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Second Lives

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  51 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, 304 pages
Published April 11th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  70 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read

My expression upon completing Second Lives:

Eight people die.

Four come back, but not as they were before. Or should I say, WHO they were before.

Intriguing premise, right?

It certainly is and I think Cacek did a great job of weaving this highly-detailed, slightly odd tale together.

The writing was solid. You can definitely tell Cacek is an experienced author.

Each chapter was like a short-story unto itself. For those of you who enjoy short story collections, I feel like this book could r
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Second Lives takes the reader down an emotional and heart-wrenching journey through 8 characters, all of which have dedicated chapters written about them, detailing key events in their lives as well as their eventual deaths, and for some, reincarnation.

Whilst the early portion of the book read like a literary short story collection, introducing 8 characters with seemingly no relation nor connection to one another, the pay-off is in the perseverance, because once the you come out of the dark plac
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
Second Lives has an amazingly creepy cover and an intriguing blurb and when I sat down with it I knew it was going to be an emotionally intense read. The plot is about a group of four people who die, after all, but I wasn’t expecting the heavy blanket of sadness that was dropped over my head to stay there until almost the very last page.

Be warned if you’re feeling blue because this one may need to wait a bit but if you’re feeling too chipper give it a go but make sure you have no distractions an
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
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 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
Hunter Shea
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an emotional gut punch that I wasn't expecting or prepared for. I don't think I've ever had a book hit me this hard. This is more than just a tale of the paranormal. It's an exploration of grief and loss and hope that will make you spend a lot of time contemplating what happens when we die. Excellent!
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!
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
Tom A.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A thought-provoking, engaging, and ultimately heartfelt exploration of existence, identity, second chances, and the way we waste our lives.

When is being brought back to life a curse? The families of four patients soon find out, as they struggle to comprehend why their recently-deceased loved ones suddenly sprang back to life after being declared clinically dead. They discover it’s the least of their worries as the four claim to be different persons, people who have died a long time ago in a ha
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Originally posted on: The Quirky Book Nerd

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I had very mixed feelings about Second Lives. I also feel like it is going to be a little on the tricky side to explain as there is a lot of jumping around between various storylines. It is not particularly challenging to follow when reading it by any means. But having such a variety of perspectives has made it hard for me to pin down all of my thoughts about the
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
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
Cassie Daley
This book has been somewhat polarizing in the bookloving communities I follow, and I think I think part of the reason why is that this seemed to have been marketed as more of a horror read (and to a lot of mainly horror loving book reviewers), and it’s absolutely not horror at all. It’s more of a sci-fi/fantasy medical drama with a really intricate plot that intertwines the stories of several different people. It’s got a lot of tragedy, and *SPOILER ALERT* no real happy ending.

Another reason I t
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.
Siân Plummer (plumreads__s)
"An emotional, character driven book exploring reincarnation and a second chance at life."

Full review can be found here -
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.
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
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Second Lives is a unique perspective on reincarnation. What would happen if your loved one died, yet came back. Not just that, but what if they came back as someone else? How would you handle that? How would they?

The beginning of the book covers the deaths of four people who seem to have little in common. They are different ages, different walks of life and had different causes of death.

The next part has them waking up in other people's bodies. From there Second Lives goes on to ask the "what i
Nick Cato
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of those rare reads that transcends the genre. Full review soon at
 Reading Reindeer Emigrates To Pluto
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
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
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
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
Catherine Cavendish
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Second Lives is the first book I have read by this author - and I am delighted to see there is a sequel (Second Chances). The story concerns four individuals who die on the same day - August 24 2017. Apart from that fact, they have nothing else in common. But this is only the beginning. Each of them comes back to life - each of their bodies inhabited by someone who has died in tragic circumstances and is as far removed from them in age, circumstance and character as it is possible to get. Each o ...more
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 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Flame Tree Press for providing me with a copy of Second Lives by P.D. Cacek in exchange for an honest review!

Second Lives did not go in the direction that I expected; mainly, because I went in with the impression that this would be classified as horror. Reader, I was wrong. However, I am very glad that I chose to read this novel from P.D. Cacek!

Second Lives dives into the lives of several characters; chapters alternating between the cast and different time periods. This sounds like
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
Jun 06, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: e-arc
DNF @ 18%

I really wanted to like this book, but the narrative style just isn't for me. There were too many perspectives, people, and timelines for me to keep track of and it wasn't an enjoyable experience for me. I think this will be an amazing story, but it's been almost two months since I set it aside and I still don't have the desire to return to it. Perhaps I will try again down the road, and when I do I will be sure to take lots of notes.

Many thanks to Flame Tree Press for sending me an eAR
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
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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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