously liked the book regardless and loved so much how they fit together. It’s hard to even describe! They just seemed right for each other. I hope you like it if you read it! You’ll have to let me know if you do 🙂

  4. Greg

    Yay no sparkles! lol I guess I’m a re- commenter. Even though some of the humor wasn’t quite there this time I did get a kick out of that first quote, about feeding. 🙂

    And baby vamps! I’m imagining this little baby with fangs and it’s cracking me up, but that’s one baby you don’t want to mess with I’m thinking lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The more comments the merrier! Or at least the merrier I am lol. And yeah that first quote cracked me up too.

      Haha that would be really weird, actual babies who are vampires. Nope, definitely wouldn’t want to mess with those.

  5. Geybie's Book Blog

    Slow burn romance and humor are two of the characteristics I always look forward in books. Plus in M/M vampires which is interesting. So want to read this book. Your review really makes me want to read it. Awesome! Can this be read as a standalone or I have to read the next books in the series? Is there a cliffhanger? Sorry, I have lots of questions. Hehe ?

    1. Kristen Burns

      If you like slow burn and humor, then you might really like this! It doesn’t have a cliffhanger, like, it won’t leave you in the middle of a scene dying to know what happens next, but it doesn’t really work as a standalone either though since there are open questions and plot threads, the romance isn’t complete, etc. I haven’t gotten to Book 3 yet, but I’ve been told it’s the final book, so it’s only a trilogy at least.

  6. suzanna

    Honestly I’m not really a vampire person but I like the sound of this one. The title’s great and I love sarcastic characters. Will add to my out-of-my-comfort-zone TBR list for when I’m feeling brave.