Friday, March 14, 2014

Side Effects May Vary Launch: My Personal Bucket List

As I'm sure a lot of you guys know, Julie Murphy's Side Effects May Vary releases on Tuesday.  This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and it didn't disappoint.  Alice is a classic unlikable character and she left me with a lot to think about it after I finished the book.  I also loved soaking up Murphy's gorgeous prose as I read--it made me eager to see how her writing evolves as we get more books from her.  

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

One important component of Murphy's debut is Alice's bucket list.  A lot of people have asked Julie what's on her bucket list, so for a change, she wanted to hear about what's on our bucket lists.  Here are a few things that are on mine.

*Ride a century ride

Here is a picture of me starting the bike portion of the triathlon I competed in last June--just a 15 mile ride.

Yes, I want to bike 100 miles all in one day.  Yes, this could be an indication that I'm crazy.  The longest ride I've been on so far is 70 miles, so I think I can handle it.  Obviously, there would be a stop in there for a cheeseburger or something.  I love to give myself new challenges, and I'd love to be able to say I did it.

*Make an ice box cake

I was at a party a few years ago where somebody brought a homemade ice box cake, and it was beautiful.  I don't remember if I tried any of it, but I would love to make one.

*Own a golden retreiver

This is probably kind of a ridiculous item, but I think goldens are gorgeous animals with sweet temperaments.  I would love to have one to snuggle with and take on long walks.  If possible, I'd like to get a rescue, and I'd even be willing to get a mutt if it meant saving one from an animal shelter.

*Run a marathon

I do like going on longer distance runs, but they can get painful because of all the impact.  This might be a one time thing.

*Visit all fifty states.

If my calculations are correct, it looks like I'm at 23 for this one so far. It would be so col to be able to see that much of our country.

*Find a life partner

Perhaps some of you guys are going to find this silly, but I'd love to find that person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with.  I just think having someone to share everything with would be lots of fun.  I'm willing to be the awesome lady who doesn't get married until she's like 50.  In the meantime, I have lots of great friends to have adventures and mishaps with.

*Climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire
Me on the gorgeous day when we scattered Grandma's ashes.
My mom grew up in Maine, a fact that frequently gets mentioned on this blog. Growing up we'd go to Maine every summer, and because the three of Mom's siblings that are still alive live there, we still travel up there a lot. When my mother was a kid, her parents took them to Mount Washington a lot.  My grandfather got Parkinson's when I was three and quickly went down hill, so I never really got to know him, even though he lived until I was a junior in high school.  I do know that this place was special to him, because we scattered his ashes there after he passed.  Most people drove up that day because the fog was terrible.  My grandmother passed away in May of 2012, and we made the trip in October.  None of us were really in hiking shape, though, so we drove again. At some point I'll take the time to do a bit more hiking in preparation in their honor.

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel. Julie can best be found on her website (, tumblr (, or twitter (


  1. I think these are very good, solid (and doable!) items on your bucket list. I wish I had a good ice box pie recipe to share with you. Visiting all 50 states would be amazing. Now you've made me want to count how many I've been to.

  2. Love that your bucket list is totally realistic. I want to write mine now too.

  3. These are fantastic bucket list items. Good luck on them. I want to start writing a bucket list for myself.

  4. I think this is a great bucket list. It's nice to have so many meaningful things on it. Good luck with all of them! I used to have run a marathon on my list, but after so many running injuries I don't know any more.



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