Cover Image: The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

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Member Reviews

Title: The Butterfly Effect
Author: Rachel Mans McKenny 
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it—and totally relate. Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they've recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.

But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there's only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don't stay cooped up in their hives either--they buzz about and... socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it's all creating chaos of Greta's perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world.

Once I got past the idea that Greta was just an unlikable person, I enjoyed this book. But yeah, Greta is kind of a jerk. I mean, I get her being uncomfortable around people and not having any idea what to say, but…being deliberately mean and unfeeling is a bit much.

Good writing here and I like the concept—entomology fascinates me, and I’d love to work in the rainforest or a butterfly conservatory—but Greta was unlikable enough to detract from the read. And…the cover makes this look like a light rom com read, but it’s not. It’s really much more a journey of discovery for someone who’s never bothered to care about anyone besides herself.

Rachel Mans McKenny is from the Midwest. The Butterfly Effect is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Alcove Press in exchange for an honest review.)

(Blog link live 12/4.)
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Twins - so alike and so different.  Greta is an introverted soul with a passion for science.  Danny is an extrovert with a passion for music.  They drifted apart when Danny started a relationship with Meg, but a medical emergency brings them back together in a way they did not/could not expect. 

The Butterfly Effect is a tale of siblings, love, loss, bugs and butterflies.  It weaves through this medical emergency and watches the characters change and mature.
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Thank you #Netgalley and Alcove Press for an ebook ARC of  The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny

I choose The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny based on story description as well as the cover. This novel is a character driven study of a variety of relationships one encounters in life.  Greta at times is socially  awkward to the point of painfulness at times.  This novel follows Greta an entomologist conducting research in Coasta Rica, when she is notified about her brother Danny's health issue and returns home immediately to be there for Danny. This novel as little action and is a slow read at times.  If you are interested in relationships this might be the book for you.
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Some parts of this book I loved, others I did not. I can relate to Greta because I also love Star Trek. I would not want to spend time with bugs, but I do love my cats, which is kind of the same thing?

Dealing with the guilt of not being there when her dad died, Greta rushes home when her bother has a medical issue. She tends to push everyone away and she can be selfish and rude. Sometimes she was too much at times, and I wanted her to at least try and be a human. I have the same issues but I do tend to at least make an effort at times to connect with people so I do not end up alone and totally alienated from everyone around me. I wanted to shake her a few times for being so ridiculous. Yes, she did have a lot to deal with but she was not even trying when her family was making an effort.

It was a little slow, but I did like the story most of the time.

I think this is a good debut novel, and I look forward to more from this author. 

Thank you NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I am so sorry to say this, But I simply could not get into this book. I had tried multiple times. I couldn't grasp the concept of the book, nor the story line and lost interest pretty quick. 

However, I LOVED the cover of the book and love that is it a feel good read for times like these when the stress levels are at an all time high. I will try to revisit this book at a later date in hopes of finding interest in it.
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Greta loves butterflies. In fact, when we are first introduced to her, she is Costa Rica researching them when she gets the call about her twin brother, Danny.  She drops everything, risking her research grant for her dissertation and flies back home to be with him. 

Once home, she has no where to live or no job. She has no choice, but to sleep on the couch of her brother’s fiancé (who she doesn’t like) and takes a menial job.  But none of this really matters. She needs to ensure that Danny recovers and get back on his feet.  But tensions arise with the fiancé and her estranged mother.  Basically, her whole life is on shaky ground. Throw in Max and Brandon (her guy friend and her ex), and we have an earthquake.

My review – I tried to like this story, I really did, but the writing did not suck me in and I felt the writing didn’t have the flow to keep me reading.  Sorry, but maybe I just read it at the wrong time.
The characters themselves were fascinating, but I the connection between them felt lacking.
 The drama of having to leave Costa Rica to tend to her twin brother was good, and the tension between Greta and Meg seems genuine. 

