*Blog Tour + Excerpt* Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER by Lori M. Lee tour! Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER (1)Book Title: Pahua and the Soul Stealer

Author: Lori M. Lee

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Release date: September 7, 2021

Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mythology

SYNOPSIS:

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Lori M. Lee’s middle grade debut about a lonely Hmong girl who discovers she’s a powerful shaman warrior in this fantasy inspired by Southeast Asian mythology.

Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood–whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can’t be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt’s old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother’s return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother’s soul before it’s too late. Little does she know she’ll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .

With its unforgettable characters, unique nature-based magic system, breathtaking twists and reveals, and climactic boss battle, this story based on Hmong oral tradition offers everything a fantasy lover could want.

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Order Today!

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Author Information

 

lori-2019

Lori M. Lee is the author of speculative novels and short stories. Her books include PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER (Disney/Rick Riordan Presents), FOREST OF SOULS and the sequel BROKEN WEB (Page Street), and more. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS and COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. She considers herself a unicorn fan, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

My Best Friend Is a Cat Spirit

The day my life changed began like most mornings—with a judgmental cat spirit.

That T-shirt makes you look like an eggplant, Miv said. Despite being a tiny black kitten, he had a lot of opinions. He sat on my dresser, his round eyes watching me get ready for summer school.

Most people would agree that having a talking cat spirit for a best friend is pretty strange. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen spirits. Not in a creepy way (although sometimes in a creepy way—more on that later), but in a nor­mal Hey, spirits exist, and also, can I borrow some peanut butter? kind of way. Well, except for the part where no one else can see them but me.

I told my mom about Miv when I was five. She couldn’t see him, so she assumed I’d made him up. She’d humored me, patting me on the head and then saying to the seemingly empty space beside me, “Aren’t you a pretty kitty?”

Miv had glared at her from his spot on the kitchen counter. If she even thinks about getting you a real cat, I’ll make sure all her rice goes bad.

Today, I ignored Miv’s criticism, as usual. I smoothed down the hem of my shirt. Yeah, it was the color of eggplant, but I liked it. Then I fished out my favorite purple hair clip from the Star Wars tin beside my bed and secured it at my right temple, just above my ear. “Remember what I told you yesterday morning?”

Ramen gives you indigestion? Miv said as he jumped onto my rumpled bed, leaving a ghostly trail of smoke in his wake.

“No.” For the record, I did not say that.

Pokémon scares you?

Or that. I threw a sock at him.

Stop watching you sleep?

I paused in the middle of wadding up another sock. “Do you watch me sleep?”

His yellow eyes glowed faintly. Let that question haunt you for the rest of the day.

“No need. You already haunt me.” Actually, Miv wasn’t like human spirits, who are tethered to a specific place or thing. He came and went whenever he wanted.

I tossed the wadded sock into the disaster zone that was my closet. “I told you that I don’t take fashion advice from cat spirits.”

The look he gave me held a level of disdain only possible in cats. Clearly.

I rolled my eyes and then spotted the time on my alarm clock. If I didn’t hurry, I would be late for school. My mom made my brother and me take classes every summer because she liked keeping us busy instead of having us “sitting around all day” or whatever. Also, it was free.

With a jolt of panic, I rushed from my bedroom and then nearly ran into my mom coming out of the kitchen. She held two shallow saucers of uncooked rice in each hand.

“Whoa! Careful, Pahua,” she warned me. She lifted the saucers over her head as I ducked beneath her arms. She was dressed in jeans and the blue smock she wore at her factory job. Her long black hair was tied back into a tight ponytail.

“Sorry, Mom.” I grabbed a granola bar from the kitchen cabinet. A third saucer of rice sat on the counter. I moved it to the back of the stove.

Good morning, squeaked a voice. A spirit shaped like a plump little man climbed out of the nearest electric burner. Dab Qhov Txos, or the spirit of the stove, had red hair that moved like a candle flame and a full beard that flickered and sparked when he talked. He sprawled onto the offer­ing of rice, the hard grains browning from the heat of his beard.

In the dining room, which was just a corner where my mom kept a square table, sat my brother, Matt. He was slurp­ing down a bowl of cornflakes, his mussed black hair in need of a comb. He was small for a seven-year-old, with too-big dark-brown eyes.

“Eat fast,” I called over the narrow counter that divided the kitchen from the dining room. Then to Mom: “Still on for tonight?”

“Sorry, honey. Something came up.” She went over to the rubber floor mat where we set our shoes and placed an offer­ing of rice for Dab Txhiaj Meej, the spirit of the front door. The last offering went on the family altar for Dab Xwm Kab.

These three guardian house spirits watched over our apartment. I guess that technically made them apartment spirits, not house spirits, but that didn’t sound as cool.

