Yakuza Pride
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Yakuza Pride (The Way of the Yakuza #1)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  700 ratings  ·  137 reviews
When yakuza underboss Shigure Matsunaga meets Kenneth Harris at a boring social event, he’s surprised to find himself attracted to the blond gaijin with the mismatched eyes. Shigure is even more pleased when he discovers Ken not only speaks Japanese fluently, but is fluent in Japan's ways, even the more violent of the martial arts. Ken’s expertise at kendo is not his most...more
ebook, 346 pages
Published June 13th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
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More of my reviews and thoughts on my blog PANTS OFF REVIEWS

My checklist of why this book was awesome.
1. Japan
2. Japanese Men
3. Yakuza
4. Interracial Love
5. Hot Man Love

I was somewhat iffy about this book in the beginning; it was a bit stereotypical of Japanese culture. With the cell phone, and the cos play and all that. Then internally I mulled it over and realized that almost everything in this book has some actual truth. This culture is all about family and hon...more
Nikyta *Miss Forgetful*
There comes a time in all reviewers, whether experienced ones or amateurs, when they just cannot find the right words to express how they feel no matter how much they try. For me, this is one of those books.

I've been trying for days to conjure up the right words for what I want to say about this book but I just.... can't. In all honesty, I'm speechless. I've been speechless about a few books before but this one definitely takes the cake so far.

I was drawn immediately into the story from the sta...more
Nov 14, 2011 Deeze rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deeze by: Simsala
Boy this is a tough one. All through the book my rating kept fluctuating between 2 3 and 4 stars. But I think I'm gonna go with a steady 3.

Unfortunately for me the constant uses of certain Japanese words and terms was annoying and confusing. I would of enjoyed this more as a typical mobster style fic, and in fact that's pretty much how i read it, I'm afraid most of the Japanese detail was lost on me.

The big violence scenes I was warned of weren't as bad as I was imagining, (maybe due to my read...more
I must admit defeat - I have no idea what to say about this book.
I`m dazed,stunned,fascinated and...utterly speechless!
5 brightly shining stars and a special place on my favorite list for the Yakuza.
WOW! - What a book!
This was an incredibly intense story. I just finished it and I feel completely drained. It felt much like a Barry Eisler, John Rain novel or one of the early works of Eric Van Lustbader where I would be immersed into the Japanese culture but still remain an outsider to it. Much like the MCs of the book, yakusa underboss, Shijure and the American artist Ken.

Shijure and Ken or Kenshin as he's called, meet and sparks fly. This begins a rather off balance love affair where Shijure is reluctant to a...more
Michelle [Helen Geek]
Jun 05, 2012 Michelle [Helen Geek] rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone .. A really lovely book.
Recommended to Michelle by: Susinok gave it 5 Stars
5 Stars

I debated on this one 4.5 or 5 stars, but in the end, going with 5 Stars!

What an absolutely lovely story. My eyes are still wet and my chest still feels tight…

I don’t typically read m/m romances although not sure exactly why. The few I’ve read have been very good. This one was just a beautiful read. I would lower my rating slightly because the story drags a bit in places. A more patient individual may not even mind. In the end, the absolute beauty of the story made my mind up for me.

Nov 14, 2011 Vio added it
Recommended to Vio by: Simsala
This was a challenging read, maybe I should have read the reviews with all the warnings but as this was a group read I didn't want that influencing my opinion in any way. So I was pleasantly surprised with the first half of the story, I had no difficulty with the Japanese language or their culture, the two central characters were interesting especially Kenshin. He was courageous, stubborn and determined to do everything possible to survive I admired him he was very brave. Then comes Kotaro what...more
I'll start by saying that everyone has different limits on what's acceptable for a romance story & I hit a wall in the middle of this story when there was a significant portion of time spent in the torture of one of the main characters. The scenes were protracted & overly long & got to the point of being ludicrous. I don't need to have the hero of the story brutally mutilated & tortured for my entertainment. It also starts getting impossible to believe that you can put someone ba...more
~Lei ~  Marco's Fan ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~
7/2014 - I reread for an upcoming book read to refamiliarize myself with the story. I had rated it 5 stars and upon reread - still 5 stars.

Ken and Shigure were instantly attracted to each other but the first part of the books moves slowly - please bear with it - the culture and attitudes are important to understand for the rest of the book. Ken proves his mettle among hardened yakuzas and shows that he's just as worthy of respect as Boss Man, Shigure.


5/2013 - I haven't re...more
Jul 19, 2011 orannia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: m-m
Three and three-quarter stars.

