Book Review: Can’t Live Without by Joanne Phillips

In my slow but sure attempts to work my way through the small virtual mountain of books piled up in my ereader, I present to you my official book review for Can’t Live Without.


The Bookcan't live without cover

Can’t Live Without

The Genre

Women’s Fiction

The Author

Joanne Phillips

The Plot

Stella Hill is proud of the home she’s created for herself and her daughter. She’s worked hard to buy the very best of everything … but when she wakes one morning to find her kitchen on fire, Stella knows her life will never be the same again. At least she has Paul to lean on; Paul Smart, owner of Smart Homes, confirmed bachelor and unknowing recipient of a schoolgirl crush Stella never quite got over …

When the charismatic John Dean turns up after sixteen years, Stella is determined not to fall for him again. Because now her heart belongs elsewhere. Or does it? With a boss she’s half in love with, a teenage daughter about to go seriously off the rails, a spendaholic mother, and a house to rebuild, Stella’s problems are only just beginning.

Can Stella put her life – and her home – back together again? And will she ever realise just what it is she really can’t live without?

The Review

This was an exceptionally fun read. The main character, Stella, is totally incapable of managing her own life or keeping her daughter in line, and watching her fumble her way from one situation to the next was extremely entertaining. But while I would usually find myself irritated with such a character (who on Earth doesn’t buy home insurance and then accidentally burns their house down?), Stella is so quirky and full of life that I found myself cheering for her from start to finish.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance — I guess I had trouble connecting with either of the gentlemen involved in Stella’s love triangle — but I really enjoyed her interactions with her daughter. Stella is a terrible mother who tries really hard to understand her daughter, despite the fact that she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in her life. It was quite endearing.

One thing I found very odd about this book was the point of view. It’s mainly in first person from Stella’s POV, but at random times it switches to a third person POV from other characters’ perspectives. I did get used to it after a while, but I still found the POV jumps a little jarring.

In conclusion, I found this to be a great self-published novel with excellent editing, a moving storyline, an amusing protagonist, and lots of fun family drama. Highly recommend!

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars


Click here to visit Joanne’s blog.

Click here to check out her book.


Unrelated link of the day:

Follow this link to view a collection of gifs of people in infomercials failing at accomplishing simple household tasks.


Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Can’t Live Without by Joanne Phillips

  1. Thanks for this. It sounds like exactly the kind of light read I am looking for to offset hte complexities and length of my current book in progress, Game of Thrones.

    • Haha oh my. If you’re reading Game of Thrones, you definitely will need to take a break 😀 What book are you on? And do you watch the show? Because the season premiere from this past Sunday was rather epic.

  2. I read a book like that recently– two female first-person narrators, one male 3rd person. VERY jarring, and I found myself pushed out of the story with every switch. This sounds like a fun read in spite of that, though. 🙂

    • It was! Although it would have been even better if the POV was smoothed out. It would probably work to make the whole thing first person, and we’d just jump around heads a bunch. Character head hopping isn’t bad, but switching to a completely different type of POV … tricky. Very tricky 🙂

  3. This sounds like a winning combination apart from the change of POV (this can be very distracting, but when it’s done well it really works) 😉

    • I mean, all books have a few flaws, right? But overall, wonderful read. I didn’t mention in the review, but the author is British, and the writing is EXTREMELY British — lots of dry wit and fun cultural references and so on.

  4. I read this last year for the Eclectic Reading Challenge. I needed a romance book and this was it!

    I enjoyed the narrative and you’re right, it is very British 🙂

    • Extremely so. I actually decided to read it because I watched Joanne reading the first chapter of Can’t Live Without’s sequel, and I was like, “This is so incredibly British, I must go read it immediately”. Granted, I’d already downloaded the book some time ago … but that was the impetus I needed to actually read it 😀

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