Member Reviews

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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I loved this! Instead of a love story about a college kid, this one’s about the college kid’s mom. Maggie is 48, a divorced empty nester. She’s also a gamer and decides to get back into gaming by joining an online guild where she meets Aiden, 50, who happens to have his own family difficulties he’s dealing with.

The way their relationship develops is really cute and sweet, developing incrementally and believably. They start out gaming together (I thought the gameplay scenes were really fun), then texting and slowly getting to know one another. The scene where they meet in person for the first time is so adorable and hilarious. Watching them try to reconcile their online personas with their irl selves was super relatable.

The dialogue and banter in this book are great and the family dynamics both MCs had were extremely realistic. Maggie’s relationship with her son is fantastic and I loved their conversations. Aiden’s family scenes were so painful to watch unfold, my heart broke for him.

With Maggie being an Asian woman and Aiden being bi and demisexual, racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia are all a part of the story to varying degrees. Let me tell you, there are some pretty satisfying scenes in the final 10-15% where Maggie and Aiden stand up for themselves to the toxic people in their lives. (The “hold my earrings” scene was THE BEST 😂)

There were so many interesting discussions between Maggie and Aiden. With the MCs being grown adults just on the other side of their prime years, they talked about the difficulties in dating at their age and all the insecurities that come with that. And Aiden is only just now understanding certain aspects of his sexuality and how they intersected with his previous relationships; it was lovely to see them discuss these past experiences and what it means for him. The scenes where Maggie is gaming online depict what a woman potentially has to deal with in that situation. Even though Maggie has a good experience with the new guild she joins, it’s clear that her past experiences have not been great. Toxicity, misogyny and gatekeeping in the online gaming community are interesting and important topics to bring up and they were woven in well.

I definitely recommend this one if you like your romances with good rep, family drama, and a heaping helping of realism, relatability and humor.

Tropes and other relevant info:
Gamers
Middle age characters
Toxic families
Feminist af
Slow burn
Friends to lovers
Rep: bi, demi, Asian

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3.5 stars, rounded up to 4
Two older MCs who are introverts and big video gamers? I couldn’t request this one fast enough!

Maggie Le is an editor who works for herself, makes her own hours and works from home in her secluded home in eastern Washington. Since her son Kit went away for college, she’s been by herself and tasked by him with stepping out of her comfort zone to not become totally anti-social. She loves to play video games and make friends online, which leads her to join a gaming guild made up of people in her town, Fool’s Falls. Maggie dresses frumpy, doesn’t like to do her hair and generally keeps to herself in real life but online, she’s snarky, confident, feisty and doesn’t hold back.

Aiden Bishop is a nurse who sold out of his hospice care business with his best friend to move back to Fool’s Falls to care for his sick father and aging mother. After years of being home, he’s no closer to feeling confident enough in his mother’s abilities to care for herself and finds himself questioning what to do next since he’s not making progress here. He leads the Fool’s Falls gaming guild and loves to play video games to blow off steam. Aiden is a gentle giant and a cinnamon roll hero through and through - he’s unbelievably sweet and caring and just makes you smile whenever he’s on page and being his normal, adorable self.

It kind of drove me a little crazy that Maggie and Aiden didn’t meet in person until 38% into the book - yes, they’d chatted online, but that’s so far into the book before they form any kind of real connection. Once they finally meet in person, they’re friends first, establishing a tentative friendship that revolves around staying in together and playing video games. Maggie helps Aiden learn more about his sexuality and find labels that fit and that makes the sloooooow burn of their relationship make a lot more sense. But Things between them don’t turn from friendship into anything romantic until later in the story than I would have liked. They really do fit together well and help each other to step outside of their comfort zones while also being supportive in so many different situations and embracing each other’s introverted tendencies and habits.

There were a few things that didn't work for me in the story, but I could look past them enough to enjoy Maggie and Aiden more. Here's what they were:
1. Deb and her entire group of 40+ year old mean girls - every time anyone from this group was on the page, I was irrationally angry. Deb and Patience were the worst of them all but I hated their attitude and their insistence that they knew what everyone wanted (i.e. them) was so annoying to read.
2. The infantilization of both Maggie and Aiden by their families - they’re both grown adults with successful jobs and the fact that their families continued to infantilize them at every turn was kind of infuriating. Just because they’re introverts by nature doesn’t mean they need to be treated like children.
3. The lack of resolution of things with Aiden’s family - I understand this story was about Aiden and Maggie, but so much of Aiden’s story revolved around his family and their prejudices and terrible treatment of him because of it. I really wanted some kind of resolution at least with Davy in the end.

Even with those things, I enjoyed the core story of Maggie and Aiden finding each other and falling in love. They were so good together and fun to read since they’re so different than typical romance MCs - would definitely recommend this one for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary for the romance genre!

