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  • Friday Favorite – EW’s Best 10 TV Shows Right Now!

    A recent issue of Entertainment Weekly highlighted what they consider THE 10 BEST TV SHOWS RIGHT NOW!

    entertainment-weekly-coverHere they are in order:
    1. The Good Wife (CBS)
    2. Breaking Bad (AMC)
    3. Lost (ABC)
    4. Friday Night Lights (NBC)
    5. Fringe (FOX)
    6. Modern Family (ABC)
    7. Glee (FOX)
    8. Southland (TNT)
    9. Damages (FX)
    10. Caprica (SYFY)

    Of all these “great” shows, I only watch two of them regularly. Of course, I’ve told you about my love for Friday Night Lights, which is just a brilliant character study, and I can’t wait for the new season to start in April on NBC. Those of you with Direct TV have already had a chance to watch it, but the rest of us with regular cable are on pins and needles. 🙂

    And the other show that I watch on this list? Well, it’s actually The Good Wife.

    I wasn’t actually interested in watching this show when I first heard about it. A show about the wife of a politician involved in a sex scandal? No thanks. I get enough of that in the news. I’m not really interested in more.

    Or so I thought.

    But after one episode, I was hooked. How could I not be? Julianna Margulies as the wronged wife Alicia Florrick and Chris Noth as former state’s attorney Peter Florrick offer layered and intricate performances. Josh Charles (a favorite from Sports Night) plays Alicia’s boss, a partner at the law firm that is the scene of Alicia’s return to law after 15 years away. And might he be a love interest? Only time will tell, but I kind of hope so.

    Dynamic performances by supporting cast members Christine Baranski and Matt Czuchry (Gilmore Girls) and interesting stories make this a wonderful procedural. Add in the drama and heart of Alicia’s personal struggle to forgive and embrace her husband, and the show becomes absolutely fabulous!

    So those are my two shows on the list. Which ones do you watch? What do you think should have made the top 10 that didn’t?

    Friday Favorite – Being Available for Preorder!

    In the life of every author there’s a moment of pure joy that makes all the hours of brainstorming and nail biting and hair pulling worth it. It’s the moment when you realize that your book is finally, actually, truly available to be purchased. That happened for me this week when I realized that my next book, Vanishing Act, is available for preorder on Amazon.com and CBD.com! It officially releases August 10, but it looks like CBD might start shipping them out at the beginning of August.

    I don’t have any cover art to share yet (but I’ve seen the first draft, and it looks AWE-some!) but I can still give you a sneak preview about the book. Here’s the synopsis:

    Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in
    an alley-and then she fled. She changed her name, her appearance
    and her job, hoping to keep her father’s shooter at bay. For months,
    it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on
    her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But
    this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side-right? The
    handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he’s wary
    of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with
    both on the line.

    Stay tuned this spring and summer for giveaways to celebrate the release. So glad to get to share this with you. 🙂

    Friday Favorite – Sienna Commercials

    When my sister told me she and her husband were thinking about getting a minivan, I had a good chuckle. My trendy sister and fire-fighter/weight-lifter brother-in-law driving around in a minivan. It doesn’t exactly fit in my mind … but well … with another baby on the way necessitating a third car seat, Hannah says there just isn’t enough room in their little SUV for all the kids. Hence the minivan.

    I suggested one with wood paneling. Hannah said probably not. Apparently that’s not “cool” enough for them.

    In light of Hannah and John’s new purchase, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite new commercials: the family with the Toyota Sienna.

    I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

    I hope Hannah and John’s new ride matches their awesomeness!

    Friday Favorite – Men from my favorite movies!

    I saw this on my friend Kaye’s blog, and it made me smile–no mean feat since I’ve picked up whatever has been making Amy cough up a lung all week. Thanks for the grin, Kaye. Hope everyone else enjoys this little montage of some of my favorite guys from Jane Austen and other period dramas. I think Bingley’s delightfully high hair made me smile the hardest. Of course, the inclusion of Mr. Rupert Penry-Jones from Persuasion automatically puts this on my favorites list.

    Friday Favorite – Bones

    I gave my sister and her husband the first season of Bones on dvd for Christmas a couple years ago. I’d never seen a single episode, but a friend of Amy’s highly recommended it. And I found it on sale on Amazon. They watched and enjoyed it, so I asked if I could borrow it a couple months back. I hung onto it for months without watching it, but as Christmas drew closer, I knew I should return it, so I started watching it.david-and-emily-bones

    Bones is an hour-long drama about FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Brennan, who Booth calls Bones, is a forensic anthropologist–the best in her field in the country–for the Jeffersonian. Brennan and Booth team up to solve homicides for the FBI.

