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Did I absolutely love it? Ok, just a few points I want to touch on in this review: I feel like the beginning of the story kind of sets up a wrong expectation for what you're going to get in the rest of the book. Mainly that one of the main characters blows the other one like imm I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Is this book a bit over dramatic and soap opera-y at time?

Mainly that one of the main characters blows the other one like immediately after meeting him so you're sitting there thinking 'ok this is going to be an erotica book with like a side of half-baked plot thrown in there'.

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But really that's the most explicit thing that happens in the entire book and it's in the first couple of chapters. Especially since I see a few reviews on here of people not finishing the book solely based on that. Secondly, I really like how the author included different Japanese and Korean traditions in the novel as well as some history about Kyoto and the conflict between Korea and Japan. It was fun to read about and it shows that she actually did some research. You can always tell when authors just set their stories in Japan because it's 'exotic' or because they just watched too much anime as a teenager but haven't actually done any cultural research, but this is not one of those books.

I'm sure the mob stuff has been fudged in several places, but to me that's acceptable to heighten the drama of the story because I refuse to believe that real life yakuza and Korean mob people are this incompetent lol But I think the thing I loved most about it was the ending. And most authors are too timid to take that route. It would have been completely illogical for Nao to actually run away with him at that point and I'm sure several authors would have wrote it like that anyway. So kudos to Amy for having the guts to end her 'romance' story with one of the guys killing the other one.

Also I love the like 'killer turned pacifist turned back to killer' trope so that was a perfect ending for me. I can't wait to see what Nao does in the sequel! Mar 31, J. Taylor rated it liked it Shelves: I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. I did really like the mafia aspect because I love gangster novels, and I totally agreed with how it ended but I felt that some more could have been done with it, nothing that I can explain to be honest, I really do not know what was missing for me.

So this book is about this man who loves tea so much he created his own tea shop, whom used to b I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. So this book is about this man who loves tea so much he created his own tea shop, whom used to be a gangster before he seeked the normal life. Until one night, he finds a injured man whom he takes care of and there forms a relationship with the opposing mafia to his fathers. Where lies, truth, blood and violence get all mixed up.

The Way of the Yakuza Series

Likes - I loved seeing their relationship progress because the love interest has no idea how far up his lover is and it was so amusing. I really liked seeing the Japanese world, especially the underground. I really felt for both of the two main protagonists.

They were both so dark and vulnerable in different ways, so easily to fall for and root for. Also I really felt the setting, it was brought to life so vividly. Points towards the godfather of the mafia actually loving his son. I felt that the instance I met him. Need more family love in these darker tone families. Cons - One negative I can pinpoint was that sometimes the pace felt slow then it went fast then slow then fast again.

It just needed a little more consistency. I was disappointed that we got the first sex scene between them when they were strangers but every time they had sex during their relationship, it was only hinted at, nothing happened. And I just think that it is such a disservice to them as a couple with deep feelings to one another to only show the sex when they mean nothing to one another. I do feel like it is an ending I can expect view spoiler [ I would be more mad if he had gone off with the guy because the dude killed his father and cut out his eyeballs.

Like, how could you date someone who did that to your family member? Also him becoming the heir, hell yes, he needs something to continue on with his life, he lost his father and cat, killed his lover, his previous lover was killed in front of him, the guy needs a break, he needs a reason to go on. Feb 03, The Novel Approach Reviews rated it really liked it. I wanted a violent book to read, and man, was I not disappointed. He takes him home and tends to his wounds, and it all goes downhill from there. Saehyun is a Korean mafia member whose group plans to take over Kyoto and destroy I wanted a violent book to read, and man, was I not disappointed.

Saehyun is a Korean mafia member whose group plans to take over Kyoto and destroy the Japanese Yakuza. Nao has no choice but to rejoin the Yakuza he has left after a violent, heartbreaking incident in his past. There is torture, death, and sorrow. There is also, at its heart, a love story, however ill-fated it may be.

So many times I had to take a break because I was heartbroken over the actions. However, that does not take away from the story. While I loved and hated the characters, it was written so well I felt as if I was there. Having visited Japan twice, including Kyoto both times, I could picture every single place Tasukada wrote of. I remember it being such a lovely, peaceful walk. I enjoyed revisiting it with him. Throughout this brutal novel, I cried several times. However, given the nature of the world the men live in, the brutality was not unexpected.

The author does not pull any punches, and for that I am grateful. Had she gone soft on some of the events, it would have done the story and the characters a disservice. I am very happy that there will be a second book in the series. It has beautiful imagery when people are not being brutalized, and the characters are complex. Jul 01, Banana rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved the tea house setting.

The entire story was vividly described in visual terms. I always find that enjoyable to read. The secondary characters were well drawn, so the book didn't read like two lovers in a world of cardboard cutout characters. I liked the depiction of the Koreans' position in Japanese society and though this was very credible. I felt like the main characters weren't emotionally consistent. Both of our heroes are incessant liars, but that alone wouldn't necessarily be a mark against the book, considering their occupation.

