Cover Image: Please Join Us

Please Join Us

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Member Reviews

Nicole is having a hard time at work, and when she gets an email inviting her to a female networking event. Although she’s apprehensive, Nicole joins and suddenly has a “Pride” of women who have her back. Things are amazing until her Pride starts to demand favors in return.

Please Join Us is definitely exciting and moves quickly, but I found the characters pretty flat and the big reveal to be rather convoluted.
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When a new Catherine McKenzie book hits the shelves, you can bet I am picking it up.  She hooked me years ago with Spin, and I have read backlist and new releases ever since. Her craft is impeccable, and I'm never disappointed.

Please Join Us follows Nicole Mueller, a 39-year-old lawyer who has hit up against some rough spots lately. The partners at her law firm are scrutinizing her case load and earning potential. She and her husband are concerned they are going to have to move out of the apartment that they have lived in for 10 years, and loved. And she feels alone in the world.  Until an email arrives, inviting her to join Panthera Leo, a women's networking group offering opportunities to go up against the "old boy's club" and succeed. She jumps in quickly, and finds herself at a secluded ranch in Colorado, with some powerhouse women, ready to set the world on fire.  But who's going to get burned in the process?

McKenzie brings out the twists in this one. Right up until the end of this book, you're going to be wondering who is truly pulling the strings here.  And who is going to come out ahead in the end.  Well-paced, with characters that I loved to hate. This book earned a 4.25 stars from me... the ending let me down a little bit, but that last page sure had me questioning things.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I expected this to go one way and it did not.  It zigged instead of zagged. Why do so many writers walk right to the edge of female inclusivity and then chicken out at the end? This did not empower like I hoped it would.
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4.5/5

This was a captivating and unputdownable book. Catherine McKenzie has done it again by writing a twisty, mysterious and perfect thriller with quite the cast of strong female characters. It was a unique story but it was very entertaining. And that ending was mind blowing. Very well done!

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.
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Book wasn't really for me but I was blown away by how the author made all the pieces connect to each other. I can see myself recommending this book to customers looking for more brainy type thrillers.
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This was a very interesting reading experience for me. I thought the premise was really strong: a group of powerful women (almost cult-like), working together to move upward in a man's world, but all is not what is seems. Any story that gives any sort of cultish vibes is an auto-read for me, and I expected that to be more of the case with this book. The first half of the story definitely gave that vibe, and although the pacing was a bit strange throughout the book, I was interested in where the plot was going. Unfortunately, once things start unraveling and we start finding out the truth, thats where things fell a bit flat for me. I wasn't a fan of the big reveal/explanation to the events happening throughout the story, I found it to be quite unnecessarily convoluted. Additionally, I didn't find any of the characters to be very well fleshed out and I didn't connect with any of them, let alone our main character Nicole. Overall, I don't think this is a bad book, it just wasn't my particular cup of tea!
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I enjoyed this one and was hooked from the very start! It gave me Smile and Look Pretty Vibes! A group of powerful women banding together to take what they deserve in a man’a world. But man oh man! There is so much more going on in this one under the surface! This has been called a cultish book, I didn’t really see that, but it is definitely a group of (presumably) like minded women. I can’t say too much without giving away key plot points that you will want to read and find out for yourself. I enjoyed the then and now chapters, and how eventually every chapter turned into now chapters. The then chapters were imperative to build background on the women’s “club.” 

This one comes out 8/23!
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Panthera Leo, an exclusive women's networking group, promises life changing results. The high-powered members of each five-member pride take care of each other, doing what it takes to ensure that they all succeed. Nicole has never heard of the group before receiving an email from them, but she jumps at the sudden invitation to join. 

The description was promising, but I had a hard time getting into this one. Nicole is tired because of men. She's angry because of men.  Her husband doesn't have the same drive to succeed as she does and doesn't work as hard as she does. She's underperforming at her job. The apartment she and her husband love is being taken by another member of his family. She wants changes in her life and apparently isn't about to ask any questions about what she'll have to do to repay all of the favors the other pride members are doing for her. 

The plot shifts back and forth between a present situation and a few months earlier when Nicole first joined the group. It builds slowly and by the time things really started to happen I didn't care if Nicole was going to be okay or not.
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Please Join Us had a very unique story line and was very twisty! I devoured this book in a day and was shocked by the ending. This was my first book by Catherine McKenzie and I can’t wait to read more by this author! This checks all the boxes for the perfect thriller, secret societies, backstabbing friends and a strong female point of view. I loved this book!
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What's it about (in a nutshell):
Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie is a dark and twisted psychological thriller about Nicole Mueller's opportunity to level the playing field in a man's world.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
The cover is fascinating. It reminds me of an old tv screen that's on an antenna and not coming in properly. I can't even begin to imagine what the cover tells me about the story, but it intrigues me nonetheless. I like the sound of a girls' club in a boys' club world since I'm all about empowering women, but the description describes something that may be too good to be true due to unrealistic expectations of the illegal and immoral kind.

