Cover Image: Role Playing

Role Playing

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Member Reviews

Maggie is 48, and now that her son has left for college, she's living on her own for the first time since her twenties. She's made the transition from introvert to full on hermit, so she joins a local online gaming guild made up of community college students who Maggies assumes are in their 20s. Aiden, moved back home to help take care of his mother and is the leader of the local gaming guild. He's also 50, not 20, so when a friendship builds between the two, they're shocked to learn who the other person really is.

I really loved this book. The romance is builds from friendship to something more, and I loved the journey the main characters go on. I also loved the bisexual/demisexual representation.

Content warning: there's some queerphobia by side characters and one main character is outed.

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Overall Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Spice - 🌶️
Character Development - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Trigger/Content Warnings - homophobia, coming out, being forced out, abusive relationships, divorce

Overall Thoughts; I'm a gamer, and my partner is a gamer. Most of my friends are gamers. So this mirrored a lot of things and people for me in my real life, and I love it. Just *chefs kiss* I was not expecting this to be as wholesome as it is. Also LOVE how we address and normalize sexuality in this. Fucking beautiful.

Plot; Plots adorable, and also so so heartfelt. Like, the meet online, meet IRL, fall in love thing is cute. Super cute. All the nuance with not knowing each other's ages and stuff was a little long, but literally as I started thinking that it was remedied, so good timing lol. The wedding date portion was also cool, and I am glad it didn't get mentioned in the beginning then lost for a while, it was always present, same with the Maggie and Kit deal thing. Aside from the mild time jumping, it flowed really well and was a sound plot with sound progression.

Characters; The characters are all really well fleshed out. They're all very distinct, and they're all very 3 dimensional. None of them have things that seem out of place, and none of the characters are wishi washi or feel fake. Like this could be biography and I'd believe it. And the character progression was very realistic! There was no sudden shift, there was no suddenly a different person. Every shift had something that provoked it, and every reaction made sense. Again, very realistic, and I loved it. 100% I wish to be Bogwitch. And even outside of character progression, their worries and needs were also really real. I'm also a mother, and one of my biggest fears is also fucking up my kid, or that she isn't getting enough connection with other people and being social. I have friends whos biggest concerns have been how to come out to their families, or how to live for themselves and not others. So honest and realistic.

Romance; Cute. And borderline PG. The sex stuff isn't ridiculously indept, it's focused mostly on how it fills emotional needs for characters, and that's actually kind of nice. There is some sex, but yeah, it's real light. However the relationship, and specifically the lead up to it, beautiful. I love that these people actually care about the others needs and make it a point to not push things to far. This is a perfect representation of what respecting another person in a relationship is. And their relationship is so wholesome. It reminds me of my relationship with my partner, super nostalgic.

Writing; I love the writing here. First of all, use of gamer terminology. It says the ported somewhere. I was so happy that ported was there. Like fuck yes. I love this. My gamer heart was so happy so often. Anyways, it also was nice changing povs every chapter, and I wasn't bored at any point reading this. The writing really moves the book along without speed running it. Also the chapter titles are amazing.

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A romance with middle-aged characters feels like a rarity in the market right now, and this one is sweet, funny, geeky and sexy. I loved that both main characters had life complications via their families, and that there was positive queer representation. Possibly my favorite thing is that main character Maggie was allowed to exist on the page as a nontraditional woman -- independent, gruff, nerdy, and at no point was she forced to change any of her fundamental characteristics to find love. While she experienced growth and change, it was more in the vein of "letting go of self-limiting beliefs" than "getting a new personality to land a man". I also loved Aiden's journey of self-acceptance in the face of some truly dysfunctional family dynamics. 10/10. Well done!

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Role Playing By Cathy Yardley
Maggie is a hermit (immediately relatable) and she makes a deal with her son that she'll start being more social if he also does in College. This is how she joins an online gaming guild by the name of Bogwitch under the assumption that she's an octogenarian. The leader of the group, Aiden is Otter who Maggie assumes is a college kid. In real life, they're both in late forties to early fifties. When they meet face to face, they're in for a world of shocking jolt!
I honestly didn't think I would enjoy this book as much as I have! I'm not a gamer by heart (outside of Hogwarts Legacy) and I really enjoyed this book. if you like grumpy/sunshine trope, then you will love this one.
Maggie was extremely relatable and I found her to be the coolest most bada$$ person ever! This book was released yesterday and I hope you pick this one up!
TW: There are some triggers I wish I knew before I started this book such as queerphobia, and racism.

