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Swimming without a Net by MaryJanice Davidson
Cover Artist: Brendon Dorman
Review by Beth Slater
Jove Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780515143812
Date: 27 November 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Fred's back! Ornery and cantankerous as ever (get it, tank??), the half-mermaid/half-human's life hasn't gotten any easier since Sleeping with the Fishes . Sure, her boss Dr. Barb and her best friend since forever Jonas are dating – if you call slobbering and pawing one another constantly dating – but they can't seem to keep it to themselves. Poor Fred is being subjected to blind dates so that maybe, just maybe she will find the bliss that they have together. Unfortunately all she seems to be stirring up is chum…

After a particularly trying day Fred enters her apartment to find Jonas and Dr. Barb on her sofa – apart. Sensing this is not a good sign, she looks around to find two strangers in the living room with them. Fred realizes that the strangers are from her father's world – mer-people. Jonas and Dr. Barb book it out of the apartment, but not before finding out that Fred is being summoned to a "family reunion". Jonas, in on Fred's little secret, rushes back to Fred and manages to convince her to go, but only if he goes with her. Begrudgingly, Fred packs her bags.

Fred and Jonas coast on down to the Cayman Islands to join the rest of the mer-folk from all around the world. And while Fred's stronger than the average human, she's not up to mer standards, and is glad not to have to swim it from Boston, MA. However, her arrival does not go unnoticed by her two previous suitors – neither of which she has seen in almost a year. Both Thomas and Artur are at the Caymans, awaiting her arrival so that they may rival for her attentions fairly. But when Fred finds out why her presence is so important, she has to do some serious thinking about her past, present, and future. The conclave has shown her how hard diplomacy really is – but how can she use that to help balance her own heart?

Fred's a character – just like most of Davidson's protagonists. And I mean, a Character – with a capital C. She's not afraid to speak her mind or stand up to bullies, but she's got a definite soft spot for the underdogs. And as difficult as she seems, Fred's easy to like. I'd recommend reading Sleeping with the Fishes first, but you don't have to. But to read MJD's books, you have to be able to put the real world behind you, and be ready to laugh. A lot.

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