Cover Image: Please Join Us

Please Join Us

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Member Reviews

This was a good book, I had not read any of her previous books, I may have to go back and rectify that.  Nicole is a lawyer in a very good law firm, she's called in one day and told that her 'points' are lacking and if she doesn't improve she may be let go.  Even though she's been a consistent lawyer and always been billing near the top (read putting in a ton of hours a day/week), but a client had gone bankrupt recently and as a result her billing hours have decreased.  Not long after this news she receives an email inviting her to join Panthera Leo at an exclusively women networking event in Colorado.  They promise it will improve her work and home life.  She decides to go and meets her 'pride' which includes an actress, another lawyer and a congresswoman. The story is told in two timelines, Then and Now, most of the early part of the book is Then, which details her joining Panthera, and the seemingly small tasks she's asked to do, and the rewards she gets, a new apartment, a new client that promises that she'll be able to bill more hours. The first Now part has Nicole responding to a request to go to the apartment of one of her pride, where she finds a dead body presumably killed by her pride member.  There is a lot of slow reveals in the story, which I quite enjoyed, though I found at times the story dragged a bit, the ending was well done and I would recommend.  Thanks to #Netgalley and #Atria for the ARC.
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Thank NetGalley, Atria and Catherine McKenzie for providing me an ARC.

Nicole is a lawyer in NYC and is on the path to become a partner at a
prestigious law firm. She and Dan have been living in a wonderful
apartment in New York city that belongs to his Aunt Penny. One fateful
morning Nicole goes into her mentor’s office and is told that she
isn’t meeting billing targets and the partners are concerned and
wondering about her future at the law firm unless things turn around
she will be out.

Shortly after Nicole receives an email indicating that she has been
invited to join a small prestigious group of women who support each
other and help each other excel is their business. Nicole feels her
career spinning down the drain and decides to go to their conference
in July because this might be the only possible way to save her career
that she's worked so hard to build over the past 15 years.  So she
signs up for the conference and head out to Panthera Leo and hopes
this is what she needs to get back on track.

This is the first book I read by this author and I really enjoyed the
story it had lots of twists and turns throughout it.  I haven’t read
anything about a female network before and liked that idea. Most of
the characters weren’t likeable because they each were qui  flawed but
it was a great book. It would be a fun movie. I would definitely read
another book by her.
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This book was smart. I didn’t expect to fall into so many twists and tangles. And honestly, im not even sure I know how many twists were involved in the PRIDE’s plan. It was a lot. I think this book is a hit and the author definitely understood the assignment.
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Thank you to @netgalley and @atriabooks for an early copy of this! This comes out May 24th. 
*
Synopsis: Nicole's law career seems to be falling apart when she receives an invite to Panthera Leo, an exclusive networking group for only women. The group promises connections that will be able to help her get everything she wants, but is it worth the price they expect her to pay? 
*
 I liked the concept of this, the idea of women working together to get the leg up in frequently male-dominated fields. And I was reading Cultish at the same time, so I enjoyed picking out the cult-like elements that Panthera Leo employed to keep its members engaged and in line. I also liked the alternating between past and present timelines, which got the story going pretty quickly. 
*
But ultimately, I really didn't like Nicole and had a hard time rooting for her, and the massive conspiracy of Panthera Leo is just really unrealistic. The ending was tough to follow, because there were a lot of characters with different motivations (or Nicole's assumptions of their motivations) to follow, blended with legal and business strategies. When a big twist happens at the end, I was more annoyed than intrigued by it. I also never really understood why Nicole was needed for this group in the first place, the resolution didn't make a lot of sense to me. 
*
So, good concept, but to me the execution didn't work.
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Similar premise to many I’ve recently read. Maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I initially thought I would.

Nicole is a successful lawyer whose career is starting to take a nose-dive. Tired of the constant reminders of the “boys club” that surrounded her in the workplace, she responds to an invitation she received through email to join an empowerment and networking group for women called Panthera Leo. Each member is successful in what they do, and the promise to help each other succeed in this male-dominated world was more than enticing. 

Once Nicole accepts the invitation to become a member of Panthera Leo, what her husband swore was a cult, she sees her career taking off again. New clients, new cases, a new apartment, and a new group of supportive friends. It all seemed too good to be true. 

Everything quickly changed, though, when a group member called in the middle of the night to help cover up a crime. Nicole found her new life starting to become burdensome. Things weren’t what they seemed, and her new friends didn’t appear to be as supportive as she thought. Beginning to rethink her membership, Nicole needs to find a way out of the group or find a way to take these women down with her. 