Actual Reading Experience:
This is one of those stories that the less I say, the better your reading experience, so I will keep it brief.

I am both bothered and awed that this story takes women's empowerment to a dark and devious place from which I wondered if there is any retuning. A girls' club with equal power to the boys club is impressive, but is it good if it gets down in the mud with the boys? You will have to read this story to figure that out for yourself.
I loved the dark, creepy, and twisted ending most of all. It's everything I didn't know I wanted from the ending and so fun in that dark way. I always appreciate a good ending, and the darker and creepier in psychological thrillers, the better.

The twists and turns are out of this world, and the intelligence behind each move blew my mind. I love a smartly detailed plot with subterfuge and intelligence leading the way, and boy, this story delivered more than I ever could imagine. It all worked together to tell this deceptively dark story from the smallest detail to the bigger picture.

Characters:
Nicole Mueller is the main character and narrator. She is married to a loving husband, Dan, and they live in a rent-controlled apartment owned by Dan's great-aunt. Driven and determined are two words that come to mind immediately when thinking about her. She knows she is working in a man's world and will successfully navigate it until she can't.

Narration & Pacing:
Please Join Us is told in a dual timeline through Nicole's first-person narration. It flows beautifully and never gets confusing about which timeline you're in. The pacing is my favorite which is very focused and fast from start to finish. There is no putting this book down. Even once you finish, you will feel compelled to hold on to it a bit longer while you process what you read.

Setting:
The story is set in New York City, which suits it as the main character is a successful lawyer who graduated from an Ivy League school. I enjoyed how the author utilized different aspects of city life to increase the tension, and they were believable, which helped the pace stay very fast.

To Read or Not to Read:
If you are looking for a dark and twisted psychological thriller that will reverberate long after you close the book for the final time, Please Join Us is one you won't want to miss.
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Nicole Mueller is having a rough go of it. She has been basically demoted at work and she and her husband, Dan may have to leave the apartment they live in. Stressed out and worried for the future, Nicole receives an invitation to join an inclusive networking group of women. Could this be a step in the right direction? The membership is anonymous but successful women are said to be members. She is optimistic but Dan feels this elite group may be a cult. It's not - it's a pride.

After attending the retreat in Colorado, things begin to look up for Nicole. Sure, she may have to help other women out with favors, but life is good. She has a new home, is making money but then a call comes in.....

I found this to be a fast entertaining read. It doesn't take much thought, just to sit back and enjoy watching a Nicole is tested. I especially enjoyed the twists at the end.

Entertaining fast read which doesn't disappoint.

3.5 stars

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3/5)
Pub Date: 8/23
Genre: Thriller/Suspense 

When lawyer Nicole Mueller begins to doubt herself and the future of her career, an intriguing email arrives in her inbox. It turns out to be an invitation to join an elite women's networking group called Panthera Leo. Promising to help women succeed, Panthera Leo may be just what Nicole needs to get her career back on track and turn her life around.

On the surface, this is a book about a highly selective club & women empowerment. The membership is very exclusive and somewhat secretive & when Nicole agrees to a retreat there is no denying the immediate positive results. However, she can't help but notice the sinister undertone to the club, and the deeper she gets involved, the more frightening and dangerous it becomes.

Please Join Us was just okay for me. I do believe the writing was decent but there were too many one dimensional characters, including our MC Nicole. Their actions didn't feel totally believable and I found myself getting a lot of the characters mixed up. The pacing was quick but at the same time I didn't find myself wanting to pick up the book until about half way through. And then the twists and turns began to feel really out there and far fetched? I was disappointed that this book went from women empowering women to women being competitive among one another. I wish the "cult" aspect of the book was a bigger focus and piece of the plot. I think that I had the wrong expectation for this one. 

