2017 Year in Review


Happy, Happy New Years my friends! It is rather remarkable reflecting upon the speed at which 2017 has passed, with its many ups and downs dispersed throughout the year.  In many ways I’m thankful this heartbreaking year has reached its conclusion with Luke and I having lost three grandparents.  While initially pondering this post, the sad events stood out until I started compiling the lists you’ll find below, whereupon I realized how many wonderful books and experiences I was able to partake in during this tumultuous year.  Blogging alone has been flush with blessings from meeting and interacting with many new fellow bloggers and authors, whereupon the Critiquing Chemist broke the 2000 follower threshold in late March before surpassing 3000 followers in September.  Additionally, as someone who loves traveling, Luke and I went on some pretty remarkable adventures in 2017, from Dry Tortugas National Park to Baltimore to the Bahamas.  Of course aiding us in our destination choices were the 13 weddings we attended this year! Of note, my brother provided the Critiquing Chemist’s first guest post as Samuel and Kara detailed their trip to Olympic National Park and Forks, Washington.  Alas, no vampire sightings.  These two lovebirds have spent November and December on quite the traveling whirlwind, spanning from Hawaii to Beijing, to Australia before embarking on a cross country road trip.   Now that they are home, they will be treating us to a series of posts starting in January, highlighting their once in a lifetime trip. Another key milestone was passing my second year blogging anniversary in which I celebrated the only way an analytical chemist could by compiling data the past couple of years into several satisfying graphs.  I’ve generated a few similar graphs as seen below grouping my data with regard to the calendar year were I read 90 books and posted a total of 117 times! The left side graphs represent 2017 while the right side represent 2016.  The top piechart illustrates the percentage breakdown of the medium I read the 90 books in 2017 and 87 book in 2016.  Of note, it is interesting to see how the shift to audiobooks has continued to increase with approximately 35% audiobooks in 2017 to over half of the book I read in 2017 being of the listening format.  Interestingly, the ratio (Pie chart Row #2) has stayed relatively constant between the two years with approximately 25% of my reads being nonfiction.  Row #3 illustrates the breakdown of all 117 posts in 2017 and 95 posts in 2016, with books by far making the far majority with 73.8% and 87.9%, respectively. The 4th Row of charts focuses specifically on the posts that deviate from the traditional book reviews involved traveling, DIY and our beekeeping experiences. From that chart you can see the posts are weighted heavily toward the travel topic (44.4%), with milestones (22.2%) and DIY (27.8%) coming in a close second and third for 2017.  In 2016 there were only eight such posts so it is hard to infer any meaning.  Overall, in 2017 I wrote 84,525 words, read 43,278 pages and 13,450,563 words, with an overall rating of 3.95/5.  All of these stats were an increase in comparison to 2016 where I wrote 63,720 words, read 41,318 pages and 12,861,406 words with an overall rating of 3.71. For a blogging New Year’s Resolution, I plan on reading The Wheel in Time series and maintaining the reading/blogging level I’ve been achieving.  Thank you to my blogging family for such a wonderful, enabling, and encouraging 2017! Here’s to an even better 2018! ❤


Top 11 – Fiction 

Of note, this list was suppose to be capped at ten but I couldn’t decide on which of the eleven titles to eliminate!

  1. The Demon Cycle series
  2. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
  3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
  5. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  6. It by Stephen King
  7. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
  8. The Girls by Emma Cline
  9. Wool by Hugh Howey
  10. The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
  11. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Top 10 – Nonfiction

  1. Radium Girls by Kate Moore
  2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  3. The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
  4. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  5. White Trash by Nancy Isenberg
  6. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  7. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
  8. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
  9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  10. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Advanced Reader Copies

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan

The Core by Peter V. Brett

Artemis by Andy Weir

The Hidden Face by S.C. Flynn

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown


John K. King Bookstore – Detroit, Michigan


Detroit Tigers Training Camp – Orlando, Florida


Hamilton Musical – Chicago, Illinois


Myopic Bookstore – Chicago, Illinois


2017 Chicago Beer Festival – Chicago, Illinois


The Hesburgh Library at University of Notre Dame – South Bend, Indiana


Bimini – Bahamas


Atomic Bookstore – Baltimore, Maryland


George Peabody Library – Baltimore, Maryland


Mackinac Island – Michigan


Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida


Everglades National Park – Florida


Biscayne National Park – Florida


Key West – Florida


Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois


Hamilton Musical – Chicago, Illinois


St. Augustine – Florida


John K. King Rare and Used Books – Detroit, Michigan


Guest Posts

Samuel’s Adventure to Olympic National Park!

Get excited for Samuel and Kara’s mind blowing end of the year adventures coming in January! In November and December they visited Hawaii, Beijing, Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef before embarking on a cross country road trip back to Michigan!



Honeybee Update #1


Honeybee Update #2


Honeybee Update #3


Honeybee Update #4



Antique Windows as Seating Charts and Menus


Wooden Wedding Cake Stands


Moss Covered Monograms


Gold Christmas Lights


Machine Stitched Wedding Programs


Thirteen Weddings

We were blessed to celebrate with some of our closest friends and family in 2017 as they got married all over the country! We managed to pack in 13 weddings in one year! Rent the Runway was a lifesaver this wedding season as all of the dresses below were courtesy of the easy rental website!


PS. Huge check off my bucket list with skydiving! What to do next year?




    • Happy New Years! We actually had a family discussion about the 3.95 yesterday. My brothers were adamant I was too nice. I think you have a good point. I’m usually picky about what I read so maybe that skews my ratings higher.

      And Thank You! Our wallets were definitely lighter after all the celebrating! ha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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