Review: Released by Amber Polo

Released by Amber Polo
Series: The Shapeshifter’s Library (# 1)
Release Date: July 8, 2012
Publisher:  Blue Merle Publishing
Pages: 313
Source:  book was received for a contest judging

Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of Shipsfeather, Ohio, where an ancient race of dog-shifters has been charged with curating the knowledge of the world, and with protecting civilization’s libraries from the machinations of evil, book burning werewolves. For years a curse has imprisoned the dog-shifters in the basement of the Shipsfeather library—where they have made the best of things with a gym, a spa, a Starbarks, and, of course, their wildly successful internet company, Zoogle—but now, thanks to librarian Liberty Cutter and her zany staff, they may actually have a chance to break free again. If only they can convince her to believe in magic…

THE SHAPESHIFTERS’ LIBRARY: RELEASED is the first in a charming new series that will have dog lovers and book lovers alike howling out loud with delight. With a generous sprinkling of “Dewey-speak” and “dog-speak”, clever literary references and some of the most unforgettable canine characters since “Lady and the Tramp”, Amber Polo takes you into a world you will never want to leave. The Shapeshifters’ Library series is destined to be a classic.


Review: Released is the first in a fun, quirky new Paranormal Romance Series. Take a dedicated librarian having to rebuild her beloved library in a fantastic old academic building, add in an English Sheepdog who shifts into a gorgeous man, a nasty pack of werewolves, and an even nastier curse, and you’ve got the makings for a good time.

Liberty Cutter is the heroine of this book, and Gregory/Chronus (depending on which form he takes) is the hero. They definitely have a sigh-worthy sweet love story going on. Each of them has a cast of quirky characters who work for them, both in the library (Liberty’s domain) and the secret underground library (Chronus’ domain). While they are falling in love, they have to battle werewolves who love to burn books, and find the key to breaking an old curse that keeps the dog-shifters imprisoned in Liberty’s library.

Romance lovers and dog lovers alike will enjoy this book. The story is told from at least five characters’ points of view, so at times it takes a minute to figure it out, but the author does a good job of making the shift from POV to POV with the characters’ voices. A lot happens in this book, and there were a few instances in which the story felt rushed with too much information.

The librarians in the story make reference to different Dewey Decimal areas to either describe someone or something. At times it was funny, but I ended up skimming over those by the middle of the book. For instance: “Cut the 631.8 (Dewey number for compost) and tell me what the 299.35 (Dewey number for devil) is wrong?” [Liberty says to one of her staff]. If anything, it shows the author is creative and knows the Dewey Decimal system!

All in all, it was an enjoyable read, even featuring werewolves (which I usually avoid). I’ve already looked up the second and third books to add to my to-be-read pile!

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