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on 5 January 2010
I got the 'Fred the Mermaid' series for Christmas, and whilst the first novel had its comedic moments and a very interesting premise, it sadly wasn't as good as I'd expected. Nevertheless, as I had the second and third book, I thought I'd plough on regardless and see how it all turned out- it's no good leaving a series unfinished, right?

Seriously, by mid-way through this book I was beginning to wish I'd never bothered which is a real shame as I've heard really good things about Mary Janice Dickinson, especially her 'Undead' series. The character of Fred is even MORE sulky and irritating than she was in book one which is hard to believe, the secondary characters are much more developed than she is and the plot is just stupid, even for a paranormal romance. MJD at one point tries to imply that one of Fred's parents' foster kids is being abused (a serious subject) but then the issue is barely glossed over when the book is resolved. Aargh! Seriously, why put in something like that in the first place? Oh, and this book is THIN, as other reviewers have already commented. Even if you aren't a speed-reader you'll get through this in a couple of hours and the whole series in half a day. As I said, the series had real potential- Fred is a heroine with a difference, it just seems like the writer got bored half way through it.

A brief synopsis if you're still interested: Fred goes to the Black Sea with Arthur for a mermaid gathering as the mermaids are trying to decide whether or not to expose their true nature to humans. Accompanied by her best friend Jonas (by far the most interesting character in the whole series), they run into Thomas- the marine biologist who Fred has more than a passing interest in, and discover that Fred's biological father betrayed the mermaid species many years ago and is in exile- hence a lot of the undersea folk don't trust her [cannily leaving the plot line for book 3 exposed]. Oh, and of course Artur is *still* trying to get her to be his bride; why? Can you really see yourself being stuck with that?!

Don't get me wrong the book does have a few light-hearted comedy moments just like book one did; Artur's father's new found love of American television (obtained via Thomas) is genuinely hilarious, as he picks up on human curse words and litters every sentence with them. The appearance of Dr Barb also caused me to breathe a sigh of relief and managed to pick the book up slightly. Overall opinion? Well... sorry MJD, this just didn't cut the mustard for me, but because I've started the series I *will* finish it. Thankfully reading the third book won't take up too much time and then I can move onto something much more promising. Phew.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2010
Swimming Without A Net is the second novel in the Fred the Mermaid series by MaryJanice Davidson.

Fred is called upon to attend a meeting of the mer-people but what she isn't told is why she has been invited and why no one has bothered to talk to her since she got there. Finally another mermaid, lets her in on the secret and this just causes Fred to be furious. In the end its Fred's life experiences and advice that help the mer-people come to a decision about an on-going debate that has been hanging around for decades.

I absolutely loved this book. It's such an easy and short read that you can read it in a day. Fred has me in stitches with her antics and her best friend Jonas is so witty. The way he deals with Fred is amusing. We get to see Artur and Thomas in this book again and they are still fighting for Fred's affections. We finally see Fred leaning to one side over the other. But I wouldn't let that fool me into thinking that's who she will end up being with in the end.

I don't know about you but I love anything written by MaryJanice Davidson. Her writing style is so comical that she has me laughing at every turn of the page. Fred's wit and rudeness is just hilarious to read about and can't wait to read the next instalment, Fish Out of Water. I think it's definitely worth anyone's time to sit down and read MaryJanice's books. They will not disappoint.