“Like a shaman thing?” I asked. Shamans, like my aunt, are spiritual leaders in the Hmong community. Growing up with a shaman for a sister helped my mom pick up enough knowledge to be able to perform minor rituals, like house blessings or simple divinations, for people in need.

But we lived far away from other Hmong families, which meant a long commute—and ditched plans for us—when she did. Tonight was supposed to be our first Friday movie night of the summer, even though it was nearly July already. I plastered on a smile before my mom could see my disap­pointment, though. It wasn’t her fault she had to cancel.

Miv padded into the kitchen and jumped onto the stove beside me. He circled the saucer of rice grains and the rotund little stove spirit. What do you think of her shirt? the cat asked with a glance in my direction. Reminds you of an eggplant, right?

Wear black and red, the stove spirit suggested in his crackly voice. Like embers and ashes, in real, wood-burning stoves, back when meals were a sacred time. I miss the smell of scorched bones.

This was why I didn’t seek out the spirits’ opinions on my wardrobe choices. I’d rather look like a vegetable than a burned skeleton.

“I have to help a family consult their ancestors about buying a farm,” my mom said.

“Do dead relatives give good business advice?” I asked.

She smiled, but her tone was chiding. “Don’t joke. The spirits will be offended.”

Whatever would we do then? Miv said, watching the stove spirit roll around in the rice some more.

I almost laughed, but my mom was right. All spirits, even good ones like house spirits, have dual natures. They protect your home and bring good luck, but they can just as easily turn on you if they feel they aren’t being properly honored. Harsh, right?

My mom lit a stick of incense and placed it across the rice offering on the altar. Hidden between two sheets of shiny joss paper, the small altar spirit stirred. Mom didn’t notice. She couldn’t sense or see spirits. She just interpreted their messages through tools like bells or horns.

Real shamans can communicate with spirits through ritu­als and trances, but I wasn’t sure how it worked. The only shaman I knew was my Aunt Kalia, who my mom didn’t get along with. The last time I’d seen her was two years ago during Christmas lunch, and she hadn’t given any indication that she’d noticed Miv pretending to drown in the gravy bowl.

“I’ll be home late. Love you both.” Mom grabbed her lunch box from the table, pausing just long enough to kiss Matt on the temple.

I think he tried to say “Bye, Mom,” but when he opened his mouth, chewed-up cereal dropped into his bowl. Little brothers can be so disgusting.

She blew out the door just as Matt leaped from his chair and announced, “Done!”

After shoving the last of the granola bar into my mouth, I was already slipping on my sandals by the front door. A hissing sound came from one of my mom’s sneakers. A sec­ond later, the door spirit slithered out. She was a small green snake with black markings around her eyes that made her look like she wore tiny glasses.

You look sssplendid in purple, she said.

I flashed a triumphant smile at Miv, who only turned his head, nose tipped in the air as he disappeared out the door ahead of us.

Read PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER to find out how the story continues!

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Blog Tour

Check out the other tour stops on this amazing tour!

Week One:

9/1/2021

Kait Plus Books

Excerpt

9/2/2021

YA Books Central

Excerpt

9/3/2021

Nerdophiles

Review

9/4/2021

Bibliosini

Review

 

Week Two:

9/5/2021

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review

9/6/2021

Book-Keeping

Review

9/7/2021

The Bookwyrm’s Den

Review

9/8/2021

booksaremagictoo

Review

9/9/2021

Sometimes Leelynn Reads

Review

9/10/2021

Log Cabin Library

Review

9/11/2021

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Review

 

Week Three:

9/12/2021

Lifestyle of Me

Review

9/13/2021

Emelie’s Books

Review

9/14/2021

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Review

9/15/2021

Locks, Hooks and Books

Review

9/16/2021

More Books Please blog

Review

9/17/2021

Discover Elysian

Review

9/18/2021

Don’t Judge, Read

Review

 

Week Four:

9/19/2021

@pagesofyellow

Review

9/20/2021

TLC Book Nook

Review

9/21/2021

Fyrekatz Blog

Review

9/22/2021

The Momma Spot

Review

9/23/2021

Lexijava

Excerpt

9/24/2021

hauntedbybooks

Review

9/25/2021

BookHounds YA

Excerpt

 

Week Five:

9/26/2021

A Court of Coffee and Books

Review

9/27/2021

YA Book Nerd

Excerpt

9/28/2021

PopTheButterfly Reads

Review

9/29/2021

@fictitious.fox

Review

9/30/2021

Two Points of Interest

Review

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Giveaway

3 winners will win a finished copy of PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER, US Only.

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There is nothing better than a great cup of coffee and an even better book.

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