Stray (Touchstone, #1) by Andrea K. Höst Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

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<span id="freeTextContainer1827335084117005137">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. <br /><br />The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the int</span>
<span id="freeText1827335084117005137" style="display:none">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. <br /><br />The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she's being watched? <br /><br />Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people's skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a 'stray', a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow. <br /><br />Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?</span>
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<div id="review_156299683" class="review nosyndicate" itemprop="reviews" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review">
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<a class="reviewDate createdAt right" href="/review/show/156299683?book_show_action=true">Mar 23, 2011</a>
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<span class=" staticStars" title="really liked it"><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10">really liked it</span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p0"></span></span>
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<span id="freeTextContainer2361501646240757610">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!<br /><br />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</span>
<span id="freeText2361501646240757610" style="display:none">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!<br /><br />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 deeply, relax. OK, here it goes: There. Isn't. A. Love. Triangle. Say whaaaa? In fact, there are only hints of a possible romance. I know, crazy, right? And if at this point you're wondering if she went completely crazy, then let me tell you that the answer might very well be YES because she also left out any mention of phony angels, Lilith and sparkling vamps, and there aren't any sentences like "I want you but we can't be together because I'm too dangerous" and hardly any stalking at all.<br /><br />I know you must have run out of fingers ticking off all the things that make a YA book these days. I mean, what else is out there? There must be a reason why there are so many YA books recycling the same plot and characters over and over. Well, apparently, the reason is just good ol' money-grabbing laziness. This book is proof that there are other subjects and types of characters besides the overused usual suspects.<br /><br />First, a brief summary of the book. Cass, a 17 years old girl walks through some sort of wormhole and ends up in another, deserted planet. She doesn't know how she did it or how to go back, so she sets up to survive until a better alternative comes along. After a couple of weeks, some strangers show up and rescue her. They're psychic, more advanced than people on Earth and have some very cool toys, but unfortunately they also have huge problems. They're at war and the elite soldiers are like space ninjas! Don't read the tag unless you want the plot really spoiled: <a class="jsShowSpoiler spoilerAction">(view spoiler)</a><span class="spoilerContainer" style="display: none">[Cass's walking through a wormhole, though a first for someone from Earth, is not a rare event. Over a thousand years ago, these people's experiments with inter-world traveling went seriously wrong and one of the many effects is the creation of these gates. They shift, so there are accidental crossings. Another, more dangerous effect is the apparition of some very nasty creatures. Cass learns that finding a world is very difficult and, even if you find it, forcing a gate to open there instead of using one that opened naturally attracts the creatures. She also discovers that though she doesn't have any psychic power, her presence enhances or distorts other's powers. <a class="jsHideSpoiler spoilerAction">(hide spoiler)</a>]</span><br /><br />Without certain means to go back to Earth, she settles on trying to make the most of her situation by helping her rescuers. Not that she has much choice, but still, I like the way she thinks. She rolls with the punches. It's hard to make a character likable when she's not in control of her life. Most of her decisions are made for her, but she manages to react well and adapt to make the most of it without indulging on a self-pity fest of endless whining.<br /><br />Most of the other characters are still kind of a mystery. It takes a while until we learn which of them are the more important ones and even so, they're very reserved for us to get much on them from Cass's perspective, especially while she's not completely accepted as part of the group. But we have two more books to go, so I guess that the next one will show us more about them now that the board is set. Still, the little bit we do know is all show and no tell, which gives this aspect of the book extra points.<br /><br />The book is written in diary format. Cass has a blank notebook in her backpack when she steps through the wormhole and she starts to use it as a way of keeping her sanity. At first, especially because she's totally alone, the format is very noticeable and I'm sure it won't work for everyone, though having some experience writing diaries, I found it believable. A little into the book, however, when she starts interacting with people, the format takes a back sit while the story itself comes to the front and I hardly noticed it, except to keep track of the date which was kind of neat.