A Journey Must Be Taken: Playlist
by H.L. Howard

Published: 2023-08-07T00:0
Paperback : 320 pages
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In the vein of "November 9", by Colleen Hoover, and "Wherever the Wind Takes Us", by Kelly Harms. the role of fate and spiritual guidance in the tumultuous pursuit of romance is found nowhere but everywhere. Fate and destiny conspire in this first-in-series quest toward happily ever ...
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In the vein of "November 9", by Colleen Hoover, and "Wherever the Wind Takes Us", by Kelly Harms. the role of fate and spiritual guidance in the tumultuous pursuit of romance is found nowhere but everywhere. Fate and destiny conspire in this first-in-series quest toward happily ever after, featuring a would-be couple.

With a booming professional career, Tauri connects and is bewitched by the young girl, Libi, while he’s still unhappily married. When he makes a wish for her to have a new life, she follows his step to America and agrees to join him as a friend. Only after they meet a few times does Libi confess her love through a music playlist. Libi believes soul connection can withstand the test of time compared to the physical one of "Easy come, easy go." then she makes the heartbreaking decision to leave when it appears that Tauri’s lofty goals will always stand in their way.

Now divorced, Tauri enters the world of tarot reading for romantic guidance, which leads him on a journey back to Libi in more ways than one—and on numerous occasions.

But are their destinies indeed interwoven? Or is fate having a good time forcing a romance when no-mance is the best path? The truth lies in the stars and the cards in this epic tale in which the pair’s mistakes are never as big as their desire for each other.

This novel is for the "new age belief" audience who believe in psychic and spiritual energy, reincarnation, and astrology among both religious and nonreligious communities; It's a co-creation with Spirit via Tarot Readers - a life experience in a love relationship guided by the divine; It's a music playlist romance and a young girl growth story from tip-toes into grow-up world toward matured woman in emotionally, spiritually, physically, and professionally; It's a pandemic scar and also an Eastern culture fiesta.

Praise for "A Journey Must Be Taken - Playlist":

"At times, the story feels repetitive, with too little input from Libi, who rejects and then pulls Tauri back in several times throughout the novel, leading the reader to wonder whether the desired effect is that of a meditation on the long journey it can take to find happiness or an exploration of delusion. That being said, the breathless intensity of the protagonist's fixation makes the book a compelling read, pushing the reader to reckon with Tauri's pursuit of happiness. An offbeat romance with an intriguing premise that will leave readers guessing right until the very end."- Kirkus Reviews

"...the unique twist of incorporating a music playlist into the story. The playlist adds an extra layer of depth to the characters and their emotions, making the story even more engaging and relatable. Readers can follow along with the characters’ musical journey and experience the story on a more personal level. For readers who are looking for a unique and emotionally rich romance novel, "A Journey Must Be Taken – Playlist" is must-read. Howard's ability to seamlessly weave music into the story creates a powerful and immersive reading experience. This novel is perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Jojo Moyes, and other acclaimed romance authors.- New York Weekly

"Cleverly melding tarot readings and energy with titles to songs that hold deeper meanings, Howard provides nuance for Tauri’s physical and emotional journey, while also exploring playlists, message games, and his Chinese heritage. The juxtaposition of Tauri’s experience against Libi’s perceived innocence offers readers deeper insights into the mind of both hero and author."-Booklife Reviews

"With heartfelt confessions, heartbreaking decisions and the undeniable pull of their desires, Tauri and Libi question whether destiny is indeed orchestrating their path toward a happily ever after."- Elle Magazine (Canada) ellecanada.com/vip/elle-extra/5-must-read-books-for-women

Editorial Review

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A Surprise Visit

Tauri was in a good mood on the way to give Libi a surprise visit. He connected with Libi via social media and an online music-sharing site. There were no direct phone or text message exchanges between them. He felt that it was the right time to break the ice and start a new chapter of his life after he had gone through a painful divorce battle and finally become a lawful single.

"Hey, I am going to be in town for a business dinner; I will drop by your place tonight. Let me know if you are not available," Tauri texted Libi. He had gotten her address from her business proposal they had worked on last week.

He checked Libi's page on an online music site. There, she had posted a playlist to express her feelings to him.

He could understand her concerns. She wouldn't want to see him if he were not a lawful single.

"I am ready. I am a bachelor now," Tauri told himself. He knew that Libi had been waiting for this moment since last May.

Valentine’s Day Playlist

Valentine's Day came. This was the most important day for people in love. A strange image showed up on her WeChat profile background. A black screen with the letters

What is that? Some kind of secret code? Tauri's curiosity grew as he tried to

figure it out. He uploaded the photo to do a search.

