Thursday, February 13, 2014


By A.J. Sand
New Adult/Adult Romantic Suspense
Released February 4, 2014

Jesse Chance is a bastard.

And that’s all he heard his entire life growing up once news got out that he was the illegitimate child of womanizing ex-con, Henry Chance.

Stuck in Glory, Texas, a town too small to escape the sins of his parents, Jesse turned into exactly what everyone expected him to be: a lover of liquor and women, and so good with his fists, he became a teenage champion of the secret underground fighting rings that float around the South, while doubting the only people who ever believed he could be more, his ailing mother, and his girlfriend, Drew Hallisay.

But determined to make his mother’s dying wish come true, he enrolled in a college on the East Coast, far away from his past. Jesse Chance is reborn into a new life, and set on keeping Glory, Texas--and Henry Chance--in his rear view.

Until a visit from his father in the middle of the night changes everything.

Forced to return to Glory to prevent a tragedy, Jesse is soon back on the fighting circuit with Drew's help and facing the history he was so desperate to escape, the part of him he would prefer to hide.

As he slips back into his old ways--Henry Chance's ways--he finds himself torn between the guy he was and the one he’s been struggling to become. And in a world dead set on betting against you, can you ever really overcome your past… or your destiny?

Source: Received from author in exchange for review

You know we love us some A.J. Sand...I'm not sure she can do any wrong. As a matter of fact, A Fighting Chance definitely confirms for me that she can do NO WRONG. This novel is a departure from the whole Documentary crew and while her style and voice are evident, the storyline is not one of rock stars and surfers and their trials. 

No, it is definitely not as happy and free and lifestyles of the rich and the famous that Documentary was. It is much more 'every man' in this small town in Texas with still ever present prejudices regarding race and financial status. Jesse's life seemed hopeful to me in the beginning with how close he was to fulfilling all of his dreams, but as he remembers what he's been through and what we see him go becomes much more melancholic.

In A Fighting Chance we have Jesse--a fighter and a lover. He's physically tough and yet very reflective and introspective. I've read my share of underground fighter novels and Jesse definitely gives us a different perspective. He has a conflicted relationship with fighting and, unlike other fighter novels, he has no intention of making it his life. Jesse's main counterpart is Drew. She's this spunky, mouthy, strong personality who calls Jesse on all of his shit and isn't afraid to call it like she sees it with anyone. I ADORE her. Through no fault of his own, Jesse (years after he "retires" from fighting) has to take a few months off from his 'normal' life to un-retire from fighting and it's his re-entry into fighting that we are immersed in for the vast majority of this novel. In flashbacks and present day perspective we learn all about Jesse, his family, Drew and her family.

You mentioned the huge theme. The book is entirely in Jesse's POV (which is cool for all of you single, preferably male, POV readers of the world...You're out there, I know it). He's very reflective and at some points he made my heart hurt. I didn't understand his hatred of fighting at first, because I enjoy it as well as know people who do like organized fighting. I came to realize that wasn't the main issue with him. As events unfold, you see how much of a tattered soul he has, and what he is willing to go through for one minute of respect and love from one particular character.

There's a lot to contemplate and love about this novel. A.J. presents issues on race, class, and a whole slew of issues revolving around underground fighting. It's violent. It's harsh. It's ugly. There are moments of profound sadness, poverty, and (from some characters) emotional and moral blight. But!! There are also moments of sweetness, beauty, and redemption...and humor. A.J. writes some things that just crack me up...all of her novels have her sarcastic, witty barbs and I love that about her writing!

Is that because we like to be sarcastic while trying to be witty? Or that no one would get anyways. Lol. Anyways, I enjoyed the dialogue and every part of this story. There is that moral blight issue that Shel mentioned, but as a big hater of certain tropes I really didn't even care that it was present in this book. I had my mind made up about just about every character from the beginning and the unfinished-ness of one plot line was okay with me. 

A.J. writes fantastically strong females. I've loved every one of them (even Lana--when I didn't want to throttle her). I love that her female characters are so sharp and wise and funny. I love that they don't melt under pressure or give in too easily. Drew fits all of these characteristics and is a perfect fit for Jesse...our sweet, introspective, smart tough guy...also an A.J. trademark--guys that could or should be complete douches are actually sweet and tender and sensitive (not in a gooey way, just an honest way).

I really love Drew. She is strong in a way that you mentioned, but she is also fierce. She was a huge factor to Jesse and made the story whole. Jesse has a lot of demons to work through, and he struggles every step of the way. Their journey through Mexico is long, hard fought, and just whoa. Never going there. It is official. There are quite a few warnings here about the content being dark and violent. I didn't find it bad, but that probably says more about me than the story. :P

Shelley: 5 Stars
Courtney: 5 Stars

About the Author

A.J. Sand grew up an only child whose parents bought her many, many books to keep her busy, so it was only natural that she would start writing her own stories. She is the author of “Documentary,” “Remake” and “Recklessly.” She lives just outside of Washington, D.C.

Author social media links:

1 comment

  1. Shelley and Courtney, you did a great job with your thoughts on A Fighting Chance! Really enjoy reading the dual POV reviews. :)


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