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Apple Boy

The Quiet Work, Book 1
Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

A new LGBT fantasy series from award-winning author Isobel Starling 

A lost lordling, a farm boy, and a tale of mystery, magic, and murder!

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick. He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest. 

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer. The only man who stands up for him is the farmer's beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction. 

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm. The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it. He also cannot take his eyes off Adam, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind! 

FYI - Apple Boy has an M/M couple, graphic gay sexual activity, and a cliffhanger ending.

*The next book in the series, Dark Harvest (The Quiet Work, Book 2), is coming soon!*

©2019 Isobel Starling (P)2019 Decent Fellows Press and Isobel Starling

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Well what can I say? Wow.
I was thoroughly impressed with this audiobook. I admit I was a bit skeptical when I first started - I'd thought about getting this book previously as it has been recommended to me, but I wasn't sure the story would be for me so I hadn't taken the plunge.

In the end, I received this audiobook for free in return for an honest review - it was a pleasure to do so!

I was new to both the author and narrator and I'll be back for both! A few minutes in and I was hooked, and listened for hours at a time. Isobel Starling's story is fantastic. So imaginative, complex, and full of twists - it really had me guessing.
There's mystery, intrigue, medium angst, and quite a bit of sexual tension between the two m/c (but not much actual sex). Gary Furlong narrates wonderfully. The characters' emotions are brought out perfectly, and his accents are completely devine! I LOVE it when Adam says "Gods, Winter" - gives me shivers :)

Although book one of a series, and despite setting up book two nicely at the end, there isn't a cliffhanger and the story rounds off nicely. I really appreciate this in a book - I can't stand a cliffhanger! I still want to hear book two though - I'll certainly be getting it in the near future.

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  • Helen
  • Paignton Devon
  • 08-09-19

good book

A lost lordling, a farm boy, and a tale of mystery, magic, and murder!

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick
its a good book

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Depth, Intrigue, and one hot-as-hell Apple Boy

Wow. I can't believe it's over. Get me book 2, stat!

At first, I wasn't sure about this book, as I'm not a fan of historical romances, and hadn't realised that this was a fantasy, plus Win seemed a bit odd to start with. But as he and Adam started to bond, their connection came alive.

The suspense as they made their journey had me hanging on every word for snippets of information on Win's past. Once they got to Serein, the possibilities exploded, and the ramifications of their magic became clear.

You know it's a good book when you actually groan out loud at the word 'epilogue'...

P.S. Adam's accent! 😍

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    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet apples? Fruitilicious magic

Gary Furlong is a new to me narrator and Isobel Starling is a new to me author, but I thought that Gary does a wonderful job of capturing the smooth, cultured voice of the lost lordling Winter Aeling, the broader coarser tones of Apple Boy Adam, and his brute of a father the farmer of Blackdown Farm, as well as a myriad of voices for various secondary characters.
Isobel crafts a beguiling tale of Winter who has encountered misfortune in his travels, but who sees Adam's worth as soon as they meet. I loved taking the journey with them as they start to fall for each other, make their escape from under the brutish thumb of Adam's father, find their way to Saerin and the magic that comes to surround and live within them along the way.
A magical encounter...highly recommended. I look forward to see what happens next for them as they come into their own.

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So good!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars
🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3.5
🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 5

So good!

This story is a mysterious adventure into a new world of magic, mages, mysteries, and murder. It has a unique historical undertone that makes it that much more enjoyable as you follow Winter and Adam, as they discover the truth of the world they live in and the special connection they share.

The book does end on a cliffhanger that’ll leave you dying for more but the story itself is a thrilling adventure I couldn’t put down!! I loved the attention to detail, here and there and the world Isobel has created is incredible. I love a good mystery and this has that in the bag! I look forward to the next book and can’t wait to see were Isobel will take us next!

I thought the connection between Winter and Adam was wonderful. They are drawn together and while there are situations beyond their control I found their connection very organic and their chemistry electric. I love the historical undertones were some town forbid Winter and Adam’s connection and that adds to the thriller and mystery of their bond and the magic they spark together.

