PRHA Staff Gift Guide: Marissa’s Picks
December 11, 2023

PRHA Staff Gift Guide: Marissa’s Picks

Marissa Secreto By Marissa Secreto

‘Tis the season to gift audiobooks! I’ve been planning to gift some of my favorite listens to the readers in my life, and I hope these ideas help you find the perfect audiobook for the loved ones in yours.

XOXO, Cody by Cody Rigsby

My favorite running companion this year was XOXO, Cody by beloved Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby. At the end of the year, we all take time to reflect on what we accomplished and what we hope to achieve in the new year. With those goals in mind—whether they’re fitness related or personal—Cody is the perfect motivator.

In his memoir, Cody shares stories from throughout his life, from his tumultuous childhood to starting his career at Peloton to skyrocketing to fame as a fitness celebrity. If you’re familiar with Cody, you’ll immediately recognize his voice: witty, unapologetic, and authentically himself. And even if you don’t own a Peloton bike, Cody still has helpful advice and tidbits to live a happier life.

Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare

My most anticipated listen of 2023 was Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been a fan of her YA Shadowhunters series for years, and couldn’t wait to hear her first adult high fantasy. In Sword Catcher, Kel is an orphan growing up in the kingdom of Castellane. Due to his resemblance to the crown prince, Kel is plucked from the orphanage and brought to the palace. There, he grows up alongside Prince Conor as his sword catcher, meaning that Kel acts as a stand-in for the prince when there are threats of assassination. Kel has no life or identity of his own, but, when he has an encounter with a high-profile crime lord who asks him to spy on the palace, Kel begins to take his life into his own hands. Full of incredible worldbuilding and high stakes, Sword Catcher is the perfect listen for the fantasy readers in your life—they won’t be able to press pause on this!

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

When I was in the mood for something fun and uplifting, Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood was like biting into cotton candy. The story goes a little like this: Mallory Greenleaf is a chess prodigy, but she’s given it up after a rift in her family. However, with a little pressure from a friend, she competes in a local chess competition where she ends up beating “Kingkiller” Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess. With all eyes now on her, including Nolan’s, Mallory is brought back into the world of chess where she must try to beat the odds, help her family, and—maybe—fall in love.

I’ve been a fan of Ali’s other romances for awhile now, but Check & Mate took the lead for me as my favorite romance from her. Who doesn’t want to be gifted a delightful romantic comedy with a lovable heroine and a broody love interest?

The Maid and The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose

This is a two-books-in-one gift, but I couldn’t resist. The Maid by Nita Prose is one of my favorite cozy mystery audiobooks, and I couldn’t wait for the sequel, The Mystery Guest. In The Maid, Molly (maid at the Regency Grand Hotel) finds herself at the center of a murder investigation when one of the hotel’s esteemed guests is found dead. Molly then returns in The Mystery Guest to solve another murder at the hotel with the help of the friends she made in the first book. Nita Prose packs these books full of wit, suspense, and heart, and I know the mystery fans in my life won’t be able to resist listening to both audiobooks one after another.

Busy Betty & The Circus Surprise by Reese Witherspoon

I have an adorable niece and nephew in my life who are discovering the joy of reading. As someone who works with books for a living, I couldn’t be a prouder auntie; that’s why I’m gifting Busy Betty & The Circus Surprise by Reese Witherspoon to them this winter.

Read by Reese herself, this is a fun listening experience for both grown-ups and kids. Betty loves to be busy, and she wakes up with the idea to throw her mom a surprise circus party for her birthday. Enlisting the help of her friends, Betty gets to work planning the perfect party, but she soon discovers that her mom’s birthday is NOT today but the next month. What will she do with the circus surprise now? Busy Betty encourages young readers to tackle each obstacle with enthusiasm, excitement, and big ideas, and I highly recommend this audiobook as a gift for the little ones in your life.

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