Oh! It is "I miss you!? Yep! When I look at it upside down and read it backward. He laughed as he lowered his head to read it.

I miss u! It was a net word originating from the movie." He read. He was happy to decode this.

Again and again, he was drawn into her flirtation- the hints and clues to incite his curiosity, light his fire burning inside of him. Sometimes she used a photo to show her pretty face. Sometimes she mentioned her hair to remind him of their love commitment. Sometimes she brought out a movie as a love message. Sometimes she used a photo to lead to the entire paragraph of the mottos. She was like a magician girl with unlimited stories within stories. This had been putting him in a hyperexcited mental space.

As Tauri clicked through the search result, the URL led to a music-sharing site, a Chinese version of Spotify, with a user name as "Anonymous." Under this user's playlist, there was a saved folder named "I missed u.? The folder had been created one week ago.

As he read through the songs in the playlist, his face turned red; his blood was filling up his brain.

"This is a layer-in-layer flirtation! This is her love confession. It's an announcement for her love.

Is it her playlist?" Tauri yelled out.

1. "Lover Boy 88"

2. "My Age"

3. "Lover Boy 88"

4. "Anonymous, I Just Like You; I Love You Deeply"

5. ??"I Felt Sick Since I Miss You”

6 ??"Innocent Year'”

7. ??"Focus on Me"

8. ??"Former Boyfriend"

9. ??"East and West"

10. ???"Can We?”

11. ???"I Am Not Your Song Dongye"

12. ???"Lovesick"

13. ???"Conquered"

Tauri scanned the names of those songs. He came up with the message from her.

You are my lover boy.

I am twenty-five years old now.

I want you as my lover boy. Yes, I love you deeply.

I felt sick since I miss you.

I am still in the innocent year. Yes, I am still a virgin.

Please focus on me and don't shift your love away.

I don't have any relationship with my former boyfriend anymore.

I am willing to go with you for a life journey, no matter where you go in the East

or West.

Can we?

You are not with your true love yet. I am your true one.

I fell in love with you. I felt lovesick.

I am conquered by your love.

He was overwhelmed to get the meaning of this playlist…

A Letter Back

To my dear lady,

After reading your message again and again, I concluded that I can't get true meaning out of it.

Sometimes I felt you were talking to me. It expressed precisely the meaning you texted me last time. Sometimes I thought you spoke to another or two persons in the same playlist.

I've almost broken my head to start direct communication with you. I even "traveled thousands of miles" to be ready to reach you. But I realized that it may be my wishful thinking. I may never have the chance to see your face or have a call or do whatever other lovers or even friends do; I may never have closure with your story or mystery, which I'm losing my curiosity quickly with.

Maybe I don't deserve your love, or you don't deserve my love.

As a result of that, I’ll unfollow your "mermaid voice" to withdraw from your pool of lover competition.

But you know we're like mirrors that reflect ourselves in each other's minds. I'll always be in love with you, who's in that bittersweet, that innocent, that curiosity mind, that beauty, and grace, that true you.

I'm happy to have an open conversation with you. We can do direct calls, text in a straightforward, honest way. We can do the things you do with your friends, like hiking, having some fun together.

I'll be there for you to start a new chapter of the book.

If it's not, I wish you the very best with my whole heart.

Love and peace,


After he pressed the Send button, he felt relieved and good about himself.


The next morning, they found themselves waking up in each other's arms.

As he opened the window, the sunlight immediately filled the room. The air was crispy; the sky was water-washed sky blue. The sea was deep blue.

Tauri stopped his car along a small trail on the cliff, a few steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. A bell was ringing from the sea. This made them feel like walking toward a temple.

"Dong, dong, dong." They stopped and listened to the sounds silently. A feeling of purity was in the air. After last night, they were finally in a sacred union. It was a dream come true for both of them.

"Bae, are you regretting falling in love with me?" Tauri looked at Libi with deep love in his eyes.

"Yes, oh, no, not a moment. Are you?" Libi stared back and leaned her head on his shoulder. They both looked at the place where the sound of a bell was coming from.

There, there was an open, deep blue sea waiting for them to explore without limitation. view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. what’s your zodiac sign? name three strengths and weaknesses about this Zodiac sign

2. Do you acknowledge the Vibe or Energy from other people surrounding you? Can you describe it? Could it be read out by an alternative pseudo-science like tarot reader?

3. Does Soul-connection exist? In what Form?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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