Disclaimer: I do not own this book, I borrowed it from my local library. I have not been paid to review this book and everything I have said is of my own honest opinion.
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on 11 January 2008
I'm quite a fan of Mary Janice Davidson's work. Her heroines are always independent, sassy women who don't rely on the love interest to save the day for them.
Having read the first book in this series, I was quite looking forward to reading swimming without a net. It was an interesting world the writer had created. Mermaids, or rather, Undersea Folk, living amongst us. Her heroine of the piece, Fred was an interesting character, being a half human/mermaid with a foot in each world, trying to balance life (and love) without excluding a piece of what she is.
Well, before I'd even started reading, there is what seems to be a short apology from the author on the length of this book, and at 187 pages, war and peace it is not!
Having read it, I got the feeling that the author had a strong sense of where the story was headed and took a rather direct route of getting the readers there, without really adding to the seemingly overplanned plot.
Don't get me wrong, I often find myself frustrated having read a book in a series where nothing actually seems to happen in it, with authors stretching out plotlines to publish more books. It was refreshing to read a book where an author packs alot of progress into the plot, rather than take another two or three further books to get us there.
However, you get a feeling that the book was hastily written and more could have been done to enrich what is potentially an entertaining read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 September 2011
Set almost a year after the events of book 1 "Sleeping With the Fishes" marine biologist/mermaid Fredrika (Fred) Bimm has tried to not think of the 2 handsome men who professed to fall in love with her, but leave her all the same; colleague Thomas Pearson and merfolk prince Artur. Now the merfolk face a huge decision, and the king has invited (ok ordered) Fred to attend. Not only will Fred see Artur again, but to complicate matters Thomas plus her best friend Jonas also wrangle invitations.

More is learnt of Fred's father and the merfolk plus Fred's interactions with some of them (particularly those that don't like her) make for an entertaining read. The tone of "Swimming Without a Net" is again light hearted and fluffy but its added quirk keeps it from becoming bland or too twee. Additionally the finale is exciting, and the introduction of another woman could mean one of the men in the Fred/Thomas/Artur love triangle slips the net before Fred makes up her mind. 3½ stars
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on 8 August 2009
I have to say that Fred is one of the most miserable characters in a book ever... but she's also one of the funniest. Continuing the story just a few months from the end of the last book, Fred is her usual annoyed self because she hasn't heard from either of her prospective beaus when suddenly they are back, along with the whole mer-people population. Meeting other mer-people is not something Fred was ever expecting to happen and to suddenly be front and centre in deciding the future of these strangers (some of whom will not even look at her!) makes her feel like a fish out of water - literally! Fred leads her people into a new future with her usual sarcasm and indignation and more than a few belly laughs. Don't read this unless you have read the first one in the trilogy cos you will have no idea whats going on but these books make me laugh out loud and I can hardly wait for the final book.
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on 5 August 2011
Swimming Without A Net by Mary Janice Davidson.
*again with this is not suitable for children/young teens due to some of the content*
In this second book in the series Fred is trying to fit in with her own kind, she finds she's hooked on Artur the High prince of the Sea's and Thomas the marine biologist. As well as being caught between two gorgeous men, she is also in the middle of two warring factions of mer-folk, those who are happy swimming in the sea, keeping under the general populations radar and those who wish to "come out" and live among the general population.

This is the second book in the series and it basically pulled me even further into Fred's life, her trials and tribulations. Poor Fred i think I would have a hard time choosing between Artur and Thomas too. Again the warning a bit steamy in places so be careful what age group reads it.
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on 12 June 2015
This book reminded me of the Twilight Saga - poorly written with characters who are both flat and unlikeable. Frederika should be fiery and funny, like Stephanie Plum, at least that's what you expect when you pick it up; but the truth of the matter is she's sulky, violent and just plain boring. Also you have to wonder how she can be attracted to two people who both come across as sleazy, lecherous players when you're expecting them to be more human than that! The only reasons this book has sold is because of the amount of nudity in it and the frequent references to sex. I for one will certainly NOT be reading another book by this author.
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on 3 April 2008
very short finished it in 2 hours, interesting plot but dont feel like it was done any justice. i read the authors note at the front of the book and she said that basically that the book was all she really had for this one, sounds bit like disclaimer. read the royal treatment first as this was her first book i read and loved it!!!!
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on 18 January 2008
I loved the undead series and although the first book in this series was like reading a comic(you can finish it in two hours and there is no real plot line)I thought I would give it another chance.I will not spoil what filmsy plot there is but you really know your scrapping the barrel when your chapters are one and a half pages long! Nothing is resolved in this book the characters have no depth or warmth. Serious issues like child abuse are brought out to help bulk out the story but are then just dismissed until the very end were it gets one line. Honestly nothing happens my two year could write better and I think the author should consider her stories more and not the money in her bank balance made from releasing rubbish llike this.
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