BLOG TOUR: Between The Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hi Everyone!

I'm SO EXCITED to be a part of my first ever publisher hosted blog tour for Amanda Hocking's latest book, Between The Blade and the Heart. This book is about the Valkyrie (if you saw Thor: Ragnarok, you'll know who they are) and I just wanted to welcome you to my stop!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
Title: Between The Blade and the Heart
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1 on 2 of the Valkyrie Duology
I Got A Copy Through: eARC via NetGalley from St. Martin's Press
Buy Links: Amazon || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: When the fate of the world is at stakeLoyalties will be tested
Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.
As one of Odin's Valkyries, Malin's greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

I hadn’t heard about Between the Blade and the Heart until a lovely publicist from St. Martin’s Press pitched me the book as a part of a Blog Tour invite and the minute I read the word Valkyrie, I WAS SOLD.

If you haven’t seen me tweeting UNENDINGLY about just how brilliant Thor: Ragnarok was, YOU DON’T KNOW ME. I have seen that movie THREE TIMES in theatres, and I would’ve been there a fourth time if they hadn’t taken it off screens. If you have seen the movie, you’ll know that one of the main characters is a part of an ELITE FEMALE WARRIOR ARMY, the Valkyrie.

And so, I went into Between the Blade and the Heart with HIGH expectations. As I actually read the book, I found that each thing I loved also had an aspect that I didn’t like, which feels as confusing as it sounds, but let’s break it down:

1.       THE MYTHOLOGY: As soon as I heard that this book was about a Valkyrie, I assumed that it would be filled with Norse mythology. And yet, there were so many OTHER cultures coming into play, including Indian, Sumerian and Indonesian. While I LOVED the diversity, I feel like if the book acknowledged all the different cultures, I would’ve enjoyed it more, instead of feeling like I was reading about X culture and an intruder Y showing up.

2.       THE CREATURES: This book was FILLED with paranormal/ supernatural and mythical creatures ranging from fallen angels to vampires. While these are some of the well-known creatures, there were SO MANY MINOR MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES THAT I’D NEVER HEARD OF, and it resulted in me DESPERATELY wishing for a glossary and reaching for the dictionary. I loved the fact that they were there, but it resulted in me being one CONFUSED reader.

Image result for between the blade and the heart
The GORGEOUS Book Two Cover
3.       THE WORLD BUILDING: In relation to what I just wrote above, what I was expecting was Norse Mythology (most of my knowledge comes from the Thor movies) but I was drop-kicked into a world where paranormal and mythical creatures lived side by side, there was advanced technology, schools for children of mythical creatures and I just NEEDED a foreword or some kind of introduction before I was thrown into the deep end. Of course, it all made sense as I read on but STILL.

4.       THE LOVE INTERESTS: I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THAT MALIN, OUR VALKYRIE MC WAS BISEXUAL and I loved that there were male and female love interests. It made this book so much more interesting because YAY for diversity. HOWEVER, I am NOT A BIG FAN of love triangles (well, more of a love square/ flowchart) with one minor and two major love interests. It made me groan, because didn’t we all get over love triangles/ squares/ flowcharts after Twilight?

5.       THE ENDING: I LOVED THE ENDING SCENE OF THIS BOOK. I made me flail in excitement and scream out loud and just that ONE scene has me so excited about what is to come next!

Will I be picking up the next book? YES. That ending was fodder for my fangirl heart.

Between the Blade and the Heart was a diverse book filled with mythology and I’d definitely recommend digging in, even if it has its flaws! 3 stars.

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Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

 Have you read any of Amanda Hockin's previous books? Is there anything I should start reading RIGHT AWAY?
What are your favourite books that have mythology as a major part of them?
I'd love to hear some recommendations!

The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the
restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between
In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more
than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was
the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.
My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the
street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.
The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I
couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.
“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick
wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a
snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.
The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her
cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf,
thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside
from the shock of dark red lipstick.
My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of
experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her
sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.
The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its
blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand
years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.
My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a
bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was
black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-made from an army supply store,
to match her own.
The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow
a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been
glowing dully on my hip.
The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head
shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold,
but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.
It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a
weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper
of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.
The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward
the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to
the club door as it groaned open.
Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby
and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-aged man
if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts
of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable
limp favoring his right leg.
He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and
cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the
day he died.
I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him
to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.
I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He
took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green
eyes flashed with understanding.
“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever
seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.
“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words
automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you
“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can
work this out.”
“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.
His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he
might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He
was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere
to go.
My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to
run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of
my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.
Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple
around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I
struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and
my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a
puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.
“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well,

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