    Sound like your typical procedural? Kind of.

    But what sets Bones apart from its peers is the relationship between Booth and Bones. Bones is a certified genius, who’s people skills are … well … lacking. She’s blunt and often harsh and sometimes downright rude. And that’s where Booth excels. Smoothing things over, getting suspects to open up to him. Bones is all about pure logic. Booth often relies on intuition and his gut. Together they play off each other, making the show all kinds of fun.

    Also unlike many other procedurals, Bones explores the character’s back stories. Bones’s parent disappeared when she was 15 and Booth was a former Army sniper in the Middle East. This adds depth to their characters, making them way more interesting than the characters on CSI, which I watched faithfully for the first 5 seasons.


    I also love the supporting cast. T.J. Thyne as the conspiracy theorist Dr. Jack Hodgins and Michaela Conlin as Angela Montenagro, the team’s artist, are hilarious and oh-so-fun. Hodgins is especially fantastic with his curly hair and who’d believe it theories. Zach Addy, the overly brilliant intern/doctoral student, is so socially awkward that at first it feels painful, and then becomes totally endearing. I love it when he and Booth have an understanding in the first season where Booth doesn’t speak to him. Ever. And when he finally does it feels so strained, that they go back to the old habit.

    The characters and their relationships are developed and entertaining. And the mysteries aren’t completely obvious. But they’re definitely gruesome. I don’t recommend this show for anyone with a weak stomach, but if seeing burn victims and decomposed bodies doesn’t bother you, then this show is fantastic.

    I confess that the first half of the first season was a bit of a struggle for me to get through. Bones was so socially abrasive that I wasn’t sure I could stick it out. But because David Boreanaz (see picture) is … well David Boreanaz, I stuck it out. And I’m really glad that I did! I’ve just started the fourth season on dvd, and it continues to surprise me with its heart and humor.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend! Catch new episodes Thursdays on Fox and reruns on TNT.

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 1!

    We’ve made it! We’ve actually made it to my favorite made for TV Christmas movie of all time. It’s only been fouryears since ABC Family premiered this fantastic love story under the tagline:

    The fell in love. Then they met.


    Christmas in Boston is the story of two pen pals, who started writing more than 10 years ago.  They’ve seen each other through bad relationships, deaths of family members, winning science fairs, and much more. But they’ve never met. In fact, they’ve agreed to not even speak on the phone.

    Now Gina is all grown up and a newspaper reporter in Boston. Seth is a toy designer in Denver. But their pact to stay pen pals is thrown out the window when Seth’s company sends him to the big toy conference in Boston–the same conference that Gina’s boss makes her cover. But they each have a secret. They’ve given the other a picture of their best friend, claiming it was really them.

    So Seth sends Matt and Gina sends Ellen to meet each other. Meanwhile the real Gina and Seth bump into each other at the conference–they just don’t know who they’re talking to. Matt and Ellen add a whole lot of humor to this story of white lies that almost derail the a love that was meant to be.

    I love the romance, humor, and heart of this sweet story. What girl doesn’t dream of falling in love with her best friend, which is exactly what happens for Gina. Not to mention, I might have a little crush on Patrick Adams, who plays Seth. Whew! He’s so adorable!


    The worst part about this movie is that unlike every other made for TV movie, ABC Family only shows it once or twice a year. So if you can catch it, don’t miss out!

    And here’s what Katie had to say: I’ve seen this MFTVCM a number of times – I’m even watching it right now to try to refresh my memory. But I’ve been trying to think of something blog worthy for 20 minutes and am coming up completely empty…how do bloggers do this?!? OK I will say this – while this holiday movie is better than the average made-for-tv fare it apparently doesn’t elicit any emotional response or sense of loyalty from me. (Are we still friends Liz?) The story is good – I like the main characters but their bffs who spend time together under the ruse that they are the real MFEO pen pals are annoying – big time.

    And Stephanie says: Ahhh, pen pals who fall in love, literally the story of my life! This movie is cute but the secondary characters kind of ruin it for me. Definitely worth watching though.