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I loved the representation in this book and its respectful, evocative treatment of sexual orientation.

It’s a slow burn that features a mature couple.

Full review to come on my blog on release day.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.

Right off the bat, this is my first Cathy Yardley book and I was not disappointed. Also, there is a big ass warning for biphobia. It’s hinted at but making its disgusting confirming reveal.

I would call this a slow burn but not one that makes me want it to finish. Instead, I enjoyed the pace. Their relationship doesn’t develop until late in the story and normally, I’d be pissed to wait so long, but damn it, it was so well done.

There were moments when I wanted to bury my head under blankets because it was so cute and I don’t deal. Aiden Bishop, be still my heart.

I loved the grumpy/sunshine dynamic and it weaved wonderfully through the story. It didn’t feel as if anything was forced between them and I loved that part of their relationship.

There were pop culture references throughout. Some were explained which didn’t make it seem like Yardley was putting them in our faces.

Even though the ending and epilogue felt a little too abrupt for me, I still really enjoyed this book.

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Role Playing by Cathy Yardley ticks so many of my boxes. A mixed-race protagonist, a swoon-worthy love interest, geeky references, steamy scenes and most of it, older main characters! I adore the idea of people in their late 40s, early 50s, still enjoying online gaming. I will probably be one of them at some point.

While I do not relate to a lot of Maggie's personality, I was always rooting for her. A likable character, who is angry but good at heart and Aiden is just a wonderful person who deserves everything good in the world.

It's an easy read and Yardley's voice is funny and relatable. I look forward to reading the rest of the catalogue.

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**Thank you to NetGalley, the author, & the publisher for a chance to read to & review an ARC of this book!**

Please find my extended feedback below...along with some spoilers (beware).
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Things I Liked:
-The slow build of the relationship between Maggie & Aiden.
-The realistic representation of being an introvert & how Aiden & Maggie supported each other in their introverted ways (without trying to change each other).
-The positive representation of sexuality & of figuring out your sexuality at any age.
-I loved that Aiden & Maggie were both truly themselves (with all their flaws & not "society perfect" figures).
-As sad as it can be, I am happy that this novel portrayed that not all family discussions regarding sexuality are resolved. At the end of the novel, there are unresolved conflicts between Aiden & his family. Sometimes it happens that way & I think it is important to be honest about that possibility.

Things That Didn't Sit Quite Right With Me:
-This is not the author's fault (& these characters were probably written this way to bring up this discussion), but I really disliked Deb, Promise, Sheryl, Davy, & Aiden's mother. They were all so annoying and rude.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book & gave this book 4 stars.

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A lot of fun, but not without heavy subject matter. Both MCs are really likable, in their own ways, but they’re by no means perfect. Very engaging and a quick read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

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I can say I absolutely adored this beautiful done slow burn! I LOVED that Maggie and Aidan are older. As someone who is mid thirties I really struggle to connect with characters that are so young. With this book I loved how real and honest these two were. Also give me all the grumpy heroines please and thank you!!! Also with a side of cinnamon role heroes!!! This was so good and I would defiantly recommend this for someone who is a slightly older reader and wants to connect with the main characters with ease.

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Let’s just start off to collectively appreciate some romance featuring middle aged characters and not some barely twenty-one. This was a refreshing change of pace.

Aiden and Maggie are so incredibly sweet. Maggie truly has the “could not care less” attitude down and that scene that she stands up for Aiden? Golden, forget the I’ll kill for you main dudes- I need more female characters portrayed this way. This was an incredibly slow burn, seriously they don’t meet in person until just about 40%. Which also leads me to say that despite that, the connection the build from online up to that point is pure and genuine. The bisexual and demisexual inclusion was quite the surprise and I’m so glad when authors make the decision to not only include it but also have the character you aren’t expecting to identify. Let’s keep up with the mental health and more diverse sexuality representation for our male characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced digital copy.

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Loved this book! Loved the characters! Loved the story! It took me a couple weeks to finish it because life has been crazy. I never lost interest. I’m definitely glad I read this author and plan to read more in the future.


I voluntarily read an early copy.

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not only cute this also gives off a very heartwarming vibes. the relationship between two main characters are healthy and had an open communication with each other. it was a little slow at the beginning but you’ll love each page of it.

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I LOVED this book so much. This is a new to me author and I will be looking out for more of her work.
Even though I haven’t played a video game since the Super Nintendo in the 1990’s, I found the gamer theme engrossing.
The two main characters were well developed and it was a pleasure to unravel their layers throughout the story.
But my favourite element of this book was the friendship turning into a romantic relationship. The way each character grew to discover how they felt about the other was both filled with tension, but also so natural. Finally, it delivered a thoroughly satisfying and well deserved happy ending.

