Cover Image: Role Playing

Role Playing

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Member Reviews

Maggie's son has just gone off to college and shes worried that he's being antisocial like herself. So she makes a deal with him. If she does something social he needs to also. She finds an online guild for a video game. She makes friends with the guild leader Otter aka Aiden.
Omg I loved this book. Maggie is the perfect bogwitch. Grumpy but protective just like a mama bear. I totally related to her. I love that she stood up to the haters. I'm a total gamer so I understood all the jargon. I loved that it was LGBTQia friendly.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Montlake for this read. What an easy read. It was so smooth and HEA,,but of course. I like reading this and even more loved the cover of the book as I like any book that this illustrator does the covers to.

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Fab read, the story of Maggie and Aiden, who live in the same town but have never met. They meet online and don't know each others true identities and make assumptions about who the other person is. They both have their own reasons for not wanting to be social, but will this bring them together. Great that it was told from both points of view.
Loved this book!

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Two years ago, Aiden, a 50-year-old cinnamon roll, returned to Fool's Falls, Washington, to care for his dying father. After his death, he stayed to help his mom. Overwhelmed by family drama, he creates an online-gaming guild as an outlet. Maggie, a 48-year-old outspoken, grumpy introvert, joins the guild after promising her son to be more social. A deep friendship builds between their online personas, but things get interesting when they meet face to face.

The best part of Role Playing was Aiden and Maggie's love story. Their unending support for each other was such a pleasure to read. I loved reading about the relationship between people with underrepresented bodies and ages. When we were with them, I loved this book. I enjoyed their banter, their serious conversations, and their kindness. They are the definition of soulmates.

I also adored the setting. It is no secret that I love small-town romances, but drop the town into my home state, and I may squeal. Washington State University and the Cougars (my alma mater) came up several times. I smiled every time, and it made me a little homesick. Go Cougs!!

Unfortunately, I struggled with a few things.

Aside from Maggie's son, every other character is pretty heinous. Racism and homophobia play a role in the plot, especially in Aiden's family. Honestly, the toxicity took its toll on me. At times it became overwhelming. Further, the author tackles so many themes and plot points that I had whiplash by the end.

I also had minor issues with the writing and the pacing. Sometimes, Maggie's inner monologue didn't work for me. The first two-thirds of this book is slow, and I mean the definition of a slow burn. However, it works. Both characters are trying to figure out where they fit in their new realities. Yet, the back third was rushed and felt unbelievable to me. I needed 20 to 30 more pages of Aiden and Maggie exploring themselves as a couple.

I can see a lot of people liking this. The couple is super sweet, and I enjoyed getting to know them.

Perfect for fans of:
Slow burn romance
Small town romance
Grumpy x sunshine
Middle-aged characters
Dual povs
Actual communication between the leads

Thank you to Netgalley and Montlake for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This book explores an intriguing blend of MMO (Multiplayer Online Video Games) concepts and chat, particularly in the first third. While this adds depth to the story, readers unfamiliar with gaming or MMO culture might find it initially confusing. Even as an avid gamer with extensive MMO experience, I encountered an unfamiliar acronym that required a quick lookup. This aspect could potentially deter those who prefer a seamless reading experience without interruptions.

Beyond that, this book offers a charming romance storyline. However, it delves into complex family dynamics that many readers can relate to, albeit not appealing to everyone. The main characters, representing the mature Gen X generation, bring relatable life experiences to the table. Additionally, they present realistic and positive body representations, reflecting a commitment to inclusivity. Moreover, the book boasts a diverse cast of characters, including individuals from different ethnic, racial, and LGBT+ backgrounds.

Furthermore, the book entertains readers with humorous and spirited in-game chat sessions. The female main character showcases her wit and resilience, holding her own against her male guild-mates. This adds an enjoyable dynamic to the story and highlights the FMC's strong personality.

In summary, this book offers a cute romance storyline alongside its exploration of MMO concepts and chat. While the gaming references might pose a challenge for some readers, the book features relatable family dynamics, mature protagonists, body positivity, and a diverse cast of characters. The lively in-game chat sessions inject humor and showcase the FMC's spirited nature.

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I was a little nervous going into this one. I'm not a gamer - tried and failed - but have no fear if you are a duck hunter only fan, like me - then you will enjoy this also. Loved that it’s Gen X which we hardly get- loved that it was an older romance. I’m going to need more of Aidan and Maggie type romances soon!! Maggie is my hero and just loved her so much! Aiden is a big teddy bear that needs to learn to stand up for himself better and ask for help. We also got bi and demi rep with this one. I really enjoyed Yardley’s plot, characters, small town parts- I get all too well, and she knocked it out of the park for me for older 40s/50 romance!
This one will have you laughing so hard and so happy for them both!

