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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Achilles Heel by Author Karyn Heel!

Author Guest Post

Dream Movie Cast: There are two kinds of authors; the ones who create their dream movie cast, and the ones who lie about not giving it a thought. I am absolutely an author who has already cast the characters of my novel! This is a question I get asked a lot, and I usually want to wait until they have read my book to answer. I’d hate to taint the image of a character for someone else. It’s probably more fun for me to hear who the readers are picturing as the story progresses, than for the reader to hear who I had in my mind as I was writing it. Nevertheless, here goes… 

1. Annie Whitman & Kessler Carlisle- I have no idea with these two. I’m so invested in these characters, (especially since I’m halfway through writing the sequel) and for some reason, I can’t picture their faces. I see every other detail- height, weight, hair, stature, hand gestures- but neither one of them has an actual face. I can give you some reader’s thoughts though. 

Annie- Amy Adams, Kate Hudson, Jessica Chastain, Rachel McAdams, Reese Witherspoon 

Kessler- Matthew McConaughey, Blake Shelton, Brad Pitt, Oliver Hudson 

2. Jack Whitman- Matthew Fox 

3. Wade Rutledge- Tim McGraw 

4. Hope Rutledge- Faith Hill 

5. Mama D- Cathy Bates, Dolly Parton, or Jean Smart (from the TV show Designing Women) 

6. Jamie Whitman- Scott Wolf (Yes, I realize the cliché that Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf played brothers on the TV show, Party of Five, but I have always pictured Scott as Jamie. Matthew Fox came way later in the game.) 

7. Liz Whitman- Ali Larter 

8. Hutch- Jeff Bridges or Denzel Washington 

9. Gail Adams- Holly Hunter 

10. Leslie Abbott- Jennifer Connelly 

11. Jenna Walker- Zoe Saldana 

12. Claire Kingsley- Alyssa Milano 

13. Tori Slade- Emily Blunt 

Thinking about characters is fun, but stressful at the same time. I’ll never say never, but I’m sure I have some time to perfect this list.

About The Author

Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.

The first part of Karyn's life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she's still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.


Book Review

The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae
Book 1
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: March 21, 2014
Format: Paperback - 232 pages
             Kindle - 435 KB
             Nook - 785 KB
ISBN: 978-0996092258
BNID: 2940149202041
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: The Achilles Heel

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married.

Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix.

The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their secrets hidden.

Book Excerpt:


We stood underneath the stage feeling the ground shake- the floors pulsing and vibrating in a rhythmic, stomping pattern. The noise was deafening, like a freight train rolling at full steam right over our heads. This was the final concert of a six month long, twenty-two city tour. The band huddled together backstage for what, unbeknownst to them, was going to be my final show- ever. Drew, my drummer, gave the pep talk tonight about living in the moment and doing our best, like our lives depended on it.

“Those people out there worked all week and spent their hard earned money to come see us play here tonight, so don’t any of you fuck it up for ‘em!” he yelled over the crowd screaming in the stadium. “It’s the last show of the tour, so let’s blow their fuckin’ minds! All right? Now, everybody get your hands in and let me hear it on three.”

Six hairy, snarled, middle-aged, yet talented hands stacked one upon the other as we all screamed “boo-yah,” while throwing them up in the air.

I had to laugh. Drew was never much of a poet, but he could give one hell of a pep talk. Our usual routine for this tour was to have the band already set up and out on the stage before I made my grand entrance, but for the finale we’re making a change. Tonight we’re all taking the stage together; one family, one band of brothers, one last time. We crowded onto the pitch-black elevator, collectively took in a deep breath, and then I flipped the switch. As soon as the crowd saw us rising up from the floor, it was on, for all of us.

We always start out with a few favorites to get the crowd pumped up. They responded exactly how we had hoped; everyone went ape shit. Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is one of the best places to do a show; Midwestern folk who love country music and know how to throw one hell of a party. Fans started arriving in the stadium parking lot at nine o’clock in the morning, and the opener wasn’t set to go on until six in the evening. People who love to spend an entire summer day baking on the black asphalt in the scorching sun, fishing out beer cans from the truck bed cooler, and smoking BBQ, just waiting to hear some live music, are my kind of people. I’m glad this is the spot for the final show- my final show.

During the first set as I looked out into the audience, I could see about ten rows in front of me from anywhere on the stage. I used to always look for the most beautiful girls, and inevitably, I would spot a couple in every city. I’d send my roadie out to the seats to ask them if they wanted to come backstage to meet me and the boys, have some drinks, and party for a while. This was an extremely useful tactic in no-strings attached one-nighters, and there were many, many one-nighters. When I was younger I was so proud of myself, thought I was the shit, a real big deal that all these girls wanted to sleep with me. A few years ago, I finally realized our night together was just a story to tell their friends or an article to sell to the tabloids. I don’t regret the girls or mistakes I’ve made because they’re part of my journey that’s led me to this point, but I’m ready to move on now.