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I really loved the in person relationship Maggie and Aiden had! The first half of the book was very slow for me, until they finally had their face to face meet around 43% after that it really took off and I loved it! Their banter was so funny and Maggie really seemed to component Aiden’s personality! Opposites in the best way and she really helped him grow! I really hated how Aiden’s family treated him, the way they didn’t accept him and how phobic they were really just made me wanna throw my kindle.
I love how the story ended and the epilogue was honestly the perfect ending!

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I really enjoyed this delightfully nerdy yet realistic and sweet story by Cathy Yardley. It was refreshing to read about older main characters and I appreciated that their beginning conflict didn't last throughout the whole book. Looking forward to more from Yardley!

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I will start this by saying whoever has shit to say about Aiden or Maggie has to go through me first, got it? Aiden has been through enough, is he a fictional character? Yes. Do I still want to protect him with my whole heart? FUCK YES.

This book to me deserves more than 5 stars. I am not the biggest slow burn fan, but this book did the romance just right. I was not bored at all or desperate for them to kiss or confess their feelings cause it was all done at a great pace.

Both Aiden and Maggie are bit of home bodies, both of them find it easier to connect with people online than in real life and I connected with that quickly. They had to meet when they were both ready, and it felt so fucking real. They just were made for each other.

One of my favorite things about this book is everything about Aiden. Loved how he discovers things about himself, how he opens up to each person in his life. To Maggie, to Riley, and to his family.

Things I loved: Aiden, Maggie, Dual POV, the banter, the relationship.

Things I didn't like: I WANTED MORE.

Thank you so much NetGalley for the e-arc for this book.

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Hey, a romance that's most like the ones I have in real life: woods-dwelling prickly hermit gamer nerd single parent (whaaaat? if it were Super Mario Sunshine, this would be me in 2008?) meets cinnamon roll gamer nerd (all my longest-term relationships), and nothing earth-shaking happens. Maybe a little drama.

I mean, but these characters are 48 and 50, close to the age I am now, so...again, perfect book for me.

There's a bit of a slow start, mostly in how often we're told who people are (yes, I get it, Davy's the brother), but the book settles in by 30ish% and by then it's easy to be invested by the characters' adorable online misunderstanding. (He thinks she's pushing 80; she thinks he's 20, 21.) While the supporting cast aren't the deepest characters, I think this works for a book that portrays two relatively isolated, lonely adults who are surprised to find connection with one another.

Yeah, this was very much a book for me.

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This book was kind of frustrating. The characters don’t actually meet until 50% into the story! By then I was bored and lost interest in their relationship

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hooked and hooked some more. Loved all of this and couldn't put it down. I was like oh my. I need to know more. Read it.

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Role Playing by Cathy Yardley

What a surprise and delight this slow burn romance was! Truly original characters and story.

Maggie is a homebody and introvert, and enjoys online gaming under the name "Bogwitch." She's 48 and divorced, and while she is perfectly satisfied with her quiet life, she puts herself out there to set a good example for her introverted college aged son. She joins a gaming group and begins to chat regularly with another player online. Due to a misunderstanding, she assumes he is a college aged boy and he believes she's in her 70s or 80s. They are actually 48 and 50! 😅The misunderstanding lasts a long while, but it creates a really fun slow burn friends to lovers story.

I have never been a gamer, but I nevertheless found the gaming culture in this story really interesting and entertaining! The writing style sucked me in and I flew through this story.

If the curmudgeonly bogwitch character in the book doesn't publicly defend the heroes honor, I don't want it. However, I don't usually like it when characters actually punch/hit/use violence to defend the other's honor... and that *didn't* happen in this book, but it almost did. (Clearly, I'm not cut out for mafia romance 😅 and that's why I don't read it!) I still loved how fiercely she stood up for him.

Bi and demisexual rep with really lovely conversations about sexuality. I've never read a romance with an Ace or demisexual character and I really appreciated this diversity and what I learned! The steamy scenes were not very descriptive, but they were still super hot and sweet and fit these characters so well.

Aiden's story is a slow reveal. I loved him from the start, but it's hard to read characters walk all over him. His family story is ROUGH, so if queerphobic and toxic parent characters are hard for you, check in before reading this!

Read this if you love: 
• Someone needs a fake date to a wedding!
• She's grumpy, he's sunshine
• I don't like anyone but you
• Let's be introverts together
• Caretaking trope
• Characters in their 40s and 50s

The only things that didn't work for me were that I thought the book got a tiny bit long. I'm not sure what could have been tightened up-- perhaps the drama with her ex-husband was unnecessary. And occasionally, the main character's mannerisms and slang seemed a little bit younger than their ages to me--but it also sort of fit with her personality anyway.

All opinions are my own! Thanks for the opportunity to read such an original romance.

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