Cover Image: Please Join Us

Please Join Us

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Member Reviews

This book was so good! I want to see more from this author in the future!! I couldn't put this book down. What a page turner!!!
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Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for an eARC of this one! 
This year seems to be the year for women fed up with the patriarchy! Nicole is a lawyer suddenly in trouble at work despite all her hard work. She receives an email inviting her to an exclusive women’s networking group run by two women promising a girls club in a boys club world. It all seems perfect but of course there are catches. You have to follow requests blindly and trust the bigger picture that is not visible at all! 
I ended up finding the premise very interesting even though I couldn't get attached to the characters. It was quıte a quick read and the overall topic ended up having some corporate thrills too.
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I was drawn to this book because of the cult-ish storyline, but the plot itself felt really outlandish to me at times, and there seemed to be a lot of "filler" chapters where not a lot happens except the main character Nicole whining about something. I am glad I stuck with this book, because the ending was actually really entertaining.
I would recommend this to others, provided they are as fascinated with cults as I am.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for the ARC!
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Unfortunately, this book did not grab me at all. 

Please Join Us follows Nicole, who joins a women's networking group after a recent bout of struggles with her career and personal life. At first, the group is everything that she is promised, but soon they begin to demand more and more from her and there is no option of saying no now that she is in. When she is called one night to help cover up a murder, Nicole is left to question everything she thought she knew about the group and its leaders. 

This book was way too convoluted for my taste. It goes chapters with not much actually happening, only for you to suddenly have plot details dropped on you at the speed of sound with very little actual logic behind any of the reveals. It doesn't help that the writing style features a lot of lists that summarize events and plot details, which grates very quickly. I was also not a fan of the flash forward scenes that seem to only be structured that way because the book needed something to promise the reader that something interesting was set up to happen eventually. These scenes are made worse when you realize the murder is basically just a footnote in the grand scheme of the book and isn't suspenseful or shocking in the slightest. 

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Please Join Us
Genre: Thriller
Format: Kindle eBook  
Date Published: 8/23/22
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing a digital copy of the book for me to read in exchange for my honest opinion. 

TW ⚠️: Cult like behavior and animal (deer) killing (just a slight moment in the book, but I still wanted to mention for people who cannot tolerate anything of that nature). 

Synopsis: Nicole Mueller’s law career is falling apart she, and her husband, Dan, are soon to be forced out of the apartment they love. Then she receives an invitation to an elusive club for “networking.” Her new network quickly provides her with clients that help her relaunch her career, and a great new apartment too. The favors she has to provide in return are minimal, but then she’s called to the congresswoman’s apartment late at night where she’s pressed into helping her cover up a crime. Can Nicole extricate herself from the group before it’s too late? Or will joining Panthera Leo be the biggest mistake of her life?

My Thoughts: The story is narrated by Nicole, both in present and past timelines, from her perspective. Nicole does not come off very likable, relatable maybe, but not likable. This reminds me of something I’ve seen on TV, an underground justice club getting justice for their losses, even if illegal. The characters have depth, are secretive, betraying, manipulative, and even a little gaslighting going on. The author does a brilliant job of writing this story, it is fast paced, thrilling, suspensive, complex, creative, intriguing, and the writing just flows beautifully for this story. I do not want to give too much away, but the ending (or last part of the book) was just WOW! While the first part is a little slower building the characters and backgrounds, the last half was just page turning, on the edge of my seat, my favorite kind of thriller. I love this author and will continue enjoying her books.
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This was a good one! I'm not sure why I've been sleeping on Catherine McKenzie but I'm glad I have seen the light. Please Join Us felt more like a mystery than thriller, but it was an enjoyable read with a lot of twists and an especially good ending! 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book; all opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to be an early reader.
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Thank you to Net Galley for this arc!
Loved this! My second Catherine McKenzie novel and I had high expectations of this one.  It was highly entertaining with lots of twists and double crossing.  Read it well into the night. Was everything I expected and more.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Nicole who is a lawyer is going through some tough times at work. She decides to join a club that her husband is against. The club gives her new clients which she loves. In return they ask for help in a situation that could turn ugly.  I liked this book.
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Pay attention! This is a twisty thriller with tons of secrets plots and double crossing. No one is who they seem to be, and everyone has a motive. 

