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Stray (Touchstone #1)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,791 ratings  ·  279 reviews
On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing; alone, she will be lucky to survive.

The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the into
Paperback, 278 pages
Published March 21st 2011 by Andrea K. Hösth (first published March 1st 2011)
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Megan There are characters in this book that have powers, but they remind me of super powers and heroes from comic books, rather than magic. To me, this…moreThere are characters in this book that have powers, but they remind me of super powers and heroes from comic books, rather than magic. To me, this book is classified as a sci-fi, not fantasy. There is a small mention of the moon and circumstances with it that may seem to be under the realm of magic. It is definitely not the main focus of the book.(less)
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Andrea Höst will NEVER be a successful YA writer! Remember, you've read it here first. You won't believe what she did… The nerve!

You see, she created a smart, resourceful heroine who doesn't spend her time either whining or swooning. *gasp* And she has a personality! *double gasp* Un-freaking-believable. I know, I know, I'm shaking my head slowly, too. But wait, just like in an infomercial, this is the part where I say "there's more!" Although, in this case, there's less. Sit down and breathe de
How useful would you be in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic situation? My best friend and I had a discussion about this for a while the other day. (Well, to be honest I have this discussion all the time.) While we obviously tally people’s skills up in the positives column, we were in agreement that two of the biggest advantages a person can have is their ability to just go with the flow and their tendency not whine or complain about things. The reason I bring this up is because the first third ...more
Melissa McShane
This book shouldn't have worked.

The diary structure means that there's an unavoidable amount of 'telling' going on at first (Höst comes up with an excellent workaround later). The main character, for all she's pretty good at surviving, has to get rescued a lot. There are SO MANY characters you really need the appendix to keep them straight. And the plot, while good, is subservient to Cass's life, which means there are long stretches where the plot goes away in favor of the interpersonal relation
Wendy Darling
Currently free for Kindle in the U.S. and Andrea says it's also free on B&N, Smashie, Amazon UK, etc., too. Grab before it's gone.

3.5 stars Love love loved the beginning survivalist part! And the worldbuilding was incredible, though I think some of the humor I liked so much, as well as the characterization, got a bit lost in the last half.

I really can't express my thoughts any better than my readalong pal Flannery did, so if you're curious about this book, please check out her review! http:/
Sherwood Smith
Aug 31, 2012 Sherwood Smith added it
Recommended to Sherwood by: Estara Swanberg
Shelves: sf
This is the first book of the Touchstone Trilogy, a YA science fiction (or science fantasy, for hardliner SF purists who don't count psychic powers as part of sf) story that begins with Cassandra Devlin, an Australian high schooler, walking around a corner and shifting to another world.

I am normally not drawn to survival stories. I began reading late one night when it was too hot to sleep, hoping it would knock me out . . . several hours later, I was hooked.

The book is written in diary form. Cas
Be warned, this is an incredibly scattered review full of tangents and distracting jumps with no transitions at all between paragraphs! Your teachers would all be disappointed in the formatting!

It's taken me weeks to finally sit down and write the review for Stray, or overall, I guess, the Touchstone Series. (Caution: This is more an overall review, but it doesn't contain any world-shattering spoilers).

It's a rare series. Self-published. World-transcending. And in my top three favorites of All T
Ash Reads
Aug 20, 2015 Ash Reads marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ash by: Dichotomy Girl
AUG 20: Free for kindle atm!
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

I really enjoyed this book. It was slow going to get into it but I'm glad I stuck it out. The story picks up momentum almost imperceptibly and after about 100 pages becomes 'unputdownable'. The main character of the story, Cassandra, is portrayed as this quietly courageous girl with astonishing ingenuity and moxie.

The author tells the story via Cassandra's entries into her diary and does a great job of sticking to that POV. She makes the situation believable and the reader can r
Don't pay too much attention to that four, as I've just finished Lab Rat One, which is getting a five, and basically I'm not going to waste much time at all doing anything else until I've finished Caszandra. Which says it all, but very, very briefly on this:

1) I thought the survival-story first part was extremely well done - nothing that made you feel it was ridiculous to imagine a 17 year old schoolgirl city-dweller could manage, but also not glossing over any of the huge difficulties such a pe
Thea Diepen
So, for about the first twenty pages, my thoughts were: "There is nothing happening. Why is there nothing happening? *sigh* I will continue reading, nevertheless. The description promised cool things."

