Review: A Fighting Chance by A.J. Sand

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.

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?


When Jesse graduated he flew out of Glory, never even looking back. He created a good life for him as he is nearly graduating college as an architect and him and his girlfriend will soon be moving in together. Though plans change when Jesse's dad comes looking for him, with news that will draw him back into his old life.

His dad messed up again big time. Henry owes some people thousands of dollars and now they are threatening the life of Jesse's little half brother. Feeling like he has no other choice, Jesse returns to Glory. Even though Henry was never there for her, Jesse can not abandon his little brother. The only way to earn the money is to start fighting again. Then Drew comes back into the picture and it is obvious the attraction between these two never really went away.

Now to earn the kind of cash Henry needs, Jesse and Drew will have to go to Mexico. The fights there are bigger and earn more money. Though soon they are running for their lives from the cartels and the people Henry owes money. 

I really liked the part where Jesse learns to fight against the prejudice of the town. For so long it bothered him and he felt unworthy. This resulted in the cage fights, which were the only moments people seemed to love him. It became nearly addicting. Luckily he was able to let all that go, though he is faced with it again when he returns to glory. This time he knows who he is and doesn't let other people get to him.

There was a lot of violence in this novel and even though fighting is part of the major plot, a lot of the violence felt unnecessary and a bit over the top. I understand the author wanted to really show how it goes down at the underground cage fighting and the life of the cartels, but some parts made question the usefulness of such violence. 

Often it was also one thing after another and just when you think it might be over, another twist was presented. Considering most of the twists were actually the same, the story felt long to me. It could have easily been cut down a hundred pages or more.

I did like Jesse as a character. There was plenty of complexity to keep me interested. The journey he went through since he was a boy to the man he has now become felt real. He shows strength time after time, when anyone else would have given up.

The other characters I did not like that much, because often they felt very cliché. Also they were all so negative, except maybe Drew. This all gives it kind of a down feeling and made it difficult for me to keep turning the page.

A Fighting Chance was a good story, with an interesting plot, though a bit predictable and long, great hero and plenty of action.

A Fighting Chance: Kindle ($2.99)

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” and the upcoming “Remake” and “Recklessly.” She lives just outside of Washington, D.C.

East Coast bred. West Coast schooled. Fairly sarcastic. A little irreverent. Hopeless romantic. Shamelessly foul-mouthed. She enjoys reading reviews of her books way too much.

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