I’m giving it a 3 star just for the characters and the story line.
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Thank you to the author, Alcove Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the unconventional route this story took - making the heroine an entemologist, and showing in practical terms what that means. Not an especially cute and cuddly topic to focus your life's work on (the heroine is a doing a postdoc). But then the heroine herself is pretty much the opposite of cute and cuddly, and her social awkwardness is almost painful at times - not to mention annoying and horribly hurtful for those around her. However, we see what happened to make her retreat into her shell and become the way she is, and what happens to help her overcome at least some of that to start slowly blossoming toward the end. Yes, bug metaphors all the way.
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This is a very character lead story about socially awkward Greta and how she deals with her brother suffering a aneurism which results in her returning to her hometown instead of working on a thesis in Costa Rica. Greta is a very difficult character as she seems to have very awkward relationships with everyone around her, far preferring to absorb herself in her work and studies. It covers her work in good detail which really does suit the characters mindset but doesn’t make for relaxing reading at points. As she is a difficult character she’s not easy to like but it does make her very intriguing. This isn’t high on action, it’s very much a study of relationships but you do find yourself ultimately rooting for Greta,
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I requested this book from NetGalley because it was described in such terms as "warm and winning" and "delightfully off-kilter". I did not find it to be those things. I associate quirky characters with fun reads, and I found the tone of this to be depressing. I'm sure there are people who want to read about a woman sitting at the bedside of her twin brother after he's had a stroke, but I'm not one of them. DNF.
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Well this sounded unique and interesting, but I see that I'm not alone in not finding this book an enjoyable read. I think the author had a great idea for a plot and the writing was good, however I had to DNF this one after making it half way through, mostly due to the main character who I did not like at all or connect with unfortunately. Thank to the Author, Publisher and NetGalley for allowing me a copy of this Arc to review.
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. I had mixed feelings about this one, though the disliked part weighs higher over here.
Let's start about the liked part-
The book put emphasis on entomology.
I liked the way the writer took effort to write about all the insects and butterflies. Their structure, habitats, mating and everything was well researched,which was educative.Okay! I love Biology, so yeah! these stuffs interested me a lot. Also, the nerd vibes was interesting. Apart from the main character, the supporting characters were all interesting and "humane". Max was a great friend and a loveable character. 

Moving on to the parts which frustrated me-

. I think I would've enjoyed this book better if the main character Greta wasn't as annoying, whiny, selfish, bluntly rude, unkind, spiteful and add in more negative adjectives as you like. It's to be noted that,  Greta and her brother  Danny didn't have a conventional childhood with their father passing and their mother's abandonment, which has left some sort of scar in the twins lives in different ways .By the end of the book, Greta somehow started to look back on few messes she created. But still, I would say it wasn't a significant amount of character development, I was looking forward to.
Overall, The storyline was intriguing but I wasn't impressed like the way I thought I would be. Nevertheless, there are people for whom this book worked greatly, so, if you're thinking about reading it, surely give the book a chance cause everyone has different perspectives right?
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Thank you Netgalley for providing me this eArc in exchange for an honest review.

Sadly, this was not a story I could get on with. I had to DNF the book even after the half way mark as I truly disliked the main character. I am not the kind of reader that needs to like or even relate to a character to be able to enjoy the book but this one was too much for me. I couldn’t stand the rudeness and selfishness that person evoked and it just made me feel that I was not enjoying the reading experience at all.

I did appreciate the trope of comparing insects with human behaviour, especially the biologist part in me was devouring those passages with pleasure but other than that I just could not go on with it.

I truly apologise but maybe this was just not for my liking.
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I absolutely love The Butterfly Effect’s quirky heroine, Greta Oto.  She’s socially awkward, loves the Star Trek spin-off The Next Generation, and just wants to spend time with her butterflies and bugs – because they’re so much easier to understand than people.  

Still wracked with guilt for not being there for her father when he was dying, Greta feels compelled to leave her PhD research in Costa Rica behind and fly back to Iowa when her twin brother, and musical prodigy, Danny suffers an aneurysm.  But, once home, Greta struggles to get along with Danny’s beautiful perky fiancée Meg, their estranged mother Martha who abandoned the family when Greta and Danny were just 14 years old, not to mention Greta’s ex-boyfriend Brandon.  Greta has a habit of pushing people away and not seeing past her own discomfort with the complexities of human relationships.  Will Greta get it all together before it’s too late?

The novel is a bit slow at times, and I did find myself struggling through a few seemingly forced-in social commentaries that in my opinion weren’t pertinent to the plot.

Overall, the novel is a lovely story of personal growth, and while old with subtlety, the tale has a lot of heart.  Another great choice for book clubs from newcomer Alcove Press, an imprint of Crooked Lane Books, which launched its first offerings just a few weeks ago on October 6th, 2020.  The Butterfly Effect releases December 8, 2020, along with another Alcove Press forthcoming hit, The Mermaid from Jeju.