<br /><br />There's a glossary at the end and it really came in handy because there are a lot of support characters and powers. After a while, though, you learn which ones are the important ones, but still it's nice that you <i>can</i> know the names of everyone if you feel like it. Imagine a glossary like this on Ender's Game, for example.<br /><br />I like sci-fi, but I'm not obsessed with nerding things out by dissecting the genre into a gazillion sub-genres, defending one of them to death while condemning other (which has only a minor variation) to hell just to show how much I know. So I won't even try to define this in those terms. The most I could say is that it's not space opera. <a class="jsShowSpoiler spoilerAction">(view spoiler)</a><span class="spoilerContainer" style="display: none">[Captain Obvious, are you there? Challenge accepted! <a class="jsHideSpoiler spoilerAction">(hide spoiler)</a>]</span> If you're looking for some sci-fi to read, I'd definitely recommend this (the fact that you can get it super cheap on smashwords doesn't hurt, either) but don't ask me whether is soft or hard or whatever. They have nanites, space ships, wormholes, a few gaming references and other cool stuff—use that to decide.<br /><br />A little warning. This book is part of a trilogy and the type of ending is right in the middle between giving each book a proper ending and just cutting a book in three parts semi-randomly. So now you know, there's no big climax, but we're not left mid-sentence with a cliffhanger, either. For me it worked like this: I want to read what happens next but I'm not mad about the fact that it's not out yet.<br /><br />Wow, I was just quickly rereading this, trying to catch the various articles and prepositions that usually don't make it from my mind to my fingers when I noticed something: WTH was I smoking when I started writing this? The tone of the first paragraphs makes me seem like a teen ferret on crack. I knew I shouldn't have skipped the medication that lets me subdue that part of my brain. Being a ferret sucks!</span>
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<a class="reviewDate createdAt right" href="/review/show/175907681?book_show_action=true">Jun 12, 2011</a>
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<span class=" staticStars" title="really liked it"><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10">really liked it</span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p0"></span></span>
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<span id="freeTextContainer16851677018454194128">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&rsquo;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</span>
<span id="freeText16851677018454194128" style="display:none">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&rsquo;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 or fourth of this book is about a teenage girl, Cass Devlin, walking home from school and suddenly finding herself in a completely foreign place. As she walks around, the thinks about what is going on in a very logical manner. She thinks about where the sun is located, how long the days are, what kinds of wildlife is around, what she might be able to eat, how to actually make things from raw materials. Gosh, thanks for that <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4493935.Andrea_K__H_st" title="Andrea K. Höst" rel="nofollow">Andrea K. Höst</a>, because my reading partner and I were so excited to read about a character who actually thought about all the things a person <b>should</b> be thinking if they are somewhere they have never been before. I&rsquo;ve read several books since I finished this one (as has my reading partner) and we&rsquo;ve repeatedly said, &ldquo;Ugh, Cass Devlin would never do something like this.&rdquo; I also enjoyed her sense of humor about her entire situation and the new society she finds herself a part of.<br><br>The interesting thing about this book, and this could really be a positive or negative depending on the reader, was how it was very in-depth setup for the rest of the series. What this book needs is a kickass editor to contain the awesome. Here is a very scientific graph I&rsquo;ve made for the occasion:<br><br><img src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/hostedimages/1380351390i/705034._SX540_.png" alt="Too Much Awesome Graph" class="gr-hostedUserImg"><br><br>Wouldn't we all like to have that problem? I&rsquo;d get overly excited if I were the author, too. It is clear that Ms. Höst has mapped out this world, its inhabitants, the powers, technology, and the history…and I was into all of it! At a point, while I never lost interest, I was looking for a little less description of every single power, its amplification, and the different spaces the teams went to. (this sentence probably makes very little sense but I don&rsquo;t want to ruin the plot of the book for future readers) Several of the characters intrigued me and I wished we got to know a few of them more in depth rather than tens of them by name only. In the end, this book has the potential to be a five-star read for me if it was completely edited. (There were a couple affect/effect, hanger/hangar-type errors but overall, the writing was fun and there were very few errors for a self-pub) However, the final product as it is was quite enough to make me buy the remaining two ebooks in the series to see how it all pans out and definitely enough to recommend it to a lot of people.