Bookish & Writerly Recaps: December 2017

It’s the last day of the year! WHAT, HOW, WHY, etc.

Anyway, though, I had a lovely December and a perfect Christmas. Highlights from the month included:

  • 1st of December tradition of making a roast dinner, putting up the Christmas tree and busting out the Bublé.
  • Taking a hike up Mount Tomaree, followed by brunch at the gorgeous Little Nel.
  • Seeing Paul McCartney in concert with the fam.
  • A friend’s wedding, which was beautiful despite the 41-degree day.
  • Christmas food gift baking and making: gingerbread, Tim Tam lamington balls and white choc macadamia cookies, plus a mango white choc cheesecake for Christmas Day. NOM.
  • Nate’s and my sixth Christmas together, and the first one where all three of our Christmas Day stops were within a 5km radius of one another. A true Christmas miracle.

What I’ve been writing

December has been a crazy month, so I’ve just had one article published on Writer’s Edit: Create Compelling Characters With These 3 Types of Character Arcs. Plenty more articles about fiction writing, freelancing and indie publishing to come in 2018, though!

You can also read about the achievements for Writer’s Edit as a whole in our 2017 in Review post, put together by WE’s wonderful Founding Editor, Helen Scheuerer.

As I mentioned in my November recap, I’d decided to focus on freelance work, Christmas and just general life stuff throughout December, and let myself off the hook in regards to any thoughts about my creative writing. Now that it’s the end of the year, though, I’ve of course been thinking about what I want to achieve next year in terms of my writing.

As you’ll know if you’ve read any of my monthly recaps this year, it’s been a pretty uncertain time for me regarding that book I started way back in November of 2015. I’ve been plagued by incessant doubts, worries, blocks, and all manner of things that have kept me from doing pretty much any substantial work on my novel this year.

But next year, I think it’ll be time to adopt an attitude of ‘now or never’. To stop worrying, let go of all the toxic doubt and fear I’ve built up in my head, and just try. I just need to take it one day, one idea, one word at a time, looking to the books I love and to my amazing writing gal pals Helen and Kyra for inspiration.

As the pretty notebook above (a present from my lovely sister) says, I just need to start somewhere.

On a related writerly note – I’ve made the decision not to continue with my monthly bookish and writerly recaps in 2018.

While I have enjoyed putting them together for the most part, I feel they’ve become more of a chore that I have to pack into an already pretty tight schedule at the end of each month. Plus, they mostly just consist of mini book reviews now – and I don’t even like writing book reviews!

So throughout next year, I’ll no longer be checking in with books read and words written at the end of each month. But I do want to keep this blog semi-alive. So I’ll hopefully be able to make it a habit to pop up a few random posts here and there. Who knows, I might even aim to bring back ‘Things I Love Lately‘ posts!

But for now, here’s a final dive into what I read in December, and also a quick review of what I’ve read throughout the whole of 2017.

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash.

What I’ve been reading

It’s the end of the year and I’m pretty tired, so here are some tiny reviews for each of this month’s six reads!

