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Publisher's Summary

Between her father’s terminal disease, high school graduation, and a job delivering pizza, Alexandra Blackwood's life is complicated enough. But when she leaves on another routine delivery and meets Ronan, a handsome stranger with an alien-entangled past, life goes from complicated to perilous. He warns that she’s been the unwitting victim of an alien experiment gone wrong and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.            

©2017 Xela Culletto (P)2017 Xela Culletto

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Understanding the stars

What did you love best about Understanding the Stars?

The character was written well, This audiobook had a lot of action and so many twists and turns that it kept me interested and wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

It's ok.

I have to say that this had the potential to be very good, but I felt it lacked debt and character development. I felt like the pacing was fast but the overall story was way too fast and had no flesh on it. I didn't connect with the characters, nor the story. I felt like Alex was too perfect and absolutely hated that she took everything that was happening and didn't question it or didn't freak out! I mean if I found out that I was being monitored 24/7 by an alien race I think i would have freaked!! It was unrealistic and after that I just couldn't connect with her.

Lori Prince was OK. She had a good voice for Alex but she didn't really differentiate any of the other characters. Plus her voice for the evil aliens was a little hard to listen to. I still enjoyed listening to her and know she will become better with practice.

I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good sci-fi alien adventure tale

Any additional comments?

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Xela Culletto. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Understanding the Stars is a sci-fi YA adventure, where our main character is literally on the run from aliens. Due to circumstances beyond her control and because an alien species selected her as one of their test subjects, another alien species wants to snatch her and cut some tech out of her head. Fun times. Not.

Alex is a spunky teen who's about to graduate high school when her life gets super scary super fast. Her life isn't all happy sunshine and rainbows with a father dying of the big C and her in danger of having her head cut open. But she doesn't hide from her troubles and looks danger right in the face (er, tentacles?) and stands up for herself and others around her. That's what makes Alex a character you can really get behind and root for.

The plot is fast-paced and there is even a bit of a romance, though not super developed in light of all the running from aliens. I kind of liked our male character, but the focus was definitely on Alex so I can't say I got to know Ronan that well.

The audio narration was excellent. I really appreciated all the creepy sounding voices for the aliens, which really upped their scary and grossness factor. I liked the intonations and how Alex really did sound like a teenage girl with the sentences that sound like a question and abrupt replies. This really helped the story be more believable and the character easier to connect with while the crazy plot was happening to her.

Overall a good read for alien abduction and sci-fi fans.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A beautiful Tale for us YA enthusiasts

Would you consider the audio edition of Understanding the Stars to be better than the print version?

I have never read the print copy but I feel that what Lori prince brings to the table is truly invaluable in telling this story especially as she switches perspectives ,an unexpected but brilliant touch when she comes from the aliens perspective.She helps build the world we live in for 5 hrs and 59 mins .So Id say yes ;)

Who was your favorite character and why?

oo hard i liked Alex a lot .She had some seriously hard questions and problems she needed the answers to ASAP and it was a moral quandary at a twist and an ethical dilemma at the turn but she sorta finds a middle ground and goes with the the path that is the least evil and I enjoy her thought process as she works that out along with all the rest of the craziness. She made me laugh a lot throught the book.

Which scene was your favorite?

oddly I really enjoyed a section at the start of the book where Ronan explains his origin story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Alex cracked me up her sense on humor is very much like mine ( granted she is probably a lot quicker lol) It' a romance as much as it is Sci fi and the depth and pull of emotion between Alex and Ronan was touching and quite entrancing.

Any additional comments?

I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

ANOTHER AWESOME BOOK BY XELA CULLETTO!

I listened to Xela's book Girl Vs before listening to this one, and I was again very impressed. I love the strong bad a$$ female character (no, I'm not a feminist just like bad-a$$, guy or girl), and I thought it was a really interesting concept. Different narrator on this one but loved her voice, I think she did an awesome job, and I LOVED the story. It's probably a bit out of my age range (haha I'm 50, how the heck did that happen!), but I think (and I now know) that any age would like this book, it's got a lot of action and intensity, and great characters. I hope Xela keeps putting out more books! I'm definitely a fan :)
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting take on aliens

I have been a fan of sci fi, but more so fantasy for a long time I have seen many different takes on aliens and this one is quite interesting. What if they watched us through an implant, but ended up caring for us through this watching. They want to protect us from another set of aliens that wanted to use us for ill.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Aliens are real in this fantasy adventure

**4.5 Out Of 5 Stars**

Alex has enough on her plate with graduation looming close, her job at the pizza place, and taking care of her father with terminal cancer. When she is told to deliver a pizza to the middle of nowhere, she never expected to have her customer be a very attractive guy who acts like he knows her. After a second night of delivering him pizza, Alex decides regardless of how he looks, he was a little crazy and a potential stalker. When he shows up out of nowhere to talk to her, she hesitantly listens to his story about how he watched her for the last three years for an advanced alien species he was raised by. Alex has no idea what to believe, but this is just the beginning of her own personal crazy.

This was a non-stop crazy ride. The story itself took place over a few weeks tops, but there was so much action, adventure and danger crammed into the pages that I was instantly caught up in the world right along with Alex. This was also fairly dark, with natural and unnatural death as well as loss a possibility for the characters. I have read my share of alien books and I can honestly say this was nothing like anything else I have read and I liked it even more so for being so different.

Sure there were moments that had the potential for romance, but Alex and Ronan were never really given the opportunity, what with running for their lives and all (not to mention the multiple escapes…). This I think would be better classified as a science fiction adventure with small hints of romantic tension added in for flavor. You do not know how many times I wanted Alex (or even Ronan for that matter) to just grab the other and kiss the bejesus out of the other. But, not that kind of book.

​I will admit that when I got to the last few chapters in the story I was about to through my ipod down and have a tantrum. The ending is not at all what I expected and I was ready to turn my 4.5 star rating into a 3 in my disappointment...but then the last chapter happened, all like 30 seconds of it and again I had hope. To say I was surprised by this book would be an understatement. I have no idea if this is a standalone story which it technically could be, or if this is the first in a series, but I really hope there will be more to come.

I was hoping this would be a romance, but I don't really think it could be classified as such. Sure there was moments of sweet romance here, but for the most part the book was an action adventure, full of danger and twists.

This review is for the audio version of the book which I listened to. The narrator did a great job in my opinion of bringing the book to life. Through her voice, the story unfolded like a movie in my mind, with all the characters being so unique and full of personality. She had the perfect inflections called for in each dangerous and awkward situation, as well as accents (such as Ronan who speaks completely different as well, and the narrator keeps it up the entire book). And the way she gave the alien species life was perfect, each species was different and specific, making sure I had no confusion as to who (what?) was talking. The start of each chapter was a small tidbit into a random character's interaction with the plot, helping to create a more involved picture behind the scenes from what Alex saw, and the narrator kept the voices concise and consistent so as not to bleed into the chapter. I enjoyed what she was able to bring to this story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Where's the understanding the stars

This is okay. I feel it lacks depth and needs some more character development. It left me uncaring about what was going on.
The narration was also okay.
This Audio book was given to me for free at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Trisha
  • Arkansas, USA
  • 09-14-17

Awesome listen

This was a pretty awesome listen. It had fantasy, romance and aliens. This was one that I didn't want to quit listening to until I reached the end. There were very few slow parts that would allow me to turn it off! For me that was a great thing. If other books by this author are as good, I will definitely following them!

The narration was also great. There isn't any part of it I can complain about!

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

YA version of an X-Files mystery

This X-files-like tale is set in Colorado. Alex Blackwood is just about to graduate high school when her life takes an unexpected turn. Ronan drops a stunning revelation on her involving three alien races, the CIA, and some secret surveillance. In the midst of all this, Alex’s dad is suffering from cancer and she has her pizza delivery job as well.

Ronan was the most interesting character for me. He’s a human descended from a group of humans that left Earth ages ago to co-habitate with an alien race (Salurians? My spelling is probably off since this was the audiobook version). I would have liked to get to know him more in this book and what his life in space is like. Now the Salurians are back and have been watching Earthers for a few decades, simply learning about current cultures and such.

Now the creepy part is that Ronan was assigned to watch Alex since she was 14 (she’s 18 at this point in the story) and this involves an implant in her. Yep. He knows every time she went to the bathroom, had the stomach flu, or suffered growing pains. On his part, I can see the insta-love that we stumble into later. I didn’t really care for the insta-love stuff, but Alex seemed pretty happy with it. Setting aside the beginning of the romance, it later grows into something meaningful as these two develop a friendship.

The Salurians need to leave ahead of schedule because the aggressive Kema’dor are on their way. Initially, they are portrayed as these violent tech thieves. Later on, Alex meets some of them and has to form her own opinion. Much later in the story, a third alien race (the Meddas – again, spelling?) come into play. I really liked that not all aliens are created the same and each race has their own ethics and goals.

I did feel that Alex was a little too easy going about these bigger revelations but freaked out a bit over small things (like the first image she saw of a Kema’dor). This didn’t work for me in terms of character development but it did move the plot along swiftly. I did like that not everything turns out OK for everyone. Alex has to deal with some sadness and loss. This added some seriousness to the story and gave Alex a little depth.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobook Worm.

The Narration: Lori Prince was a really great Alex. She sounded young but right there on the cusp of adulthood. She gets an A for effort when it comes to the alien voices and accents. I realize this is a difficult thing to pull off but I have heard better. That said, I did like her voice for the alien Malsoar. She did great with Alex’s feelings.