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(The Shapeshifters' Library #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When Librarian Liberty Cutter’s library goes up in flames, the town relocates the library to an abandoned academy. Liberty feels eyes watching her from the derelict structure’s gothic windows, but never imagines the truth is stranger than fiction – until she meets a talking dog.

The dog tells her a pack of book-burning werewolves cursed the building. Plus, beneath the libra
Paperback, 2nd edition, 284 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Wordshaping Press (first published September 6th 2012)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Kate Robinson
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Liberty [Cutter] had been born in Shipsfeather [Ohio] and had lived here until her mother disappeared when she was five years old. Her four law librarian aunts had swooped into town and taken her home with them, eventually adopting her. They refused to talk to her either about her parents or Shipsfeather. She’d taken the job of Library Director because she wanted to run her own small town library and make a difference to the townspeople—and hopefully uncover the secrets of her own history. She ...more
H.A. Fowler
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves shapeshifter stories looking for something less harsh than the usual
I don't have the words to express how much I adored this book. Almost everything I read is hard, grim and gritty, and as a rule, I love it that way. A sweet story with wholesome characters is generally something I'd skip right over. But I was truly lucky enough to win RELEASED in a contest, and I am now officially an Amber Polo fan.

Ms. Polo has built a fascinating world of books, libraries, werewolves and shapeshifters so unique and off the beaten path, I can hardly WAIT for the next entry to co
Deborah Riley-Magnus
Always looking for the new and interesting twists to how we look at the fictitious world of supernatural creatures, I was pleased to see that the author had done what I most love about Urban Fantasy. Ms. Polo has taken the old, tired mythology of shapeshifters and created a wonderful new concept based on the intelligence of dogs and the brutal pack nature of wolves.

Our lovely heroine, Liberty Cutter, is a librarian in a small Ohio town. After seeing her humble community library burned to the gro
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! If you like dogs at all, you'll probably like this book. I loved the quirky names, the many dog breeds, the werewolf vs dog thing, the library speak, the love story, the relatable characters, everything! The book was descriptive enough to create a good picture in my head, but not too much to where it gets boring. I'm always looking for books that involve dogs and when I heard about this one, I wanted to read it right away and I was not disappointed! There are too many dog/wo ...more
A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)

Book source ~ ARC. My review is voluntary and honest.

When the public library of Shipsfeather, Ohio burns down, the Library Board moves Head Librarian Liberty Cutter and her merry band of librarians to the old Shipsfeather Academy. Liberty has doubts about the building since it’s been abandoned for twenty-five years. It’s going to be horrible inside, right? Wrong. It’s gorgeous inside. It does need some basic work to make it into a library and bring it up to code, but once it’s done it’s aweso
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This is a fun book about shapeshifters, werewolves, and librarians. It's an unusual mix of characters but it seems to work in this book. The shapeshifters come from a long line of librarians while the werewolves come from a line of book burners. The human librarians get caught in the middle of an ancient feud in this novel.

I had some difficulty getting into the book initially. There were a lot of characters and I didn't quite understand what the connection was between the characters. After abou
Two words: talking dogs.
Kathy Martin
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often found myself chuckling at all of the library in-jokes that filled the story of dog shapeshifter librarians and book-burning werewolves. Liberty is the Head Librarian at the Shipsfeather Public Library. She loves her job but has to deal with a book-hating former head librarian and a mayor who denies all of her requests for funding. The frustrations of her job have made her consider submitting her resignation. But when her beautiful old Carnegie library burns down, she gets the chance to m ...more
Danielle Smiley
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Sweet PNR
Publisher Type: Small Print/Indie

My Review:
This was such a fun adventure and I loved every minute of it!!! It's light-hearted, action-packed and filled with unanswered questions that keep you reading late into the night. Released reminds me of an old favorite series, Lillian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who..., with it's whit and intelligent whimsy. I loved the librarian-speak (Thank Dewey!) and the well developed world and characters of The Shapeshifters' Library and am
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Little is what it appears in Shipsfeather, Librarian Liberty Cutter’s hometown. The day she plans to resign from her job because she can’t take the interference from the former head librarian, her library burns. The crisis energizes Liberty. She can’t leave now. The town needs a library, and the plan is to move the salvaged materials into an abandoned estate home nearby.

