Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: Two for the Holidays by Ekta R. Garg

Two for the Holidays, by Ekta R. Garg
2015, 130p, Contemporary Fiction
My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

A medium gets ready for one of the biggest days in her career speaking to the dead. An elf accepts an unusual assignment and faces his past. Two stories about people tied to holiday-themed professions. Two stories about the reality of life's hardships in the last quarter of the year. Two stories for the holidays.

The first story, "Take A Breath": Marisa Bellini has traveled to a tiny town on Halloween to help people contact the dead. She’s built an empire on the idea that she can talk to ghosts…but can she really? Sometimes even Marisa isn't sure.

The second story, "The Truth About Elves": Curtis, an elf, sets the record straight. No, elves don’t have pointy ears, they aren’t three feet tall, and they don’t live at the North Pole all year long. When Curtis gets a special assignment from the big man himself, though, he learns that Christmas magic has the power to transform everything he’s known for the last decade.

Come spend the holidays with Marisa and Curtis, and join the Stories in Pairs journey!

I've enjoyed Ms. Garg's stories in pairs. She started out having two separate books which would come out a few months apart, each telling half the story, and has now gone to the format of one book that tells the entire story. I like this format better. I would tend to forget the stories so would really need to read them back to back, anyway.

Marisa is a medium who has a TV show which she's in danger of losing. It's Halloween and she's taken her show on the road to help boost her ratings by helping grieving families speak to their loved ones who have passed on. She has experienced loss in her life which leads her to choose this career. There is a gray area as we learn the behind-the-scenes workings to make her look authentic, but there are unexplained things that occur as well.

After a devastating loss, Curtis is now an elf. Most of the year, he holds down meaningless jobs until he goes to the North Pole to help prepare for Christmas. This is a big year for him and he is given an assignment that is life changing for him. This story moved slowly as we got the details of what his work included at the North Pole, but weren't given much in the way of his tragic past. It took until the end to learn the extent of what had happened in his life and his reasons for staying away for so long fell kind of flat to me.

So, overall, I didn't enjoy this book as much as her others. It had a little more of a depressing feel to it and I just didn't connect to the characters. There's also supposed to be a connection between the two stories and I just didn't find it this time. This is an author whose work I have enjoyed in the past and I will continue to read her stories as she writes them. This didn't hit the mark for me, but I'm sure she will win me back over in the future!

Click on the covers to learn more about her other books and to read my reviews:

Since the start of her publishing career in 2005 Ekta has edited and written about everything from health care to home improvement to Hindi films. She has worked for: The Portland Physician Scribe, Portland, Oregon's premier medical newspaper; show magazines for home tours organized by the Portland Home Builders Association;; The Bollywood Ticket; The International Indian; and the annual anthologies published by the Avondale Inkslingers, based in Avondale, Arizona.

In 2011 Ekta stepped off the ledge and became a freelancer. She edits short stories and novels for other writers, contributing to their writing dreams. She is also a part-time editor for aois21, and she reviews books for her own book review blog as well as NetGalley, TypeReel, and

Prairie Sky Publishing serves as the publishing arm of Ekta's professional writing blog, The Write Edge ( When she's not writing, Ekta is a domestic engineer--known in the vernacular as "a housewife." She's married, has two energetic daughters who keep her running, and she divides her time between keeping house and fulfilling her writing dreams.


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