Two for the Road (#3) by Ekta R. Garg

Published: 30th June 2015
Goodreads badgePublisher: Prairie Sky Publishing
Pages: 60
Format: ebook
Genre: Short stories
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Ah, summer. Long days full of warm sunshine and one of the most popular times to travel. But what happens when something throws your travel plans off course?

This June meet brand new characters in Two for the Road!

The First Story, “Excess Baggage”: Allison has just come home from a grueling business trip. All she wants to do is spend a quiet weekend at home parked in front of the TV or maybe curled up with a blanket. When a friend calls to ask her for a favor, though, all of Allison’s plans hit rough air.

The Second Story, “Wrong Way”: With one daughter married and another in college, Rachel and Jim should be enjoying their time as a couple again. But Jim’s worries about his widowed mother force Rachel into a spur-of-the-moment road trip to check on the old bat. When Jim catches Rachel complaining to a friend, tension will ride with them in the car. Can Rachel make an apology stick? 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

With these two new additions to the Stories in Pairs series it is clear Garg’s imagination and creativity isn’t waning anytime soon.  I love these paired stories, there is such a simple pleasure derived from two stories, connected by theme, characters, anything at all. I love Garg’s concept and execution and with this being the third set of stories I am just as delighted as I was the first time.

With Two For The Road the common theme is travel, more specifically travel plans gone awry. The first story is Excess Baggage and follows Allison, a woman who is planning to spend the weekend home relaxing after a business trip yet ends up playing host to friends of a friend who are heading out on a trip in the next couple of days.

From page one Garg captures Allison’s exhaustion and her frantic life, through Allison’s expression and actions you understand who she is and the kind of life she leads and you want her to have the relaxing weekend she longs for.

What is interesting in Garg’s approach is that it’s not Allison who is going on a trip, she is just coming home. But her involvement with others is what makes this story work so well. There are many twists and turns, if one can call them that. Changed plans, chaotic schedules, and the pressures of work and little sleep are all part of what makes this story so enjoyable.

The second story takes a more direct approach in the travel concept and has a different tone completely to the first. Wrong Way is a great expression of the issues that come up in marriage and the compromises and sacrifices that are made. The marriage between Jim and Rachel is played out on their car trip to visit Jim’s mother, during which their relationship is tested.

With Rachel as narrator only one perspective is given, but Garg uses thoughts, arguments, and debate between the pair to gain additional understanding and see Jim’s point of view. With every argument and comment that the pair throws at one another, a deeper understanding of both characters and their lives together is understood, highlighting the repeated arguments and frustration felt by both.

I like that while there are conclusions to these stories, there are no real resolutions provided. As readers we are allowed to work out what happened next while still being given an ending deserving of the story and one that is unexpected and suitable. Once again Garg has created two unique and enjoyable stories that retain the coupling concept she’s had since the first Stories in Pairs, and she has done so with the same creativity and style that made them so wonderful in the first place.

You can purchase Two For the Road via the following


Amazon Aust

More for the Heart (#2) by Ekta R. Garg

Published: 7th April 2015
Goodreads badgePublisher: Prairie Sky Publishing
Pages: 65
Format: ebook
Genre: Short stories/Romance
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Two more stories about the power of love. Two more stories about the characters you remember. Two more stories for the heart.

“Making The Proposal”: Readers learned in Two for the Heart about the end of Pooja and Akshay’s unique arrangement—get married and then prepare their divorce papers—but did you wonder how it began? Just how did Pooja and Akshay make this crazy deal in the first place? Find out in this first story in More for the Heart.

“Reminiscence”: In Two for the Heart, sisters Rose and Helen reconnect with great reluctance after an 11-year estrangement. These two women have spent more than a decade apart. What convinces Rose to stay this time around? Sit at the table with Rose and watch her internal transformation in the second story in More for the Heart.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

This second installment in Garg’s Stories in Pairs continues the stories from the first set but with a slightly different angle. In ‘Making the Proposal’ Garg rewinds the clock and offers a prequel of sorts to Pooja and Akshay’s story with additional information than what was provided originally. Once again getting involved in both these characters lives was wonderful and gaining more insight into their relationship and being given new information about their arranged courtship provides another level and depth to the story we already know. Pooja and Akshay are character you can’t help but love, they are great together and Garg demonstrates their new relationship and developing friendship naturally with banter, humour, and understandable uncertainty.