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Maggie & Aiden's story could have been my story (I met my husband playing an online multi strategy game lol). I loved that this story was about later in life characters who still loved to play video games. They have both been burned in some way with no desire to move on from the introverted single life that holds no surprises. No romance or relationships equal no pain. However, little to they know that some in their circles will throw them right out of that comfort zone thinking they know better. There were some surprises and some painful conversations and confrontations (let's just say, I had some deep dislike for some characters that did not go away when I was done reading) along with some great surprising support from other characters. Assumptions are never good but in this case, it made for some definitely funny moments. Overall, I enjoyed the story and would definitely read this author again.

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What a fantastic book! I was a little hesitant going into this one because I am not a single mom nor am I even close to the age of these main characters. I'm 20 yrs younger so I was worried that I wouldn't relate to them. Boy was I so wrong. It was amazing.

Single mom (kids in college)
48 yr old FMC, 50 yr old MMC
Messy family drama
Aiden is bi and demisexual.
Slow burn.
They love video games.

I loved this so much. From Aiden discovering his sexuality proving that no matter how old you are you can still find things out about yourself and it feels so validating. I laughed so much, I felt anger with this characters. There were many times where I was like ooh shits about to go down especially when she started taking her earings off and asking Aiden to hold them. I'm definitely buying a copy of this when it's out because I'm always looking to adding asexual rep on my bookshelf.

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"Role Playing" by Cathy Yardley is an entertaining and unique romantic comedy that exceeded my expectations. The captivating cover art perfectly captures the essence of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, not knowing what to expect beforehand. The novel follows Maggie, a freelance editor in her late forties, and Aiden, a retired businessman in his fifties who previously ran a hospice business. The two characters reside in the same town but only cross paths when Maggie joins Aiden's online gaming guild.

The witty and humorous online interactions between Maggie and Aiden were a highlight of the book. Maggie's sarcastic and snappy personality was endearing and charming, while Aiden's bravery, intelligence, loyalty, and humor were equally impressive. Maggie's character development was particularly remarkable as she stepped out of her introverted shell to support Aiden. Both characters underwent significant transformations, and it was heartwarming to see them take care of each other.

The story was well-developed and engaging, keeping me hooked from beginning to end. Yardley did an excellent job of creating a fun and sometimes emotional romance novel that will appeal to a wide range of readers. I am eagerly anticipating reading more books by this author. Overall, "Role Playing" is a delightful rom-com that I would highly recommend.

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This is a new-to-me author and now I want to read all the books. I didn’t know what to expect as I’m not a gamer but my kids and husband are, would I connect with these characters? The answer is – instantly! I felt Maggie to my very soul. Then I got to know the huge cinnamon roll that is Aiden and I couldn’t wait for them to meet in person, or IRL.

As much as I was anxious for that first IRL meeting, I am also glad I got to know both Maggie and Aiden separately and in-depth. When there were any misunderstandings between them or with others, it helped me to know where they were coming from. Yet, for the most part, these two got each other on a level few (if any) others did. Definitely not Aiden’s family.

Speaking of Aiden’s family, that’s a whole thing. His mom is terrible and it breaks my heart how much Aiden feels responsible for her and tries to take care of her in such a respectful way. His brother isn’t bad, per se, but he’s quite useless. And the cherry on the sundae of this terrible family is his sister-in-law. The way the situation with her was handled in the past all the way to the present, over 10 years, is despicable. How Aiden still has love left in his heart for any of these people is beyond me. On top of their treatment of him, he somehow felt he deserved it since he wasn’t what they wanted him to be.

Maggie’s family wasn’t better, but she no longer has to deal with them. There are those in town that insert themselves into her life though, and not in a good way. The audacity of some people. Just because you don’t understand someone’s life choices doesn’t mean they are wrong. Maggie is an introvert and does not want to socialize at book clubs or football parties. Not because she’s depressed but because that is not her personality. Let her be!