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48 year old Maggie is now an empty nester, divorced, and trying to find a life again. She's basically a hermit at this point barely leaving the house and her son makes her a deal - he'll be more social if she is. She loves gaming and finds a new guild to join she found out about through a friend.
Aiden is a 50 year old who is also in the guild. He and Maggie begin chatting (him thinking she is an 80+ year old and her assuming he's 20 something) and their friendship begins. When they meet IRL and realize they aren't that different in age, they become even closer and start to realize maybe they're feeling more then friendship.

Loved the older MCs, that you can find love in your 40s/50s, demisexual/bisexual representation. Recommended!

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I expected to love this. I go through phases where I'm dying for the heroine to be over 30 and gobble up every book I can find so I expected this to be perfect. And it was and wasn't.

They meet on a gamer's guild and think radically different things about each other's age. She thinks he must be in his 2os and he thinks she's 80. What a surprise when, after weeks of getting to know each other online, they're both the same age. I loved their banter of getting to know each other and the angst of 'if only' they were age appropriate because they've ended up being best friends.

To be clear, I think the couple was the best part of this whole book. They got each other, respected each other, and didn't think there was a single thing wrong with the other. Maggie likes to be at home be away from people and turns out, he's really into that. They don't drain each other's social batteries so being together is easy.


He is bisexual and demisexual and his family has demonized him for it for 20 years. This was some of the most insane ish I've read in awhile. He went decades letting that ex-fiance/now sister-in-law roast him when he didn't do a single thing wrong? Then the entire family jumped on board? I hated it. I hated them. The brother 'might' be salvagable but the rest of them especially his mother are not. The racism was subtle toward Maggie from his mother until it wasn't.

I do very much appreciate that the author didn't choose to have them reconcile. Sometimes you have to save yourself and I'm so glad they bounced from that small town and seem to have cut everyone off.

Thank you to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

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Role Playing is a heartwarming love story. I stayed up way too late finishing. Mix GenX introverts with a love of online gaming who are dealing with societal & familial pressures in a small town and you get the premise for the story.

Maggie is an empty nester who is an unapologetic grumpy introvert. In order to convince her son in college to be social she agrees to do social things in her small town. She meets Aiden (Otter) in an online gaming guild whose players live local. With a misunderstanding of ages she believes Otter is a college kid and Otter things Maggie (Bogwitch) is an octogenarian. With no pressure they hangout online all the time. What happens when they meet in real life?

I am a nerd, so I thought I would jump right into this book. I was actually a bit confused by terminology and the aspects of the gaming world. Thankfully it's not vital to the plot. There were some wonderful nerdy easter eggs in the book.

This book was much deeper than a fluffy romance novel. The family that both main characters come from are the worst humans. Aiden's mother is a bigot and the hate is loud. Some trigger warnings to be aware of are homophobia, someone being publicly outed on the page & racism. In most small town romances the small town becomes a loving side character, that was not the case in this book. While the town didn't rise up to be mean it certainly didn't give the characters the freedom to feel like they could act like themselves.

If you are looking for a nerdy romance with an asian & LGBTQIA+ characters you should check this out.

Thank you to Montlake, Cathy Yardley and Netgalley for my advanced reading copy! All views are my own.

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I've enjoyed what I've read so far from Cathy Yardley and I'm a fan of nerdy type romance, so I felt this one was right up my alley. I'm also in my 40s, so it's nice to see a romance that isn't centered around MCs who are much younger than I am.

I kinda love the idea that is played with in this book. That without meeting someone, we take cues from others to figure out what a person is going to be like, which can completely lead to misconceptions.

I'm a big fan of strong female characters and Maggie is super feisty and she knows how to handle herself in the gaming world. She's had to deal with boys/men who don't think women can handle themselves in online gaming. And of course Aiden isn't like one of those guys. He's super patient and super helpful; just a cinnamon roll of an MMC.

It's definitely a slow burn, but I liked the pacing of strangers to friends to lovers. They're very good together, whether it's friends or more.

I really enjoyed this book and love seeing, not only older MCs (he’s 50, she’s 48), but diversity represented. You don’t get many demisexual MCs in books and I think there may be some who read and think they identify with the character, and some who get a better understanding, which is important. The only complaints I have are I would have like to see more of the gaming aspect after they got together, as I feel it was what connected them and also a bit more resolution at the end with his family.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake. I voluntarily read an early copy of this book. 4.25 Stars.