Nicole is a lawyer whose career was on the up and up: top young lawyer lists, awards, partnership. All of a sudden she finds herself in hot water, with management putting pressure on her for her performance. After her years of constant grinding, she can’t believe she’s slipping. When she receives an invitation to join a women’s networking group, she is wary but thinks it could be a good opportunity to advance her career.

She goes on a retreat to Colorado with her new “pride” and has some life-changing experiences. When she gets home, it’s great to have such close friends, and when her life starts to fall apart, they all jump in and help her pick up the pieces.

This help comes with a price, however, and soon Nicole finds her loyalty tested in the extreme. 
Smart plot twists, intriguing characters, a fast pace, and a lot of secrets. All the makings of a good thriller. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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"It feels like everything and everyone around me is a trap. One I walked right into."

If you like…

- visceral feminism (like in The Husbands )
- sneakily-orchestrated, highly-suspicious retreat centers (like in Nine Perfect Strangers )
- secret societies and cults that masquerade as women’s-empowerment organizations (like in A Special Place for Women )
- self-appointed vigilantes, bent on righting old wrongs (like in You Are Not Alone )

…then make some room on your TBR list for Please Join Us. This book was a wild ride - insidious, unsettling, and honestly would make a great miniseries!

Nicole's life is a mess. Her career as an attorney is crumbling, and she's about to lose her beloved apartment because of her unfriendly sister-in-law. A mysterious (yet highly exclusive) women's networking group seems like just the thing to help her get back on track, and Nicole is thrilled when the group invites her to join them.

At first, Nicole's involvement in Panthera Leo seems like a huge win. Her connections secure her a fabulous new apartment and help her bring new clients to her firm. But it's not long before she realizes that there are strings attached... and, like a rope around her own neck, those threads are tightening.

"We’ve ended up in the corporate equivalent of a cult, and they’re not going to let us leave quietly."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The women at the helm of Panthera Leo are like chessmasters, always thinking 5 steps ahead of everybody else. I couldn't believe how many seemingly-innocuous moments throughout the story had actually been set in motion by their calculating schemes!

A solid 4-star read!


A huge thank you to Catherine McKenzie, Atria, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Loved this! My second Catherine McKenzie novel and I had high expectations of this one.  It was highly entertaining with lots of twists and double crossing.  Read it well into the night. Was everything I expected and more. 

Thank you NetGalley for this arc
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Thank you to netgalley and atria books for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. “Please Join Us” opens in the middle of the story and you are hooked right from the start. It then tells its story in alternating chapters focusing on the then and now which does an incredible job of building suspense. Even with a glimpse of what’s to come in the main character Nicole’s future, you can’t help but be drawn in by the promises and premise of Panthera Leo. A group of women, a “pride”, that will always have your back and help you succeed in whatever ways you need. I found myself really relating to Nicole in her anxieties and unstable sense of self, I was drawn in to her story by her remarkable depth.  All of the characters have distinct personalities and you can’t help but fall in love with some of them. This book kept me guessing until the very end with twist after twist. The end fell a little flat compared to the rest of the book, but I still greatly enjoyed it and definitely would recommend to mystery and thriller lovers of all kinds. Overall rating 4/5 stars!
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Workaholic Nicole’s career at a top law firm is stalling due to reasons that have nothing to do with her job performance. When she gets invited to join a secretive women’s networking group with a stellar track record of helping women succeed, she figures she’s got nothing to lose by going to a retreat, even though her husband thinks that it sounds a bit cult-y. The experience is far from the days of seminars and spa treatments she expected, but she still comes away from it feeling empowered, with a new group of friends to depend on. And her membership pays off – until she finds herself in over her head, trying to cover up a crime, and wondering if maybe her husband’s instincts were right after all. 