    Also, I asked Katie and Steph to each offer one of their favorites that didn’t make my list. Here goes!
    From Katie: If You Believe – A Scroogey book editor rediscovers the Christmas spirit when her inner child (played adorably by a teeny tiny Hayden Panettiere) appears and reminds her of how fun & passionate she used to be. Lots of great moments and a little romance of course!

    From Steph: I love If You Believe as much as Katie does, it’s so great! But my favorite mftvcm is The Christmas List. It’s about a bleh kind of woman who has, on a whim, writes a Christmas wish list to Santa and all throughout the movie she mysteriously gets all she wants. I love it!

    I hope you enjoyed the countdown and will catch them on TV next year. Merry Christmas! -LJ

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 2

    Four weeks into my countdown of favorite Made for TV Christmas movies (my dad left a comment calling them mftvcm–I’m so proud!) and we’ve reached one that my mom and I both love watching together.


    In A Boyfriend for Christmas we meet 12-year-old Holly Grant, who asks Santa for a boyfriend for Christmas. But years later, she still hasn’t found the man of her dreams, and she’s given up on Santa Claus. Holly is a social worker, trying reunite a family just in time for Christmas, but she’s up against the big-bad corporate law firm. Enter Ryan Hughes, one of said corporate lawyers, who isn’t sure that his job choice is best.

    Enter good old Saint Nick, who sends Ryan on a little mission–to give Holly the best gift ever. But when he shows up at Holly’s house with a beautiful tree, he realizes who she is so introduces himself as Douglas Firwood. In the days leading up to Christmas Holly finds herself falling for the kind and mysterious Douglas. That is until her sister in law surprises their whole family by inviting Ted–Holly’s old boyfriend and the key to Holly’s brother’s professional success.

    Will Holly fall for an old boyfriend or the man who deceived her? And will she find a boyfriend for Christmas?

    I think it’s pretty clear why I love this movie! 🙂 There’s romance. There’s humor. There’s a very handsome man. There’s a completely implausible storyline. Like I said, what’s not to love?

    If you haven’t seen this favorite, watch your TV listings, or pick up the movie for sale at Amazon or Walmart. It’s totally worth a watch with your family and friends.

    Katie’s 2 cents: Love, love, love this MFTVCM. I definitely think it’s one of the better ones out there. Here’s what I love about it: awesome 80s flashback complete with side ponytails and scrunchies, Jeff from the Max as Doug slash Ryan, and a love that is DESTINED to be. Holly is a likeable leading lady – just a normal, successful, not desperate, not annoying girl you can really root for. And here’s what I envy about her – she asks for a boyfriend, Santa sends her a boyfriend, one just shows up on her doorstep complete with a big red bow. Now there’s a system I can get behind – are you with me? (granted she has to wait 20 years but that’s just a minor detail…). Plus I feel like even though the movie spans Cmas to NYs, there’s a nice natural progression for Holly & Doug slash Ryan getting to know each other and the fact that they fall in love in a short period of time is totally acceptable because they are DESTINED. Like Santa says, when 2 hearts are ready…

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 3

    Moving on with the countdown of my top five favorite made for TV Christmas movies, we come to …



    I love Mark Ruffalo. He’s a fantastic actor, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve been head over heels for him since he played Bert the security guard in this movie from 1997. Bert wants to be a cop, like everyone else in his family, but he has some sort of eye thing so he can’t pass the test. He’s resigned to working security at a department store. But this Christmas season he catches Trish and her daughter Patsy working their pick-pocket scam on a customer.

    Trish is off to jail and Patsy to child services, until Bert steps in. They shouldn’t have to be seperated and in jail over Christmas, so he takes responsibility for them. But over the long holiday weekend, Bert and Trish begin to understand that they’re not as different as they thought … one who longs to uphold the law, the other breaking it just to survive.

    A sweet and totally cheesy Christmas movie, this is one of those movies that I’ll watch over and over, and not just because of Mark. 🙂 Mark Ruffalo is as sweet as all get out, and it’s just so over-the-top unbelievable that it’s good.  I have to agree with Katie’s comments below, so I’ll let you get to reading them …

    Katie’s thoughts: now we’re getting to the good ones! i have been a devoted fan of this MFTVCM (made-for-TV Christmas movie) since it’s first aired in 97. that’s a decade worth of love friends. truth is – you know how sometimes you know movies are bad but you still love them anyway? that’s the case with this one. i KNOW in my head that this movie isn’t great but my heart just doesn’t care. plus it’s how i first fell in love with mark ruffalo and his shoulders…his shopping mall security guard bert is so sweet and endearing that i makes me consider a life of shoplifting myself. oh – and here’s something i discovered just yesterday. this movie is oddly reminiscent of an old holiday movie with fred macmurray and barbara stanwyck called “Remember the Night” about a shoplifter who ends up spending the holidays with a district attorney and they naturally fall in love. maybe that’s what the creators intended with 2nd Day – whose to know? but the possibility gives me a little more respect for them and the movie. anyway – enough of the babbling – this one is worth your time – watch it!

