Cover Image: Role Playing

Role Playing

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Member Reviews

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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Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

It was so great to see older MCs and this was such a fun premise to have them become friends through gaming.

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I've struggles for months to find words for this review. I still don't know what words to use - so it's likely going to go on forever or be super short.

I've been a fan of Cathy Yardley's since her Harlequin days. I love her Fandom Hearts series. So when I read the synopsis for Role Playing and then saw the cover? I needed this book now.

Role Playing is a hidden/mistaken identity with an epistolary element, and not quite grumpy-sunshine. Maggie aka Bogwitch is definitely grumpy. I'm still trying to figure out the correct term for Aiden. He's more path of least resistance and letting all his hurt and anger build up, so on the passive-aggressive side. As a bonus, there's a convenient plus one/fake date situation.

They both play an online RPG game. Maggie is told that Aiden is a community college student, so she believes him to be in his early 20s. Aiden is given Maggie's name by a connection of his mom's, so he believes her to be about 80.

I love Maggie so much. Aiden's cool and all, but give me the grumpy, cranky FMC any day of the week. She's really had to grow a protective shell around her between being raised by her paternal grandparents that tried to hide she was half-Vietnamese, to being forced to move to a rural area of Washington after her marriage (and staying there after the divorce 10 years ago).

Maybe Aiden's a little lost puppy dog? That's still not a great descriptor for him, but for the past few years, he's put his life on hold. First to help take care of his ailing father, but now he remains to care for his elderly mom. Who doesn't like him. Or at least favors her second son over him. So that relationship is contentious at best. But he still shows up to care for her.

I know. I gave you a book report rather than a review. Just trust me and pick this book up. It's a story of that second chance at finding love for older protagonists, which we don't often see portrayed. It's also about finding yourself, finding your voice, and discovering who you are, and what you want. That not everyone knows who they are when they are younger, some people don't find themselves until they are older, because they didn't know the options were available.

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This was a very cute and enjoyable way to kick off Pride month! I loved the bisexual and demisexual representation of Aiden, and lord knows we need more romance featuring folks in their 40s and 50s! I struggled a bit to follow all the gaming specific conversation and references in the first third of the book, but once Maggie and Aiden meet IRL, things got a lot more enjoyable. I loved how fiercely Maggie defended Aiden and the tenderness he showed in every interaction with her.

Content warnings include a scene where Aiden is outed to his family without his consent.

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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This was a cute romance with middle aged main characters!

The book is told from two point-of-views and they come from Maggie aka Bogwitch and Aiden aka Otter. They are very similar when it comes to being introverted and interested in videogames. I could relate to them on both fronts. Socializing is not something I enjoy and much prefer to make friends online. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I am also into videogames and can see why both characters would use it as an outlet not only for fun to relieve stress. Nothing like kicking butt and taking names! They do have different personalities and Maggie definitely rubs off on Aiden as he learns to stick up for himself.

Their relationship starts off online when she is invited to join his guild without ever meeting him in person, and because of this they donโ€™t realize the other personโ€™s age. Itโ€™s as many say, you donโ€™t know who you are talking to online. At least for them it ends with a funny situation! I thought that they were very sweet together and because they start off as friends they have a lot time before they become official.

I think my biggest gripe with the book is that it tries to cover a lot of topics and in turn it takes away from them all. I thought there would be a lot more about videogames and as the book progressed it fizzled out with only a remark here or there about it. I do get that they finally meet in person but my husband and I continually played throughout our dating stage and still do while we are married. I wanted to get to know their gaming friends too! I liked the little chats we did get from them.

Overall, this was a good book. I did like the romance and thought they were really sweet together. A lot of the game talk was very accurate and did make me laugh.

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A story of two middle-aged gamers who grow their online connection into an IRL love story. Beautifully written, compelling and thought provoking, I was drawn by the cover and blurb, not one I would normally read but Iโ€™m glad I did.

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I love Cathy Yardleyโ€™s work and Role Playing is no exception! Maggie is a fierce single mom who wants to motivate her son to form connections at college. They both agree to step outside their comfort zones. Aiden is struggling with helping his mom accept the limitations that come with aging. Maggie and Aiden find each other online through video games and become good friends. When they meet in person, they realize they have more in common than they thought. But meeting in person has real-world consequencesโ€ฆ

Maggie was incredible and one of my favorite heroines! I loved how Maggie accepts no rudeness or fake behavior, she is so sure of who she is and what she will not accept. While this can lead to her pushing people away at times, Aiden and her son help her see that itโ€™s ok to accept help. Sheโ€™s also caring and fiercely protective of those she loves. Overall, I enjoyed Aidenโ€™s journey as he explored his identity and came to the realization that he is bi and demisexual. There is a significant amount of trauma regarding the lack of acceptance from his family, so read with care. Maggie was so inclusive and such a fantastic support to Aiden during this time.

I really appreciated that Yardley emphasizes that online friends are just as important and real as in-person friends. She highlights how connections can be found when you are true to yourself and honest about what makes you happy. I would recommend this to romance readers looking for a reverse grump sunshine, older MC romance, and lots of nerdy gamer joy!

Thank you to Cathy Yardley, Montlake, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

For publisher: My review will be posted on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Storygraph, and Barnes & Noble etc

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When Maggieโ€™s son leaves for college, she makes a deal with him that they both need to finally get out and be social. The problem is, sheโ€™s already an introvert but is still licking her wounds after a pretty terrible divorce, so being social just seems like far too much work. When sheโ€™s invited to play with an on-line gaming group, she says yes and makes the reasonable assumption that sheโ€™s playing with a bunch of college guys. Aiden, the leader of the group, thinks he is being generous in welcoming what he can only assume to be a grandmother in her 80s into his guild. On-line gaming is a welcome respite for Aiden, who has been in town since his fatherโ€™s illness and death a few years ago, and is still there helping his very toxic and ungrateful mother. Add to that his estrangement from his brotherโ€™s wifeโ€”who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend, and the dude needs some happy in his life.

This was my first foray into the world of 40-something/Gen X romance and all I have to say is GIVE ME MORE! Donโ€™t get me wrong, I love watching the young and beautiful fall in love, but these people have seen some things and lived their lives. I could totally become Maggie under the right (or wrong, as it were) circumstances, so I understood her reluctance to rejoin the world. Aidenโ€™s tension with his family, related to his bisexuality, was painful but he admirably weathered the storm, and the discovery of the fact that he was also demisexual and nothing was wrong with him was quite lovely. Maggie and Aiden finding their way to each other and being strong enough to say to the rest of the world, โ€œtake me or leave meโ€ was quite wonderful and will make me continue to read each and everything Cathy Yardley writes. Available 7/1/23.

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I love Maggie and Aiden so much. Maggie is a so much fun, she is unapologetically herself and is willing to call anyone out of their crap. Aiden is knew part of who he is but watching him grow and learn more about himself as him and Maggie grew closer was amazing. I also love how they met and how video games played a role in their relationship. This book was so cute and I loved the interactions between the characters.

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๐˜™๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ follows two X-gen gamer friends who decide to meet up and from then on begins a friendship and eventually a relationship for the ages.

- ~ -

I'm SORRY but I did not like reading a romance between people my parents' age ๐Ÿ˜ญ.

They're both cute in their own respects, however. It's a reverse grumpy/sunshine trope and it's played out well.

It was funny to see the gen Z lingo come out (now I realise why hearing my mum speaking it so jarring).

I will add tho, their relationship was much much like their ages - mature. They handled with their issues well and with care so credit goes where it's due.

- ~ -

3.71 / 5โœฉ

๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜•๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ. ๐˜ˆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ.

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This book was slow to start for me, However, it was worth hanging in there. A diverse and queer centric story that dealt with phobic family members and understanding the joy of a found family. Maggie and Aiden were two characters that became or were their authentic selves and it was refreshing. Also appreciated the two MCs being in their 40โ€™s/50.

Thanks net galley for advance copy.

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This was a sweet and touching love story. It was wonderful to see how these two characters recreated themselves on their terms, how they found acceptance, and lastly how they found and fell in love with each other.

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Role Playing was such a cute story that made my little nerd heart so happy! It's one of those comforting reads that make you want to just live in the world and be the characters. I highly recommend!

