A MelanieM Review: One Thousand Cranes (Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…

Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…

Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

The Yakuza Path: One Thousand Cranes is a pulse-pounding standalone thriller in the ongoing series of Japanese mafia stories. If you like gritty settings, page-turning whodunits, and accurate portrayals of Kyoto traditions, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s gripping tale.

The first story in this series,Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path, #1,  was going to be hard to surpass for any author.  It was bloody, shocking, and brilliant in it’s execution. And yet for Nao Murata and the series to continue, Amy Tasukada had to figure out how to grow this admittedly psychotic character, expanding Nao past the persona we know and his universe as well.  The author has done so with each new story, figuring out a way to move her characters forward, into new situations, while keeping the past (which is key to Nao’s personality) and including new components and people.

Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path, #2) ushers in Nao as the head of the Matsukawa Yakuza syndicate.  Here we saw Nao elevated to high position, yet still under assault by many factions, unsure of who to trust.  The novel was complicated, labyrinthine in plot lines, showed Nao’s ability to adjust and his cunning, while he was still dealing with the fallout from the events of the first story.  And it introduced Aki Hisona, the first person pov of One Thousand Cranes.

One Thousand Cranes marks the departure of the pov from Nao to someone who serves him, Aki Hisona, his personal secretary. I have to admit I miss that haunted, warped perspective of Nao’s.  But it’s replaced here with one that almost equally obsessive.  Aki has one love, one all consuming focus.  Nao.  Not that it’s returned.  Because it’s not.  Nao’s love is gone forever…killed in the past in a horrific crime he was a part of.

Obsession never ends well.  And that’s the thought the flies constantly through my thoughts here in this story.

For Aki, being close to Nao is everything.  Not exactly healthy.  From many standpoints.  For Aki exists within the Matsukawa organization and he’s not only been recently promoted from the rank of the new recruits but he’s now close to the “Father” of the Matsukawa Clan with all that means.  Within the syndicate, there are reverberations, jealousies, and dealings, along with the police, and the annual Kyoto ceremonies to attend for Aki to keep up with.  All that and his feelings for Nao too, a barely restrained killer or is he?

No, this is not a romance.  This is someone who has a crush, or obsession with his boss, who is a psychotic killer and crime lord. Also, Aki is shy,gay, withdrawn, with a skin condition that keeps him covered from wrist to chin. Not exactly someone who fits in with the Yakuza model recruit mold.  No, Aki cannot stay the same and remain next to Nao and he doesn’t.  This story is his metamorphosis.

The author takes all these facts and uses them in a narrative that’s combines the delicacy of a cherry blossom and cutting edge of a knife.  Nao is still that addictive blend of ruthless killer and lover/protector of historic Kyoto and its culture.  Tea master and psycho. Even Aki seems at the end to realize he’s not sure which he will see…not that it matters to him.  Here is it Aki that does the changing for his obsession.  How the cranes fits in is just another joy and deep layer of this story and series.

This is a story and series you read for the complicated characters, the sliding maze of relationships, and a fog of a future that never looks bright.   The writing is incredible, the themes addictive, and, somehow, however psychotic and bloody it gets, you just can’t let Nao go.  Because he too is mired in the deep tragedy in his past.  This saga has me in it’s grips.  Once you start, you will feel it too.

None are stand alones.  Read them all in the order the author intended.  I highly recommend them all.

The titles of these stories are as much a perfect touch as are the covers.

Cover art is again perfect for the story and series.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published December 12th 2017 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
ASINB077TLCSRG
Series The Yakuza Path:

Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path, #1

Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path, #2

Release Blitz – Make The Yuletide Gay Anthology (Various Authors)

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Download for FREE! 
 
KOBO | Smashwords | iTunes | Smashwords |(Amazon to be updated) 
 

Sleigh bells ring—are you listening?


It’s that time of year again, and we have the perfect way to get you in the mood: A free anthology! Five holiday stories that are guaranteed to warm your heart, heat up your cold nights, and most importantly: Make your yuletide gay.

A Christmas Party to Remember by Nicky Spencer

Last Christmas, Cory and Wes made a connection that left them both thanking Santa. But when Cory doesn’t show up for their first date, Wes swears he won’t make that mistake again. This year, can Santa’s magic find a way to bring them back together?

