Book Review: How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diana Laurence

Diana Laurence NovelLet me start by saying – I do not believe in actual vampires, as in ‘your-neighbor-is-a-vampire’ or ‘go-out-and-date’ a vampire. I love to read about them and write about them because they are interesting, and as Ms. Laurence agrees, mysterious, talented and sexy. But to me, they are fictional and only become real in my head/imagination/dreams. So this book wouldn’t necessarily be something I would run out and purchase. I reviewed it because I reviewed a similar book written from a male perspective, and I thought it’d be an interesting comparison (the other book was a gift).

You may recall my review of The Vampire Seduction Handbook (if not, click on the link). Well this book, How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: a Step by Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful, may very well be the yin to that book’s yang.

A couple things to note: 1) It is written by a female unlike the very male perspective in The Vampire Seduction Handbook. 2) It covers a lot of the same stuff – dating, biting, blood-drinking, romance, sex, conversion, etc. 3) It covers new stuff like good versus bad versus evil vampires. 4) The format is similar – a how-to guide with little stories and anecdotes dispersed throughout. 5) How to Catch and Keep a Vampire definitely takes itself more seriously than The Vampire Seduction Handbook.

So on to my review. I read this book in about an hour and a half, and as always, first the good things. I really enjoyed the “Case Study” stories. I did get quite engrossed in them and wanted more. But I expect that this has to do with me personally, as I indicated above, I’m more of a fictional believer in vampires. Like the VSH, I did find myself skipping over the parts that weren’t as interesting to get to the parts that were. The book was easy to read and the pace flowed fairly well. There were many areas that were clever and witty, where I had an internal laugh at certain similarities with things I’ve thought myself. I liked the fact that the author kept me hooked with the story of the evil vampire, Dr. Steven Grey at key points throughout the book – I wanted to find out what happened (which you do, on the next to the last page).

I didn’t get the feeling that this book was written from a tongue-in-cheek perspective. So my brain couldn’t really enjoy it very much because I was unable to connect with the apparent “seriousness” of its how-to information. While the VSH was funny – excerpt from my review:  “The Vampire Seduction Handbook is a fun, interesting read that doesn’t take itself too seriously (and neither should any readers looking for non-fiction – it clearly says “humor” on the back jacket, so step back, breathe, and run a sanity check before you run out and do something clearly irrational like trying to entrap a vampire lover),” How to Catch and Keep a Vampire felt more like an actual guide.

Ok, so now I feel like I need to explain myself – I love the idea of vampires, their sexy mystery, the danger, etc., etc. If I had to explain it more succinctly, it would be like vampire “beer-goggles” – you know where it’s all in the moment and you’re lost and it’s hot, terrifying, amazing? Well, when I read a how-to guide that tricks my brain into thinking “practical application” of something that clearly isn’t real, well then the beer goggles come off, and it’s become a “coyote-ugly” morning. Ok, maybe not too succinct, but suffice it to say that it’s likely I just want to stay in my fantasy-world – the fictional and glorious world of books and movies where anything is possible – for the very reason that it’s called Urban Fantasy, because it’s not real. Strip something of its mystery and it tends to lose its magnetism. In my world, not everything has to be real, to be real, if that makes any sense.

So overall, it was an interesting read, more so if you’re actually after a practical “how-to” guide. If you want to fish, you buy a fishing guide. If you want to catch a vampire, you get this one. Like I said, I quite liked the little stories of the author’s “interaction” with vampires and would probably enjoy reading more on those subjects, if not to satisfy my very real desire for escapism as opposed to the realist, non-believer in me that says – if vampires were real, I’d probably be one. I would rate How to Catch and Keep a Vampire 4 out of 5 stars just for sheer fun.

6 Comments on Book Review: How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diana Laurence

  1. Dick Spellman
    March 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm (14 years ago)

    Excellent! If I could write like this I would be well happpy. The more I see articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there could be a future for the Net. Keep it up, as it were.

  2. Mark Roberts
    February 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm (14 years ago)

    Nice blog, keep up the good work and thank you for sharing. 🙂

  3. Blogger
    February 6, 2010 at 6:50 am (14 years ago)

    Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner.

  4. April
    January 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm (15 years ago)

    I saw this book at B&N the other day and thought about picking it up (I have so many books to read) but now I will. You know I trust your opinion.

  5. Diana Laurence
    January 10, 2010 at 9:47 am (15 years ago)

    Sorry to post more, but I just had to say a couple more things in regard to our similar ways of thinking. One, your statement “In my world, not everything has to be real, to be real” is brilliant and sums up my philosophy nicely! And two, “Bleeding Love” is a fabulous, fabulous song and SO relates to my feelings about vampires. 🙂

  6. Diana Laurence
    January 10, 2010 at 9:38 am (15 years ago)

    Hi Amalie! I SO enjoyed your intelligent and thoughtful look at my book…you really go the extra mile in analyzing what you read, and express your thoughts so eloquently!

    I really, really hope you can take a few minutes to read my blog post “Can You Really Find and Date a Vampire” ( I’d love to get your feedback, because it touches on the issues you raised here. I think for some people (yourself included if I may be so presumptious), my book causes them to reflect upon the role of their own fantasies and the “irrational” wish that somehow those dreams might become real. How close can one get to treating his/her fantasies seriously before it becomes some kind of neurosis? Can you get away with being pretty emotionally involved with your fantasy world as long as you maintain a sense of humor and perspective?

    People differ in their opinions on that, and that I believe is why this book gets different reactions. Some are charmed and enjoy sallying into a world where vampires are treated as real. Some email me asking if I actually know real vampires (these are usually teens). Some find it all quite hilarious and completely tongue-in-cheek, and others wish they truly could meet the vampires in the book, if only they existed. It all depends on how each individual feels about the life of the imagination.

    Clearly you have a great imagination and a terrific fantasy life populated by some fine immortals, among others! I’m delighted that you were engaged with the storyline about myself, Conner and Dr. Grey, because that’s my favorite aspect of the book and is seldom mentioned by reviewers.

    Thanks again, and long live vampires!



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