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Release Day Review! PLAYING DEFENSE by Cate Cameron (Corrigan Falls Raiders #2)

Cate Cameron’s on the blog today, talking about small town hockey rinks in Canada! Don’t miss her awesome post here.

Playing Defense

by Cate Cameron


Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, swoon-worthy kisses, and sexy hockey players. It may cause you to watch a hockey game…or ten.

Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she’ll never fit in his world.

After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?


Oh, I loved this one so much! As soon as I finished it I got a copy for Mini-Moe #2–and then got her one of book one as well (Center Ice) so she could fully bask in the double awesomeness of the series so far.

I can only hope she truly appreciates her mom, who clearly looks out for her reading welfare.


I was a bit confused as the book started and I got a total hit of deja-vu…there is a highly suspicious event at the Corrigan Falls high school involving some unnaturally tinted cows on school property that may or may not involve one of the town’s OHL hockey team’s best defensemen (spoiler alert–he totally did it), and I’m thinking wait, didn’t I read this before? Um, yeah. The sneak peak at the end of book one, genius. Phew! I was so worried that I’d somehow gotten the wrong book, and I really, really wanted to read this one. Fortunately I kept reading and lo and behold, it was the new one, so thank goodness.

It’s been a rough semester. That’s my only excuse. It’ll have to do.

I absolutely loved book one, and was sure that it would be a hard one to follow up. I’m so glad to be wrong! Book two might actually have been even better. Hard to imagine, but true. It probably helped that once again, the book is written in the first person, dual POV perspective. As charming as Chris Winslow is (and gosh darn it, he is charming!) getting to see what’s going on in his head in his own words just makes him that much, well, more. I can’t imagine not having read gems like this:

I’m usually a pretty confident person. Mostly because I’m clueless, so I miss a lot of the subtle insults that other people get all upset about. I’ll be honest; it works well for me.

I might have snort-laughed a little on that one. And then there’s the scene where Claudia goes to her very first hockey game as a challenge in the Sisterhood of Awesomeness. (Which Chris is part of. How many heroes will voluntarily be a part of a sisterhood, I ask you? Of awesomeness, or otherwise?) Chris has just convinced himself that she’s not going to come, or she’s gotten a flat, or there’s been an accident, or…anyway, well, here’s what happens when his best friend Tyler points out that she’s just arrived:

Claudia turned to look toward the ice.

And that was when I smashed into the boards and wiped out.

I’m a defenseman. I skate backward a lot, and I’m pretty good at it, usually. But apparently on that night I’d lost the ability to know where I was on the ice. Which is kind of a bad thing for a hockey player to lose.

Tyler stopped beside me, his skates kicking up some ice to cool my flaming face, and he shook his head in amused disgust. “I checked with Coach,” he said as he stared down at me. “There are no scouts watching tonight.” He paused a moment, then said, “Thank God,” and turned and skated away.

OH MY GOSH. He skated into the boards! And fell down! Because Claudia looked over at him! Just too adorable.

On paper, he and Claudia seem like an unlikely couple, but in fact they really work. Chris needs someone to help him see that he’s a lot more than he’s been trying to be so far (as in, he hasn’t really been trying much at all–he’s just “good enough” on ice and barely scraping by in his classes) and Claudia needs someone to push her out of her comfortable rut of school, prepping for more school, and preparing for more school after that. She needs to get out of her brain–and out of her desk chair–and live. The aforementioned Sisterhood of Awesomeness helps, having new friends and a teacher who believe in her helps, but Chris helps give her the biggest push of all. The Claudia we saw in the very first chapter would never have had this conversation with a guy:

“You’re not that uptight,” I said. “You care about stuff, but it’s good stuff. Like, school or whatever. You don’t let it get in the way of doing what you want.”

“Did you catch the part where I’d never even kissed anybody before you?” she demanded. “Do you really think that counts as not letting school get in the way of doing what I want?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking of that more in terms of you saving yourself for me. Or having really high standards that no guy before me has been able to meet. I wasn’t thinking that you’d have been madly making out with guys if you weren’t so distracted by your math homework.”

“I would have been,” she said solemnly. “I would have been madly making out with guys. Lots of them. I have no standards at all. It was only the math homework that saved me.”

Damn, I liked this girl.

I hear you, Chris Winslow.

I could go on and on, but I need to leave some awesome quotes for the rest of you to find for yourselves. This book made me laugh, it made me cry (seriously, I was sobbing at one point; darn you, Cate Cameron!), it made me swoon, and it made me highight some of the longest passages I’ve ever highlighted before in a book. Honestly, if I put them all here, the review would be three times longer at least.

I can’t wait for more from this series! And not just so that I can see Chris and Claudia again…though that will be a definite bonus 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


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