Then something happened, and I was excited and kept reading because I wanted to, not because I was forcing myself to. Except, after the something happened, nothing happened. And I was staying up at all hours reading it. My thoughts: "There's still nothing happening. And yet, I can't stop reading. W
Sarah Wynde
I downloaded this as a free book from a Bookbub ad, despite the fact that my TBR pile is immense. That was at, perhaps, 1PM, and I read the first few chapters while I ate lunch. Then I quit working a little early and picked it back up again. Then -- despite the fact that I had plenty to do -- I read, and read, and read some more, and then bought the next book, and read some more. It's almost midnight and I just bought the third book and its sequel.

Problems with this book: oh, the information ov
Dichotomy Girl
4th Read: 02/27/15 So, I've been sick the past week, and these books are totally comfort food to me. I am a book re-reader. My absolute favorite series' I usually reread every to every other year. But it is a bit unusual for me to read a series 3 times in a years time period. I don't even know that I can put my finger on the why. You know how sometimes you just want to sink into a familiar world? This one is so comfy to me....

3rd read: 8/2014

2nd Read: 2/7/14

Ok, So I enjoyed this quite a bit more
Jacob Proffitt
So I've been completely blocked on writing about this book. There's just so much I want to burble about that it's been over a week since I finished it and I still can't write coherently about it—which is a crying shame because I really loved this book! Or books.

First off: take it seriously when it says that it's a diary in three parts. It is exactly that and it maintains that fictive device throughout. That’s one reason this review has been so hard to write—because it really covers three books r
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

"I walked into adventure and adventure has given me blisters."

On the last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walks away from her exams and just like that, stumbles into another world. She is only sure of two things: this is not Earth and that she must do everything to survive. She eventually finds an abandoned city where she plans to settle down for the time being.

Then one day she wakes up to find herself staring at two people who definitely look h
Holy cow, this is one of the BEST books I have ever read! I can't believe it was a Kindle freebie. Actually, considering the next two books in the trilogy aren't free, I can see why, so as soon as you finish this one, you buy the other two. And it is WORTH it, let me tell you.

The main character has a great sense of humor that I instantly connected with. It also has a sci-fi bent to it, which I love. She's not the perfect hero, she's surrounded by them, but she is still special herself. I absolu
Intisar Khanani
I usually find diary-style books somewhat underwhelming, but it worked fantastically in this sci-fi / fantasy / psychic space ninja story. Can I say that again? Psychic space ninja story.

What I loved: first, there were so many commentaries layered into this story. On the surface, intriguing story of an Aussie high school girl who walks through a wormhole on her way home from her final exams, ends up on an abandoned world and struggles to survive, only to be rescued by psychic space ninjas (yay!
***3.5 STARS***

This book was cute and a lot of fun to read. It is very PG and very, very, VERY light on romance. So don't go into this book looking for it to go in that direction. If you do, you'll be sorely disappointed. For now at least. The potential is there, though, so I will be looking for some progression on that front in later books. AKA Ruuel ;)

However, if you want just a fun, quick YA light scifi this may be a good fit. The narrator is 17/18 and it is told strictly from her POV in the
This book captured me from the first paragraph, and I read straight through the whole series in a weekend. Told in diary form - which works extremely well for the subject matter - Cassandra Devlin chronicles her displacement from her own beloved Earth to a new planet after walking through a wormhole.

The main thing I really loved about this story is that Host is not afraid to let her character have faults. There are times when Cass is whiny or grumpy or despondent - and appropriately so. I'm als
Rachel Neumeier

I read this book, and the whole Touchstone trilogy, immediately after reading the Medair duology by the same author. It's fascinating how this trilogy is completely different from the Medair duology: first person instead of third, SF instead of F, a diary format instead of a straightforward narrative, a contemporary protagonist instead of a straight secondary world type of story. And it is SO GOOD.

Cassandra has a very strong, appealing contemporary voice in an amazingly believable SF world that
Apr 23, 2011 Charon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This is the giveaway I won and this is my little attempt at writing a review:

One minute Cassandra is on her way home from school, the next minute she finds herself in a place with plenty of vegetation and animal life, but no people. With no idea how she got there and therefor now idea how she can get back home, the only thing she can do is try to survive and find a human settlement. Eventually, she does find an empty village from where she is recued by the Setari, a kind of elite soldiers from a
Lina (From the Verge)

Hands down an epic amazingbaaaalllls sci-fi adventure!
This book is so creative! it goes beyond and above your typical YA fantasy. Where your female 17 year old main character is not whining about life, her hair, clothes, boys or her emo life. No, this girl is all business, what practical things to do to survive and realistic as it can get. How would you act, what would you do if all of a sudden you end up in an alternate unfamiliar world with absolutely no knowledge of
I wrote a full review of my infinite love for this entire series but I decided each book deserved an individual review to show exactly how much support I give this author.