Let’s Not Go Crazy by Stephen Hoppa

The holidays are stressful enough without Ethan’s boyfriend Nate trying to kill him with Christmas cheer. But Nate’s found a whole new way to torture Ethan when he reveals that he wants kids. Will their conflicting desires tear their relationship apart,or will they find a way to ring in the new year stronger than ever?

Captain Jack and the Snack Attack by Addison Albright

Two men determined to win the same treasure at a charity silent auction, a wayward kitten, grumbling tummies, and a dilemma: what’s the correct gift-giving etiquette for a first date that’s mere days before Christmas, and what could possibly go awry with this merry combination?

The Christmas Day Date by Nell Iris

One rainbow Christmas tree in harm’s way and an afternoon spent eating far too many cookies, equals two men with changed holiday plans. But how does that translate into a date?

The Year of the Monkey by Amy Tasukada

The last thing Aoi wants to do for New Year’s is spend it with his boyfriend’s parents. They were far from thrilled when their son came out. Can Aoi warm their hearts making traditional mochi or will they end up in an even stickier situation?

Author Bios
 

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance in contemporary settings. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

 

Web/Blog https://authoraddisonalbright.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/addisonalbright
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AddisonAlbright
Facebook Profile https://www.facebook.com/addison.albright.profile
Newsletter Signup https://groups.io/g/AddisonAlbright

Stephen Hoppa is an author of gay romance who sometimes doubts his own existence. He writes sexy stories about boys kissing and more, because he thinks sex and love are magic. He writes flawed, broken characters who go beyond shades of grey into completely technicoloured morality, because rainbows are the sh*t. (He also writes gratuitous smut…)

You can subscribe to his mailing list follow new releases and freebies!

Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

 

Want more of Aoi and Sato every month? Subscribe to Amy Tasukada’s email and get a free short story of this adorable couple. Sign up today at www.amytasukada.com

Read more by Amy: https://www.amytasukada.com/books/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amytasukada
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/53376722-amy-tasukada

Nicky Spencer is a romance writer of all pairings. Nicky is a firm believer that love conquers all– that’s why her favorite theme is forbidden love. If two (or three!) people shouldn’t be together, Nicky will find a way to get them there. When you love someone, nothing else matters.

Nicky lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with no husband, no kids and a part-time dog. She loves to read, write, listen to podcasts, watch baseball and waste time on the internet. She is firmly anti- oxford comma

Web: https://nickyspencer.com/

Twitter: @authornicky
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicky.spencer.14224

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending, believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish living in Malaysia, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and loves to write diverse and different characters.

Webpage/blog: http://www.nelliris.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor/
Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12

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Review Tour – Amy Tasukada – Would It Be Ok To Love You

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 41,000 words
 
Series
 
Would It Be Okay To Love You (Book #1)
Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?


Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…


Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…


When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.


Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.

 

 

Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.



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Release Blitz Tour – Amy Tasukada – Would It Be Ok To Love You (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 41,000 words
 
Series
 
Would It Be Okay To Love You (Book #1)
Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?

Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…

Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…

When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.

Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.

Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

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YouTube
Website

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A MelanieM Review: Would it be Okay to Love You? (Would It Be Okay to Love You? #1) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?

Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…

Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…

When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.

Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.

Buy Would it Be Okay to Love You? to get your own love collectible today!

Would it be Okay to Love You? (Would It Be Okay to Love You? #1) by Amy Tasukada is a sweet gentle romance set in Japan.  Readers familiar with Yaoi or Boy’s Love manga will recognize that Amy Tasukada loves this form of fiction and in a way pays  homage to it with this lovely series and story.

I’m a fan of this author whose tales are often located in Japan, both historical and contemporary.  Her knowledge and love of the culture and people is as much a part of her stories as are the plots, they enhance them even as they are supplying an amazing foundation for her characters and world building.

Here Tasukada gives us Sato, shy nerd accountant at a anime studio and Aoi, a voice actor just becoming popular who meet at an anime store.  Between them, they have raised enough walls that it will take time for them to work their way to the relationship they want and need.  I loved that Sato goes with his family to the shrine and makes a wish for romance.  It’s sweet and so innocent in a way.  Plus a great contrast to Aoi, who is scrambling just to make ends meet and is much more street wise.

If you’ve read the author’s stories, then you know this is a slow-burn romance accompanied by terrific scenes that inform you about Tokyo and clubbing.  Here’s an example:

They strolled to the karaoke club. Sato rambled on about more aspects of his job. It wasn’t the most thrilling conversation, but the way Sato?s eyes glistened with light when he talked about numbers had its charm.

White walls with neon lights greeted them as they entered the karaoke club. Vinyl decals of classic anime characters reached from floor to ceiling. There was no doubt they were in Akihabara, the geek epicenter of Tokyo. If they ran through the offered songs, more than half would be anime songs from the past decade. Although, if Aoi really had to admit to himself, he was probably as nerdy about boys’ love as Sato was with Gundam robots. They both belonged in Akihabara.

The receptionist handed them microphones and escorted them to their room. A white sofa lined the decaled back wall, and a thick binder of songs sat on a table. The room was small, but two people didn’t need anything bigger.

What follows is a funny, charming scene where Sato and Aoi listen to CDs and sing karaoke.  I ending up just smiling and laughing along with them, totally won over.  I had also learned something new about going out in the Akihabara!

If you love romance, here is one to check out.  It’s a quick read, it has characters that you will easily connect with and a romance to root for.  I loved it.

Cover art is perfect for the characters and story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 152 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
ISBN139780997865363
Series Would It Be Okay to Love You? #1

Review Tour for Amy Tasukada’s Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 41,000 words
 
Series
 
Would It Be Okay To Love You (Book #1)
Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?


Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…


Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…


When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.


Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.


 

Author Bio


Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called OíHara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasnít cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.


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A MelanieM Review: Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

I was wondering how Amy Tasukada was going to follow up her brilliant novel  Blood Stained Tea (Book #1).  That novel was a stunning violent look into Nao Murata’s life and rise to the top of the Matsukawa syndicate.  And no it was not a romance.  Neither is this.

It is, however, just as gripping, just as hardcore as that first story.  What’s missing is the shock factor of Blood Stained Tea (Book #1).  We had no idea of what was coming and that ending packed an emotional punch that I’ve still not recovered from.  It was shattering and so powerful it carries over into this story.  That’s perfect because Better Than Suicide deals with the aftermath of that event proving that it was a transformative act in many ways for Nao Murata and his Matsukawa syndicate.

Nao, already deeply traumatized by past events in his life, now is reeling from the attack by the Korean mob on Matsukawa territory and his part in the final assault.  It has vaulted him into the role of godfather of the family organization, a role he’s unprepared for and he’s surrounded by new people he either doesn’t know or trust or both.  It’s a deeply precarious position for anyone but especially for someone of his psychotic mentality.  Immediately, the author puts the reader and Nao on the knife’s edge and keeps us there for the rest of the story, rocking us across the blade, sometimes close to death, sometimes close to safety, however or whatever that is, represented here.  It’s gritty, it’s intense and it’s addictive.

Nao Murata remains the character you can’t look away from.  So complex, so compelling, he’s a dark Rubix Cube of a man, his soul ruined and traumatized by loss and pain, he carries death and violence wherever he goes and yet there’s another side to him that you are almost afraid to see appear that’s gentle and loyal to the extreme.  You get so pulled into Nao’s mindset that you forget that he’s also able to become a monster at the turn of the wind.  Then you remember and fear for all around him while still hoping that Nao will survive the obstacles that comes his way, be it the police or the Korean mob still actively coming after his family or a mole within the syndicate.

That balancing act is superb here. The suspense is incredible as Tasukada keeps us guessing all through the story.  We have no idea who Nao can trust and who he can’t. I loved all the twists and turns here.  Nao continues to mature while remaining the layered, fear-inspiring person we have gotten to know now over the course of two books.  I can’t wait to see where the author takes this character next, along with the Matsukawa syndicate and the new character she introduced in this story,

Lastly, we have the exquisite setting of Nao’s beloved Kyoto, seen from both the ugly side of the drug scene and the beauty and grace of the historic city.  Its the perfect foundation for such a tormented and complex character such as Nao as he fights to keep his family syndicate together, himself alive, out of jail and still the head of the Matsukawa family, and all the while hunting the drug runners and the traitor.

Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada is another gritty, intense, superb story.  It has  everything, outstanding characters, a  storyline full of layers, twists and turns.  Its gripping and so addictive you can’t put it down.  Just don’t go looking for romance here.  That’s not healthy for anyone in one of these stories and it just doesn’t plain occur!  Enjoy these crazy great crime thrillers for the suspense rollercoaster A rides they are!  I do and I love and recommend them both.  The author is working on book 3 and I can hardly wait.  Grab these up and start reading and I’ll see you back here for that review!

Cover art is just a great as the story within.  Eye catching and bloody.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 376 pages
Published May 16th 2017
SeriesThe Yakuza Path #2

Release Blitz & Review Tour for Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 86,000 words


The Yakuza Path Series


Blood Stained Tea (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

Buy Better Than Suicide to start the race against the clock today!

This can be read as a standalone. 



Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.



https://www.amytasukada.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
https://twitter.com/@amytasukadaa Rafflecopter giveaway
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Release Blitz Tour – Amy Tasukada’s Better Than Suicide (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 86,000 words


The Yakuza Path Series


Blood Stained Tea (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb


A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

Buy Better Than Suicide to start the race against the clock today!

This can be read as a standalone. 



Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.



https://www.amytasukada.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
https://twitter.com/@amytasukada

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A MelanieM Review: Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path #1) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

blood-stained-tea-by-amy-tasukadaA bloody past haunts him. A devastating present calls him back…

Nao hides from his violent past in the Japanese mob by opening a teahouse in Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto. His past comes flooding back when he discovers a gravely injured man with a tattooed chest, a bloody knife, and a Korean business card.

Saehyun would’ve died if not for Nao’s help. He knows nothing of his savior’s connection with the local mafia, but Saehyun has his own secrets. He commands the Korean mafia, the mortal enemy of Nao’s former syndicate.

As Nao and Saehyun grow closer, so does the strength of the Korean mob. A shocking murder pulls Nao back into a past he’d all but abandoned. War is looming, and Nao must choose between protecting Saehyun or avenging the honor of his old mafia family..

The Yakuza Path: Blood Stained Tea is the first book in a series of Japanese mafia thrillers. If you like complex characters, blood-soaked violence, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s gritty crime masterpiece.

 

This was undoubtedly one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to write in the past year, most of it is totally my fault.  I approached this story full of false assumptions. I skimmed over the blurb and immediately assumed that it was a murder/mystery romance with a Yakusa foundation along the lines of some of my favorite romances and I could not have been more wrong.  Those false expectations colored my viewpoint for two thirds of this story.  Luckily, the plot, the characters and the superb writing kept taking my assumptions and drowning them in the river in Kyoto, along with many, many bodies.

Make no mistake.  This is a brutal story.  These characters are not some criminals with heinous crimes that occur off the page.  There is torture, extreme violence that happens at once.  They are in many respects, psychopaths (especially one). Tasukada does not look away from how they got to this point in their lives, the reality of both the Korean mafia and the Yakuza in Japan.  Not for the soldiers at the basest level living in the worst possible conditions, gun fodder in the many battles or the people in the neighborhoods who become expendable in the gang fight for territory.

I know, some of you might be wondering. Why read this?  Because its engrossing, compelling.  I couldn’t put it down.  Its human drama on both an intimate and huge scale.  The author brings in both the ancient City of Kyoto and its past, the tea culture of Japan and so much more effortlessly folded into not only a psychological drama  but a gritty crime masterpiece as it says above.  Yes it deserves that in every sense that The Godfather deserves it as well.  And this is merely the first story, the first step forward.  What a gut cruncher, a heartbreaker and mindtwister Blood Stained Tea turns out to be.  Shocking really.

And it all starts with confused Nao, hiding in his Tea shop, looking for the perfect oolong tea and never finding it.

This story is still haunting me.   And yes, I need that second story.  I need to read it even as I’m cringing in expectation over what I will find there. Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path #1) by Amy Tasukada will top my list of Best Books of 2017.  It may be the top book of 2017.  Its that good.  Don’t go looking for love and romance.  It won’t be found in the blood stained tea. What you will find is a complex, human drama that will surprise you at every turn, make you run through the range of our emotions and emerge still hopelessly connected to this world and characters. Yes I think masterpiece is the word that belongs here.

The cover is perfect as it highlights an important element in the story.

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published November 28th 2016 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
ISBN139780997865318
Edition LanguageEnglish