“Once again, Manning has written a novel that I cannot praise high enough.  My words cannot do it justice.  To put it succinctly, KING MAI is simply amazing.” ~Under the Covers

Excedrin….someone please pass me the Excedrin!  That is exactly what I need after finished KING MAI.  When I smile, laugh and/or cry too much, I get headaches.  Well, I did all three of those things, especially the former and the latter, and now I need some relief.  Of course, reading KING MAI was worth every ounce of that pain, so I’m not complaining.

To sum it up, KING MAI was A-FRICKING-MAZING!!  I absolutely loved KING PERRY, the first book in Edmond Manning’s The Lost and Founds series, so I knew that I had wonderful things to look forward to in KING MAI, but never in a million years did I suspect that I would end up loving it as much as, if not more, than its predecessor.  Oh but I did.  KING MAI was all that and a bag of chips!!

Like KING PERRY, we find Vin Vanbly about to begin a kinging weekend.  In this installment in the series, however, Manning has taken the reader back to 1996, and unlike KING PERRY, where he only met his Lost King right before the kinging weekend, we find that Vin and Mai have known each other for about six months via AOL and internet chatting.  Mai Kearns is a twenty-something farmer in DeKalb.  He is of Thai descent, was adopted as a baby, and he is gay.  Due to many negative experiences, usually related to being a different race from those surrounding him in Small Town, USA, and being gay, he has felt ostracized, ridiculed, and hurt.  Adding salt to the wound, Mai has never completely gotten over the sudden and hurtful loss of his first true love.  Nevertheless, he loves DeKalb, and he loves being a farmer.

Unfortunately, Mai’s parents’ farm is in foreclosure.  They have been struggling for awhile, but now the loss of the farm is imminent.  Rather than allowing his various wounds over the years to heal, however, Mai only covered them with a band-aid, and his band-aid of choice is generally in the form of anger.  When pressed with an unsavory situation, he often lashes out.  This trait of his, however, does not deplete his strength of character, his compassion, nor the profound love he has within him ~ for that of his parents, their farm, or for others.  It only masks it.  But not to Vin.  Vin has an amazing talent in reading people, and he sees that strength with certain clarity.  In addition, he sees that Mai has a gift ~ a gift of curiosity.  And it is this very special trait that leads him through a treasure-hunting kinging weekend full of highs, lows, and everything in between.

Once again, Manning has written a novel that I cannot praise high enough.  My words cannot do it justice.  To put it succinctly, KING MAI is simply amazing.  Manning has weaved such an imaginative and well-written book, I recommend it to everyone.  Like KING PERRY, KING MAI truly is a literary work of art.  The characters Manning writes are ones I don’t want to leave after I’m done with the book.  I want to read more, discover more, and find out what else might happen to them afterward.  I love these characters.  They make me laugh, and they make me cry.  And with both, it’s a good guarantee that I am doing them while smiling.  These characters are like a comfort food for me ~ they warm my soul.Mai is a bit prickly at first.  Like I said, he is quick to anger and lashes out when things are not easy or when he hears or sees something he doesn’t like.

But after Vin scratches through his rough exterior, we see the compassionate, caring, and loving soul that Mai is.  He’s been hurt, and as a result, he’s put up walls, and he focuses all of his energy into the one thing he loves so deeply ~ his parents’ farm.  And while he lashes out at Vin several times, Vin stays the course of the weekend, and he provides Mai with what he needs to help him remember the man he is.

And then there is Vin.  Ah, Vin.  Although it seems as though he does, Vin doesn’t actually work magic.  Rather, he puts forth so much effort into his kinging weekends, his selflessness and his deep love for the Lost King ~ in this case, Mai ~ just exudes off the page.  He doesn’t make things easy, but everything he does, he does with immense love.  The story is told through Vin’s eyes and words, and so much of that is focused on Mai.

Throughout the book, though, we also get introspective glimpses about himself, ones that make me sad actually.  While Vin fulfills his role so beautifully in kinging Mai ~ through his selflessness, compassion, and love ~ he doesn’t seem to see himself in a positive light.  Rather, he has rather grim thoughts about who he is and where he is in life.  Oh Vin ~ you have very quirky ways, but you have a beautiful soul that is as brilliant as your mind.  I look so forward watching your story unfold with each successive book.

Together Vin and Mai are actually magical.  They don’t always agree, and even when Mai lashes out at Vin, there is love there between them.  As their weekend unfolds, the reader is taken on an adventure with these lovely characters whose chemistry and personalities work so well together.  Their passion is raw, but it is doused in love and served with a side of seriously sexy lust.  And as they make it through the weekend, the reader is led to the same epiphanies as Mai, monumental moments that are awakening and often beautiful.  So many times I wept along with Mai as he reached these moments.  Be sure to have your tissues at the ready.

So now I’ve taken my Excedrin, and my headache has dissipated.  It didn’t last long, but like I said, it was completely worth it.  Besides, Excedrin is a great word, isn’t it?  Ex-ce-drrrrinnnnnn.  It just rolls off the tongue so well, and bonus!  It has an “x” in it.  Yeah, I need some of that.  Don’t know what I mean?  Read KING MAI to find out.  😉

*Review copy provided by author

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[about-author author=”Edmond Manning”]

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  1. wow…I love your review. I don’t even read m/m books, but I swear your words are making want to go and pick this book up really fast. Yeah, I think I’m going to add it to my TBR list.


    1. Yay!! I’m so glad!! It is really nothing like I ever read before, but I can’t recommend it highly enough. Such a fabulous story! 🙂