Cover Image: Role Playing

Role Playing

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Member Reviews

This was amazing and I loved it! The characters were great and I was honestly in love with both of them. Can’t wait for my physical copy to come! Cathy Yardley fan for life!

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Potentially a super cute story about two introverted people connecting with one another and falling in love. The characters were likable, the topics and commentary were interesting and relevant, and it just felt like a ‘feel good’ book I could lay on my couch and read. That being said, it felt a tad slow and the title/cover feels like a completely different book. The drawn characters look to be in their early twenty’s, not as middle aged adults. For the people who barely skim the synopsis (me) this could potentially be confusing. I did like the age range our characters were in, but it didn’t feel like anyone actually treated them according to their age. It was also slow in some places and didn’t fully deliver what I was hoping it would.

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This was a great contemporary romance with diverse characters and a fun story. I loved that the hero and heroine were older (50 and 48 respectively), and I really loved that the heroine was a little prickly and needed some help getting out of her comfort zone in terms of meeting people and socializing. I'll definitely be checking out this author's backlist.

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𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆
Maggie’s son Kit has gone off to college and she’s all alone. A divorced introvert, she lives on a large property outside the small town of Fool’s Falls where she avoids any social interaction, including grocery shopping. When she joins an online gaming group she thinks the leader is a 20-ish guy. In reality, the leader Aiden is 50, a former nurse who moved back home to care for his elderly parents. Aiden in turn thinks Maggie is his mom’s age.

𝗠𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀
Ah, this new story from Cathy Yardley is absolutely gorgeous! Two prickly, introverted and somewhat older main characters. Despite living in the same small town, they haven’t met before, until they do… and the genuine care and love is amazing. Both Maggie and Aiden are dealing with so much baggage from their pasts, and I love how they open up to each other with trust and acceptance. This beautiful and gentle story is so heartwarming and affirming ❤️

My rating 4.5/5 - ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 💫

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Role Playing by Cathy Yardley
Rating: 4.5 stars
Steam: 1 chili
Pub Date: 7/1

Can I just say how refreshing it is to read a rom-com about people close to my age? This book stole my heart! There’s hilarious banter, LGBTQ+ rep, self-discovery at age 50, diverse characters, and a beautiful friendship between our MCs. Maggie and Aiden were an unexpected delight, and I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

Maggie is a proud and unapologetically grumpy forty-eight-year-old hermit who has been done with love and relationships since her divorce. After promising her son that she would try to change her solitary lifestyle, she joins an online gaming guild led by a charming healer known as Otter. Little does she know, Otter is actually Aiden, a fifty-year-old optimist seeking solace from his family struggles. Maggie assumes Otter is a college student, while Aiden thinks Bogwitch (Maggie’s name in the game) is an octogenarian. As their virtual friendship blossoms, Maggie and Aiden decide to meet in person, leading to a series of amusing and surprising encounters. Despite their contrasting, grumpy/sunshine personalities, these two characters find themselves growing closer.

What sets "Role Playing" apart is its genuine portrayal of middle-aged characters finding love and connection. As a fellow introvert in my forties, I couldn't help but resonate with Maggie's journey. I really admire her “take no shit” attitude, and I may have found a new hero! When she almost launched herself over a table to defend Aiden’s honor, I think I actually swooned!

Yardley really captured the essence of these characters; their relatable conversations on topics such as caring for aging parents and rediscovering sexuality in midlife added a layer of emotional depth that was a joy to read. Aiden is still struggling with his sexual identity, and Maggie helps him work through some of his family issues while also helping him to let go of the shame that he’s been living with for years. Their friendship truly warmed my heart.

If you're craving a romantic tale that breaks free from the clichés and offers a refreshing perspective, "Role Playing" is a must-read. Get ready to laugh, swoon, and root for Maggie and Aiden as they navigate the challenges of love, both in the virtual and real world.

Read if you like:
*dual POV
*diverse characters
*LGBTQ rep
*middle-aged characters

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Publishing for my advanced copy to read and review.

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Aiden is definitely on the list of favorite characters now. There were so many aspects of him I felt myself reflected in. Of course I can’t forget about badass Maggie who takes no shit lol. Their friendship, even when they didn’t know who the other was, was so cute! Both were somewhat cynical about love and relationships at the beginning. The more they spent time together, their feelings grew, to the point that they were both scared of what was happening between them.

I loved watching them grow and bond. Everything they went through, together and individually, was beautiful but also heartbreaking at times.

I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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I can't stop thinking about this book.
I loved everything about Maggie and Aiden and I don't know even know anything about video games and enjoyed those parts as well, it was so fun.
And if I thought that the cover was beautiful, now I think it's perfect with all these little details that are important.
Maggie is such a relatable character and such a role model, I loved how she was unapologetically herself and how Aiden loved that about her.

One of my favorite books of the year!

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I'm going to reiterate what other reviewers have said, stick with it. It starts out slow, providing a background to understand the characters, what they have been through, what they currently are going through, setting the stage to their inevitable meeting. And once they meet, it's adorable, comforting, and very powerful. The small town growing up Asian-American in a predominantly white area, influenced by old, stale grudges and deciding that you no longer care what others say to you was very powerful, and though Maggie is a bit more hermit than I am I felt that I connected with her very well. There were many times when my heart went out to Aiden, what he was going through, what his mother put him through but his growth and his healing was comforting.

