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Yakuza Pride

(The Way of the Yakuza #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 ratings  ·  199 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
Paperback, 350 pages
Published June 13th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
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3.97  · 
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 ·  1,208 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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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 hono
Wow. Okay. I don't even know what to say in this review. For now my shelves are talking for me. I need a few days.
Nikyta *Miss Forgetful*
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Nikyta *Miss Forgetful* by: Cori
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
I was excited from the first page but I knew it wasn’t for me around the 10% point. There were a few things that didn’t work for me but I’m just not in the mood to do an in depth review of a book that I didn’t finish. I will say that the sex scenes were too drawn out and poetic for me. The actual intercourse didn’t last long but the sweet lyrics about oceans and sunsets or something similar leading up to penetration...🙄.
Optimist ♰King's Wench♰

Quick show of hands. Who thought Japanese + kink = shibari?

I had my heart set on shibari, maybe a little CBT, a little orgasm denial, perhaps some sensory deprivation, a smattering of pain… *sigh* Alas, it twas not to be. Well, there was shibari and oodles of pain, but the pesky kidnapping/torture thing took all the pizazz out of it.

Dissatisfied Cupcake is dissatisfied.

I do find Japanese culture fascinating with all their protocols and formalities, so that was most enjoyable. I even learned a c
* A Reader Obsessed *
3.5 Stars

So this is a tale of two very disparate individuals. In one corner you have Ken. He's an American artist, estranged from his wealthy powerful family, but basically raised in the midst of Japanese culture. A chance meeting with the rough yakuza Shigure sparks of course, an instant combustible attraction. He's undeniably drawn to the reticent man and though he knows it can only end in disaster and heartache, he can't walk away.

In the other corner you have Shigure who joined one of the o
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

You're strolling along a country road. It's all butterflies and rainbows and joy joy joy.

And then.

You're in the middle of a fucking TORTURE CHAMBER having your limbs torn off.

And you're all, what the fuck just happened here? I'm in the wrong story!


There were things in this book I loved: Japanese culture/terminology (one of my BFFs is Japanese, and I've been to Japan with him), the gang turf wars, the passion between Shigure (a yakuza, aka mafioso, lord) and Kenshin (American "gaijin" who
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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!
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
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Michelle [Helen Geek]
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.



"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
~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~
★★★★★ ~ 5 Stars

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 h
Nov 01, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a very roller-coaster kind of book!
Up until 50% the story was quite uneventful, and even a bit slow. The whole romance getting together part was not for me. (view spoiler)
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
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.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it

A good flowing weekend trip to Japan read. I enjoyed the middle part best. The tension there was quite gripping made me read on. The tension, the mystery of who was the bad guy, Kenshin’s situation, the relationships developing, quite quite good. I would rate 4 stars for that part. Two factors made me lower my rating, the sappy sex scenes which crowd the first and last part and the ending which fit like an ill fitting jacket, pity. But regardless of these niggles it was still an enjoyable read w
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
Bree Cheese
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bree Cheese by: Amanda
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
Will I ever manage to finish this albatross? If only the actual book was as interesting as the cover. Doh.

*Stalled on page 100ish*
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, reviews
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
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's not often you stumble upon a treasure like that, especially not in M-M genre. This book was a challenge for me, not because It was longer than average, but because It made me feel for the heroes, and struggle with them. It's not some fluffy romance for you, oh no. It was raw. And real, my god, was It real. The 1st half of the book was fine. There's a lot of good humor there, I admit I laughed quite often. But with the 2nd part came violence and torture, and I hated reading those chapters, b ...more
Josh Evans
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a pretty good read. There is some violence but in a way should be expected when Yakuza is in the name of the book. Some of the violence might be more intense for some readers. But overall I would say just watch a few videos on youtube about the Yakuza in Japan and the book will be much more comprehensible and enjoyable to those that have never heard of them.
Danny Tyran
I liked the sensuality of certain scenes at the beginning. But it's still a novel in which an alpha male (Shigure) falls instantly in love with a blond American twink (Ken). Nothing really original here except that this alpha male is a yakuza. Even though this is said somewhere on the Web that the author is a fan of everything Japanese and that she practises martial arts, I'm not sure how authentic everything said about yakuzas is.

As I mentioned in one of my daily updates, this novel includes se
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Yakuza Pride BR - Therese, RA & Sofia 14.03.15 63 10 Mar 17, 2015 06:05AM  
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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

Other books in the series

The Way of the Yakuza (2 books)
  • Yakuza Courage (The Way of the Yakuza #2)
“[...]one should act as if the things he cherished the most were already lost or broken.” 35 likes
“Honor without power was a useless decoration and power without honor was the simple flexing of muscle” 11 likes
More quotes…