This book took some weird and almost confusing turns at times. I was initially excited about the unusual circumstances but became a bit annoyed as the narrative seemed to become disjointed. While this book was fun to read, it wasn’t one of my favorites.
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Please join us is a page turning women centered thriller.
Nicole is waiting for all her hard work to pay off as she works tirelessly to climb the corporate ladder toward law partner. One bad thing leads to another, when her partner track is derailed.
A mysterious invitation to a women’s networking group seems like a catalyst toward change.
Thrust into a new group of friends things seem to be turning around. She lands a new apartment, a new client, and a new path to a stellar future, is it all too good to be true?
One day her new friend Athena texts that she needs help and a crime to clean up is waiting. How much is your future worth? Do you abandon friends and strike out on your own or do you stay within the safety of your new pride? 
Full of twists and turns, this novel is a fast paced read that flies toward its conclusion. 
The pacing of the novel is well executed, switching from the present to the past.
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Nicole is on the edge of losing her job at a law firm when she gets invited to join a Women's only Network group.  It seems okay at first but then lots of weird sinister things begin to happen.
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Catherine McKenzie will always be an automatic read for me and this book was no different.  We often hear the phrase "The Good Old Boys Club", but what if you were invited to join a secret organization for upper echelon for women? This is exactly what happens to lawyer Nicole. She is struggling at work, a prestigious law firm in New York City and is feeling the pressure from her boss, Thomas. When she receives in an invite for a networking group, Panthera, she thinks nothing of it, discusses with her husband Dan and agrees to join, despite his hesitancy. 

The novel is written in different POV and is flawless and easy to follow. McKenzie has a flair to throw you off so you never know what is coming.  Nicole starts to wonder what she has gotten herself into. The POV's alternate between a current case she is working on, which ironically was handed to her by Panthera as well as an event that has occurred with one of the members of a group. Nicole finds herself wondering what she has gotten herself into it, who can she trust, if anyone.

McKenzie did an impeccable job once again and this is sure to be a hit yet again this Summer of 2022.
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Nicole is an attorney who gets more than she bargained for when she responds to an invitation to join a women’s group promising to revitalize her life and career.

I was very intrigued about this premise and had recently read "The Collective," which I loved, and at the most basic level had what seemed like a similar starting point as this story. The books are very, very different though, I found out! 

"Please Join Us" is ultimately about an ambitious woman who is faced with a question of what boundaries she’s willing to cross and how much she’s willing to be controlled by others who have underhanded and secretive motives.

The premise was interesting, though the pacing of the story was rather slow for me, and I was never really taken in by a sense of urgency. I didn't really warm to Nicole as a protagonist and didn’t always relate to her motivations, particularly in the last 25% of the book. It felt like she was supposedly doing something really noble, but it was hard to really care whether or not she succeeded – I just didn’t really see what would be so bad if she failed and the group got what they wanted? It wouldn’t really be the end of the world… 

Overall an easy and quick read, but I think for me to be more enthralled the stakes needed to be higher or something different.
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Put this on you TBR List. 

The Old Boys Club has nothing on the club.  This Women’s Club is ruthless, cunning, relentless.  Watch your back and be very, very aware.  

What a mystery!  Nicole’s job has taken an unexpected down turn.  Ironically, on the same day she’s given a ‘shape up’ warning, she receives an invitation to join an exclusive woman’s networking club.  Perfect timing or coincidence?  From the invitation to the team building retreat to a promise too good to be true. And you know what you’ve always been told about that!  Big business at its best or worst…you decide. 

Original, detailed, interesting.  Storyline flowed easily, characters were well defined. Many twists and turns. Did not see many of the twists coming.  Just shows how even the smartest among us can be duped. Story will keep you on your toes, author didn’t give many clues up on this one…or if she did, they were very subtle.  Really need to pay attention when reading!  Loved the character development of Nicole, and the relationship between her and her husband, and her and her in-laws. 