Once Maggie and Aiden meet in person they click. So much so that Maggie is the person who recognizes that Aiden may be ace or demi and explains those definitions to him. I love that Maggie admits she’s not an expert and that Aiden doesn’t need to have a label, but she wanted to help him understand there is nothing wrong or other about him.

Although there are more now than there used to be, I don’t often come across romances with mature adults. These characters are 48 and 50 years old and I love how this story shows that, even when you have your life together in many ways when it comes to career and goals, it’s never too late to learn more about yourself. In doing so, Maggie and Aiden didn’t have to change who they are. Their relationship brought out the best in both of them and gave them the peace they hadn’t yet found in their personal life.

I didn’t want to put this book down and only did when I had no choice. It is fantastic.

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Two gamers meet on line and make assumptions about each other’s ages- he thinks she is an octogenarian and she thinks he is young enough to be her son- only to discover that their favorite member of the guild is nearly the same age they are. There are sparks but are they enough to make the risk worthwhile?

Really cute premise but this not an especially light read. There is a lot going on in Aiden and Maggie’s lives, especially cinnamon roll Aiden who needed to completely change out every person in his life immediately. He was surrounded by the worst people and just keeps giving more and more of himself.

Let me start by proclaiming my deep love for Maggie. She is the exact person I would want in my corner. Funny, protective, and with no f’s to give. If she were real I would be begging her to be my best friend and she would hate that. Neither Maggie or Aiden really feel 50ish. Maybe it is because neither of them is even close to having their stuff together and their struggles feel more like younger years identity building but I appreciated the attempt. The romance was a slow burn which I was all for. They took care of each other and didn’t rush anything. The beginning of the book did feel overly slow and a bit repetitive as the characters were being developed. I wanted things to move on from demonstrating how much Maggie hates social interactions and how terrible Aiden’s mom was. The second half picks up the pace beautifully and Maggie’s fierceness makes up for any other issues.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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A good read -- I thought the characters were well-developed and I really enjoyed their dynamic/chemistry.

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This book is everything I didn't know I needed!
Older characters: check.
Reverse Grumpy/sunshine: check.
Introvert characters: check.
Slow burn: check! They don't meet in person until 38%!
Hilarious first meeting: check!
Steam, banter, heart, tenderness: check, check, check, check!
I couldn't stop smiling while reading about Otter and Bogwitch, it is exactly the kind of story that will leave you feeling happy and content like being snuggled on a couch with a fluffy blanket, a cup of tea and the love of your Life!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was an enjoyable romance that I didn't want to put down. I loved the main characters and the story was well developed.

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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher/author for a chance to read this ARC for an exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book.

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Friends to Lovers
Divorced Single Parent/40’s Love
Gamers 🙌🏼
Grumpy FMC/Cinnamon Role Demisexual MMC
Empty Nest/Caring for elderly parent Rep
Family Drama

Fav Quotes:
“Trust me, I get it. Most people drain me like an old cell phone battery. You don’t exhaust me either. I feel better after I hang out with you.”

“Probably shouldn’t have dropped an f-bomb at book club, but there it was.”

Look, I’m 42 and it can be exhausting reading romance after romance about 20 year olds. I’m my quest to find some Gen X romance, a friend recommended this book and I am SO glad I picked it up on @netgalley 🙌🏼. I read it almost completely in one sitting and adored the Mains for their age, maturity, life experiences and rich personalities. Both have had traumatic past relationships and are pegged to certain “roles” within their families and it was a beautiful journey to watch them blossom into a new relationship and phase in their lives.

Thank you to Montlake Publishing and Cathy Yardley for granting me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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A friends to lovers romance between two Gen X gaming geek introverts? What! This was a romcom I never realized I was missing. I am here for it!

Aiden and Maggie are both major introverts, and would rather stay home and just game–hanging out with people online was always better than IRL.