A great creation by Isobel and I highly recommend giving it a listen. Gary does a fantastic job, gives each character a voice and draws you into the mystery and adventure! 5 stars from me!!!

Thanks for reading!

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amazing new world

this book was quite amazing. The world building was very very interesting and the story compelling.
I loved Win and Adam. They were so different, but so similar in the ways that count. I love how the story gets deeper and darkens as we go and follow them on their journey.

I loved how they grew with each other.

I really loved the narration, Gary Furlong was able to make such great and different voices. Very good as well.

Looking forward to the next book

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story

This is set in a rich world, that is very cleverly done with and it is a complicated, overarching storyline that takes place over three books.
Book one is all about Winter and Adam, it is full of mystery and magic.
I haven’t read the book but I will do now and have Gary Furlong’s dulcet tones in my ear. Ends with a slight cliffhanger so I am now looking forward to book 2.

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Enjoyable fantasy/fairy tale

Enter a beautifully crafted fantasy where a down on his luck young aristocrat called Winter Aeling (Win) meets up with Adam, a handsome farmers son, who helps him in his time of need and joins him on his adventure.
Isobel Starling has really impressed me with her impressive world building, attention to detail, well developed characters and exciting plot.
There are bad guys, one being a nasty cruel farmer (Adams father), magic, talking parrots and of course love ❤️ what more could you ask for?
Gary Furlong did and exceptional job narrating and his upper class English accent for Win was the best I have ever heard in an audiobook. I'm English by the way 😉

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Starling and Furlong make audio magic!

Whenever I see a title by Isobel Starling that is narrated by Gary Furlong its a one-click, must-buy. I really love Ms Starlings writing, but when paired with the seemingly never-ending range of accents Gary Furlong does flawlessly, magic is created.

Apple Boy sees a young lord who has mysteriously fallen on bad luck coupled with a kind, yet naive farm boy on a journey to the main city of a province called Erias. Win, the lordling, is mixed up in political machinations he doesn't understand which put his-and his companions life in danger.

I love fantasy books but find that mainstream fantasy doesn't include lgbt characters, or if they do, the character has the worst luck then dies. Apple Boy reads-sounds like mainstream fantasy and yet the mc's are gay. it is a refreshing change. The story arc is strong and the writing, beautifully descriptive. Gary Furlong's soft posh accent for Win is balanced by his Irish brogue for Adam and a whole host of colourful characters. Listening to this audiobook really was like listening to a movie.

There is a cliffhanger ending of sorts but don't let that stop you from enjoying the ride.
Highly recommended

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  • Nancy
  • 25-05-19

Starling and Furlong - a winning team!

Apple Boy drew me in from the get-go. I love fantasy books and am always on the lookout for ones with LGBT characters who don't get the thin end of the wedge. The MC's in this book are Winter, a lordling who has fallen on hard times, and Adam a farm boy who is integral to Winter's well being in ways he is yet to discover.

The story romps along at a good pace with exceptional narration by Gary Furlong, who gives each character a unique voice. Is there no accent this man cannot do? I was particularly taken by the characters of Mr. Percheval and Mr. Wrenfrey who I found unique and hilarious.

The romance is nicely balanced with a story of political intrigue, mystery, and murder. The story is far bigger than this single book and we are left on a cliffhanger- but not a bad one. I am desperate for book 2, which is how it should be when a story is THIS well written and narrated.

I thoroughly recommend this book to those listeners who love LGBT Fantasy and M/M romance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-10-19

This wasn't for me

A complimentary audio was provided in exchange for an honest review.

I am a fan of Isobel Starling and Gary Furlong. I wish I could say I enjoyed this story as much as others. For me the story was slow and I struggled to continue listening. Based on all the other reviews I think this is the case of me and not the book. I wasn't able to connect.

