2021 Year in Review

Going into 2021 I felt a lot of apprehension regarding the unusually large volume of unknowns in the immediate future from my pregnancy and Quinn’s impending birth, to turbulent politics and the COVID crisis. As an analytical chemist, anything out of my control can drive me crazy (and as a result Luke), so it should be no surprise that I overcompensated with what I could control such reading everything I could about having a baby and overanalyzing each item on the registry. Despite all of the unknown and the many distractions, I had quite the fun year reading. As soon as I read that Quinn could hear sounds in the womb, I started my baby bookmoon. We listened on audiobook to all of the Red Rising series (Pierce Brown) and A Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin). In May we also welcomed our sweet daughter, Quinn who has proven to be a blessing beyond measure. We couldn’t have dreamed of a happier, more content little girl who is already crawling on on her way to walking at seven months. I was induced with only a few hours left in A Dance with Dragons, which would have concluded my baby bookmoon. At three in the morning, a few weeks after Quinn was born, I was up feeding her and decided to start listening to the audiobook since I was trying to stay awake. Upon starting the book, Quinn stopped feeding, looked at me, and I swear she smiled. I’m convinced she knew Roy Dotrice’s voice because over the next week or so, when we would listen to the rest of the audiobook, Quinn would immediately calm. That said, Quinn has already listened to at least a dozen, if not more audiobooks as the books would often be playing be in the background on speaker during walks or just hanging out together.

I finished judging my first ever Self Published Fantasy Blog Off in May and am deep into Phase 2 of my second time judging, this time teamed up with Lynn’s Books.

While I haven’t announced this anywhere yet of social media but in November, I started my next exciting reading adventure as a beta reader for Brent Weeks, the author of The Lightbringer series.

COVID has been a looming shadow over all of 2021. I’m optimistic for a vaccine for young babies early in the next year so that we can finally relax a bit and introduce Quinn to our love of travel. The vaccine in general has allowed us to finally be able to visit with my grandparents and parents with a freedom that had been absent for most of 2020. Stay safe my friends!

Here’s a brief overview of how we occupied our time in 2021 from adjusting to being new parents and beekeeping to DIY projects, reading, and road trips. Check out my other yearly recaps in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Reading Overview

2021 Totals

  • Average Rating: 4.08
  • Total Reads: 61
  • Total Posts: 75
  • Pages Read: 28,229
  • Words Read: 8,002,947
  • Words Written: 99,781

2020 Totals

  • Average Rating: 4.02
  • Total Reads: 67
  • Total Posts: 103
  • Pages Read: 31,023
  • Words Read: 8,824,770
  • Words Written: 97,786

Top Fiction Reads

Top Nonfiction Reads


Travel was curtailed in 2021 due to the on going COVID pandemic and the arrival of our precious Quinn. In the middle of summer we went up to a family cabin near Munising, Michigan. We took Quinn who was seven weeks old at a time on a six mile hike to Chapel Beach along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This remote beach that contains a beautiful waterfall, holds special meaning because it is where Luke and I got engaged. Quinn didn’t fuss once and slept for most of the hike. It was special to introduce Quinn to Lake Superior and a place we love so much.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Chapel Beach)- Munising Michigan

Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan

Bay Furnace, Michigan

Van Gogh Exhibit – Detroit, Michigan

When Quinn was just over three months old I took her to the Van Gogh Exhibit in Detroit. It was such special experience as Quinn took in all the swirls of color, taking in everything she could see.


Quinn was kind enough to delay coming until after we got our new bees at home and in their hives. In the photo above I was 39.5 weeks pregnant and still able to somehow fit in my bee suit. We had three hives out of four make it through the winter, hopefully our new hives fair just as well this winter.

Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO):

This is my second year that I am honored to be a judge in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO contest. A change from last year that good friend Jennie and I are now teamed up with the brilliant Lynn’s Books to create Team LB=TC2 . It has been such a fun collaboration and we are slowly working our way through Phase 2.

SPFBO consists of two phases, with the first phase consists of the 300 entrants being divided into groups of 30 among ten judges. We had a wonderful Phase One Batch and it was difficult to narrow the thirty books down to six semifinalists, which were as follows:

Finalist for Phase One:

Semifinalists for Phase One:

Lynn’s Books:

Critiquing Chemist:

DIY Projects

During my nesting phase I worked on two DIY projects for Quinn. The first I made milestone numbers for her made out of felt and learned how to make felt flowers. Talk about a hot glue mess with the mini flowers. The felt numbers were surprisingly easy. I printed out a template from on line and then hand sewed the edges, filling the middle with stuffing as I went. I wish I would have created a DIY post to highlight how simple the process was, but incredibly time consuming. The end result as you can see in Quinn’s photos below was absolutely worth it! With the left over felt and my new found knowledge about making felt flowers, my second DIY project was making the beautiful crib mobile below. It took a day but again the end results were delightful and a great addition to the nursery.

Biggest News of 2021 – We welcomed Quinn to our family!

2021 encompassed the last half of my pregnancy and the arrival of our sweet girl just over seven months ago. There have been countless firsts and laughs as we have such a smiley, curious baby. Quinn is already crawling and on her way to walking soon. We can’t wait to keep watching her grow and every new experience in 2022. Below you can find some of my favorite photos over the past 12 months.

Looking Forward to 2022

I’m looking forward to all that 2022 has in store from the new milestones Quinn will reach to the fantastic reads that will be released. I’m going to try to be better about requesting advanced review copies from the titles I’m most eagerly anticipating. Be sure to check out my post next week highlighting those key titles!


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