Warning: the discussion of certain topics in this review may be upsetting - I apologise.

I have to admit to being at a complete loss as to how to rate this book... In fact, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to think of this book. I feel the positives outweigh the negatives, but the negatives will be, for some, deal breakers. Where to start? I loved the setting. I very rarely read books set outside of North America, and to read a book set in Japan was refreshing to sa...more
Jun 23, 2011 MandyM rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: m-m-romance
Thank you so much to Cori whose review made me add this book to my TBR shelves. She also recommended it for the QGB3 challenge so I'm a bit naughty to read it early but it was burning a big hole in my Kindle!

This book is GREAT! At its heart a romance between gruff noble yakuza boss Shigure who falls under the spell of American artist Ken. From the moment they meet their passion is electric. Gradually Shigure brings Ken more into his yakuza life and we meet his yakuza 'family' who are great seco...more
4.0 Stars

Wow. Intense. I really enjoyed this book. Fair warning, it is not for the faint of heart. There was a torture scene which was prolonged and graphic. That being said, I loved the characters H.J. Brues created. I enjoyed both Kenshin and Shigure and also fell in love with Shigure's rag-tag yakuza gang. At times they seemed like the Japanese equivalent of the Bad News Bears but that just endeared them all the more to me. I liked that they weren't perfect and made mistakes.

My GR buddy, Hell...more
Mandy*reads obsessively*
I am at a loss how to describe this book.
Powerful is a good description. The story is forceful, strong, emotional and violent.
Vivian Archer
Loved it.

This is another instance of where my reaction to a book has totally fried the wires in my brain that make for a useful review. So short and sweet, here it goes. This books plays so many cards at the same time that it a total immersion. The characterizations are awesome--even secondary and tertiary characters are brilliant little gems. The suspense is well written and fair warning, for those that can't handle or prefer not to read violence/torture, this book may not be for you. That sai...more
3.5 Stars...This book was good overall. There were parts I loved, parts that I did not like too well, and parts that were quite interesting.

I loved the portrayal of Japanese society in this book, I think the author did a pretty great job of showing the subtleties of the Japanese, and how they interact and see class and background. I also was fascinated by her look into the Yakuza world. I found it really interesting, and for the most part very well done.

The first part of the book specially was...more


"Yakuza Pride"!

It was such an intense, quiet and strong love story. There's crime, some laughs (Kotaro, Shigure's apprentice), some sick shit, hot sex, passion, intensity, severed pinkies, sword fighting, wise cracking madams...this story packs some solid punches. The author did a brilliant job of introducing the Japanese culture and its intricacies to this Western reader. The setting was vivid and the characters felt very authentic.

Ken has mismatched eyes (one's brown, the other's gree...more
Valentina Heart
Jul 14, 2011 Valentina Heart rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Valentina by: Mika
Shelves: glbt, best-m-m
You need something original with bad boys but free of occupation conflict between the two MCs? You also need some wicked tattoos and some culture variety? Well, welcome to the right place.

In my opinion this book had it all. From the masterful handling of details, rich insight and culture descriptions to a beautiful love story.

When a gaijin meets yakuza, two completely different worlds collide, but the very core of the two still managed to stay the same. They were both so deeply wounded and vul...more
Lilli *slowest reader ever*

Powerful. That’s the one word that pops up every time I try to express my feelings about this amazing love story. It blew me away with its intensity.

Intriguing characters with explosive chemistry right from the start that pulled me in and never let go, combined with a fascinating setting, a great secondary cast and vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was watching a movie. The beautiful, metaphoric writing enhanced the emotional impact of the story so strongly I was stunned speechless mor...more
Will I ever manage to finish this albatross? If only the actual book was as interesting as the cover. Doh.

*Stalled on page 100ish*
Bubbles  Hunty Honest & Direct Opinions
3.5 stars i guess it wasn't boring or anything just little things with the writing bugged me and a couple scenes were just WTF

The characters speak/think in Japanese so all of the book is translated to English but random sentences or words would Still be in Japanese and then translated shortly after? what was the point of that? interrupted the flow for me

The Yakuza MC was dumb and not a good leader like people didn't do what he told them or acted out and every time he thought he'd deal with it...more
3.5 stars. A rich, character-driven m/m romance about a yakuza underboss and an American artist who fall for each other and struggle with some of the challenges that derive from the different worlds they live in.

I thought this was a strong book, and I enjoyed most of it, but there were two factors that made it difficult for me to recommend this book in the end.