When I did find a rhythm at times, I could see the how the overall plot is a good one. That's why I selected this story. You can't love them all though, sigh. You know what the story is about from the blurb and for me to go into details about why this story didn't work for me would give away plot points. 2 stars

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  • guy
  • 17-09-19

Charming, magical, romantic tale

I enjoyed the audiobook: Apple Boy, Isobel Staling’s fantasy tale of magic and gay romance. I found her writing and characters engaging, the story well paced, as was the excellent narration of Gary Furlong.
I am generally not a fan of fantasy, however, this book did draw me into the its fantastic Empire.
The hero, Winter Aelings character was fun, carrying on his upperclass entitlement even in his fall from grace at the story start. However, he is well balanced by the handsome country lad Adam - whose down to earth attitude and virginal charm are a good match for Winter’s boyish naughtiness.
Among the myriad of colorful charters you meet in this adventure, I particularly enjoyed the elderly love-bird lawyers who appear later in the tale. The magic that happens resulting from the chemistry of the two young men is exciting in more ways than one.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-09-19

Wow!!

This book was an epic listen. Amazing world building + character depth + fantastic writing skills = instafan!!! I am so excited for the rest of the series and where Isobel is going to take it. She picked a great narrator and yes... I'm listening to the book again. I can't wait for book 2!!! I'm so grateful I got the chance to listen to it and it's now a part of my library. Thank you Isobel you are an amazing storyteller!!


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • cheryl_cajun
  • 22-08-19

Thank you for the audio

Thank you for the audio, I voluntarily give this an honest review. narrator Gary Furlong did a fantastic job with this book. when Winter's take a apple picking job from a brute of a man he never thought he'd find something that was missing in the brutes son. can he trust Adam with his truths of who he really is.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Higgins
  • 19-08-19

Lovely fairytale with dark cliffhanger ending

This started as a tale of a young nobleman lost and impoverished then turned into a fairytale that took a dark turn before stopping in a cliffhanger.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Starwarslover
  • 15-08-19

wow

I dont think ive read this story yet.. and if i did i don't remember it haha. so this was very interesting to listen to and i enjoyed how the narrator did with it.. it was funny and made me laugh several times.. i really enjoyed it

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  • ButtonsMom2003
  • 09-08-19

Not my usual type of book but I loved it!

I don't read a lot of what I would call fantasy stories and even though I love this author's work I avoided reading this one for two reasons – it has a cliffhanger (but kudos to Isobel Starling for disclosing that in the story's blurb) and it was a fantasy. So, what changed my mind? I freely admit that it was the offer of a free Audible code and Gary Furlong doing the audio performance (sigh, I love his voice!).

While this story does have a cliffhanger, and I definitely want to listen to the next one, The Apple Boy was so compelling and such a rich and detailed story, that I didn’t feel like I was totally left hanging. That may not make much sense because there definitely is much more to come but I was left feeling pretty satisfied with what I had just listened to.

The world building that Ms. Starling has done is fantastic. I honestly am not sure what to say in this review because I don't want to give anything away. The blurb tells of "mystery, magic and murder" and there sure all of that. There's also a fantastic love story between Winter and his "Apple Boy," Adam.

Let me just say that both Winter and Adam learn things about themselves that they had no clue about and they are able to do great things together.

I can't say enough good things about Gary Furlong's performance of the story. While I'm sure I would have liked the story well enough if I had read it first, Gary's performance is so perfect and compelling; he really is the main reason I wanted to listen to this.

I am truly hooked on this series now and look forward to the next one.

This is one of the best lines I've heard in a long time: “You, Winter Aeling have been running around Serein like a boy who has just discovered his cock and wants to show everyone what it does!”

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.

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  • Alex
  • 08-08-19

Loved this book

I loved how the fantasy world immersed the reader from the first page. Spot on world building that revealed what the reader needed to know as it went without overwhelming. Likable characters, believable relationship development, and the stakes made sense. Great start to the series, it ended just as the magical aspect was getting really interesting, but the characters were able to do what they set out to accomplish by the end. Can't wait for book two to pick up where this one leaves off.

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  • Stacey Oliver
  • 03-08-19

Full of twists and turns!

I really enjoyed the trip this story took me on. it was warm, sweet, magical mixed with some evil/medieval. I encourage you to take the ride!