Tonight there’s a group of six women having a ball together. I’d say they were mid-twenties, sitting in the third row, all of them singing along and cheers’sing each other after every song. I sent Randy out to schmoose on them during the set break and ask them if they’d like to come backstage after the show. That invite certainly revved up their engines, because I got all kinds of “fuck me” eyes during the second set.

A sixty foot screen flanks each side of the stage allowing a front row view from any seat in the stadium. This only amplifies my seduction of the crowd when Lacy, my camera girl, fills it full with images of just my ass- sixty feet (one-hundred and twenty if you count both screens) of my ass over and over again. I get it though, whatever sells tickets. My schedule over the last five years had become less about the music and more about the money my image brings in. Singer/songwriters, authors, actors, and anyone in “the business” have been bitching about this for decades. I went to Nashville to be a songwriter, and fifteen years later I’ve become sixty feet of ass in tight white jeans.

I always told myself, that when this dream of mine became too mechanical and I couldn’t give every part of myself to the fans, I’d hang it up. It’s been a great ride and only a handful of people have been with me from the very beginning. Those are the people who deserve all of me; they’ve earned it, but I can’t give one hundred and twenty percent anymore. Don’t I deserve a normal life again? I’ve earned that, too.

As the last song of the encore performance wrapped up, the spotlights put on a magnitude of a show and the fireworks shot up into the sky like rockets in flight. The crowd howled with gratitude for a job well done. Anyone who has ever had major success in business, particularly in finance, says, “Buy low and sell high,” and that’s exactly what I’m doing here tonight. I worked my ass off playing dive bars and LSU frat parties for years, eating at Taco Bell and Popeye’s Chicken whenever I could afford it, and excited I had made the money to do so. Now, I’m playing in a sold out arena with fans screaming my name, singing my songs, and girls still wanting to come back stage to meet me.

Yeah, I’d definitely say I’m high.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, The Achilles Heel, author Karyn Rae weaves an intriguing tale of romantic suspense that easily draws the reader into the story from the beginning.

When Annie Whitman's husband Jack suddenly dies in a tragic car accident, her world is turned upside down, unable to cope with her grief Annie escapes into the bottom of a vodka bottle. When Annie resurfaces and finds the courage to move forward with her life, she receives a key at the will reading and stumbles upon a lockbox stored in the crawl space in the basement that contained items that has Annie questioning her husband's life and death. Annie embarks on an investigative journey that will transport her from her home in Kansas City, Missouri to the tropical island paradise of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, where she follows mysterious clues in search of the truth behind her husband's secret past.

Kessler Carlisle is a country music superstar from Nashville. Tired of the whole music scene, Kessler announces his retirement after playing his final tour date, and escapes to the relaxing tropical island of St Croix, Virgin Islands. Even though he finds the peace and quiet he sought on his island retreat, Kessler is having a hard time adjusting to his retirement ... that is until he meets the lovely widow Annie Whitman.

Filled with intriguing mystery, suspense, and an unexpected romance, the reader follows the story of Annie and Kessler as they deal with issues, secrets, and discover the truth of what is really important in life.

Author Karyn Rae does a wonderful job of weaving mystery and romance within the storyline, it is filled with enough suspenseful twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing what will happen next. I loved following Annie's journey as she searched to uncover her dead husband's secret past. The danger that lurked and the unexpected twists and turns kept me engaged and turning the pages. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved the romance that blossomed between Annie and Kessler. In my mind I pictured Kessler to be a mix between country music stars Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney ... wow what a yummy combination! I loved the raw emotion, passion, friendship, and sassy banter that made up their relationship, it is a testament of the heart's ability to heal and move on.

With a realistic cast of characters who are easy to relate to; witty dialogue and dramatic interactions; and a rich description of the settings; The Achilles Heel is a captivating romance suspense novel that will draw you in with its intensity and drama, and leave you wanting more with its unexpected and surprising conclusion.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card

Everyone who leaves a comment on The Achilles Heel tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of The Achilles Heel by September 1 and sends their receipt to will receive 10 bonus entries!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

August 11 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
August 15 – Ai Love Books –Review & Excerpt
August 18 – Samantha March - Q&A & Excerpt
August 19 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
August 20 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A
August 21 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
August 22 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
August 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
August 26 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
August 27 – Brooke Blogs – Review
August 29 – The World As I See It – Review & Excerpt 
September 1 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
September 1 – Reading in Black and White – Review & Excerpt


  1. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this book! I think the title sounds pretty cool to me and is what is most likely to draw me towards reading this book. Also, I like the idea of having a dream cast at the ready for your book. I know when I'm writing I imagine one for myself too. It helps with character appearances, and who doesn't want to see their novel in movie form?

    Check out my double giveaway: