In the Village, where all the short stories in this collection are located, it seems that everyone is pursuing art in some form. We meet them as they're inheriting their teacher's art collection, repainting a mural in honour of local queer heroes, working at a magic crystal store, designing a sculpture for their hometown. We encounter a boy who works at a bookstore meets a boy who was struck by lightning, a writer who can hear the stories of inanimate objects when he touches them, a man sketching the criminals he sees in his visions and sending the drawings as anonymous tip-offs to the police. We experience love, lust and loss with booklovers, winemaker, a fashion-designer-turned-quilt-
Jane, Unlimited is not strictly romance, but the will-they-won't-they-have-
The Mating of Michael is a romance between a sex surrogate and a sci-fi author. It's got one of the strongest "we have come so far!!!" arcs I've ever read, and it's got parts of James' sci-fi book inside of their story. And even the story-within-the-story is compelling!! I felt as deeply about the character we follow in the meta book as I did about the characters in the actual book! It's a really cool and interesting and multifaceted look into being a reclusive author of past acclaim and also in the struggles and triumphs and motivations in being a sex surrogate. It's a really special book, with incredible side-characters, so many feelings and so much heart!