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This was good! I wasn't expecting anything since I impulsively requested the arc when it was on 'Read Now' on Netgalley. But is good :D

I'm very picky with romance and usually I strongly prefer for the two MCs to meet within the first 2 chapters. But Maggie and Aiden are interesting enough that I don't mind having to wait a lot longer for them to finally meet each other. I can see this being a point of annoyance for other readers though.

Oh and I would've liked this even more if the MCs have more tension between them since their dynamics felt a bit tame throughout most of the book for my tastes tbh BUT other than that I like this story a lot :>

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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I wasn't feeling well and started this book yesterday and it was just what I needed.
I was telling my husband about this book and when they were going to meet each other in person and told him I had to wait cause I needed to read the hilarity and it did not disappoint!! I love these books for the rep and the people that just don't people.

Also, I love how you can tell the difference between late 40 year old characters and young 20 year olds when in relationships. This book about a divorcee hermit who's son has just gone off to college. She hasn't dated and doesn't want to leave the house. But the offer of joining a online gaming guild with some junior college kids is her way back into socializing. There she connects with Aiden who has come back to town to take care of his Mom who is not listening to him. She assumes he's a college kid and he assumes she's a grandma. Omg I just love these two as friends especially as they try to protect each other from the ones that one to date them and their toxic families. I just loved everything about how they communicated with each other and accepted each other.

So many real life issues talked about and learning about your sexuality later in life and that you aren't broken. None of us fit into boxes. There are endless combinations of things we can be. I'm still learning about myself and I'm more like Bogwitch than Deb or Sheryl for sure! Omg there's some weeks I leave the house once a week. Ok hubs takes the kids to school, I've embraced the WFH life. Socializing can be exhausting unless you are with people who get you.

‼️Please go read these books! I don't see them enough in my feed! I just love them all!! ♥️♥️

Thank you montlake for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

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This is the first book I’ve read by Cathy Yardley and it definitely won’t be the last. I had such a blast reading reading this and the cover is just so cute.

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Role Playing is a lovely read that pulled me in right from the beginning. I’m sure that I could be Maggie without the gaming, and Bogwitch is such a great online name. Who wouldn’t want to get to know her? I spent some of the beginning of the book, wondering whether I should actually give gaming a go. Then when I realised that yes, the majority of players probably are teenage lads, then I decided it maybe wasn’t the best idea!

I loved that both Maggie and Aidan (Otter) escaped the real world by running into a fantasy one. If they found themselves getting angry or annoyed with those around them, they’d disappear to fight the online baddies!

Aiden’s Mum is a narrow-minded bigot, and she didn’t deserve the help he was giving her, never mind that his life was on hold because he was trying to be such a kind and caring son. Still, she got her comeuppance and, to be honest, I wanted to just slap her across the face many times!

Cathy Yardley raised some good issues surrounding sex and sexuality and I actually wasn’t aware what demisexual was, so that was a lesson learnt. I also didn’t know what ‘cinnamon roll’ was, and I wonder if that’s just me?! It's only recently (within the last hundred years) that asexual and demisexual have been recognised and accepted.

Overall, this is a book I’d recommend. Just check out the trigger words and subject before you delve in to make sure it’s for you.

Thank you to NetGalley, Montlake and Cathy Yardley for the opportunity to read and review Role Playing.

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I adore Cathy Yardley - I’ve been a fan since she first joined Smartypants Romance (her book in that series is still one of my very faves), and I literally just finished binging her Ponto Beach Reunion series (another incredible one), so it came as absolutely no surprise to me that this is another winner. This is going to sit near the very top of my faves this year, I think!

A lot of books I read in June dealing with difficult topics of identity and sexuality, and Cathy Yardley did this demi storyline of a 50-something man so beautifully. Made me question if that is me, too…?

Not only that, but I’m loving that so many more romances are coming out right now for Gen-X, with characters closer to my own age (Maggie is just a few years older and Aiden is nearly a decade, but with most books having characters in college, 20-somethings or early 30’s, this is far more “me”).

Maggie and Aiden have an extremely unique meet-cute and hidden identity (secret identity?), online gaming relationship but had an extremely brief real-life encounter, until so many things and people bring them together for real and they have a lot of real-life battles to get through together - not just in their game.

I totally loved everything about this book, even though gaming isn’t my thing at all, I can fully appreciate it (my bro and his mid-40’s friends that he’s kept since grade school still online game all the time, male and female, so it’s still a very social thing and was great during lockdowns). I one thousand percent recommend it to absolutely everyone, and the smaller demisexual storyline makes it even that much more special.

I received an advance copy from NetGalley and Montlake, and this is my honest review.

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Thank you to @netgalley for the eARC of @CathyYardley ‘s book, Role Playing! It publishes today and just look at that COVER!

