Cover Image: Please Join Us

Please Join Us

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Member Reviews

Just finished this last night. I think I need to read the last few chapters again to make sure I get it. There was a lot of technical jargon in here that got kind of jumbled up. 
HOWEVER, this is one heck of a twisty novel. You think you know how where it’s going  and then BLAMMO! you’re taken in a direction you didn’t expect. I knocked it out in two days because the pages pretty much turn themselves. I stayed up way too late both nights because I didn’t want to stop reading. 
I have everything by this author in kindle and print because every one of her novels is read-again worthy. 

I got an ARC of this book for my honest review, which I always give.
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I cannot stop thinking about this! Woman power to the utmost degree--but is that a good thing? In this page-turning and timely thriller,  the oh-so-talented Catherine McKenzie brilliantly deconstructs the secrets of  sisterhood, and turns pay-it-forward into a devastating and gasp-worthy story. How far would you go for success--especially if you believe that simply being a woman has kept you from getting to the top?  Psychologically sinister and cleverly alluring, you may never look at the networking the same way again. Do not miss this-everyone will be buzzing about it!
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Catherine McKenzie had me; Hook, line, and sinker. Please Join Us transports us to Manhattan. Nicole is a Lawyer that is struggling to keep her place at the law firm. Her husband's dear aunt, Peggy is on her death bed. The plan is when she passes, they will be able to take over her apartment. She promised it to them. Then in the mist of everything, Nicole gets an invite to a special retreat for women. Panthera Leo is made to help women succeed in business. It gives them the connections needed, similar to the good ole boys club. With hesitation, Nicole takes the leap and her career takes off. Even little bumps in the road aren't so much of a big deal anymore. Panthera Leo knows no boundaries. Even though membership is anonymous, there seems to be connections in the smallest of places. With everything there are always the good and yet the bad. Does the bad outweigh the good? 
Without giving too much away, I really enjoyed Please Join Us. Catherine McKenzie knows how to hook you and keep you on her line. I will always look for new works by McKenzie and will always recommend her work to others.  Special Thanks to NetGalley, Catherine McKenzie, and Atria Books for the advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 4 stars for me.
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Phenomenal, unputdownable and I read it in one sitting until 3 am!  I have read all of McKenzie's books and love each one.  This is her best yet. not only in so many twists, but the MC and unlikeable female characters, which are my favorite! Creeptastically twisted, fast paced and fun!
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This is a man’s world…as the song says. But women have been trying to come up in it, taking positions of power, etc. There are still obstacles, biases, glass ceilings and such, so banding together seems like a great idea, stronger together and all that. well, that’s the general idea behind this novel. The specifics are infinitely more complicated, morally dubious and ethically murky. That’s where the fun comes in.
     Our protagonist, Nicole, is a lawyer at the top of her game, partner in a Manhattan firm, at thirty nine she’s got most things she wants, things she had worked so diligently for. But then a wrench is thrown into her works, her position at her firm is suddenly at risk and it sends her tailspinning into…well, something that seems disturbingly cult-like. Of course, no one calls it that, it’s more of a by-invite-only exclusive networking opportunity for women that demands unquestionable loyalty from its members. Oh well, at least there’s no branding, right?
    Anyway, Nicole becomes one of the elite PL members, good things begin to roll her way so epically that it takes her a moment to realize that something hinky is going on, some underlying conspiracy. When it dawns on her, she’s up to her elbows in it and must find a way to get herself out. Not an easy task, for it turns out women of power can be just as sinister and as manipulative and evil as men. Ta-da…gender equality. Excellent.
     So, there you have it. A thoroughly engaging and pretty exciting thriller that kinda lets go of some momentum when it veers into corporate territory. Unless corporate takeovers are your thing, in which case you’re going to love this book. For me, it didn’t quite work, the business end of it all, the legal proceedings, kind of hampered the ending to what was otherwise a very thrilling ride. But until then (and aside from that) this was a very entertaining and dynamic read. 
     I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, because normally tales of NYC elite tend to be ever so first-world tedious. But this was fun despite all that, despite how thoroughly its characters are steeped in privilege. So yey. Nicely done.
     My first experience with an author and quite an impressive one at that. She’s a retired lawyer turned author, her fiction reflects it. Write what you know and all that. But the writing is good, it draws you in, it does all or most of the things thrillers are supposed to and does so without insulting the readers’ intelligence. So all in all, pretty good. Please Join Us is the kind of book one can easily get on board with. Then again the same can be said about cults. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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Ms. McKenzie had me at the idea of vicious women club  kicks the asses of cheater, manipulator boys’ club ! 

What is included in this extra intelligent, twisty, capturing thriller ? Lots of mind games, back stabbing, wow I didn’t see that coming moments, lying, cheating, manipulation, gaslighting! 