Come to find out, the folks who’ve been harassing Liberty and blocking her requests at the library are shapeshifting werewolves
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Goodreads.
I was leery when I first got Released. I wasn't sure I'd be able to overcome my phobia of Libraries enough to enjoy the book. Let's just say all my childhood Librarians were werewolves, and even now I still try to avoid Libraries whenever possible.
But Released had dogs, and books, and werewolves, and I loved it. It was sweet, thoughtful, charming, funny, and all around lovable. It was filled with bibliophile word play and likable characters- lots of them. I co
Kari Thomas
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“WOW, what a book! As an author of paranormal romances involving all types of shapeshifters, I am always on the look-out for books that are similar. Ms. Polo’s newest, “RELEASED, The Shapeshifters’ Library” is one of the most unique and FUN books I’ve read in a long time! I have to admit I wish I’d thought of such a fantastic idea and wrote it first! From page one, you’re drawn into a fantasy world that overlaps into the real world and makes this a page turner!
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was a wonderful read! I have always loved libraries...and dogs, so this was just right up my alley. Oh to have fairy tale fantasies come to life... :D
Between 3-4 stars. But library loyalty and a unique premise make me round up.

Liberty Cutter (h) is a small town librarian who just lost her library to a fire. Forced to relocate to an abandoned academic building, Liberty feels uncomfortable adjusting to the new building. She feels watched at odd hours, but doesn't think too much of it until she meets Chronus (H), a talking English Sheepdog. Chronus, a librarian himself, tells her of the curse on the building and its inhabitants, cast by book-bur
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well... Its different

This was any incredibly silly book. Well written, with likeable characters, but with such a ridiculous premise I had trouble getting into it. About halfway thru the book I started thinking of it as an animated series aimed towards young adults and it became much more enjoyable. I can't say I'll be continuing with the series, but I'll give credit where credit is due - it's original.
You have shape-shifting dogs (librarians), shape-shifting werewolves (book burners) and humans. This is a fun light-hearted fantasy that revolves around libraries and books. I think working at that l
Jen Davis
If you really love libraries –or if you really love dogs—you may enjoy this book more than I did. Or maybe not. I am not a dog person and I am not intimately part of the library world, but those were not my only issues with the story. Far more off putting were constant dog puns, the simplistic and too-easy acceptance of the supernatural among regular people, the cookie-cutter villains, and the nagging feeling like I was reading an episode of Scooby Doo. All that was missing was for someone to bl ...more
Jennifer Rayment
Review: A delightfully sweet simple urban fantasy story perfect for the those in the library field. This is one that will appeal to the more mature reader who doesn't enjoy too much sex or violence which is something you don't see to much in the urban fantasy genre. There is definitely a market for this type of story. There is nothing wrong with the story it just wasn't my particular cup of tea, guess I am just too jaded. The story moves quickly and the characters are quirky. My big complaint wi ...more
Romancing the Book
Reviewed by Allison
Book provided for a contest judging
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

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/Chron
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a light and fun to read contemporary fantasy about a long-running shape-shifter war between library-loving dog-shifters and book-burning wolf-shifters (werewolves). It doesn't take itself too seriously and easily maintains a humorous feel without getting too over-the-top with library humor, although I loved the play on words with Shipsfeather and shapeshifter. The history and long-standing mythology support the plot but isn't overwhelming and enhances the storyline. There are a few typo ...more
Denae Christine
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dogs and librarians

This book, with its high vocabulary and its librarian terms and its knowledge of dog breeds, is perfect for any dog lover or librarian. For the rest of us, the book is a light tale.
The romance is sweet but unreal. The climax, er, there was no climax. The end was WAY too easy and felt accidental. The "big reveal" at the end was known by the reader at the beginning of the book, and several characters acted dumbly (Trusting a random note? Abandoning loved ones for no given reason
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liberty Cutter has returned to her hometown in Ohio to take over as director of the local library. Soon after, the library mysteriously burns down and is relocated to the nearby abandoned academy building. While supervising necessary renovations to the long-abandoned building and replacing books lost in the fire, Liberty discovers some strange, hidden secrets about the town. When she meets a talking dog amid the stacks in the library, Liberty realizes her life will never be the same.