The parts that I liked:

- Even though Shigure, the yakuza, and Ken (Kenshin) the artist "hook up" very early, their relationship develops...more
Nov 25, 2012 ❧Gwen❤❦ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only if you like it Dark!
Wow! Japanese Tone~Beautifully Done~BUT..Gosh it's Hard to Rate~

Okay, I'm going with 4 Stars , cuz, that pic above is how I felt when I closed this book~OMG, I felt like dancing~

My Thoughts of This Book~

♠The Writer H.J. Brues does a beautiful job writing about prejudice and judgment~

I found so many spots that revealed~





♠Compelling...at 60% this book I felt like I was in the middle of a train wreck...and I was rubber necking big time.

Those parts written above...more
Bree Cheese
Mar 08, 2013 Bree Cheese rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bree Cheese by: Amanda2
Really enjoyed this book, especially the Japanese setting. Honestly, I don’t know much about Japan or it’s social mores, so I must admit that I can’t account for the book’s accuracy – but what I can account for is the wonderful characterizations and unique intricacies throughout. I always love when a book makes me feel like a cultural anthropologist wading through new territory. The character’s societal justifications were so incredibly fascinating. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

I mu...more
It happens way too often where I read the blurb about a book and get extremely excited, then am let down. This was absolutely not the case with this book. I didn't want to put it down - the characters pulled me in from the first chapter and there were so many things going on that I just wanted it to keep going.
I really liked this book. I found that my friends have mixed reviews for many reasons, but this book had a lot of the elements that I love. First of all, I have a fascination with the Yakuza society in general, and this book pushed a lot of my buttons. Tattooed bad boys? Mafia? Violence? Sword fighting? Oh yeah, yummy.

Kenneth "Kenshin" Harris is a gaijin (white man) that grew up in Japan. Years later he returns to visit a childhood friend and meets Shigure Matsunaga, a Yakuza captain, at a part...more
This novel has it all but be warned, it is dark and disturbing at times.It is also difficult to review without giving away key plot developments! That said, this story revolves around the yazuka crime families (mafia-style criminals but with traditional Japanese methods), and the difficulties of being a non-Japanese (gaijin) adapting to and living inside a very traditional world. It results in both emotional and physical pain, as Ken and Shigure battle to come to terms with their relationship; w...more
Talk about being sucked into a world! Having been an avid anime fan for years I do have some limited familiarity with Japanese traditions and honorifics. I think because of that I enjoyed how detailed this book was more than most. It takes you right into the culture of Japan and throws you into a world where family loyalty doesn’t always mean blood ties.

Kenneth Harris grew up in Japan, but his blond hair, white skin, and mismatched eyes always made him an outcast. Now as an adult he’s returned...more
An intense and beautiful love story between Ken, an American and a gaijin (Japanese for foreigner), and Shigure, a leader in the yakuza (Japanese Mafia)

Ken is the son of an emotionally and physically distant American senator. He illustrates children's books, and is a bit of a dreamer. Raised in Japan, Ken speaks fluent Japanese and is comfortable with the nuances of Japanese culture. Shigure was born into Japan's lower classes but now heads a powerful and disciplined gang. He is an imposing figu...more
Much has been said about this book's violent content and the amazingly realistic feel of the Japanese setting, I agree fully and won't rehash that. The main protags were sympathetic even though one was a Yakuza thugh and the other was just a little bit too good to be true. I also liked the intensity of their physical and emotional connection. One or two chapters of this book even had me oblivious to my surroundings (and to the hour of day, or rather night, unfortunately).

This was totally over t...more
I have been fascinated with Japan since I was little, it's a country with rich culture and history, another thing that I love is tattoos and when I discovered yakuzas I was enthralled, this book has two of my favorite things together.
The cover and title of this book make me read it, I didn't look at the blurb.
It was great, everything I hoped for and more.
Don't think this is a lovely romantic book, no, this is a harsh book, talks about crimes, violence and includes rape, but it’s REAL (or as real...more
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H.J. Brues lives in Spain, enjoying the hot weather, the brisk language, the warm-hearted people, and the thousands of books of the library she works in. She has a degree in medieval history and loves castles, knights in shining armor, and barbarian warriors with no armor at all. She practiced fencing till her knees started complaining, took archery till her elbow almost fell off, and then, wisely...more
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“[...]one should act as if the things he cherished the most were already lost or broken.” 18 likes
“Honor without power was a useless decoration and power without honor was the simple flexing of muscle” 8 likes
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