Thanks to Ms McKenzie and Atria Books for this ARC. Opinion is mine alone
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I was hooked at the onset! Nicole is a junior Partner at a prestigious Law Firm in NY, but she has just learned that she is on a downward spiral and needs to do something to bring herself back to the track she had been on since she graduated from Law School.  She then receives an e-mail inviting her to participate in a women's networking group, Panthera Leo.  She thinks about it and even discusses it with her husband who is a corporate attorney and then agrees to join.  The novel is written in three parts and well done in each.  The first two tell about her joining and what has evolved because of it.  The third leads to a conclusion that is unexpected and absolutely fitting.  It is a great way to spend a weekend!  Thanks to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC for an honest review.
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OMG. Y'all. This book was crazy! In the best way possible... I could not believe the suspense and drama of this storyline. Absolutely excellent writing and really kept me up way past my bedtime to finish this.
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The title, cover, and premise of this one pulled me in! A female lawyer struggling to make it in a "boy's world" becomes enticed to join a secret group of powerful women to help her succeed in all areas of life. Nicole jumps into this group headfirst all while ignoring the warnings that it sounds "too good to be true" from her husband, Dan.

One thing leads to another and Nicole finds herself in some CRAZY situations that make her question EVERYTHING!

I liked this book, but it was hard to always track what was happening as the plot sometimes seemed unhinged. While I couldn't put it down, it was so unbelievable (and strange) at times.

The random and excessive use of bullet points in the writing didn't make sense to me or add anything to the story and if I had to read that the main character loved "sesame noodles" one more time, I probably would have screamed. 😂

Overall, I think you should give this a shot if you don't mind very detailed, relatively unbelievable plots.

3.5/5 stars 

Thank you so much Atria books and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book will be available for purchase on August 23rd.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for this ARC of Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book, of a powerful women’s networking club, Panthera Leo, that ends up having a sinister motive. 
Women have come far in our culture but still lack the power and pull at the top of business that men effortlessly enjoy. 

However, this story ended up disappointing me, as it really depicts that these powerful female group leaders are actually worse than men: they have to con, trap, and use their female members to achieve their business goals, which is personal and professional revenge against one man and professional greed that leads to an unethical company takeover. 
In short, what I thought would be a story touting feminism with a twist was just female white-collar crime. 

I liked the sympathetic main character, the sharp writing, the occasional summaries tucked into the storyline as the legal drama unfolds, keeping the reader engaged, and the thriller aspect.

3.5 stars.
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Loved the pace of this book. The time jumps were used very effectively to piece it all together. It kept me guessing up until the end. Once you thought you had something figured out, you got the rug pulled out from underneath your feet. I would definitely recommend.
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💥BOOK REVIEW💥⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie⁣
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5/5)⁣
Pub Date: Aug 23, 2022⁣

This was a really interesting read that reminded me in many ways of The Firm. It is suspenseful, thought-provoking, and feels very timely with specific references to both the COVID pandemic and the #MeToo movement. With regard to the latter, I appreciated the nuances and what-ifs that were explored through the eyes of the main character, Nicole Mueller. What would happen if women held or abused social power in the same way that men did, through stereotypical “boys’ clubs”? And WITH that power, what methods could be used to hold accountable the ones who have done you wrong? What SHOULD be done, and how far can it take you? Where does it end?⁣
⁣
There wasn’t really a character I fell in love with, which I think kept me from loving the book in general. The MC wasn’t unlikeable, but I found myself unable to really connect with her regardless. I did enjoy the story, though, and it was a fascinating premise. ⁣
⁣
Check it out if you like:⁣
- Secret organizations/hidden agendas⁣
- A thought-provoking, slow-burn read ⁣
- #MeToo themes⁣
- Legal trickery⁣
- Powerful ladies doing powerful (and questionable?) things ⁣
⁣
Thank you to @netgalley and @atriabooks for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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“If it sounds too good to be true…”

That’s advice that Nicole Mueller ignores in Please Join Us, another twisty thriller by Catherine McKenzie. Nicole has just had a bad and unexpected review at her law firm when she receives an email with the heading “Please join us”. It’s an invitation to an exclusive women’s networking retreat. Membership in Panthero Leo guarantees that she “…will succeed the way men have for centuries”. This is true but it will not be exactly what Nicole imagines. 

At the retreat, she’s introduced to CEOs, a Congresswoman, an actor, a corporate financier and others. They leave the retreat promising to always help each other. So when Nicole lands a new account that puts her back on the senior partner track and is offered a very low rent luxury apartment at Hudson Yards, she’s thankful for her new supportive female friends. It’s only when  favors are called in that she becomes suspicious. But by then, it’s too late.