This cover is very cute, it is part of what drew me to this book, and this arc. I went in thinking I would read a comfy, easy contemporary romance. But don't let this cover fool you. There is growth, a lot of baggage (and some trauma) and a whole lot of don't care/live my life Bogwitch energy.

If you want older romantic leads, Asian-American representation in a small town, LGBTQ+, and a cathartic HEA come find this book.

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💫4/5 |🌶️ 2/5 | Friends to Lovers | Slow Burn | Cinnamon Roll | GenX MCs | Online Gamers | LGBTQIA Rep | Diversity Rep

This ARC was provided through NetGalley. Thank you Cathy Yardley and team for offering me this ARC.

Ahhhh! This was such a pleasant surprise 😊 I love a Friends to Lovers and Cinnamon Roll Trope! I wasn’t sure what to expect because our MCs are single GenXers, nerdy online gamers, and introverts; very unique and non-typical but I loved it! I devoured this book. It flowed so well that I couldn’t put it down - no lie, I stayed up til 3am reading this!

Loved Maggie! She’s our half Asian empty nester divorcee who is strong, sassy, snarky, has an IDGAF attitude and one hell of a gamer. And Aiden the perfect cinnamon roll built like a linebacker who is demisexual, overprotective, a great listener, leader of a guild and let me say it - deserves every bit of HEA. Both are homebodies and have awkward tendencies when it comes to social interactions. They both meet through an online gaming guild and have developed a friendship overtime - there’s a story to this and I absolutely do not want to spoil it because it’s hilarious! The interactions Maggie had with her fellow gamers who were mostly college students were amazing!!!

I love Maggie’s relationship with her son Kit. It’s very sweet and heartwarming. The openness they have with each other was so funny and cute. I appreciated how Maggie pushed herself out of her comfort zone and socialize even if every fiber of her being hated it, just so Kit would do the same.

This book was very refreshing, unapologetic, honest, and relatable when it came to the realities of dating in your late 40s. The chemistry between Aiden and Maggie was translated so well and the progression of their relationship was fantastic. The character developments were great; I love how Maggie valued Aiden as a person and a friend. I related to her a lot in terms of her overprotectiveness of the people she cares about – what she did at the wedding was so good and unexpected! Aiden’s journey was my favorite part of the book - how he learned about his sexual fluidity / sexuality and how he started to stand up for himself. What he had to go through in his life - the confusion, the rejection, and isolation. He’s a total cinnamon roll and deserved everything!!!

The one thing I wish we got in the epilogue was more of Davy (and the rest of the fam, I guess) and what had happened with their relationship with Aiden. Other than that – this book was well written, engaging, and funny! Highly recommended!

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Yardley's lastest work was a sweet journey for characters on the mature side of romance.

Greatly appreciated the realistic portrayal of mid life with all its complexities and obligations.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for providing an eARC for a honest review.

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Gaming. It's the one place that Maggie and Aidan feel comfortable and they build a relationship there. And then they meet. Maggie's had a difficult life and being BOGWITCH on line is her refuge. Aidan has his own issues, including his mom. I'm not a gamer and thus likely missed things those who are will enjoy but I did like this for the unusual setting and for the mature characters, Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A very good read.

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Talk about adorable, and complete with laugh out loud moments!

I think I say this after every Cathy Yardley book I read, but her writing has such a natural flow to it, I get completely lost in her words.

I loved these characters. Oh Aiden, my sweet Aiden, I just adored him. And Maggie, I want to be her in *mumbles* years. Together, they just complement each other so well, and the way they communicate with honesty is lovely.

This book is full of humor, acceptance, and love. I left the last page with a huge smile on my face.

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This book was fabulous! It has so many amazing things in it that we don't get nearly enough of in the romance genre, and I was here for all of it!

Maggie is an introverted, unapologetic Gen Xer whose only son has recently left the nest to attend college. When he seems to be following in her hermit-like footsteps, she offers to be more social if he will. Her super small town doesn't have a lot of opportunities that interest her, but she does manage to find a local online gaming guild. It might be full of 20 somethings while she is 48, but she enjoys it a lot more than the local book club with women of her own age.

Aiden is our 50 year old hero who is just as introverted and leads the gaming guild. He is out of his element lately, back in the town he grew up in taking care of his aging mother who fights him at every turn. He hasn't had the best luck with relationships (his ex fiance is now his sister-in-law), but he and Maggie strike up a friendship in the guild.

This was a wonderful reverse grumpy/sunshine romance that I was totally here for. As a fellow 48 year old introverted hermit, I loved reading a romance about characters more like myself. I thought the conversations between Maggie and Aiden were gold, and I really appreciated the other issues that were touched upon in the book as well. Dealing with an aging parent who isn't very receptive of help was a particularly stab in the heart of my current life that I loved reading about. As well, I really thought that the searching for answers about sexuality at the middle aged stage of life was done with tremendous care.