I think that absolutely everyone will find a piece of themselves in this book… maybe people who have never found themselves in a book before. There are so many dazzling, sparkly personalities in romance- but here we have a couple of homebody introverts, one who I would describe as humorously crabby with no filter. We have gamers, we have MY NEW FAVORITE- main characters that are 48 and 50 years old (younger people, this will NOT be a problem!). I like to see a little gray hair and I relate to her not wanting to drive in the dark (I feel like this comes with age). We have a single parent to a college kid. A character who, as an adult, STILL has jerk parents that aren’t accepting. Taking care of an aging parent. Grudges. Realizations about sexuality. We have wonderful conversations, excellent banter and a love that we experience, not one that we simply read about.

Why wasn’t it a 5 star for me? There was a lot of teaching about sexuality, which was interesting and many readers may need the education, but I am familiar so it felt a little text-booky at times. I could READ the research that went into it. I don't know a way around it but it kind of took me out of the book a little bit and made me think about the writing process instead of being fully in their world.

If anyone has read this and can tell me what the chapter titles refer to, please let me know! I looked up a few of them- are they all gaming/ TV tropes?

Open 🚪
4/5 ⭐️
Location: Washington state
Note: lots of F words, if that isn't your thing

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Role Playing is one of my top contemporary romances this year. Yardley completely exceeded my expectations, and I couldn't be more excited that this gamer romance is now out there for the world to enjoy.

Maggie is anti-social, grumpy, and unapologetically herself. I want to be confident enough to be like Maggie one day. Aiden is a cinnamon roll worthy of her with his thoughtfulness. They are both (mostly…heh) positive influences on each other, and I loved them together. Their online friendship believably transitioned into a real-life one, stumbling blocks and all.

I may have been a little hesitant about their misunderstanding of each other's age, but Yardley executes it perfectly with a plausible explanation. There is also a lot of buildup to their first IRL meeting, and Yardley nailed it. It's one of my favorite parts of the novel.

If you're a fan of grumpy/sunshine and romances between mature characters, this is one you need to read. If you're worried about whether you need to be a gamer or a fan of gaming, don't be. It won't prevent you from enjoying the book if you are not and is a plus if you are. I loved Role Playing and have been rereading my favorite parts. This one is already becoming a comfort read.

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This book was really cute. Maggie and Aiden felt like very real people I would know.

I want to be Maggie. I want to live the Bogwitch life. She is so caring and protective of the people she cares about. I really related to Maggie. From loving video games and all things nerdy, to having best friends that live far away and friends that you only ever talk to online. She doesn’t take sh*t and I love it so much.

Who doesn’t love a “hold my earrings scene”?

Aiden really is just a giant bear of a cinnamon roll. He is precious and I want to protect him and keep him safe. He does so much for the people around him and no one takes the time to take care of him. He leads his guild and he does the hard things for his family.

I really appreciated the demi and bi rep in this book. I think this was the first time I ever encountered a demi MC. I appreciated the character's journey.

I loved Maggie and Aiden’s relationship. You always wonder what your internet friends are going to look like in real life and their first meeting was hysterical. I loved watching how it evolved through the book and they just fell into step together so well. You could just see how well they went together. The understanding, the support, the love. It was precious.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Cathy Yardley.

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I REALLY enjoyed this reverse grumpy sunshine, dual POV, friends to lovers romance between two middle aged online gamers. Divorced, newly empty nester, Maggie (Bogwitch) and Aiden (Otter) are two single almost fifty year-olds who meet playing computer games at night.

When Aiden accidentally hurts his foot Maggie offers to bring him soup and the two finally meet IRL realizing there isn't quite the age gap they had originally thought and maybe there's something more between them than just friendship.

It was so great seeing older characters featured in a contemporary romance (and gamer geeks on top of it too)! The book also deals with Aiden's sexuality as he struggles to come out as bi to his family, deals with queermisia and forced outing by an ex.

Maggie is amazing helping Aiden with his toxic family and with discovering he may be demisexual or on the ace spectrum. Their discussions about sexual identity were so well done and I loved seeing an older character grappling with these issues as there is no age limit on coming out!

Great on audio narrated by Chris Brinkley and Elyse Dinh and highly recommended for fans of books like Stars collide by Rachel Lacey. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review.

Steam level: mild with a couple mostly closed door/fade to black scenes

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I love a grumpy/sunshine story and that this one flipped the script with the Maggie being the grumpy one. Aiden was super sweet, being constantly raked over the coals as the caregiver to his mom. However, this one was super slow for me. I love an over 40 romance and the challenges they were dealing with felt very real, but these characters felt immature for their age and I struggled to connect with them.

This had a really cool premise, but it fell a little flat for me.

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