Watercolor Bookmarks & Book Reviews

Welcome to Designs By miss Mandee! I’m pretty stoked, because I have an extra special post to share with you. As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been making an effort to read more books. I love reading, but I when I reflected on 2014, I realized that I only read two novels all year (I know, pretty pathetic). So far, this is the one resolution I’ve really been keeping—as of today, I have read 11 books in 2015! So, I thought it might be fun to share a “mini” book review on each of the books I’ve been reading in case you are looking for something new and fun to read as well. And it wouldn’t be Designs By Miss Mandee without a sweet freebie, so I’ve got some lovely watercolor bookmarks for you too.

Alright, before we get started, you’ll probably notice one thing that all of these books have in common: they are all geared for teenagers. While I’m not into a lot of sappy teenage drama and cheesy romance, I must admit that all of my favorite books can be found in the “Teen Reader” section at Hastings. I’m not ashamed of this, but if you’re not really into teen fiction/fantasy adventure novels, you probably won’t like any of these.


Divergent Series

Divergent Series  |  By Veronica Roth

Rating: 5/5

I ended up reading these because I saw the movie. I know that a lot of people didn’t like the movie because it was compared to Hunger Games, but I really did like it. I think it’s silly to decide not to like a movie at all just because it doesn’t quite measure up to another one in it’s genera, but that’s beside the point. I absolutely loved these books! And after reading them, it made me like the movie even more! I thought the author did a really great job addressing problems and questions about the society throughout the series, and once I started one of these books I could NOT put it down. I read each of these in two day (yes, I lost a lot of sleep, but it was worth it). I almost didn’t read Four, the break-off novel, because I didn’t want to just hear the same stories regurgitated from his point of view, but it wasn’t like that at all—pretty much all the stories were new. I was actually really pleased.

The only negative thing I have to say, is that I didn’t like the way that she wrote from Four’s perspective in Allegiant. I feel like he was written exactly the same as Tris, and I kept having to go back to the chapter heading to see who’s perspective I was reading. I don’t mind reading from another character’s perspective, but I feel like there needs to be a really distinct change in voice for it to work, and it just wasn’t there. Other than that, I throughly enjoyed this series, and I thought the balance of love story and action was absolutely perfect!


Gone Series

Gone  |  By Michael Grant

Rating: 1.5/5

This book is part of a much larger series, but I will definitely not be reading the rest. I read this book because the description was intriguing, and it had that “dystopian teen” theme going for it, but it could never compare to Hunger Games or Divergent. Even if I didn’t have those books to compare it to, I still wouldn’t have liked it. There were many things I took issue with, but these are my top three:

1. Why didn’t they rescue the babies? I won’t give you a full overview of this book, but basically one day everyone over the age of 14 just disappears in the city this takes place in. I couldn’t even get into the book because I just kept being so angry that they weren’t going around rescuing the babies that were trapped in their houses. Instead, they wait about a week before they decide to look through houses to find kids, and you can guess what has happened by then…unbelievably tragic.

2. WAY too many points of view. The author establishes a main character, but I could never connect with him because he jumps around to several other perspectives of characters—most of which don’t play a huge roll in the plot.

3. Nothing was resolved in the end. It’s a series, I get it, but if absolutely nothing gets resolved in the first book, I’m not going to waste my time reading the other five. It’s good to leave your readers wanting more, it’s not good to leave them feeling like they read over 500 pages of literature only to find out that there’s no resolution. (Maybe I really just wanted to write this post to vent about this book).

The only reason I gave it 1.5 rating instead of a 0, is because, despite all the terrible things I’ve mentioned, it really did keep me turning the pages and wondering what was going to happen next.


Matched Series

Matched Series  |  By Ally Condie

Rating: 3.5/5

I had seen these books before, and I’ve always been tempted to read them because I love the cover design (yes, I like to judge books by their cover—I’m a designer, I can’t help it). After reading the description, though, I was always nervous that it was going to be like Twilight and have a really weak female character who’s only concern is which boy to be marry and can’t do anything for herself (my biggest pet peeve in books and movies). I was pleasantly surprised to find that that wasn’t the case. While Cassia is no Katniss or Tris, she’s not at all helpless, and does quite a bit to prove her bravery throughout the series.

The first book started off really really slow, but picked up near the end. The second book had a great pace the whole time! The third book started and ended strong, but got slow again in the middle. But, besides the slowness, these books were really fun to read and were great “escape” novels. Plus, all the characters got unrealistically happy endings, which I personally didn’t mind after reading all the other books I’ve talked about.


Paper Towns

Paper Towns  |  By John Green

Rating: 4/5

First off, I am a HUGE John Green fan! I’ve been watching his YouTube videos for years, and even preordered The Fault In Our Stars because promised to sign every preordered copy  (I had never read any of his books at the time, and had no idea what it was about). I am also a big fan of his writing style. I love the quirky way his characters think, and the intelligent/witty way they talk.

Overall, I really liked this book. The characters were well developed, the theme was interesting, and I was left with a new perspective about life and the people around me. I found the ending to be a tad anticlimactic, but I can’t think of it ending any other way that would be realistic.