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (screenplay) by J. K. Rowling
    I wondered how much I’d enjoy reading the screenplay of a movie I’ve already seen numerous times, but the answer is: a lot! <3 It was delightful to read, and the cover and interior design are absolutely stunning.
  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
    This true crime classic was fascinating and horrifying in equal measure. Ted Bundy was a truly frightening individual, and to read about him from the perspective of someone who was close friends with him was both intriguing and frustrating. I understand that it was hard for Ann to believe that the Ted she thought she knew had done the things he did, but I still found myself wondering why she kept communicating with him, comforting him, sending him money, even after his true nature became undeniable… She addresses this issue in the book itself, though, and pays all respect to the people whose fates should never be eclipsed by Bundy’s notoriety: his victims.
  • Frostblood by Elly Blake
    While the premise of this one didn’t sound particularly original, it still seemed like some fun YA fantasy and I wanted to give it a go. Well, the premise wasn’t particularly original, and I found myself irritated at a few things here and there (witty-banter-based-hate turned instalove, I’m looking at you). But I still enjoyed it enough to finish it, and will probably read the next one in the series too.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread) (illustrated edition) by J. K. Rowling
    It’s a Christmas tradition for my sister and me to gift each other the new illustrated HP that comes out each year, and this year I got to devour PoA practically in one sitting a few days after Christmas. It’s gorgeous, of course, and there’s nothing so enjoyable or comforting as sinking into a HP reread at the end of each year.
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
    I don’t read much poetry, so I’m not really qualified to comment on the quality of the verse in this book, but just on a personal level, I didn’t really like it that much. However, there were a few poems that I did enjoy, and I don’t doubt that many people would get a lot more out of this book as a whole than I did.
  • Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
    I read and enjoyed Red Queen earlier this year, so when I needed a quick read to round out my 50-book challenge, I thought this collection of two prequel stories would be perfect. I really enjoyed the first story, Queen Song, but didn’t quite connect as much with the second one, Steel Scars. But I’m happy I read them both and I plan to continue with this series in 2018.

2017 reading year in review

Well, it was looking touch and go for a while there, even after I dropped my reading goal from 60 books down to 50… But I made it, with one day to spare. 50 books read in 2017! 🎉

Looking back at my initial reading goals for 2017 in last year’s reading wrapup, I’d said I wanted to make a quarter of my reads non-fiction, and that I wanted to up last year’s Australian-authored-book count of 17… Well, I failed spectacularly at each of these. But hey, watcha gonna do?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve learned that setting these kinds of specific goals at the start of each year is often pretty much pointless, and that in 2018, my only real goal will be to read as many books as possible that give me joy, inspiration, education, or all three at once.

Anyway, here’s some stats, plus my full list of books read this year (which you can also check out in my ‘Year in Books’ on Goodreads)!

Author breakdown

  • Books by female authors: 36.5
  • Books by male authors: 12.5
  • Books by Australian authors: 11

Genre breakdown

  • Fantasy/speculative fiction: 36
  • Literary/general/historical/YA contemporary fiction: 6
  • Poetry collections: 1
  • Short story collections: 1
  • Non-fiction: 6
Image via


  • The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  • Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
  • Cruel Crown – Victoria Aveyard
  • Frostblood – Elly Blake
  • Red Rising – Pierce Brown
  • Crossroads of Canopy – Thoraiya Dyer
  • My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
  • Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber
  • The Dry – Jane Harper
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
  • Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb
  • Assassin’s Quest – Robin Hobb
  • Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2017 – Hunter Writers Centre
  • The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin
  • Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • It – Stephen King
  • Nevernight – Jay Kristoff
  • Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff
  • Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence
  • King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence
  • Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence
  • Red Sister – Mark Lawrence
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas
  • Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas
  • Bird Box – Josh Malerman
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (screenplay) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread) (illustrated edition) – J. K. Rowling
  • Heart of Mist – Helen Scheuerer
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (reread) – V. E. Schwab
  • A Gathering of Shadows (reread) – V. E. Schwab
  • A Conjuring of Light – V. E. Schwab
  • Our Dark Duet – V. E. Schwab
  • Hunted – Meagan Spooner
  • Godblind – Anna Stephens
  • The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
  • A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir
  • Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Now I Rise – Kiersten White
Image via Pixabay


  • Everywhere I Look – Helen Garner
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
  • The Barefoot Investor – Scott Pape
  • The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule
  • Bad Behaviour – Rebecca Starford


Well, that’s it for 2017 from me. I hope you’ve had a lovely year, and that 2018 has some wonderful things in store.

As I mentioned, I won’t be checking in with these same monthly posts next year – but if you’ve read my bookish and writerly recaps throughout 2017, I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and THANK YOU!

Until next time,

Claire x