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Loved These Shows & Films? Read These Books!

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

I am a huge fan of entertainment, so I don’t like to play the game of pretending that books are better than television or vice versa. Stories can be told in many different ways and formats and personally I think the more the merrier — although all the streamers are really starting to test this one.

It happens often that I’m watching a show or film and think “Oh, people who enjoy this should really read X book.” And I have similar thoughts when I read a book and immediately think the readers who enjoy it would also enjoy a show or film I’ve recently watched. This is probably one of my favorite things to write, because I love watching people discover something new to love based on something they already enjoy. It also helps that I watch a lot of TV and read a lot of books, so this game allows me to do something with all this random entertainment stored up in my brain.

I aimed for different moods and content, so we have everything from teen werewolves and murder all the way to cozy soul hugging books. And because it really bugs me when I see random comps slapped on to things that are not comps at all, I made sure to give you the overlap of the two things that made me think they’d work together as a “If you liked this, you’ll like this, too.”

GBBO screenshot Paul Hollywood, Prue, Noel chatting with contestant

The Great British Baking Show, Streaming on Netflix and Roku

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall cover

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

About the show: A gentle reality show where bakers compete once a week in three baking challenges and are judged, sending one person home each week until the winner is crowned. (Trailer)

About the book: Single mum Rosaline Palmer has been selected to compete on a baking show with prize money she desperately needs. But she meets a fellow contestant upon arrival that catches her heart’s attention and thinks she may also find love…until another contestant steps in…

What they have most in common: An entire season of a baking competition show, including all the challenges and judging. And that hug to your soul feeling.

Julia on HBO Max promo shot with Sarah Lancashire playing Julia Child

Julia, on HBO Max

cover of Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes

Mango, Mambo, and Murder (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #1) by Raquel V. Reyes

About the show: This is a fictionalization of Julia Child’s life when she created and starred in her cooking TV show. (Trailer)

About the book: This is a cozy murder mystery about a mom who not only stumbles upon solving a murder after moving back to Miami with her family, but also finds herself learning the ins and outs of hosting a food show.

What they have most in common: A woman navigating hosting a cooking television series, never having done so before.

The Legend of the Blue Sea poster with mermaid coming out of ocean

The Legend of the Blue Sea, on Hulu and Viki

Thirsty Mermaids Cover

Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh

About the show: This is a funny romcom about a mermaid who falls in love with a human and thus has to come onto land to be with him. The catch is he doesn’t know who she is and her heart can only survive on land if he reciprocates her love. (Trailer)

About the book: Three mermaids run out of wine they’d found in a shipwreck so they decide to cast a spell for legs to go on land and get more alcohol. Everything works out until the next day when they’re still on land and the spell hasn’t reverted them back to mermaids. Now they have to figure out how to get jobs, where to live, and how to reverse the spell to go back to the ocean.

What they have most in common: Mermaids on land trying to figure out how to be human, leading to comedic situations, and while the show’s focus is a love story they both have found family.

Do Revenge screenshot of 4 teen girls in school uniforms sitting on fountain

Do Revenge, on Netflix

cover of Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Lisa Sterle (Illustrator)

About the film: Think Strangers On a Train but at a prep school, and two teen girls swap revenge instead of murders. Drea will enact revenge on the person who outed Eleanor and Eleanor will enact revenge on Drea’s ex-boyfriend who sent out a sex tape without consent. (Trailer)

About the graphic novel: Becca is the new kid in school and falls into the popular girls clique, only to soon discover they turn into werewolves and enact revenge on the boys who prey on girls.

What they have most in common: Humor, teen girls in high school focus, transfer student, revenge on teen boys, LGBTQ characters.

The Lovebirds film poster of Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani sitting on the street floor with a chaotic street behind them at night

The Lovebirds, on Netflix

cover of Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

About the film: Jibran and Leilani have reached a place in their relationship where they just bicker and decide to break up. Except before they can officially part ways and move on, they end up on a wild car chase and murder suspects on the run. (Trailer)

About the book: Mira and Naveen were previously matched up by a matchmaker but parted ways after a brief relationship. Now they’re both surprised to see each other when Mira walks into Naveen’s office to settle her aunt’s will. Is it time they rethink their relationship and get back together? First, they’ll have to escape being kidnapped, figure out what is going on, and stay ahead of the criminals who want Mira to repay what her con artist father stole!

What they have most in common: A broken up couple running from criminals with a second chance at love.

Derry Girls screenshot of three teens in catholic school uniforms and one boy

Derry Girls, on Netflix

Book cover of Not My Problem

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

About the show: Set in the ’90s in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles, four teenage girls and a male cousin from England navigate teen life, family, friendship, and Catholic high school. (Trailer)

About the book: Aideen is navigating life as best as she can when she decides to help out her nemesis by “pushing her down the stairs.” Really, it’s to help the girl get out of something her dad is making her do by getting to say she has an injury from the fall. Except now other teens are coming to Aideen needing her to similarly fix their problems. What could go wrong?!

What they have most in common: Humor style, the characters are the heart and you’ll fall in love with them, funny outspoken teen girls, scheming girls, lesbian characters, navigating family and teen life, and set in Ireland.

Abbott Elementary poster of teachers sitting inside a school bus

Abbott Elementary, on Hulu

Cover of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

About the show: A group of teachers in a Philadelphia public school work hard to teach young kids against budget cuts, a system that seems designed against them, all with a non-helpful principal and one teacher who always tries too hard. (Trailer)

About the book: Mika Moon has been taught that witches need to stay away from each other and hide their magic so not to alert the world to their existence. Suddenly she’s summoned to come to a remote house and teach three young witches how to control their powers. Now Mika has a chance at love and found family, if she can just keep them safe.

What they have most in common: Main character is looking for her found family, intergenerational professional relationships, the warm fuzzy feeling of people trying to do good, and caring for children so they can be their best.

promotional image for the Apple TV+ show Bad Sisters, showing actors Eva Birthistle, Anne-Marie Duff, Sharon Horgan, Eve Hewson, and Sarah Greene posed around a hearse

Bad Sisters, on Apple TV+

cover image for The Last Party

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

About the show: JP is a horrible human being, so his four sister-in-laws band together and plan to kill him. They aren’t that great at murder, though, so we watch as they try and fail while it’s revealed how JP harmed each of them. All while a pair of insurance agents try to prove the sisters are in fact murderers in order to avoid paying the claim.

About the book: Former celebrity Rhys Lloyd is found dead on New Years Day. Two detectives from different countries are paired together to figure out who murdered him. The list of suspects will be long, as he was not a great guy.

What they have most in common: A despised murder victim, multiple point of view, odd couple investigators, and small town setting. And if you want a bunch more recs based on Bad Sisters, check out Murder Reading For Fans of Bad Sisters (a.k.a. JP Must Die!)

Looking for more pop culture and TV recs? Enjoy!