**Thank you to Catherine McKenzie, Atria Books and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review!**
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Nicole Mueller’s law career is heading south - she has lost her major client and her partnership in the firm is on shaky ground.  Out of the blue comes an invitation to join Panthera Leo, a secretive group of successful business women.  She thinks going to their retreat out west is just what she needs at this time despite her husband’s concerns that the group is nothing more than a cult.  PL has small groups known as Prides (as in lion prides) and each member is expected to support the others with which she has been paired.  While the retreat has some unusual tasks, Nicole sees the benefits as soon as she gets back to work - the network providing her with a major client and case that is reviving her law career.  Over the next few months, though, things start to unravel as she sees cracks in the group and questions what is the final motivation for both the group and her participation in it.  This is a well-written novel of hidden agendas that will keep you guessing until the very complex ending.  And it is a big improvement over the last book (Six Weeks to Live) that I read by this author.  My thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review the ARC of this novel.
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The More You Think You See, The Easier It Will Be To Fool You. For the first time since I began reading McKenzie's books (with 2018's The Good Liar) at minimum, here McKenzie uses her former profession as a lawyer to craft a women's fiction tale that almost rivals the legends of legal fiction such as John Grisham. The prologue pulls you in, the alternating timelines build the mystery, and while the pacing gets slow between the prologue and say the 3/4 mark or so, it is always with a tinge of menace right around the corner. And then that final 10-15% or so, where the title of this review *really* kicks in. Almost until the last word, McKenzie begins flipping everything you think you know around so much it begins to look like a Rubik's cube master's speed run. Quite an interesting tale, and very much recommended.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
I read "I'll Never Tell" by Catherine McKenzie a few years ago & loved it so when I discovered that her newest book was available to review, I jumped at the chance to request it.
"Please Join Us" didn't disappoint me. It was filled with alot of twists & surprises. Just when I thought that I had things figured out, it would take a turn & go in another way. 
I enjoyed how Ms. McKenzie
used the "then" & "now" timelines to tell the story.
I'm excited to see what Ms. McKenzie decides to write next.
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Timely! Another great one from Catherine McKenzie. I feel like this has CoHo potential in terms of selling.
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Nicole is an overworked and exhausted lawyer who is intrigued when she received an invitation to an exclusive organization for women called Panthera Leo. It couldn't come at a better time as things are falling apart for Nicole at work, where she's in danger of losing her coveted partnership. She and her husband, Dan, are also at risk of being kicked out of their New York apartment. She goes on a Panthera Leo retreat and meets the other women in her Pride, which include successful businesswomen, an actress, and a congresswomen. Once home, the Pride helps Nicole find a new place and regain her footing at work. But soon she realizes everything comes at a price--and Panthera Leo has a dark side.

Well, this was an interesting read for sure. At times, it was uneven and dragged. But when it was exciting, it was a total page-turner and very eventful!! PLEASE JOIN US is filled with twists and surprises; just when you think you have things figured out, it takes a turn and goes off another way. The "then" and "now" timeline makes for a frenetic and dramatic format. While fun and perhaps slightly unbelievable, PLEASE JOIN US is an intriguing (albeit slightly stressful) read. It really touches on how angry and tired women can feel in a society that favors men, especially in the workplace (a few things hit home for sure). If you're ready to suspend a little disbelief and get lost in a wild story, this one is for you.
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Bestselling Author Catherine McKenzie returns with her 13th novel, a dazzling psychological suspense thriller, PLEASE JOIN US —with an exclusive invitation to a secret women's networking group that will change the course of one woman's life.

Nicole Muller once had a brilliant law career. Now at age 39, she and her husband, Dan, will be forced out of their apartment and a warning from her firm's senior partner.

Then she receives a mysterious invitation to join a group, Panthera Leo. All the members are successful women professionals; maybe this might be the thing she needs to get back on track with contacts.

They are a girls club in a boy's world. Her hubby is more concerned this may be a cult. Nicole moves forward and joins the retreat in Colorado.

All seems too good to be true, with great returns until she is asked to do things in return that turns more sinister, like covering up crimes.

Juicy REVENGE for all the women in the good old boy network! From deceit, lies, and cover-ups, a chilling roller coaster ride of women's empowerment in a man's world. They will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Wow! Directly after reading PLEASE JOIN US, I started John Grisham's ARC legal thriller (10/18) The Boys from Biloxi (the good ole' boys and all their dirty nasty deeds), and would love to see these women let loose in the man's world of Deep South in the 1950-1970s! That would be a story.

I love legal thrillers or any books with attorneys, justice, or the legal systems. McKenzie, a former attorney, knows her way around the legal world, and the characters are relatable. A fast-paced thriller of hidden agendas, deceit, dark secrets, and ferocious women who are determined to go after and even take what they feel they deserve.

A twisty ending! If you enjoy it when lines are blurred, shades of gray, morality, power imbalances between men and women in the workplace, justice, and revenge,
this one is for you!

Thanks to #AtriaBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Review Posted
www.JudithDCollins.com
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pub Date: Aug 23, 2022
Aug 2022 Must-Read Books
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Couldn't get into this. It was interesting in the beginning but the premise just did not hook me and left me bored. I like this author too and her previous work I have always enjoyed but this one I just couldn't get into. The characters were just not doing it for me and neither was the plot.
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4.5 stars! Thank you netgalley and the publisher for my digital arc of PLEASE JOIN US  in exchange for an honest review. This book publishes Tuesday, August 23! 
My first CM book and it won’t be my last! I loved this one and thought it was so clever! Basically the corporate version of a cult, run by women who want to get revenge on men! There is lots of lawyer talk, power struggles, lying, secrets, deceit, and a fakes murder! I was hooked from beginning to end. The end was so satisfying- Nicole (female MC), did such a great job, despite being a pawn in the game, and then the target. I highly recommend this one!
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