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Greta, who admits to being unapologetically “prickly”, is antisocial, rude, mean-spirited and thoroughly unlikeable.  She cuts short her butterfly research trip in Costa Rica to return home when her twin brother suffers a brain aneurysm.  Whenever anyone (her brother’s fiancée, the nurses, her ex-boyfriend/new boss) tries to be helpful, Greta all but verbally attacks them, twisting their platitudes into the most uncharitable versions of condescension possible.  

The major part of this story seems like a journaling of Greta’s issues with her brother’s health crisis, her dysfunctional family dynamics, unresolved feelings for her ex-boyfriend, hatred of her brother’s fiancée, her struggles to complete her PhD, and a confusing friendship with a fellow entomologist candidate.  It is hard to read about Greta.  Most of the time, she is thinking spiteful, unfounded and unkind thoughts about the people around her.  Otherwise, she would be reticent and avoidant.  She is truly unlikeable by design.

But, I volunteered to read and review this book on NetGalley so I must see it through.  “It’s called The Butterfly Effect” I thought, so “maybe Greta will have a chrysalis event?”

The main focus of Greta’s unscheduled homecoming is her dedication to her twin’s post-aneurysm recovery.  At times, it seems as if she is purposefully antagonizing Danny’s support system so that she could have him to herself.  Yet, even with Danny, she can barely open up and talk with him.

Finally, at the 85% mark comes an epiphanous event that actually forces cold, self-centred Greta to question her disinterest in the people around her.  She decides that she wants to try harder to be the friend and sister that her friends and brother deserves.  This comes about by small yet significant gestures.  The dedicated reader is rewarded with a warm ending, but is nevertheless dubious of the effort invested.
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Cute idea and story. I love butterflies so when I saw the title and blurb, I was intrigued.  Greta has so many difficult things happen to her and she is a negative character but I still found myself rooting for her . I felt like the author did a great job of developing the characters and presenting the story. Life isn't always perfect and the way people deal with them isn't either. I truly enjoyed the book and am happy I was given the chance to review it.
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I'm very conflicted right now. This book was by no means bad, but I also am by no means mind-blown or excited.

I liked the writing very much - poetic at places, melancholic but realistic. It suited the main character Greta very well. 
I appreciated the character development, which was done well in my opinion - very subtly, it grew on you gradually.

However, the rest of it wasn't really appealing - don't get me wrong, if the writing and the character development are fine, that's a big part of the book, but it isn't all.
The main character was extremely, let me repeat, extremely unlikeable. Selfish, close-minded, grim and gloomy. Make excuses, I know she had all these traumatic things happen to her and I appreciate the realness of it all, but it was not a pleasant experience.
I didn't really understand some of the characters, but that's probably because I was looking through Greta's eyes who didn't want to understand them. I'm not sure where the problem happened, but there was one where it shouldn't have been.

To sum things up, I'd probably give The Butterfly Effect a try, but don't be surprised if it disappoints.
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I liked this book right from the beginning. The story is good, the writing is great and the characters are well sketched out. Greta is not very likeable but the other characters make up for it. in fact, at times, i even wondered why others even tolerated Greta and her behaviour. This book talks about family and why it is important to have a support system without sounding preachy. Overall, a funny and insightful book. I will look forward to reading more from Rachel Mans McKenny.

Thanks to Netgalley and Alcove Press for giving me this ARC in exchange of an honest review.
3.5 stars rounded to 4.
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The author is attempting to see whether readers will enjoy a novel if the main character is pretty unlikable.  If that was the experiment, it failed.  I just didn’t like this character and since the book is told through the first person, that meant we were stuck in Greta’s mind the whole time.  I don’t know if she was supposed to be somewhere on the spectrum or just was someone without much empathy or the ability to relate to people, even someone she really cared for like her twin brother.

I just didn’t want to spend several hours in the mind of a rather selfish, unfeeling person.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Greta returns home from a doctoral project to help care for her twin brother, Danny, after he suffers an aneurysm.   While at home, away from a research project for her dissertation, she encounters many emotional issue--all of which she finds  difficult to navigate. Her most pressing issue is the return of her mother, who abandoned the family when the twins were 14.  Another issue is her brother's fiance, whom she dislikes.  Add to these circumstances, Danny doesn't bounce back, her funding is cut for her project, she doesn't have funds or a secure place to live, and she can't quite figure out the men in her life.

I love Greta. Her struggles are real,  and her aspberger-ish way of dealing with life is both amusing and painful.
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DNF at 15%

It was boring and the female protagonist is selfish. The blurb was seemed good and the title was unique, that's why I was a bit excited. However, I just didn't like it.
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