Author: Mariah Dietz
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and tragedy in humor.
My life proved his theory as fact.
At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in return.
Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.
Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most situations.
My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.
My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in both our lives.
But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh round of heartbreak.
Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.
Would history repeat itself?
Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?
Mariah Dietz delivers another sweet, angsty romance with Curveball. Ella and Coen’s journey is unique and captivating – the kind of story with plenty of twists and turns to make you think and feel and fall in love. Throw in Ella’s son Hayden and you have the recipe for some definite “aww” moments. I adored the connection Coen seemed to create so easily with Hayden and honestly their relationship was one of the highlights of this storyline for me. Ella and Coen’s connection was more instant and obvious, allowing me to get swept up in the possibilities of their relationship before they ever acknowledged the electricity between them. Mariah Dietz writing is as lyrical and vibrant as ever, painting a beautiful picture of this couple’s world and pulling me into their small-town romance absolutely effortlessly.
“I mean, can you ever really stop loving someone when your heart essentially molds itself to another person’s? Is that even possible?”
While I desperately wanted to love this book as much as I have others from Mariah Dietz, Curveball didn’t quite get there for me. The pacing felt a bit off with an incredibly long build up to a quick and only somewhat satisfying conclusion. I never really loved the heroine, hoping that as a single mom she would have a fierce and protective personality. I also found myself spending more time hating Patrick and being wary of Rachel than I did falling in love with Coen and Ella. The natural feeling rhythm and highly addictive emotional connection I’m used to feeling when it comes to this author just wasn’t there. To be fair, Mariah Dietz delivered plenty of intrigue and a few surprises that kept me reading, but I missed her usual sparkle with this one.
“There are moments in time that my soul feels like an inferno, flushed with smoke and scarred beyond recognition.”
The storyline was undeniably intriguing. I loved the online dating antics and awkward moments that balanced out the serious side of Ella’s story. Plus, Hayden was icing on the adorable cake. There was a lot of heart and tons of feels with Curveball and Mariah Dietz did a great job ensuring that I experienced all of the ups and downs for myself. Coen and Ella’s journey is definitely one-of-a-kind and I really enjoyed getting to know Coen’s family, seeing Ella flourish at work, and watching Coen and Hayden’s relationship blossom. There were plenty of feel good moments packed into this contemporary romance and Mariah Dietz always delivers on the happily ever after. If you love the meeting of two damaged souls and the sweet, slow burn of cautious love then Curveball is definitely worth checking out.
It tends to be a good day in the book world when there is a new release from Mariah Dietz. With the way she writes her angst-filled character dynamics and addictive storylines, I find it hard to get enough. When I read the synopsis to Curveball, I couldn’t even accurately describe my level of excitement. It sounded like a novel that I so desperately wanted to get lost in as soon as possible – especially given the single mom and firefighter aspect.
“You need to find someone who is going to be your inspiration to keep surviving when you go to work every day to fight the devil.”
Ella and Coen’s story felt heavy on the adult portion of life, with a bit of focus on the romances we find. I loved watching Ella’s transformation from the beginning to the end of this novel. For a majority of the time, our heroine didn’t have a backbone when it came to her environment and I found myself getting incredibly frustrated. While it did eventually happen, it was almost instantaneous, but magic nonetheless. I loved when the fierce side of her came shining through for her son. For the most part, Coen still remains a mystery to me. Though we received bits and pieces from his past and what made him the hero he was, I never felt like I understood his actions. However, the swoon and sweetness factor was there, which allowed me to develop feelings for him. He’s one of those characters that may be aloof, yet still draws you in through how he interacts with those around him.
“Sometimes I wonder if your heart can ever love someone again.”
While I did enjoy Curveball, there were several moments that felt like it was lacking the usual Dietz style that I’ve come to expect. First, I had a really difficult time connecting to the characters. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something that left me yearning for more. Furthermore, I felt like there was quite a bit of build up to then have a quick resolution of everything in one fell swoop. I think I would have l appreciated having some of the issues come to light at different parts of the novel and using it as a driving force forward. Though these moments were present, I did find myself enjoying the twists and turns that continued to pop up throughout Curveball.
“That’s not who I am. I am not the guy who makes you cry, and I sure as hell am not the guy who leaves you when you’re hurting.”
Mariah Dietz dazzles with her incredible writing in Curveball. Even when I struggled with the character connections, the way that she tells her stories is something every reader should experience. The surprises that Dietz comes up with will have you turning the pages until that very last one. I have no doubt that people will fall head over heels for Coen and Ella, demanding more from this couple and all they have been through.
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Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.
She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.