The second story, ‘Reminiscence’, does not continue the story on so much as offer an alternate perspective. With Helen’s sister Rose the new point of view it enables an insight into her character and through Rose’s reflections and self-evaluation a better understanding of her relationship with Helen is generated. While this does little to progress the story it does add to character development and builds on the sisters’ relationship with one another and highlights the hostility between them.

Garg is extremely clever in her construction of these stories, especially in these second installments that follow the first. The retelling of sorts with Pooja and Akshay, and the new perspective with Rose and Helen change how these stories are viewed but it also maintains the narrative and the feeling that has already been established. Once again I enjoyed Pooja and Akshay’s story a bit more than ‘Reminiscence’, though I couldn’t really tell you why. Both stories are clever and very skilfully told, but Pooja and Akshay have a relationship that you can’t help but fall in love with.

In terms of construction, Garg uses her words carefully and doesn’t waste them putting in things unnecessarily. Character opinions and intentions are made clear without needing long explanations and with such few pages to work with Garg manages to tell complete stories creatively and with style.

I would still love to see this collection as a novel, even with the alternating stories and character points of view, mainly because Garg’s stories are so sweet and despite the length of the stories they capture your attention and are quite interesting. Having said that I also love how Garg has approached telling these stories, I think it is clever and creative and I look forward to the next set of stories and seeing where Garg takes the series.

You can purchase More for the Heart via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

Barnes and Noble | Smashwords


Two for the Heart (#1) by Ekta R. Garg

Published: 3rd February 2015
Goodreads badgePublisher: Prairie Sky Publishing
Pages: 77
Format: ebook
Genre: Short stories/Romance
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

A man and a woman get their divorce papers right after the wedding. A woman learns she’s suffering from amnesia. Two stories about relationships and the power of love. Two stories with characters to remember. Two stories for the heart.
“The Proposal”: Pooja and Akshay don’t want to bother with relationships, but they get cornered into marriage. The two devise a fool-proof plan: get married, then get their divorce papers ready. But will they have the guts to go through with the break up?
“Remembrance”: Helen wakes up in the hospital, but she has no idea how she got there. Everyone dodges the question…and then the sister she hasn’t spoken to in 11 years arrives. Why is she here? And will Helen ever remember what happened?

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Garg’s collection of stories is a wonderful read that explores relationships and the power love has in those relationships. The two stories, “The Proposal” and “Remembrance”, follow very different narratives but each demonstrate that love can be a very powerful tool and motivator.

I think I enjoyed the first story, “The Proposal”, more than the second, and while I enjoyed the mystery of the second story, the story itself in the first was quite heart warming and sweet.

Both of these stories are quite short, but you really are able to get a sense of character quite well. Garg expresses and explores her characters through their personalities and in part through their actions which adds a great layer of complexities to them. There is also less focus on unnecessary scenes or intense description or detail, meaning the human aspects are the main focus and the relationships they have with others is a driving force to the narrative.

There are some surprises in the stories, not greatly shocking or twist worthy per se, but Garg holds back and keeps secrets, and she also leads the reader and tells them one thing while leaving possibilities open for other things, offering doubt and intrigue.

It is also a nice idea connecting the stories and Garg does this with style and simplicity without losing any of the quality. The overlap suits both narratives while not interrupting the flow of each individual story and adds another layer in doing so. Having the cross over so simple is a great example of how people connect with one another in the real world. Both these stories show that the main character of one story can be a background character in another and even be unrelated to the main character at all.

But I think what makes them work is that being connected makes you realise everyone has a story to tell; and being a background character in someone’s story does not mean you are not the main character of your own story. Which sounds very philosophical I’ll admit, but I did find myself thing about that when I had finished reading, very clever, intentional or otherwise, on Garg’s behalf.

You can easily see how each of these stories could be extended in to a longer one, even a novel if you tried hard enough, but why it works so well keeping it this length is that is keeps the main parts of the story in focus while not losing out on the content or quality.


You can purchase Two for the Heart via the following


Barnes and Noble