These strong female characters leap off the pages of Please Join Us! Michelle, Karma, Athena, Heather, Connie, Samantha…all are so well described you’ll feel like you already know them. The problems women face at work, the Me Too movement, networking, marriage, blending private and public lives, are all part of this thriller. You are quickly pulled in to Nicole’s life and are as surprised by the conclusion as she is. And then you be impressed by just how resourceful she is! 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Catherine McKenzie for this ARC.
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Please Join Us, was my first book by Catherine McKenzie BUT I have done my research and after concluding Please Join Us, I ran (quickly opened up my phone) to Amazon, and purchased "I'll Never Tell" . One of my favorite parts of Netgalley, is being able to explore authors I would have not known about. 

Please Join Us, might be my favorite book this year, thus far. This book had a fast pace and captured my attention early on. I loved Nicole, and following along with her story. The plot was detailed and had me feeling as though everything was happening right around me. 

How did someone like Nicole, get dragged into this mess? 

You are going to have to stay tuned, pre-order, and enjoy this complex psychological thriller on August 23, 2022.
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*Rounded down from 3.5 stars* 

Nicole's promising career on the partner track at her law firm is suddenly at risk and her beloved apartment is being stolen out from under her. At the very moment when everything seems to be falling apart, she receives an invitation to join an exclusive women's networking group- One that could give her the connections she needs to revive her career. Despite her husband's unease, Nicole signs up to attend a retreat and is introduced to other successful women - A CEO, an actress, a congresswoman- and upon returning, immediately begins to reap the benefits of her new friends. But loyalty is the core of Panthera Leo, and when Nicole receives a call that leads her to cover up a crime, she's forced to make decisions that will change her life forever.

Please Join Us reads as a direct-to-streaming movie, and I mean that in the best way. I can 100% envision Emily Blunt as Nicole, navigating an increasingly more tense scenario. 

I will say that I didn't buy into Panthera Leo during the retreat, so I found it a little unbelievable that Nicole is all-in so quickly. I know myself, and even at a moment of desperation, I think I'd have rolled my eyes at calling a group of friends my "Pride". I also know that while I'm not one to turn down an advantage or a good deal, I'd find it suspect to essentially be handed a luxury apartment. I don't believe in coincidences, so I'm much more like Nicole's husband in this scenario.

Outside of the need for a significant suspension of belief on my part, it was extremely relatable as a woman in the workforce to see Nicole trying to stay afloat in an environment that is working against her, and to find a group of women to support her in a "boys club". In that respect, it made absolute sense that she'd pursue the opportunity to network and take every opportunity to advance her career.

The pace ramps up as the story progresses, so if you're finding it a bit slow at the beginning, stick with it for another chapter or two and see if your perspective changes.

While not necessarily the same, if you liked The Circle by Dave Eggers or the Shia LaBeouf movie "Eagle Eye", I think you'll enjoy Please Join Us!
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As mind-bending as a mirror maze at a carnival! This story will take you on a ride with many twists and turns that you may or may not see coming but are exhilarating either way. This is Catherine's (may I call you Catherine?) 13th book and it's a great one. 

Do you know how we have heard of, or seen, the "Boy's club" in business? Well, imagine that a group of powerful women have decided enough is enough and make their own "Women's club". If you were a woman in business would you want to be a part of it? Networking benefits that you've only dreamed of? Sounds too good to be true? You might be right.

The only thing I wish I had done when reading this book was slowed down and taken notes. If you like complex thrillers that you can dig into then you will love this one. The clues are there but if you glance over them they will surprise you in the end.

For animal lovers, there is one scene that if I had known about it in advance I might not have read this book BUT it is short and you can skip it. You'll know it when you get to it. It does not take away from the story to pass over it. If I had skipped this book then I would have missed out on a great story so please don't let this content warning make you put the book down.

One of the things that I really appreciated about Catherine's writing is that it is well done and easy to read. She creates interesting characters that are believable. I also really loved that her story handles sensitive topics extremely well and there is no foul language or graphic depictions of sex or violence. She only proves that you don't you need those things to write a really good story.

A huge thank you for my e-ARC, which was provided by the publisher and the author via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Would I read it again?
Yes, but only if I have forgotten how it ends... which might be a while from now. This is the first book I have read by Ms. McKenzie and will be checking out her other 12 books.

Would I recommend it?
Yes, especially to my friends who love a good thriller

Is it a permanent addition to my library?
Yes

Content Warnings?
Animal death, references to Sexual Assault and Infidelity
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