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Redemption

Second Chance Gay Romance
Narrated by: Dan Calley
Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Romance
4.7 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

Reformed gangster Luis falls hard for his boss. When friendship turns to love, it’s up to Paolo to convince him second chances are worth the pain.

Luis Pope is back on the street after a six-year stretch in prison, but life on the outside seems just out of reach, especially when the whole neighborhood knows his face for all the wrong reasons. 

Paolo’s temper makes it hard to keep staff, and he knows Luis’ rep all too well. But his nonno believes in redemption, and Luis isn’t the tough guy Paolo remembers. Prison has left its mark, inside and out, and all the kindness in the world can’t fix the three inch scar on Luis’s skull. 

And it can’t keep ghosts locked up. Luis is the best worker Paolo’s ever had, and Luis is happier than he’s ever been. But his old life doesn’t want to stay in the past. Trouble comes to call, and when it makes him an offer he can’t refuse, keeping Paolo safe hurts the most. 

Redemption is an angsty, stand-alone M/M romance novel, with second chances, found family, friends-to-lovers, and buckets of hurt/comfort themed loveliness.

©2020 Garrett Leigh (P)2020 Garrett Leigh

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hang on to your hearts

This is the sort of book you expect when you read a Garrett Leigh book. It's a book with heart and real characters who will worm their way into your soul and rip it out through your tears while your heart beats a mile a minute to escape that overwhelming sense of menace from Luis's past that overshadows the book. Luis and Paolo have amazing chemistry from the very start. An angsty but glorious hurt/comfort read that is made even better by the narrator's performance.

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Hurt/Comfort at its best!

5 Stars! Second chances is not really my favorite, but the kind of second chances Garrett Leigh explored here? Please sign me up for all of it!  Luis has just been released from jail after 6 years and he needs to find a job to start pulling his life back together. Paolo goes through employees faster than he can hire them, and knows of Luis's rep, so he's not all that keen on giving him a job when Luis asks about the sign on Paolo's cafeteria. He decides to give Luis a chance and slowly, they grow closer. However, the past has a way of coming back and hit you when you least expect it.  I wanted to cuddle Luis and make it all better. Yes, he made mistakes in the past, but he really wanted to turn his life around and make something of himself. And while Paolo was all gruff at first, it wasn't long until he fell under Luis's spell. They had amazing chemistry, but above that, they supported each other and they both were better men when they were together.  Dan Calley did an outstanding job with both Luis and Paolo and conveying the level of emotion that Garrett's writing evokes. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators because of this precisely.  I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, Garrett Leigh writes the best flawed, ordinary men that I've read. They're just so real and their problems so poignant, that you can't not feel for them and want them to get the Happily Ever After they deserve, and Redemption was another example of this. I just adored this book and I'm sure I'll be listening to it again in the future. 

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Another great audio frm Garrett Leigh & Dan Calley

It hasn't been that long since I read Redemption and a lot of it was still fresh in my mind. Even so, the audiobook captured me all over again and affected me almost as deeply as the book did when I first read it. It took me a few books to get used to Dan Calley's British accent (US gal here) but I've now listened to about 14 audiobooks that he's performed and I can emphatically say that he has a wonderfully gritty style that works for the books that I've listened to – especially this one. There really isn't much more that I can say about this story that I didn't already say in my original review from July 9, 2020 (shown below). I knew this book was gonna tear me up. I've now read enough books by Garrett Leigh to know when one is probably going to affect me deeply and Redemption surely did that and it was worth every bit the emotion it wrought from me. Luis Pope was recently released from prison and is looking for work. When he sees the Help Wanted sign in the window of the café he used frequent, he figures it's fate. But café owner, Paolo, remembers Luis from his gangster days and isn't interested in having one of the Pope brothers working for him. Fortunately for Luis, Paolo's grandfather convinces Paolo that he should give Luis a chance. So, after that rather rocky beginning, Luis provides exactly the type of help that Paolo needed in the café. He's quiet and efficient and has skills that he surprised Paolo with when Paolo needed help in an emergency. This was a wonderful slow-burn story that turns hot as fire as the relationship between Luis and Paolo grows. Luis and Paolo have chemistry that is off the charts and one of the most devoted relationships I've read recently. The story is gritty and uses a lot of British slang. I didn't always know exactly what the terms meant but it didn't matter because the meaning was clear enough through context. (The author did give a great explanation of many of the terms before the story began). This book made me believe in the power of redemption and that second chances are something that most people deserve. I'm not doing a good job of explaining how good this book was. If you love a wonderful, angsty story with a HEA don't just take my word for it, grab a copy and read it for yourself; I don't think you'll regret it a bit. A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.

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  • Karen Hardy
  • 05-10-20

Let's play a little game of woulda', shoulda'...

