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Second Lives

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When four patients unexpectedly wake after being declared dead, their families are ecstatic and the word “miracle” begins to be whispered throughout the hospital. But the jubilation is short lived when the patients don’t respond to their names and insist they are different people. It is suggested all four are suffering from fugue states until one of the doctors recognizes ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 11th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  36 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not too long ago there was a trend…stories about the dead coming back to life and we’re not talking zombies. Actual persons returning from the dead to have another go at life. Jason Mott’s Returned might have been the first book with the premise, I read it, it disappointed. But nevertheless got adapted into a tv show. And then there was something of a proliferation of similar themed tv shows from around the world. I’ve watched and abandoned two. None were quite right in their approach to the sub ...more
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
What would reincarnation really look like in practice? Put aside the idea of waking up and being in the body of a zebra, a parrot, or an amoeba? If there really was reincarnation, it would have to be a thing of people whose lives got cut short reappearing in other bodies. But whose bodies? Maybe the bodies of other people whose lives got cut short. One day they are in the hospital and they flatline and a few hours later their hearts start beating again and they are someone else. Possessed by som ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Award-winning writer P.D. Cacek delivers a full-length novel based on reincarnation that is very much character, rather than plot, driven with an interesting and memorable cast. It explores issues of life and death and the effects of each on families and the wider community. Having just lost someone close to me I could relate to the emotive scenes and felt they were beautiful and sensitively done. It's a well written, compulsive and thought-provoking read which blurs the line between myth and re ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
**3.5-stars rounded up**

That was sad.
Depressing even.
Writing really very solid.
Each chapter was like a short story unto itself.

I need to think about this one.
Full review to come...stay tuned!

Thank you so much to, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!
I'm not sure if it was because of the author or because of the cover, but I was expecting horror here. So, if you were thinking along the same lines, this is supernatural, but not horror.

It's a mix of so incredibly sad and so incredibly hopeful.

Cacek has a clear gift for characterization and, I warn you, each and every main character has a heartbreaking story line. Tears were shed.

But the story lines were so very compelling and I had so much hope for all of them!

I loved this. It was completely
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a spellbinding and original exploration of reincarnation in which lives that were cut short return from the dead, not as newborns and not with new lives, but in the bodies of the recently deceased. Imagine losing a loved one, but not being able to lay them to rest because a stranger now inhabits their body. Imagine having lost a loved one years ago but finding out they are now alive in a body that you don't recognize. Now imagine being that person, perhaps a child that was run down ...more
Apr 02, 2019 marked it as dnf
Second Lives has a really interesting synopsis, so I knew I wanted to check it out when I heard about it. I read about 80 pages, and nothing happened to catch my interest. There are 8 characters with different chapters, and some are in different timelines, and it didn't feel like a cohesive story. Maybe it all links together later on, but I didn't care about any of the characters enough to keep going.
Armand Rosamilia
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very emotional roller coaster of a book! I went in expecting this to be a horror or supernatural book and I'm glad I didn't read any other reviews or the description because it blew me away. It is so much more. Emotional. Funny. Sad. Poignant. I found myself smiling as I finished it, knowing I'd just read something important.
Siân Plummer (plumreads__s)
*3.5 I think
Need to sleep on it!
Review to come on
Apr 02, 2019 marked it as to-read
Ok... that COVER is SOOO creepy! I LOVE IT!

I was so intrigued by the subject of this book... and totally believe in reincarnation. I was totally on board with this book!

Few patients wake up in the hospital after they flatlined and wake up some else. Yes I know CREEPY! Possessed by someone else for no reason.

Second Lives explores the concept behind reincarnation through 4 cases. What happens when one soul leaves a body and another enters? It looks like the same person... but it is not at all. Thi
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time taken to read - 2 days (as and when I could)

Pages - 256

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from the back cover

A frightened little boy killed in 1956 cries out for his mother from the body of an eighty-one year old Alzheimer's patient. The soul of a spinster killed in a Suffragette rally wakes in the body of a new mother. An Orthodox Jew, murdered in 1922, opens the eyes of a man who just committed suicide and a teenage girl wakes to discover she's now in the body of a fort
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as an ARC

In P. D. Cacek’s sixth novel, Second Lives, many lives are disrupted by death: the ones who leave, the ones who are left behind, and the ones who come back. With these second lives, come second chances. How the characters deal with these is one of the main themes of this book.

In parts one through three, we are introduced to the inner thoughts and outer lives of the eight characters whose paths will intersect on August 24, 2017. The writing flows easily as we learn
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review Copy

The description of this book is long so there is no reason for me to rehash it. If you haven't read it, GOOD! Don't! Take the title and the recommend and dive in. I couldn't devour this novel fast enough.

And a novel novel it is. I can't recall reading anything quite like it. Cacek took a tough subject (life and death) and looked at it from a brand new perspective. She created a multitude of characters that were separate and distinct and wholly their own. And while I did have questions
Nick Cato
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of those rare reads that transcends the genre. Full review soon at
Valerie - Cats Luv Coffee
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first glance, Second Lives may be considered a horror story but it is so much more. Four people from differing walks of life die. Yet, they are somehow miraculously brought back from the brink of death, long after such a thing should have been possible. Are they really though, as each person claiming to be someone else, with no memory of the person whose body they now inhabit? The more you read, the story transmutes into one of kindness, compassion, and understanding.