One caution: the main characters are teenage boys, and the way they talk to each other is extremely crude. I wouldn’t recommend this book to young readers…I probably wouldn’t even want my own kids reading it until they were 18, but that’s just me.


Knight & Rogue Series

Kinght and Rogue Series  |  By Hilari Bell

Rating: 5/5

I personally think this is one of the most underrated book series of all time! I absolutely love these books—the two main characters and amazing together, the plots are always really fascinating, and there’s always really cool twists! I read the first three books years ago, and was really sad when Hilari Bell didn’t come out with any more. I only recently found out that two more books have come out in the last year. So, this year I have re-read Player’s Ruse in order to recall where the series left off, and just recently finished Thief’s War.

I could never do it justice trying to explain how great these books really are, but if you are into action, fantasy and adventure, you will not be disappointed! These books are a perfect example of an author that knows how to make use of a story told from two different character’s perspectives. She does it very purposefully—I never have to try to figure out who’s perspective I am reading. I particularly love Fisk (the rogue)! He’s witty, sarcastic, and one of my favorite characters of all time.

I am dying to read the latest book—Scholar’s Plot, but none of the bookstore near me have it, and it’s really expensive on Amazon right now (sigh). Maybe this post will become to popular that Hilari Bell will send me a free copy (wouldn’t that be so awesome)!



Thanks for indulging me with my mini book reviews! Now, here’s your reward—beautiful bookmarks!

Watercolor Bookmarks


If you like the subtle flower designs on these, you can get them for yourself here.

So, have you read any of these books before? What did you think? Was I being too harsh with Gone? Or too lenient with Divergent? And what should I read next? Let me know, because my list is dwindling!

Happy reading!

Miss Mandee Signature



Watercolor Bookmarks2

*I am linking up to these parties


16 Comments on Watercolor Bookmarks & Book Reviews

  1. Deena Caunt
    March 13, 2015 at 10:08 am (9 years ago)

    I often love Teenage books too. I was crazy for Harry Potter and I really like His Dark Materials too. Lyra is a VERY class act! I don’t know if you read those, I think some Americans have religious beliefs that affect their choice of books, and I’m not sure if you are one of the religious bloggers. If you are allowed and you didn’t read it, try it out. I’m going to see what Paper Town is like.

    • Mandee
      March 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks for your comment Deena! Good to know that’s I’m not the only adult who still likes teenage novels. 😉 I haven’t heard of His Dark Materials before, but I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Marilyn
    March 13, 2015 at 10:30 am (9 years ago)

    WOW, these book marks are absolutely stunning!

    • Mandee
      March 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm (9 years ago)

      Thank you Marilyn!!

  3. Danielle
    March 15, 2015 at 10:12 pm (9 years ago)

    These are so pretty! I’d love for you to link them up at the Motivational Monday link party with us!

    Have a great week!


  4. Heaven
    March 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm (9 years ago)

    I am constantly drawn to your site through blog parties! Thanks for the bookmarks and reviews. I think my daughter would love the Knight series. I know she liked the Divergent and Hunger Games ones. Have a great day!

    • Mandee
      March 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm (9 years ago)

      Oh yes, I would highly recommend it for her then! It doesn’t have the romance like Divergent or Hunger Games, but they are all very fun, adventurous, and suspenseful. 🙂

  5. Leia @ Eat It & Say Yum
    March 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm (9 years ago)

    Those book marks are too cute. It’s nice to some book recommendations. I’d never heard of some of those series, but they sound interesting. Thanks for sharing at On Display Thursday!

    • Mandee
      March 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Leia! Yeah, it’s always fun to read new things. 🙂

  6. Colleen Pastoor
    March 21, 2015 at 12:50 am (9 years ago)

    I love these bookmarks Mandee! I am so needing to pick up a book and read, the stack I have on my night table is growing and I can’t seem to find time to tackle them. You’ve given me the kick in the butt I need though 🙂

    • Mandee
      March 23, 2015 at 10:09 am (9 years ago)

      Thanks Colleen! That’s awesome! It’s always great to take some time to read. 🙂

  7. Suzanne
    March 21, 2015 at 6:55 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Mandee,
    Thanks for linking up to Saturday Sparks. You have been featured today.
    Have a Wonderful Day,
    Pieced Pastimes

    • Mandee
      March 23, 2015 at 10:10 am (9 years ago)

      Yay! Thank you so much Suzanne!

  8. Christie
    March 26, 2015 at 12:44 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this at Totally Terrific Tuesday! I haven’t read Paper Towns yet, but it’s on my list. #tttparty

  9. Tiffany W.
    January 9, 2017 at 8:34 am (7 years ago)

    Discovered your blog through the “Printable Crush” blog, and I’m amazed! I’m the type who reads lots of designing blogs and printable blogs, but your style is so far the most similar to mine. Love your designing style <3 This set of bookmarks, especially, is SO GORGEOUS, thank you so much!

    • Mandee
      January 9, 2017 at 10:35 am (7 years ago)

      Yay Tiffany! Glad to have you as a new design BFF!! Thanks for your kind words—you’ve made my day. ^_^


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