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4.5 stars

When I tell you I adored this book... I'm being shy about it.
This book was everything I needed. I cried within the first couple of chapters because the characters made me feel so connected with them... it was beautiful.
I have tons of annotations, and most of them involve the amazing banter between Maggie (our heroine) and Aiden (our Hero). They were amazing!
How do they support each other ๐ŸคŒ
How they were each others ride or die person ๐ŸคŒ
How their friendship grew and slowly became something more was done perfectly ๐Ÿ‘
I laughed out loud with these two, but also one melted when they were caring and compassionate and ugh just so lovely.
I can't tell you guys my favorite scene because it has spoilers, but it had me screaming, "Go, MAGGIEEEEE!!!" At the top of my longs at 2am. It was that good.
Now, side characters, my favorite was Kit (Maggie's son) he was amazing ๐Ÿ‘
Plot wise, this was great, and it kept me entertained and interested in the story from start to finish.
Overall, this was amazing and a new favorite. Definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Cathy Yardley ๐Ÿ˜˜, Netgalley, and the publishers for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC.

Role Playing by Cathy Yardley follows Maggie, a divorced single mom whose son just went off to college. While trying to convince her son to make some friends in college, she meets Aiden online, even though they both assume the other person is not in their age group. Eventually they meet in person and become good friends and then more.

I love romances following older main characters and the fact that they played an online RPG together was really cute. This is definitely a slow burn romance as Maggie is not interested in romance after her divorce. Their friendship felt real and I liked the growth of their relationship. Maggie being so supportive of Aiden as he figured out what his sexuality was was another great plot point of this story for me.

However, I wasn't a huge fan of the conflict at the end. Both characters had family drama towards the end which isn't my favorite plot point. However, I still really enjoyed this book and would recommend it!

CW: on page homophobia and others

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โ€œ๐˜ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ,โ€ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฅ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ง ๐˜ด๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ. โ€œ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏโ€” ๐˜ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ.โ€

Maggie and Aiden are both video game enthusiasts and form an instant virtual friendship through an online gaming guild without knowing their real identities. He mistook her for a grandma, and she, him, for a college student. As their friendship progresses from online to real life, they both agree to stay platonic, but true chemistry is about to overthrow their agreement.

what you can expect:
โ™ก gen x protagonists
โ™ก grumpy introverted fmc
โ™ก cinnamon roll mmc
โ™ก biracial rep
โ™ก lgbtq+ rep
โ™ก online to irl - mistaken identity

First of all, the cover instantly caught my attention. I didn't even read the synopsis before requesting this one, and luckily, the story did not disappoint, as this is now a new favorite of mine.
A gamer setup is obviously the aesthetic of this novel, but I think the author did an amazing job by incorporating a lot of elements that didn't feel or seem like she was trying too hard

I just love and adore the chemistry between Maggie and Aiden. They showed such healthy communication and refreshing dialogue regarding sexuality. Personally, I found it done in the most tasteful and accurate way.
It's just amazing to be able to connect towards these characters on multiple levels when they are of the "older generation."

Maggie and Aiden complimented each other so well, and the way they both looked out for each other was just so sweet and admirable... they're just pretty perfect together. Like, no joke, their relationship is what I'd like to see in my own future ;)

*๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ, ๐˜•๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ค ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ-๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ*

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I LOVED LOVED LOVED the representation in this book! The mental health rep and the Queer rep was amazing! I wish this was talked more in the promotion of this book. I also really enjoyed how they made them video gamers and older it just made them so human.

The nuances of this book were great which is just what I love in a romance. It was more of Aiden and Maggie figuring life out and then having each other as best friends throughout the whole book than just being a rom-com.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review as always all words are my own.

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This was a great rom-com and what I loved most about is the two main characters were not your typical age. Maggie is 48 while Ben is 50. They meet through an online game and then meet in person.
It was a little slow to start but quickly picked up and became a great story. It was funny, it was sweet, it was romantic. All in all, I loved it and I would recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

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DNF

This book wasn't for me at all. And it's my own fault. I hate too spicy scenes in a book and I actually don't know why I requested this book... My bad. If you like spicy scenes and you are not a shy, romantic, grandma - pantie little coward like me - then you will really enjoy this book. I feel a little guilty that I can't give this book a fair review...

But you should definitiely give this book a chance.

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Thanks #NetGalley for the advanced copy of #RolePlaying by Cathy Yardley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this contemporary romance between two older MCs. It started a little slow but then I really got to know the MCs and got sucked into their story. This also has great demi rep which you don't see enough of in romance books so that was a nice change. I also really enjoyed the gaming side of this story even though I'm not an online RPG person myself. TBH, I'm not a huge fan of contemporary romance so I went into this one with that in mind but this book won me over.

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