Review: Understanding the Stars PLUS Giveaway!

understanding the starsIf you’ve always known there was something…or someone…out there in the universe


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.

Length: 220 Pages

Release Date: December 30, 2016


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.


I feel like the synopsis provided above needs more context, so I’m going to try real quick before launching into my review. Understanding the Stars is about a girl, Alexandria, who has been the subject of an alien research experiment.  Unbeknownst to her, an alien race had implanted a device in her head while she was sleeping so they could experience life as she did–they could watch and hear everything. But then a different alien species wants the technology from the first alien species, so now they are after the device in her head–this is a problem because taking it out of her head will kill her. In steps a cute human (who is actually working with the aliens because he used to live with them, and is also the one who has been monitoring everything coming out of her head. Creepy.) wants to help save her. Alexandria, in turn, wants to help save the others who have implants in their heads. And not die.

Phew. That was a lot, and hopefully you’re not too lost at this point. The actual novel isn’t as convoluted as I just made it sound, but hopefully you have a better idea of what the book is about.

Overall, I liked the book. Cute boy rescuing girl from aliens is always a nice starting point. It’s not one I would re-read, but it was a fun, fast read.

However, that being said, there were certainly things I wish would have been improved. As far as characters go, I didn’t love Alexandria. She seemed to have no problem believing that an alien chip was in her head, and she wasn’t developed enough for me to care a whole heck of a lot. Both she and human boy (Ronan) were a bit one-dimensional. There was a weird connection between them because he was in love with her before she knew he existed (because of the whole ‘watching her every move from inside her head’ thing).

The plot developed at a nice pace, though. The aliens were appropriately developed, yet distant at the same time, and kept things interesting.  I was a bit disappointed that she never actually left the planet. Whenever aliens are involved, I like a little intergalactic travel, but maybe that happens in the next book. (By the way it ended, a book #2 is inevitable).

As far as content goes, there is no vulgarity, sexual situations, and limited non-graphic violence.

Overall,  the story was good but nothing ‘out of this world.’ (see what I did with that? hee hee) I’m going to give this one 3 out of 5 Stars.


I will be drawing TWO winners to win an e-copy of Understanding the Stars! To enter, leave a comment on this post and answer this question: If you could meet an alien race (either on earth or out in the universe somewhere), would you want to? (Must comment by May 26th with email address)


Understanding the Stars is available both digitally and in paperback. Click on the image below to read more reviews and/or purchase your own copy!


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