The story begins in the
Lou Jacobs
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dying is easy .... the hard part is the situation for those left behind! This forms the crux of this wonderful novel. In this case, however, not only dealing with the grief and loss of your loved one... but, trying to deal with the inexplicable presence of another soul in their body.
It's been a long time since I've read a fantasy that is so poignant . The reader experiences a wide range of emotions ... pitty, sadness, joy, heart-warming and rending, tearfulness, and lastly wonder.
The major pre
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Imagine you have steeled yourself to say goodbye to your loved one. They are dying and there is no chance of survival. The machines flat line. Everyone is subdued and then they start breathing again. Is this a miracle? The doctors certainly struggle to understand it. Sorrow turns to joy and then to confusion. The body is your loved one but who is inhabiting it?

This story looks at the lives of just a handful of people. This is not an epidemic, nor a zombie invasion. Just a handful of people in on
Rachel Bridgeman
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: april-2019
Hugest of thanks to the ever patient and amazingly organised Anne Cater of Random Things for this tour invite to another Flametree Press classic, ‘Second Lives’ by P.D Cacek

This is the first I have read by the author, but thanks to the extensive back catalogue the company has and the interview at the front of the book (one of my favourite things!)I will be hunting down her other works.

‘Second Lives’ is such a great story, it has a slow build, delibersately structured so tha you get to know the c
April Showers Bring Fungi From Yuggoth
P. D. Cacek rocks! SECOND LIVES is an extraordinarily compelling novel which I classify as horror, science fiction, and literary fiction. The premise seems simple enough on the surface: three patients in one hospital in California die on the same date--August 24. That's not odd. In a large hospital, that fact might be fairly common. A fourth man dies after a swimming pool drowning. However, what is odd, even impossible, is that all four patients revive: suddenly, after being declared clinically ...more
Chelsea Best
Thank you so much Flame Tree Press for this advanced copy of 'Second Lives' by P.D. Cacek!
I first have to say how much I love the cover design of this book. Aesthetically it is gorgeous and that's what first made me want to read it.
Next, I would say I would rather give a 3.75 ish rating closer to a 4 buy not quite a 4. This story takes a while to kickstart. There were a few parts that I felt were completely unnecessary as far as character building goes. Some of the parts felt dragged out a littl
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Second Lives
by P.D. Cacek
Flametree Press
due 4-11-2019
4.9 / 5.0

The families and close friends of 4 people think they have witnessed a miracle when their loved ones, who have been been declared dead, regain consciousness. They begin to breathe, see, hear and talk. However, the miracles prove less than miraculous when the families realize their loved one, now alive, does not recognize them, or their past. They do not even respond to their own names. After examining who they claim to be, these 4
Yolanda Sfetsos
I'm afraid this is a DNF for me.

I read the first chapter and really enjoyed what I read. Then, I kept reading all the way to the end of Part One but had to stop.

There are TOO many characters with TOO many stories. It felt like I was reading a collection of short stories about a bunch of different people from different time periods, yet nothing was happening to the main storyline. I know that probably makes no sense because each chapter contained a different person's death, so it's obviously pac
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SECOND LIVES by P.D. Cacek is one of those rare books that you read.. in utter fascination! The story is about eight very different folks from various time frames and their deaths. Bizarrely, upon death.. four of the folks are declared legally dead on the same day.. and their bodies suddenly come back to life.. but, they are not the same souls. Those that have been deceased for a number of years.. awaken and find themselves inhabiting another person's body. I found this story to be a fantastic t ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of Second Lives by P. D. Cacek from Flame Tree Press for an honest review.

On August 24, 2017:
A little boy who was struck and killed by a car in 1956 wakes up in the body of an 81 year old Alzheimer’s patient. A spinster who was killed at a suffragette rally in 1914 now inhabits the body of a new mother. An Orthodox Jew who was murdered in 1922 wakes up in the body of a paraplegic who just committed suicide. A teenage girl who died in 1992 wakes to discover she’s now in the body
Angela Maher
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This isn't quite what I was expecting, but it is certainly a most extraordinary book. The cover makes it look to be a somewhat scary story, but I found it played on other emotions and brought me close to tears several times.
Initially I thought I might lose track of all the different characters, but they're all so well rounded out and individual that there wasn't a problem, especially after pairs of story lines merged. You really get to feel for these characters and the situations they're in. Dif
S.D. Vassallo
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this novel. It's powerful, uplifting, and in several places, a tearjerker. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy before you start it.

I have a review up at my blog, which you can read here:

I enjoyed P.D. Cacek's tale, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I give this novel a solid 4 stars.

Disclaimer: I received an advance reading copy of the novel from Flame Tree Press in exchange for an honest review. I received no money or any other
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Advance copy in exchange for honest review. I wanted to like this book, because I thought the premise had promise. The first third or more of the book is backstory on the 'travelers' who come to inhabit the bodies of four people who die in a hospital on the same day. Parts of the book were good. The acceptance of two of the 'travelers' by their hosts' families was good. Past that, the book really seemed to go nowhere. No explanation for the travelers, I was disappointed. I thought the book could ...more
Roger Bailey
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had read some shorts of Cacek's before, this was the first novel. Second Lives follows the tragic end of four people and their re-birth in recently deceased people. The book does a great job of giving the backstory, but the true heart is in how their love ones cope. Imagining the body of your loved one carrying someone else's soul is difficult, and Cacek does an amazing job of showing the different ways the characters cope.

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest r
Steve Stred
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm DNFing this at 30%. My most sincere apologies to the author and to Flametree who kindly approved me for this book on Netgalley, but ultimately I just can't connect with the story.
The writing is great, the author is very talented, but as of 30%, I just haven't connected and I'm struggling to want to go further. The synopsis was very intriguing and the cover artwork is top notch, but this is just a case of wrong reader for the story!
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Occasionally credited as Patricia D. Cacek.

Patricia Diana Joy Anne Cacek (December 22, 1951, Hollywood, California) is an American author, mostly of horror novels. She graduated with a B.A in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach in 1975.
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