It seems like delicious combination of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers ( Colorado gathering- deer hunting- strange rituals and testing members’ courage, endurance - drugging parts are similar) meets Mark Edwards’ House Guest( dangerous secret society vibes) with John Grisham’s Firm ( selling your soul to the BB keeps watching you) 

  Nicole Mueller is main character whose life on the rocks. Not because of her failing law career, being about to lose the house they’d rented from her husband’s aunt or semi- struggling relationship with her husband who is not as competitive as her. She feels lost in her own mind and body. She needs a fresh start, fresh mind, fresh life perspective to see things from more objective sight. 

  When she gets an invitation from an exclusive women’s network group called Panthera Leo, she decides to take her chances by firming potential business contacts. 

  She realizes the members of the group are truly powerful women including a popular actress, a congresswoman who saved her getting poison from a snake, a dominant CEO, a snarky finance whiz. She forms special connection with congresswoman Athena during their journey. 

  Two leaders of the group reminds them of Ying and Yang ( Karma: strict business woman, Michelle; down to earth, hipster, an ex popular singer) give them interesting tasks to test their boundaries.

  As soon as Nicole turns back to NY, she realizes things get so much easier at work with the help of Panthera members’ favors. She finds more clients to relaunch her career and moves to a luxurious apartment! But of course everything comes with price. 

  When we move to present time, we see how Nicole enters Athena’s apartment in the middle of the night, helping her getting away with the murder! Somebody sends her messages to advise what she has to do which means she’s being watched as soon as she accepts to be controlled by her new group!

  Especially last third of the book was surprisingly twisty. The author throws bombs on our laps and she runs away without seeing them blast! My head still hurts: I kept saying myself what, really, no freaking way, Holly sh*t! 

  I always enjoy the creative mind of the author who brilliantly develops mysteries which are full of conspiracies. 

  This is definitely complex, smart, thrilling, reading at the edge of your seat when you keep drinking whole bottle of chilled Chardonnay book I highly recommended!

  Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
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LOVE the premise of this!  It features a secret professional women's society, meant to boost and network women similar to the age-old boys' club. Or is it?  Nicole is a very intelligent, very hard working lawyer who is slowly seeing her chance to become partner slip away. 

When she is approached to join the society, she is sceptical at first but follow through and attends a conference. 
I appreciated her lawyer mind continuously asking questions (rather than that annoying trope of women that just allow things to happen to them until it's too late). I love the cult-like feel of the organization.  

A big part of the novel is Nicole trying to get a handle on what is happening and why. Plenty of twists and turns and I guarantee you won't get to the bottom of what is happening until the very last page. This book kept me up all night, I loved it that much! If you like thrillers, cult themes, and chess or cat/mouse themes, this is a book for you! #NetGalley #PleaseJoinUs
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Please join me in the Please Join Us review. Is it a cult or is it a group of women empowering each other? It takes a while for Nicole to realize what she has signed up for, or rather what she was signed up for. After months of discouraging news Nicole turns to a group of women who promise to empower her. Nicole is smart though and it doesn't take her long to realize she is a just a pawn in a long game. This book is great but the revenge at the end of it really sets this book apart from others.
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I have enjoyed previous Catherine McKenzie books, so was so happy to get approved to read Please Join Us early! This book did not let me down. Nicole, after getting some poor feedback at work, joins what she thinks is a women-only networking group to try to win back her boss's support. She jumps in headfirst and soon finds herself in the middle of a web of very powerful, intimidating women. There were a few twists I didn't see coming, and I liked that it was both a psychological and legal thriller, but the ending fell a little flat for me and I'm not sure why. I also found most of the characters unlikeable, which I guess is the point, but it's hard to root for people you don't really like! I enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it, but it's not my favorite from this author. Thank you to NetGalley and the published for the opportunity to read this ARC!
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Please Join Us
By Catherine McKenzie
It has been a while since I read a Catherine McKenzie book. I am so glad I requested a copy of Please Join Us. I read it in one day. That should be an indicator as to how gripping it was and how much I liked it.
This thriller is about a secret organization that Nicole joins in hopes of it improving her success at work. She is an attorney whose numbers are not what her boss wants. Panthera Leo promises her, if she joins them, all her “dreams” will come true.
Ms. McKenzie’s words flow swiftly. Her writing style is easy to read. Her storyline makes the book a page-turner. I wanted to find out what happened but at the same time, I did not want the story to end.
If you haven’t read anything by Catherine McKenzie, this is an excellent book to start with. You won’t regret it.
11.29.2021
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle by Atria Books and #NetGalley for my honest opinion. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

Twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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Please Join Us is an intriguing story about a secret networking group for women that hides dark secrets under its helpful facade.  Nicole Mueller's once balanced life is coming undone.  Her law firm is criticizing her recent performance and the apartment she and her husband share is about to be taken away.  She decides to join Panthera Leo, a group for women in various careers who help each other be more successful in those careers.  At first, it seems to be a good choice.  Nicole becomes friends with the other women in her "pride" and she gets more clients for her firm.  She and her husband even get to move into a new apartment.  But Nicole slowly realizes that all of that comes with a price.  When she is forced to help a fellow pride member cover up a crime, she knows things have gone too far.  The book does a great job of showing the struggle between wanting to have friends and have success versus maintaining one's one ethics and code of conduct.  There is a twist near the end that I didn't see coming.  I would recommend this book to fellow readers.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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This book grabbed me from the start and didn't let up, still thinking about the end.  . Nicole, a lawyer in a prestigious firm, her career, accepts an invitation to join a women's  empowerment network. Her husband is suspicious but she jumps in head first and soon finds herself embroiled and manipulated. Who can she trust.,  how far reaching is this network and will she be able to get out?   With multiple twists and then a final zinger, we go along with the fast paced trip to regain her autonomy
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Girls Club. 

While some readers gravitate to missing person or unreliable narrator themes, I love stories about educated professional women - and if they're also lawyers, so much the better.  

I love strategists with legal and financial sector stories checking numerous boxes as they usually provide twisty complicated scenarios per The Sting.   

So I admit it, I have a type. 

Protagonist Nicole was someone I could really get behind.  She’s worked furiously to become a partner in her law firm and at thirty nine, she’s the pinnacle of success. Until one day her mentor tells her she’s falling short. 

In an effort to improve her contacts and create billable hours, she joins a female networking group with the meet and greet being at a retreat in Colorado.  While she’s there, she has numerous questions as to why she was chosen but few answers are forthcoming. 

The book does a fantastic job weaving a story while withholding information.  I could sense Nicole’s increasing unease as she contemplated her options.

Although billed as a thriller, I loved the chess-like feel with characters attempting to outwit each other.  The final third of the book was especially entertaining with many of the elements I love.  

No graphic violence here, but I have to mention for animal lovers that a deer came to a quick but unfortunate end near the beginning.

Thank you to Atria Books, Catherine McKenzie, and Net Galley for the opportunity to read an Advance Electronic Copy.  Set to publish on May 22, 2022.
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Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy. Really well written book. Would recommend. Secret woman only organization seems like a good idea to join, but is it? Who is being truthful? Who is really your friend and looking out for you?
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This was a fast paced read, centered on Nicole, who joins what she thinks is a “networking group”, only to determine there is an ulterior motive. While this genre has been done before, I thought the author did a good job at getting the reader to understand how a smart woman like Nicole could get dragged into something behind her control. 

The story is engaging from the beginning, and I felt like I could empathize with Nicole as she navigates her way through complex personal situations while figuring out what might really be going on in this group. When it’s all revealed, the motivation for everything that happened did seem a little far-fetched to me, but there was enough detail and background information to make it at least somewhat believable, which was very impressive. 

Overall, this is a unique book that reads a bit like a legal thriller while also kind of a like a psychological thriller. It’s a unique take on a common theme and I enjoyed it. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I am kind of stuck in the middle on how I feel about this book. Pros: it was entertaining and I enjoyed trying to figure out where this was going for the most part. It has strong women but then it starts crossing paths with the cons. Cons: it seemed a bit political and it may have been about trying to get away from men and their power in the whole #metoo movement but these women weren’t much better so I was confused on the underlining point, if there was one. It started off really strong for me but by the end with the twist and reveal I was pretty underwhelmed and over the banter. 

Overall it’s a 3.5 stars for me.

Thank you to Atria Books and netgalley for the arc in exchange for my honest review.
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I love a book that grabs me from page one and doesn't let up.   Nicole, a lawyer in a prestigious firm, her career on a bit of a downward turn, accepts an invitation to join a women's elite empowerment network.  Her husband is suspicious but she jumps in head first and soon finds herself embroiled and manipulated.  Who can she trust.  What will be left of her life and her self will?  With multiple twists and then a final zinger, we go along with the fast paced trip to regain her autonomy
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The ‘old boys club’ mentality drives me nuts but the idea of women taking advantage of others, sheerly for purpose of their own advancement or agenda is equally appalling. Please Join Us takes the reader on a twisted adventure that leaves them wondering what they’d do in/under the same circumstances. 
Thank You to Atria Books, Catherine McKenzie, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Loved this book!  Do yourself a favor and preorder it now.  Catherine McKenzie does not disappoint with this one.  Nicole is asked to join a secret society and soon finds out how her life is changing, and not exactly for the good.  The twists and turns are excellent and just when I thought I had it all figured out, there was another one!  So, So good.  Thank you so much to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the early read.  I highly recommend this book.
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