I’m kind of fascinated by cults. I’ve been learning a lot about them lately, mostly through listening to podcasts, so when I saw the synopsis of this book I snapped up the ARC. And I’m glad I did! It’s a heck of a thriller. It’s got twists that pretty well blindsided me, and once the plot really got going I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. 

I feel like I would have liked it more if Nicole had bought into Panthera Leo a little deeper and then woken up, rather than her having doubts from the start. I guess I would have found that transition a little more profound and satisfying, though I’m not sure why. But maybe it’s meant to portray how people can go into these kinds of organizations with doubts and still get sucked in despite that. 

Representation: major characters of color, autistic character 

CW: cult tactics and abuse, gaslighting, blackmail, mention of sexual harassment and assault, hunting and butchering of an animal
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In the vast sector of ever popular cult books, this one is just middle of the road for me. With so many authors doing cult books and women’s group books recently, the book really needs to stand out and differentiate itself from the pack. With this one, the first part is a little slow and boring at times, but by the time you get to the end you are whipping through the pages. If you are a megafan of cult books, give this one a try.
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This book was an absolute pleasure to read. Anything by Catherine McKenzie is actually. I highly recommend this book.
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Such a fantastic book...didn't take me long to devote this one..great storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 
Definitely one of the best from this year

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.
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Wow. What a ride!!! I was immediately drawn in by this book and couldn’t put it down. It honestly takes a lot to shock me anymore but Please Join Us did it!!
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Please Join Us is the latest thriller by bestselling author Catherine McKenzie that explores the world of a secret high powered women’s networking group set in the sophisticated world of New York. 
Nicole Mueller was on the trajectory of senior partner at her high powered law firm but as of late her career has fizzled and she is left feeling disenfranchised by her male dominated firm. One day she receives a mysterious email asking her to join an exclusive women’s networking group, Panthera Leo. Nicole thinks this is the perfect opportunity to revive her career by joining one of the Prides of Pantera, despite her husband Dan’s concerns.
At first joining the network seems charmed and being a member helps kick start her fledgling career with a high profile client. However joining this girl’s club to help bring down the old boys clubs is filled with danger, hidden agendas and has Nicole questioning her principles and how far she’s willing to go to reclaim her life. 

What I liked:
-the glamorous world of the New York Elite
-the twists and turns of the story
-the timely topic of #metoo movement
-the world of high power law and the litigation process
-the idea of an elusive, anonymous women’s networking organization plotting to compete with the boys clubs 

What I didn’t like:
-the Colorado retreat story felt long and drawn out
-flat characters that I felt were missing something, maybe more background was needed
-just a general feeling that the story needed more ‘omph’

Final Take Away
Although I did find parts of the story, long and drawn out and the character development was lacking at times, I thought the second part of the book improved greatly and I enjoyed the twists and turns. 

My rating 3 out of 5 stars
I’d recommend this book to fans of legal thrillers and people wanting to glimpse the high powered business world.

Potiential Trigger warnings for victims of sexual assault.

Many thanks go to Netgallery and Atria Books for the advance digital copy to review.
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It’s not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know. 
Nicole’s career as a lawyer is falling apart.. Until she gets an invitation to a retreat at Panthera Leo & everything changes.. With the support of her “Pride” Nicole‘s career takes off  & reaches heights she always dreamed of, but like everything in life, success comes at a price.. Who are the women of Panthera Leo? Is Nicole willing to pay the price? Does she have a choice? 
Captivating story with amazing characters!

4.5 stars
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With a nod to the NXIVM cult scandal (but even darker), this one abides by 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is'.  Not my first by Catherine McKenzie so glad to see she's continuing to churn them out!
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