Audiobook Review: Understanding the Stars

Author: X. Culletto

Narrator: Lori Prince

Length: 5 hours 45 minutes

Publisher: Xela Culletto⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction


Alexandra Blackwood is minding her own troubled life when she unknowingly gets caught up in an extraterrestrial conflict. Ronan, a human with his own alien-entangled past, has been keeping an eye on her and sets out to help her escape looming abduction, and maybe win her heart.

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Xela is a working mother of three, living in the Utah. She teaches secondary English and after talking to students for years about following their dreams and doing whatever it takes to achieve them, she decided to take her own advice and complete her lifelong goal of writing a novel. The idea of life on other planets has always fascinated her, and she wondered what they would think of humanity, which is what spawned the idea for the plot of “Understanding the Stars”. When she’s not playing with her kids, or sorting through the endless laundry, you’ll find her watching The Walking Dead, horseback riding, or working on her next book.


Lori Prince is a classically trained actor with a BFA from Syracuse University. She has performed Off-Broadway as well as at top regional theaters including; The Denver Center, Alliance Theater Company and PlayMakers Repertory Company among others. She has also appeared on Television in Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Are We There Yet?. Her voice work includes various characters in the feature film Epic, as well as additional dialogue recorded for over 50 feature films and TV shows.


There is soooo much blue on his cover! Don’t get me wrong, I love blue. It’s my favorite color, but this being a book about different aliens; it makes me wonder if they are blue or green like in cartoons… Ok, back to reviewing!

This was an amazing audiobook! The narrator did a terrific job with voice acting and expressing feelings. Her alien acting was so great! The small pause between the introductions at the beginning of each chapter combined with the emotions that were so well broadcasted made me love this book and for some moments I even forgot the small things I was not quite ok with.

The writing was nice, the author tried (successfully) to create a story with a little bit of everything: romance, action, aliens, CIA, family drama. So I can say it satisfies a wide variety of tastes. Add to that a dose of humor, and there you have it: a nice book to pass some time.

We have two alien races, one trying to study humans and human life, the other trying to steal the technology used for this purpose. Ronan is a human born in space and raised by the good aliens, who has helped them keep an eye on Alexandra, one of the humans being watched. Once he finds out her life may be in danger, he decides to save her, abandoning his life with the ETs. Alex has her own issues at home, with her father suffering from cancer, all the while trying to keep normal appearances. So when she finds out aliens are out to get her and that someone has been watching her all her life, she has a rather “cool” reaction. She is more bothered of the fact that Ronan knows her more intimately than because of the whole extraterrestrial situation. I didn’t like her that much. She was reckless and naïve even if towards the end gets some courage.

Alex’s mother had few things to object when it came to her daughter’s decisions. She gave her too much liberty and her actions are not so much in the parental area. The cancer struggle was a theme well analyzed in the book. We get to see how it affects the person with this affliction and as well the impact on the others.

I still have a lot to say about the book, but I’m trying to keep a normal length here. I think it’s a great story, I would have liked a bit more info on the extraterrestrial beings, I would have liked a more mature Alex and maybe an ending not so rushed, regardless, this makes a great audiobook with an excellent narrator! Congratulations to Xela Culletto and Lori Prince for a great collaboration! And thanks again to Audiobookworm for such a great audiobook!




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