    Stephanie’s thoughts: I’ve only seen this movie one time and that’s all I’ll ever need. The only thing that I rememeber about this one is a really bad wig. I do not recommend.

    For the record I (Liz) have no memory whatsoever of a bad wig in this movie. But even if there is one, it is so worth it! Don’t miss it on Lifetime this year!

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 4

    Welcome back to the Christmas Movie Countdown. If you missed the introduction last week, I’ll recap for you quickly. I’m counting down my top five favorite made for TV Christmas movies, and today is my number 4 pick!

    eves-christmasEve’s Christmas came out in 2004 and is the story of Eve Simon (played by Elisa Donovan), a successful business associate in New York City. But as Christmas approaches and her skeezy boss hits on her, Eve wonders if years ago she made the right decision to leave her fiancee at the altar and take the internship that has made her the business mogul she always longed to be.

    On the streets of NYC, Eve meets a mysterious man–not surprisingly an angel–who sends her back in time. When Eve wakes up the next morning, she’s back living in her parent’s home and still planning her Christmas wedding to Scott.

    But as Eve gets to relive her life, she is faced with the same decision that she already made once–badly. So what will she do?

    I think one of the reasons I love this movie is that the ending really surprised me. You think she’ll go with the guy just because it’s a sweet Christmas movie, but it doesn’t play out like every other rom com. We get to see her be great at what she’s great at while still being in love with a really cute boy. I also really love Eve’s relationship with her mom. It’s so sweet. It makes me want to go home and bake cookies with my mom.

    Catch it on Lifetime this Christmas season, and be sure to let it pull you into the holiday spirit.

    Have you ever had to choose between a man and the job that you love? What’d you do? What would you do if you were confronted with that question?

    And Katie says:
    so I’d only seen this movie once-i guess the year it was new-and never made a point to watch it again so that’ll tell you something…but for the sake of the blog i subjected myself to it a second time – and i have to tell you – my initials impressions still stand. in theory i think the idea of the movie is good – girl gets second chance at righting a wrong in her past (by traveling back in time of course! this is a tv movie after all!) and in the end makes the right decisions that lead to a great life with the man she loves. but the truth is, i just don’t like eve and i don’t care if she chooses the guy or the job or gets stuck in the past or with her crappy reality or jumps off a cliff (too far?). needless to say, this one wouldn’t make my top 5. sorry liz!

    Steph says:
    I love made for television movies. Made for television Christmas movies are especially wonderful. This was the first time I had seen Eve’s Christmas and, though not my favorite, it did not disappoint. When referring to our last movie, Holiday in Handcuffs, Katie said that one of the must-have qualities of a made for tv Christmas movie is a “completely implausible storyline.” Eve’s Christmas has plenty: wishes upon the Christmas Star, guardian angels, and time travel! Will Eve make the right decision the second time around?

    Friday Favorite – LetsSayThanks.com

    A friend of mine shot me an e-mail about LetsSayThanks.com recently. It’s a site hosted by Xerox, and it’s purpose is to allow regular folks, like you and me, to say thanks to the many amazing men and women currently serving overseas.

    The site lets visitors pick a card design (drawn by kids from across the country), write a message (or chose one that’s already been written), and sign their name. Then Xerox prints off these cards and notes and sends them to our military personnel abroad.

    What a really, really cool idea! My hat is off to the folks at Xerox for providing this free way for all of us to offer our gratitude to men and women who sacrifice so much. The site also has a section from the troops, with notes from men and women in the armed forces, sharing why they do what they do.

    If you haven’t thanked someone who serves our country recently, take a moment and visit LetsSayThanks.com. Remember that we have freedoms in this country because of the men and women who have laid down their lives for people they don’t even know.

    “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

    This Thanksgiving, I’m really, really thankful for the men and women who put their lives at risk for all of us. Thank you!