<br><br>Surprisingly, there is no concentration on romance, at least not in this installment of the series. There are a few hints and several possibilities but it was nice not to have that weighing down the plot. Instead of Cass wondering about what X or Y dude thinks of her, she actually wonders about how everything in the world works, how she might get home, and the ramifications of her choices. Crazy!<br><br>To the author, if you are reading this at any point (which you might be!), please write a survivalist or post-apoc novel! I will read it and love it. Until then, I'll continue with this series and enjoy those ones.<br><br>I never would&rsquo;ve found this book without Goodreads. My pal <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1870710-chichipio" rel="nofollow">Chichipio</a> has an aversion to buying books that cost more than $5. Sure, I often yank his chain about this habit but this is it, Gonza, your REVENGE. I really loved this book, so thank you. (be sure to check out <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/156299683" rel="nofollow">his much more informative review</a>)</span>
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<span class=" staticStars" title="it was amazing"><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10">it was amazing</span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span><span size="15×15" class="staticStar p10"></span></span>
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<span id="freeTextContainer12428751857340191156">11th Read: In preparation for <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33650339.In_Arcadia__Touchstone___5_" title="In Arcadia (Touchstone, #5) by Andrea K. Höst" rel="nofollow">In Arcadia</a>, because I really need the refresher, ROFL<br /><br />Updating this with the new GR Re-read Function, and as anyone can see, I have a serious obsession / comfort read thing going on with this book, LOL<br /><br />10th Read:12/15/2016<br />9th Read: 9/27/2016<br />8th Read: 07/06/2016<br />7th Read: 1/8/2016 – I have such a weird obsession with this book! 7 times in 2.5 Years is crazy even for me!<br />6th Read: 8/18/2015<br />5th Read: 5/28/2015<br /><br />4th Read: 02/27/15 So, I've been sick the past week, and these b</span>
<span id="freeText12428751857340191156" style="display:none">11th Read: In preparation for <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33650339.In_Arcadia__Touchstone___5_" title="In Arcadia (Touchstone, #5) by Andrea K. Höst" rel="nofollow">In Arcadia</a>, because I really need the refresher, ROFL<br /><br />Updating this with the new GR Re-read Function, and as anyone can see, I have a serious obsession / comfort read thing going on with this book, LOL<br /><br />10th Read:12/15/2016<br />9th Read: 9/27/2016<br />8th Read: 07/06/2016<br />7th Read: 1/8/2016 – I have such a weird obsession with this book! 7 times in 2.5 Years is crazy even for me!<br />6th Read: 8/18/2015<br />5th Read: 5/28/2015<br /><br />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….<br /><br />3rd read: 8/28/2014<br />2nd Read: 2/7/14<br /><br />Ok, So I enjoyed this quite a bit more the second time around. (I would say definitely a solid 4 stars). Having read it previously, I found the descriptions of the Ena, and Ionoth, and Spaces, seemed to sink in a bit easier. (I think I just basically, came up with a mental picture in my brain, and thought "this is how I'm going to think of it")<br /><br />I still think the sheer amount of Setari she runs around with is a bit confusing, especially as they are mostly called by their last names, but occasionally mentioned by their first names, and THANK GOD, there is a list in the back of the book of all the squads and members. <br /><br />And I think the world building this time around made for a much more enjoyable read.<br /><br />Original Read 7/31/13<br /><br /><i>3.5 Stars</i><br /><br />Strengths:<br /><br />1. Strong MC<br /><br />2. No love Triangles<br /><br />3. A few mentions of a kinda-crush, but no major romance arc.<br /><br />4. Interesting world building<br /><br />5. Refuses to categorize peoples, societies or worlds as black and white, but as the much more realistic shades of gray.<br /><br />6. A very realistic portrayal of the problems and difficulties that arise when you don't know the language / understand the culture.<br /><br /><br />Weaknesses:<br /><br />1. The world was a bit confusing at first, and I think it might have been explained better. I didn't get it long after it made sense to the MC<br /><br />2. The sheer number of characters was also a bit confusing. Because she was constantly working with 12 different squads made up of 6 people each, they tended to all run together in my head after awhile.<br /><br /><br />I very rarely read indie authors, but this one had been on my radar for 2 years, so when it went up briefly as a free download on amazon, I was glad I could finally read it. I will definitely be checking out the remaining books in this trilogy, and other books written by this author.</span>
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