Review: Don’t Hold Back by Missy Johnson

Posted March 12, 2017 by Shannon in Blog Tours, Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Don’t Hold Back by Missy JohnsonDon't Hold Back (Love Hurts Book 4) by Missy Johnson
Series: Love Hurts
on March 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 251

Three countries. Two months. All expenses paid. Just you and me.
About you: You’re fun loving, adventurous and you have a wicked sense of humor. You’re spontaneous, open minded and creative. You live for today because you never know what tomorrow holds.
I'm Erin and this isn't your usual Craigslist Ad. I’m twenty-four, and full disclosure, I’m dying. But I don’t want your pity. What I want is your help. I’m not looking for a nanny, or for someone to hold my hand. I want a friend, a confidante, a partner in crime.
I want you.
** Love Hurts is a series of complete standalone novels that can be read in ANY order. **

Buy it here: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | 


Don’t mind me. I’m just over here, huddled under a blanket with wet eyes and a full heart. My hand occasionally peaks out of the blanket in search of M&Ms and I’m wondering how long I need to wait before starting this book again.

“Now, be brave and don’t look back.”

This book is definitely out of the ordinary in terms of storyline and plot. I mean, come on! The blurb gives you an excellent idea of what’s going on. It tells you what to expect while not giving anything away, and there’s even a few twists packed in as well. Do you believe it fate? I do. And Erin and Cade just proved that to me.

“I’m sick of being reminded every fucking day of what I’m losing. There is no winning. I can’t beat this, so why try?”
“Because I’m not ready to lose you.” My heart pounds as I stare at her.
“I know.” I cut her off because I don’t want to hear her say it. “I’m selfish, a coward, and I’m a liar. I’m all the things you came here to avoid.”
“You’re all the things I want.”

My first thought when I started reading was “Wow, this girl is incredible. She has such a brave and courageous story”. Erin really is an inspiration to everyone out there. What would you do, if you found out you only had a few months to live? Her outlook and tenacity were incredible. Immediately, I sympathized with her character and it really got me thinking about my own life, regrets that I may have and things that I may want to change or try before it’s too late.

“How many people wake up and have no idea that they’re about to live their last day? Maybe I should be thinking of this as a blessing rather than a curse.”

I wasn’t sure that it would happen, but there’s a connection at the beginning between two unknown characters. I’m SO happy that the original saviour turned out to be who I thought it was. 🙂

I like how so out of the ordinary this story is. Not only in the terms of Erin’s journey but Cade’s as well. He didn’t have a conventional upbringing. He has demons that he’s running from. But even with this, I’ve never read another character like him. Plus, his past and issues aren’t someone I’ve come across before so that’s perfect to draw me in to his character from the get go!

“I have two choices, Cal: I sit around and take care of myself, then die—or I live the fuck out of the time I have left, then die. The ending doesn’t change, does it?”

Yes, this is a deep book. Yes, it has some angst. But it’s definitely not overwhelming. It’s still at times log and easy, the characters can laugh and joke and have fun. I think a lot of this has to do with Erin’s personality and how Cade helps to let her shine. They can’t sit around being sad when they have too much fun together to do anything but laugh.

“You should be ashamed of yourself. I mean, what person over the age of ten hasn’t seen Star Wars?” I shake my head sadly. “You’ve really disappointed me, Erin.”

I believe that Cade really was the perfect person to take Erin on the trip of her lifetime. He pushes and challenges her. He’s as stubborn and hardheaded as she is, but they seem to get along and just flow really well together. He is the one who helped her come to terms with her sickness. He is the one who helped her realize why she was actually going in the trip. He was the one to change her outlook on the rest of her life. He was the one who was perfect for her to find.

“I saved her life, and she repaid me by saving mine.”

Even early on, you could definitely feel the connection between these two characters. There was just an easiness to them and their relationship – even when they were just friends. You know the type of people who you could sit in silence with and be completely comfortable? They would be those people. They connected so well and so deeply, it feels like they would be together forever.

“Do you think we come back? After we die?” “I do,” he says. He studies my face, his eyes intense. “It can’t just end like that. I think we die, we’re born again, and we die. The cycle continues. Do you ever have moments where you feel like a situation is familiar? Like you’ve been somewhere, or met someone before, even though you know that’s not possible? I think we cross paths with our loved ones again and again, and little things spark a kind of response in us.”
“That’s a nice way of thinking about it,” I say with a small smile. “It’s not death itself I fear, it’s the thought of losing contact with the people that I love. So to think that we cross paths again is pretty comforting.”

There were a few times that I noticed some (minor) inconsistencies in scenes, whether it be related to a characters clothing or body positioning. Another run through a proofreader could definitely help but overall, they were small details. I’m just nit picky like that and tend to notice the small stuff.

I do wish that there was a bit more of a development in the relationship between the two main characters. Personally. It felt a little rushed or fast to me. Granted, I understand the situation that they’re in, but I mean more so because they were friends and attracted to each other one day and then the next it was so much more. So while I wish this was a bit more defined, I can’t fault the author. There’s still so much packed into this book. From Erin’s outlook at the beginning, to Cade’s decisions at the end, there’s many other important things going on.

Erin feels like the kind of person who is just a joy to be around. Light hearted, witty, funny and has such a positive energy. She’s scared, she feels alone and has no idea what to expect, but with all of this, she still manages to stay true to herself. I loved this about her. Her entire perception of the situation and everything that she was thinking – even her missteps – were valid in my opinion.

Some people may not like this ending, but I’m actually sort of in love with it. I think it’s perfect for the story and makes sense. If things turned out another way, I may have even felt cheated or like everything wasn’t as important as it was. I can respect what author did here and I actual,y really appreciate it.

“No matter what happens, the world doesn’t stop moving, even if it feels like it should.”

Wow. Just wow. So given the blurb, you know what to expect in this story. I held a tight seal on my emotions but completely lost it at one point. Then I got a handle on things just to lose it again a minute later. I was (and still am) a mess. I feel like, not only was this a great story and fantastic journey, but it really helps to hammer home the idea of not wasting your life. Don’t sit back and expect a tomorrow or a next month or a next year. Do. It. Now.

“How can I possibly die when I feel so alive?”

If you like A Walk to Remember, you’ll need to pick up this book! And not only this one, I suddenly have a need to buy and binge on all of Missy’s books. Look out world! I’m on a mission.


*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review. 


About Missy Johnson

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Missy lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia with her husband and her confused pets (a dog who thinks that she is a cat, a cat who thinks he is a dog…you get the picture).
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

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