The part that really threw me is how Nao switches to momentary violent action and enjoys it at a deep visceral level. The combination of this with his usual fearful and shy disposition doesn't come across believable to me. I also think the sense of duty and debt should have been more heavily emphasized in his inner dialogues. I imagine this plot could be written in an entirely different way as a hard-boiled crime novel, where Nao is as cynical and dark as they come.

That would perhaps be a more credible depiction of someone who's committed cold blooded murder and seen terrible things. He could still feel sorrow, lust, even love, but all in the context of a sort of brutal realism. Apr 16, Lorelai York rated it it was amazing. I'm a sucker for scenery, ongoing motifs and the deterioration of the human spirit. This books successfully provides all of those things. I was pleasantly surprised at the realness of the main characters. Their histories and identities were something that you wanted to know more and more about as the plot unfolded.

I was left heartbroken over some of the characters stories and this particular book will remain with me for a very long time. Amy Tasukada did a fantastic job of showing how the human I'm a sucker for scenery, ongoing motifs and the deterioration of the human spirit. Amy Tasukada did a fantastic job of showing how the human mind can change and how in the end humans are very rarely capable of change.

Looking forward to the next book in the series. Apr 19, Veridiana Machado rated it liked it. Would I recomend it? The writing is pretty good. The first chapter or so is a bit rough, but it smooths out fairly quickly. The editing also never grabbed my attention, which is what editing should do, and it was well-paced. Dec 22, Z rated it it was amazing. I like books which defy expectations. I like books which surprise me. Sometimes, I feel I've seen it all - this is why picking up this novel was so exciting! Dec 30, Stephanie rated it really liked it Shelves: I did NOT see that ending coming.

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Mar 19, Brett Ortiz rated it it was amazing. Does a good job of subverting expectations throughout the book, well written, and enjoyable. Well done to Amy Tasukada!

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Nov 15, Becca Waldrop rated it it was amazing. A journey down one you man's path in and out of the underworld, or mafia, as he tries to stay out and run his tea shop. Full of action and suspense. And some harsh realities. Jan 15, Norma rated it it was amazing Shelves: Stunning, simply and beautifully written, visually vibrant, this brutal story of star-crossed lovers was for me totally unexpected. It is a stor "A cat chooses it's owner. It is a story of love, but no romance. And love can take many forms.

I was gifted this book by Book Review When first offered it, I nearly refused. Thank goodness I changed my mind.

Blood Stained Tea is one of the most stunning books I have read for a long time and I savoured the writing, the pictures created, even the sadness and despair which alternated with joy of discovery. I am now anxiously awaiting a second book by the author. I believe another is due for publication sometime later this year. Meanwhile, if you haven't already done so, buy and read this first story by Amy Tasukada.

It will tear at your soul May 12, Michelle rated it it was amazing. This book had me riveted from beginning to end! Nao and Saehyn met at the beginning of the book, and their attraction to each other began a relationship that proceeded against the odds. I found myself asking, "How is this going to work? Do not shy away from this book just because you might not be familiar with Japanese culture or Yakuza. I went in knowing pretty much nothing, but the story captured my interest anyway, and the author filled in a lot of the blanks.

T This book had me riveted from beginning to end! This story has fascinating characters, incredible scenery, and a heart-pounding storyline. Catch a Tiger by the Tail. You Are the Reason.

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Emotionally operatic, and on occasion referencing Madame Butterfly in more ways than one, H. Brues has gone all out for intensity. Her lovers are extravagantly gorgeous. Ken, also known as Kenshin, is American but with his strange quirky and attractive blond Japanese look, is in many ways a displaced person. Matsungara Shigure is a captain in the Shinayawa- gumi, one of the powerful gangs in Tokyo. Yakuza are regarded as dangerous mobsters. Shigure has fought to make a success of his life, having been born into the worst of conditions.

Review of Yakuza Pride (The Way of the Yakuza #1), by H.J. Brues | See Sadie Read

He is proud of his achievement, honourable in his own way, and strong. His instant attraction to the quirky foreigner eventually forces him to completely reevaluate his life. Their relationship is from the very first meeting intensely felt. The conversations between these two are throughout the book often both funny and moving.

While Shigure, possessive from the outset is determined to mark Ken as his property, he is also confused. This confusion is not about homosexuality, which is accepted in his society, but more about Ken being a foreign distraction. There are some lovely scenes in this book. The many minor characters, friends, gang rivals, police are created with depth, detail and back story. I know nothing about Japanese culture, but the wonderful layers of detail used in this book evoke a complex society imbued with giri — a cross between honour and debt.

There is a broad picture of contemporary Tokyo, but it is the yakuza society, linked to past and present, with stressed inter-gang rivalries that is the main focus. It is when the suspense thread of the story forces itself to the fore that I started to have a few problems with the book.