2018 Year in Review


Remember when you were a kid and one week, never mind one year felt like as though took forever. How have we gained the ability to fast forward time as adults? The past year has positively flown by and I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is the third year in review I’ve compiled as a blogger. I’m thankful I’ve started down this road as I thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through what my favorite reads were back in 2016 and what adventures Luke and I’d embarked on during our first year of marriage.  The post highlighting 2017 was a reminder of the thirteen weddings we attended along with travel to some of our favorite National Parks to date.  This concluding year had its own unique ebbs and flows involving a whirlwind trip to Spain with my best friend, a cross country road trip with my brother, and tragically my parent’s large barn burning down on my birthday after a lightening strike. The photo directly below is taken from the fields of the storm blowing in while we were wrapping up for the day. The following photos are of the aftermath.


Ever the optimist, I’m excited to see what growth and adventures 2019 will bring with a new nephew on the way, my baby brother getting married and many travel schemes in the works. Speaking of my baby brother, Samuel and Kara had two fantastic  guest posts earlier this year highlighting their trip to Australia and China.  They have several trips planned for this year from their honeymoon in South Africa to a joint trip with us to Peru. Fingers crossed we’ll be treated to another guest post from them in the near future.

From a literary and blog standpoint, 2018 was another PR year, not from the standpoint of number of books but quantity of pages/words read in contrast to the previous years. In 2017 I managed to pack in 90 books, where in 2018 I ‘only’ read 88 books but when you compare and contrast pages/words read between the two years I read just over a million more words this year (14,720,958).  I leaned very heavy toward epic high fantasy in 2018 as I worked my way through the Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, Wheel of Time and The Dark Tower series. It helped that I had a two and a half hour round trip commute for the majority of the year allowing me to listen to audiobooks while driving. As a direct result in this lifestyle change, my reading medium of Kindle/physical books dwindled to almost nothing as I never had any time for reading once I got home from work. Additionally, with my travel posts I posted over 123 times on my blog, resulting in my most productive year yet.

Another exciting post started out 2018 with Peter V. Brett (author of the Demon Cycle series) and I collaborating on an interview where we discussed the end of his series and some of the open ended questions left post read. Be forewarned, the post that can be found is chock full of spoilers for his series as a whole.


My local independent bookstore, Schuler Books  brought in a fantastic bunch of authors over this past year from Jim Butcher to Veronica Roth and Somaiya Daud.

The Critiquing Chemist also hit the mind blowing statistic of surpassing 4,000 followers! The support I’ve encountered within my blogging family has been so uplifting ever since I started this blogging journey. To celebrate this milestone I compiled a list highlighting 150 of the Most Beautiful Libraries in the World. Over the past year I was geeked to be able to check off three of the libraries on the list, i.e., The Last Bookstore University of Michigan Law Library and Canada’s Library of Parliament.

Top Ten Fiction

Top Five Nonfiction


Los Angeles

  • The Last Bookstore

Skylight Books









Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario

Montreal, Quebec


Whitefish Point

University of Michigan Law Library

National Parks

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Beekeeping and Farming

I slacked with my beekeeping updates this year as it was a rather heartbreaking year for our hives. Our two hives didn’t make it through the winter, so we bought five new hives this spring only to experience much frustration with three of our queens dying early on. Through much worrying we only ended up with three hives surviving. Fingers crossed the winter and 2019 is kinder to them.  On a lighter note we did the wedding favors for one of my friend’s weddings this fall. Check out how cute those little 2oz bears are!

Luke and I spent many, many weekends this summer home helping my parents bale straw and work on our own 80 acres of soybeans.  While the barn burning changed life plans in the blink of an eye, it was indeed a busy summer in the sun filled with memories.


  1. What a great year you had! Your pics are beautiful! And somehow you found time to work? HaHa Keep sharing the library pics. I used to work in a college library. Even as a child, I loved libraries and books. I will never stop reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Aside from the terrible barn burning (I’m so sorry!), you had a pretty wonderful year full of adventures in travels and books. And so many of your top reads are on my TBR (hopefully to be read this year), so that bodes well for me. 😉 Have a wonderful 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

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