and somehow I just didn't... Ok, right off the bat here I'm going to say I really and truly think this one's on me. I know we've all said this from time and time and sometimes we truly mean it while other times I think it's more of a polite way to say this one sucked...well, this time I'm saying it and truly and sincerely meaning it when I say "it's not the book, it's me." Don't get me wrong. I liked it. The story was good and Dan Calley's a narrator that I've really come to enjoy listening to...yet, for some reason I just didn't fall in love with this story the way I have with other stories by this author. I actually finished listening to this audio book a few days ago and I've been struggling with what to say because for me writing a review about why I maybe didn't enjoy a book or audio book as the case may be and not being able to clearly define why things went a little off the rails for me with no clearly definable reasons isn't something I enjoy doing and yet here I am about to give it a go. 'Redemption' is based on one of my favorite tropes...second chance. I love...seriously LOVE a good second chance story and that's what this is... Luis is fresh out of prison having served his time all he wants it to find a job and lead a quiet life away from his past. Paolo's trying to run the family diner on his own as he maintains the stereotype about Italian tempers by constantly running off his employees. He knows who Luis is and he's determined not to see past what the surface...but, his grandfather won't let him off that easily and he makes Paolo look past the circumstances to see the man. So let me just say at this point I loved all of this overall the premise of this story was the jam for my toast and as always Ms Leigh did an impeccable job of telling this story and ironically I really liked Luis and it took a little more time for me to come to like Paolo but it happened so as I said I'm just not sure why this all ended up being a case of "it was alright as opposed to the usual this was 'fan-freakin'-tastic". In the scheme of things the only 'niggle' I had and it was a really small one was that I found the first part of the story to be a little on the slow side, which isn't something that normally takes away much from a story in my eyes, especially when it's giving the background for the characters and setting up the rest of the story. Truthfully...would I recommend this one? yes I would especially to anyone who enjoys a second chance story. Will I be doing a repeat on this one? guess what the answer to this is also yes because I really think another time and maybe a different mindset or whatever it was that kept me from getting into this story the way I usually do and I think I'm going to truly love it. While I've only given this one 3 stars it's a very, very subjective 3 stars based entirely on how I felt at the end of things. But it's also not representative of how I feel about this authors works as far as I'm concerned Ms Leigh is absolutely a 5 star author worth reading every time. ************************* An audio book of "Redemption" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Dilyana
  • 11-09-20

You’d want to get to know these guys

If you’ve read any of my other numerous reviews on books by Garrett Leigh, you’d probably expect high praise for this work. And while I tremendously enjoyed it – surprise, surprise, when the book is by one of my favorite authors – I did have a few issues with it. First, and most puzzling: the timeline. It’s a bit iffy. Sometimes it seems like it’s been a couple of months, but then you realize that a very short amount of time has actually passed. I did get an ARC, so maybe that’s been fixed in the final version. Secondly, a character (not going to name them to avoid spoilers) has a change of heart pretty much out of the blue. There’s the barest hint that something is going on in their head earlier on in the book, but it’s a tiny, tiny hint, and that’s all it shows: that something might be up; it doesn’t suggest that it would lead to a change of heart. Thirdly, a certain scene towards the end that includes masked man putting on a show… For who exactly? It seems to be done more for the reader’s sake than as something that would occur naturally in the book. So, if I have all these complaints, how come I enjoyed the book? Because of all of the emotion. Garrett is really good at making us bond with her characters and feel for them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it time and time again: if you make me connect with your characters, I’ll still probably give your book a pretty good rating, even if said book has some issues. A new owner with an old grudge. Paolo has a lot on his plate and the last thing he needs is an infuriatingly sexy ex-con messing with his business… But maybe Luis will actually be of help? Luis has way too many demons to battle on his own, but he doesn’t trust easily and can’t ask for help, besides, who would want to help him? Then again, Paolo seems willing… In more than one way. You’d want to get to know these guys. You’d want to know where they can take their relationship. You’d want to read the book. As for the audio... This is the third book I'm reviewing that's narrated by Dan Calley (they also all happen to be written by Garrett Leigh) and I'm getting more familiar and comfortable with his voice and style. Based on what I've heard so far, I don't think I'll ever put him on my list with favorite narrators, but once I get over the fact that I don't imagine pretty much any of Garrett's characters sounding like him, he does a pretty good job. In each book, there was an occasional line that I wouldn't have known who said it based on his voice alone (this was most prevalent in the first book - Rented Heart), but it's an overall good performance. This is a good background book, something interesting to listen to while you are cooking, working out, etc. As with other Garrett Leigh books: do not play this aloud if you have kids in the household or are easily embarrassed. I’d recommend Redemption not only to people looking for a love story, but to those who seek being given a second chance and giving yourself a second chance.

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  • Christina Wade
  • 06-09-20

Another good, gritty story w/a great performance

I think the thing I most like about Ms. Leigh’s books is her characters are always so real; they’re never fanciful, untouchable people you’d likely never meet. And I almost always prefer listening to her books rather than reading them. Luis is just trying to get past the mistakes he’s made and get out of the family he was born into. He wants to live an honest life and finally, maybe be happy. He doesn’t feel worthy most of the time, but he truly is a good guy. He fits seamlessly into Paolo’s life and is a super smart, super sweet guy. Paolo is feisty, doesn’t take crap from anyone but has a major soft spot for Luis. He doesn’t want any trouble in his family’s café, but he begrudgingly trusts Luis. He sees something in Luis and realizes there’s more to him than the crime he committed and the crimes of his family. I was happy with the way Luis’ drama with his brother was settled. I thought it was going one way but ended up going another which surprised me and let to a HEA I could live with. I see this is book one in a series. There is only one possible character I can think of who could get a story next and that has me very intrigued. I would definitely be in for that but I would absolutely wait for the audio! Dan Calley’s performance was fantastic as always. He put the perfect gruff and emotion in both characters. He always brings the books he performs to life.

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  • Troy
  • 25-08-20

Superb writing

Lord, I loved this book. Paolo and Luis had sizzling chemistry right from the get go. The sex was hot, I loved the progression from oral onward, but they also sizzled just working. Leigh wrote a compelling plot with realistic characters. The conflict was a tough one and I wasn’t sure how it could possibly be resolved. But it was and done so realistically. I love Dan Calleys voice.