Highly recommend this one for so many reasons, but the story between these two friends is just amazing! Definitely don't pass this one by.

Thank you to Montlake for providing me with an ARC of this book.

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please note that the trigger warnings and topes/themes may contain spoilers
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
FMC: Maggie-a divorced single mother of a son who is off to college. She would rather spend her days cooped up inside playing video games than interacting with anyone IRL, but a pact with her son sets events in motion for this introvert to finally meet her match.
MMC: Aiden- a retired single guy who has a twisted home life and escapes through online video games. After started a local online gaming league, he meets a new character, Bogwitch, who turns his life upside down… he can’t figure out if she’s 50 or 90 but their online friendship blossoms and turns into more.
POV: 3rd person, dual POV
HEA: yes
spice: a slow-burn with a few open-door spicy scenes
TWs: divorce, isolation, homophobia, biphobia, forced outing, being outed, racism, death of a parent from car accident (recounted), death of parent by cancer (recounted), narcissistic parenting, manipulation
standalone: yes
final thoughts: while there were some touch-and-go TW/CWs for homophobia the bisexual and asexual community got some beautiful> representation!!!! Maggie listened, informed, and supported her friend while they were navigating their sexuality and how to put it into words and it was so well done. I loved this later-in-life romance of 2 introverts battling the world together.

read this book if you love

💞 friends-to-lovers
🧑‍🤝‍🧑 great side characters
🤐 miscommunication
💓 slowburn
🏡 small town
💏 fake dating
🌈 LGBT+ representation
🤩 curvy FMC
🫡 big MMC
😠 grumpy/sunshine
🍪 cinnamon roll MMC

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What drew me in? The cover. What made me stay? The characters, plot, and swooniness. This book is good and I need to read more from this author, like right now.

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This was such a unique and fun read. I was a little nervous it wouldn’t be for me as I’m not a gamer but I had no problem understanding and enjoying the plot. I also really liked how we had an older MC. Highly recommend

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This romance follows Maggie and Aiden. Forty eight year old Maggie just had her son leave for college and as part of an agreement to not be a complete hermit, she joins an online gaming guild. She assumes she is the oldest in the group so when one of the members is under the weather, she offers to bring over some soup. But instead of a college student, she ends up at 50-year old Aiden's house. The two are both shocked at the IRL reveal of their online gaming friend, and strike up a somewhat unlikely friendship. As time goes on, the two grow closer and while both had written off relationships for their own reasons, they both start thinking that maybe this is too good to give up. But while their relationship is going well, there is more friction going on in their lives. When I initially saw the premise of this, I was instantly interested and I think the book stayed true to the premise and what I was expecting. I loved Maggie and Aiden as their own characters and we get a really good sense of who each character is on their own. One of my favorite things about these 40+ romances is that the characters have a good sense of who they are and what they are looking for in relationships. I do feel like the romance was put on the back-burner for a bit in the last 1/4 of the book to deal with some of the family friction that has been brewing for the majority of the book. I thought it was really powerful to have those conversations on-page, but it did take away from the romance aspect and it took Maggie and Aiden most of the book to actually get together so I was looking forward to seeing them together.

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I really enjoyed this book overall. It took me a little bit to get into it because Maggie's internal dialog at the beginning felt simultaneously immature and too old and grouchy like a Maxine cartoon. Getting through the grocery store was rough, but got a lot better after that.

We're introduce to Aiden and his insanely grouchy and judgemental mother who just reeks of small town conservative christian views. He's a hospice nurse who had moved home to take care of his dying father and then stuck around to make sure his aging mom was okay too. From her constant shitty attitude towards Aiden, it's obvious there's some history we as readers aren't privey to yet.

Our main characters are introduced digitally through and online game; a MMORPG similar to World of Warcraft. They're both 50 year old nerds, but due to how they were given each other's contact info, they're convinced she's 80 and he's 20. They bond over the game and talk and form a friendship. When Aiden fractures his foot, Maggie, or BogWitch as he knows her, offers to pick up some groceries and bring lunch for him. Once they have their first face to face meeting, they realize their age assumptions were WAY off and start spending a lot more time talking, texting, and just hanging out.

The main meat of the story is Aiden making a deal with his mother to find a date for a family wedding she's forcing him to go to so "people stop talking." But in attendance with be his ex whom he had a very bad break up who then married his younger brother instead. Makes for a very awkward situation. Meanwhile Maggie is struggling to come to terms with being attracted to a man after being divorced from a shitty husband and being an empty nester now that her son has gone off to college.

The 2 work through some of their mental baggage together, and just become unwavering support for one another. That development was great to read because each of them became a lot more confident and stood up for themselves.

Definitely reccomend!!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this avances copy.

Besides a bit of a slow start, I loved this story. This is probably the first contemporary romance I have read where they were over 40. It was kind of refreshing. I wanted to protect both of them and cheered the ending.


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Grumpy female, male cinnamon role, gen x, introverts, gamers, unexpected queer rep, slow burn.

I loved this book. It was off to a slow start, but I think for me when the MCs started texting back and forth and finally met I could not put this down. Like stayed up way too late.

Thanks to NetGalley, Montlake and Cathy Yardley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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