Otter and Bogwitch meet in a guild and quickly become online friends, despite Aiden thinking Bogwitch (Maggie) is an 80 year old and Maggie thinking Otter (Aiden) is 21. When Aiden gets into an accident (IRL), Maggie volunteers to help him out. And this scene, friends, was just so good! The anticipation!! 😂 Anyway, they're both surprised to realize that they both don't just enjoy each other's company while playing online, but in person as well.

Yes, it's a slow burn but the pacing was done so well. I *loved* how organically their relationship grew. The level of comfort and acceptance they found in each other was just really, really heartwarming, especially since they've both been through so much in life already. I loved that they were such positive influences for each other, too. They just...*get* each other.

I hope you give this one a chance. It's unlike anything I've read in a while, and I enjoyed it a lot.

CW: toxic and difficult family relationships, biphobia, death of a parent (off page), divorce

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Oh I loved this book!!
Maggie joins a local online video game guild while she deals with her son leaving to college and living alone in a small town for the first time in years, and befriends the leader of said guild who she starts to regularly text and virtually hang out with. Aiden lives in his hometown after his dad’s death to support his elderly mother, but is dealing with unfair treatment from his family and escapes in his online games and his new friendship with Maggie, who he only knows as Bogwitch.
When these two met in real life I was kicking and screaming! I loved the relationship between Aiden and Maggie, their growing friendship and romance, as well as their personal struggles. This was a very enjoyable and quick read, but also very emotional due to all the very real struggles both these characters face independently.

Read Role Playing for:
- Online friends meeting irl and becoming best friends (and more)
- Grumpy fmc and golden retriever mmc
- Two introverts finding comfort in each other
- Queer representation
- Dual POV!
- Protective partner

content warnings include: biphobia and queerphobia, mention of death of a parent and abandonment

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As a 40-something, it was very refreshing to read about a romance between people who are nearly 50, rather than 20-30 years younger! Both Aiden and Maggie were very relatable characters and their friends-to=lovers romance was heartwarming and hopeful.

One thing I could have done without was the chapter titles; they were kind of random phrases that weren't literally mentioned in the text and distracted from the narrative.

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I really wanted to love this book. Two middle aged gaming introverts finding love sounds absolutely adorable and I loved the idea of underrepresented main characters. The execution didn’t work for me. The 48 and 50 year olds acted like teenagers, and everyone in their lives treated them like teenagers. They felt awkward, not very likable, and very juvenile.

I enjoyed the banter and the connection they formed before meeting in real life. The thought of two strangers meeting over the internet and forming a friendship over their mutual interests and good conversations rather than physical attributes was refreshing.

There are a lot of side themes that were tossed in in such a way that it felt like a salad with too many toppings. There is asexual/demisexual representation but also bisexual representation, mixed race relationships, some very homophobic and racist characters, mental health issues, and a few other tropes that came out at like 75% through the book and were very quickly glossed over. As soon as one of the characters is done explaining how he doesn’t feel sexual attraction, the couple is performing sexual acts. Maybe with an additional 50 or so pages those issues could have been explored a little more deeply?

I think readers looking for representation in those categories will enjoy this story, especially if they are into the video game scene. Unfortunately this story didn’t connect for me. It was entertaining and I enjoyed the author’s writing style so I will certainly check out more of her books.

I appreciate the advanced copy from the publisher and netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

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This was an interesting read! So much representation in one novel - older main characters, bi, demi and other sexualities touched on. It was a heartwarming romance as well as a touching story about finding yourself. I love that the epilogue didn’t clarify or tidy up any of Aiden’s family drama either, because it was messy and these things don’t always heal.

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It was fun! I liked how the relationship slowly developed between 2 people in their late 40s/early 50s who don’t leave the house much (me lmao) and have very adult problems (not me) like…other people (now ok that’s me) or kids (DEFINITELY not me). Our characters don’t meet before the 38% mark which set up a very slow burn friends-to-lovers that just felt so realistic. It’s still a rom-com, but more grounded into reality, with AMAZING communication! I especially loved Maggie since she stood up for herself and wouldn’t take anyone’s BS. She knows what she wants and needs and honestly, great for her. A quick, fun read, with older characters than usual romance books and a grumpy/sunshine dynamic (Maggie is the grumpy, Aiden, the sunshine). A well-deserved 4 stars.

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