It's so rare to find a story where the MC is someone I KNOW I'd be friends with in real life. She's the perfect mix of characteristics that make her so extremely real to me. I like to think I'm like her but I don't know if I'm really, honestly that nice. Not Mary Sue nice either, perfect nice. A good person, a rare find.

She k
This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013. I really enjoyed this book. It's written in the form of a diary, begun when Cassandra Devlin steps from one world into another, just after her HSC. Perhaps it's topical, our youngest has just finished his HSC, and I enjoyed the references about schoolies, HSC results and the whole coming of age thing.

This is a neat book. Cass is a very engaging and very real almost eighteen year old. Her diary documents her
I love it when I find a new favorite! Where to begin…
The world-building is phenomenal. Confusing at times, but incredibly interesting.
The book begins with “survivor Cass” as she struggles to make it on a deserted planet. As far as I could tell, it was all pretty realistic and gives a nice set-up for later developments. Later, after the Setari pick her up, we get more glimpses into alien society and community. All very interesting. The info-dumps were handled well and didn’t detract from the plo
I see a lot of promise in this series, although the first book did fall a bit short for me.

I have a hard time with diary-style narration. I understand its use a narrative mechanism, but I often find it gimmicky and a bit limiting. The tone of a diary is generally very casual - and while I don't want to read a YA sci-fi novel full of formal language, often the casual nature of a diary creates a feeling of being talked down to rather than of immediacy. I know first-person, present-tense isn't ever
I gave Höst another try (I wasn't overly impressed by And All the Stars, although I found it readable and there were aspects I liked quite a bit) with this one, and plodded through the beginning, where a modern high school girl finds herself trying to survive in an unpopulated foreign land and relates her story in diary format. She gets to the point of boiling wool from sheep in order to stay warm -- and then she gets rescued by a couple of mysterious strangers.

They take her to a technologically
Start to finish, this was absolutely fabulous. I didn't read the book blurb, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know it was sci-fi; from the title, I thought it was a YA werewolf urban fantasy. I was surprised and pleased at what it actually was!

The story is written as the diary of the main character. This was really brave of the author because it's hard to keep the reader entertained when there is only exposure to the main character's perceptions of things. It's also something that's har
Kari Chapman
Sometimes I really like the journal format of writing and sometimes it just doesn't work for me. This is one of those times that it really, really didn't work for me. There were a few problems for me. One - by the time I stopped probably about 7% in, there had been absolutely no other characters except for our narrator. The narrator on her own wasn't really strong enough to hold my interest. Two - the narrator failed to inject any sense of urgency, fear or really any emotion into her journal. Sh ...more
Paul DiBara
Love the narrative style, conversational and colloquial. Has an imaginative storyline. In a genre that seems to have explored every crack and crevasse of other worldly phenomenon it is refreshingly original. The main characters do have special powers but they're not superhuman. The interaction of the main character and her acquaintances is a primary driving force behind the story, along with the complex spacial anomalies that create havoc with the real world .

Our protagonist is a teenage girl
Blodeuedd Finland
Ugh I could not go on. Why is this girl still alive? Why is she not sad, depressed, angry or anything?

So I gave up quickly. It was the wool thing that did it.
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TLDR: Excellent self-published novel 1 4 Jan 30, 2014 01:55PM  
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Born in Sweden and raised in Australia, Andrea K Höst currently lives in Sydney. She writes fantasy, but wanders occasionally into science fantasy.

Her novel "The Silence of Medair" was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel.
More about Andrea K. Höst...

Other Books in the Series

Touchstone (4 books)
  • Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2)
  • Caszandra (Touchstone, #3)
  • Gratuitous Epilogue (Touchstone, #4)
Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2) Caszandra (Touchstone, #3) And All the Stars Gratuitous Epilogue (Touchstone, #4) The Silence of Medair (Medair, #1)

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“I blame Doctor Who. Mr Spock. The Scooby Gang: both the ones in the Mystery Machine and the ones with the stakes. I've spent my life with stories of people who don't walk away, who go back for their friends, who make that last stand. I've been brainwashed by Samwise Gamgee.” 55 likes
“I walked into adventure and adventure has given me blisters.” 30 likes
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