This was suc
Oct 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yuck, did-not-finish
The second book in this series popped up on on of my daily Kindle lists, I was interested in it more than this one. But I wanted to read them in order. Luckily this was free, too bad I didn't like it. There are some good points to the book, since there is a strong emphasis on librarians and preserving books. But the threads that hold a story were tenuous. It's really hard to get a grasp of what happening, I did a lot of flipping, and lots of "Huh?" moments ruined my experience. That, along with ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amber Polo's Released, the First Volume in the Shapeshifters' Library series, drew me in with its premise of shapeshifting dogs as the true librarians of the world and kept me there as the yarn was spun with book-burning werewolves as their nemesis. Fantasy? Check. Romance? Check. Magic? Check. Elements of reality? Of course!

What a fun romp this was! The heroine and hero were likable, credible characters with a noble cause to unite them. They had to deal with nasty people who were in power and n
Lita Acevedo
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this story much I wanted more. I started it while waiting for my laundry and finished it by the early evening because I couldn't stop reading until I found out what happens to everyone.

This was a rich, somewhat complicated story set in modern times. The characters were well developed and the violence was minimal. There were a few typos, but not too many. The characters were likeable and I found myself very involved.

This was a clean read. There was a romance but no sex, just some hugging
Mike Bove
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a Fantasy or Paranormal reader, I was intrigued by this, and Polo had me believing. I would not ordinarily begin a book with werewolves, and certainly not finish it. Having read other books from Ms. Polo, and learning of her love of libraries and dogs, and that she was a talented writer in several genres, I went for it. And as my first experience with shapeshifters, "Released" was quite enjoyable. I found myself smiling many times due to the clever use of character names, library terms and D ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I won this novel in a goodreads drawing.

An odd, but uncomplicated paranormal romance. After the library in a small Ohio town is burned, it is moved to another location, guarded by dogs who can turn into people. These dogs guard books from book-burning werewolves, all of whom are completely evil, but pretty much hold the positions of authority in the town.

The dogs are cursed, unable to leave the building until they break the curse. With the help of the hot librarian, they work on this. Naturally,
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The author seemed to be trying too hard with the library references and even though I am a huge fan of this genre, the story didn't draw me deep enough into it that I was willing to suspend my belief during some of the more fantastical parts. I found myself rolling my eyes and exclaiming "Really???" a lot.

Nice concept, but the execution could have been much better.
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shifter history

I loved this novel love, dogs and books all combined. It was a lovely read. I was engrossed from the first page and read it effortlessly. The descriptions were enough to keep my imagination entertained , but not so much that it slowed or bogged down the story. Great read! I'd love to read more in this series
Tammy Sowards-Sanchez
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This story was different. We meet a librarian who was getting help for her library from an unlikely source. The shifters who live in the basement. The story behind the library is fascinating and I cant wait to see what happens in the next part. We learn a lot of history about the town and the significances of the library building.
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Amber Polo, constantly asking “What if…?” is best known for The Shapeshifters’ Library series which asked what if librarian dog-shifters faced book-burning werewolves.

Now she shares her love of libraries and fascination with creatures and places, real and not-so-real, in The Pharaoh and the Librarian.

Find me at

Other books in the series

The Shapeshifters' Library (4 books)
  • Retrieved (The Shapeshifters' Library #2)
  • Recovered (The Shapeshifters' Library, #3)
  • Reprinted (The Shapeshifters' Library, #4)

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