Book Review (SERIES): Vision Rising

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Vision Rising is a great military science fiction series which never forgets (1) it is military and (2) it is science fiction. The author finishes each book with real-science tidbits which inspired the science fiction aspects, similar to my Geeking Science. In fact, I may be using some of the shares from Vision Rising for upcoming Geeking Science. I just love science fiction rooted deeply in science – and the fact that you don’t need to care about hard-science at all to enjoy this series makes it all the better.

Action AND relation-packed science fiction, and by relation-packed, look for military buddies, political intrigue, and enemies-to-allies.

The Vision Rising Series (note: the series is available as a book set for a VERY reduced price at the time of writing this review – link here:

by L.L. Richman

  1. Vision Rising
  2. Vision’s Gambit
  3. Vision’s Pawn

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A lone soldier is gifted the power to save humanity.

When a training exercise at a classified research facility goes awry, Joe Kovacs loses much more than his eyesight. He loses his career. He can’t lead one of the military’s top spec-ops teams if he can’t see.

A decision with consequences.

Joe’s only shot at getting his life back lies in the hands of an anonymous ‘shadow’ scientist. The offer is risky, an experimental implant that may or may not work. He jumps at the chance, but quickly learns the device does more than restore his sight. Much more.

There’s no going back.

Joe begins seeing strange flashes. Ghosts of images, overlaid atop his own vision. Actions he could have taken but didn’t. Worse, the visions are increasing in scope and frequency. Believing he’s going mad, he confronts the scientist, only to discover the implant’s shocking origin.

Nothing is as it seems, and all the possible futures Joe can now see point to a system-wide conspiracy that will shift the balance of power for hundreds of years. Joe’s visions hold the key to stopping it… if he can learn to control them in time.

Don’t miss this exciting new Military Science Fiction Series that will make you not only question just what it means to be human, but also if there is ever a “right” side. It’s perfect for fans of Halo, Rick Partlow (Drop Trooper), Jeffery H. Haskell (Grimm’s War), and Joshua Dalzelle (Black Fleet Saga).


A nice solid military sci-fi, though women characters are a little lacking. Most of the women are adjuncts – none have been shown to be in high leadership positions in the military outside of the doctor and tech lines. Is it sad to like the fact at least they aren’t there just as decoration and military man rewards? These women at least have jobs and are admired for their competence and brains, instead of bra size. A pleasant change from the normal in military science fiction.

Lots of cool tech ideas, but not presented just as tech, weapon, or ship “porn”. The author, L.L. Richman, never lingers over anything – no page on page description – but everything is helpful and makes sense within the story. EVEN BETTER – the end of the book has an appendix of what technologies are real, what is being developed, and what are theories still being tested – raising this book from general science fiction with hand-wave-ium of “it’s science and it works” to full out Hard Science Fiction – only it is the softest hard science fiction I ever read. Accessible, action-packed, and wonderous. Not “fun” as in funny, and, as solders, these are not snuggle bunnys round in military romances.

I know, I did a lot of what this book is not. Let me close with what the book is – a good military science fiction that never forgets it is (1) MILITARY fiction and (2) SCIENCE fiction.

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Sometimes great power requires greater sacrifice

Joe Kovacs isn’t your average special forces warrior. There’s an alien artifact embedded in his skull that allows him to predict the future. It’s served him well so far, uncovering a conspiracy that would have shifted the balance of power in the Sol system for years to come.

Now the artifact is warning of a greater peril. Devastation on a galactic scale.

One man holds the key to stopping it.

Of all the possible futures Joe can see, there is only one path to victory… and it’s the vision least likely to come true.

Joe will have to pull off the impossible — divert the path of time itself — if humanity is to survive.


Vision’s Gambit is the second of a military science fiction story with multiple point of views, which works as a stand-alone. The first of the series is great, so you don’t want to miss it, but if you wind up with the second of the trilogy in your hands, you can start there.  Whether you want team tactics, political maneuvers, pew-pew space battle, deep embedded spies, or a very, very light touch of sweet romance, this book has you covered.

To recover from blindness, an alien artifact got embedded in Joe’s head during the first book, but physical vision is the least of its gifts. It provides him visions of the future, from the most-likely blue-shifts to the least-likely red-shifts. His most recent vision shows an ongoing future for humanity … in the deepest red he had ever seen. All other futures from vivid blue to light pink, humanity ends, never to breathe oxygen again. How will he switch the impossible red to a real blue before the future catches up with them all?

At least he isn’t in it alone. He has his team – from the special forces he is a part of, to high level political leadership, from coast guard to space navy to research & development, from allies to enemies. Shifting the river of time to a different bed won’t be easy, but the tip of a spear has the entire weapon flying behind it. All he had to do is get the tip aimed right, midflight. Hoo-ah!

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Unintended Consequences

Humanity has just dodged an extinction level event, but at great cost. The battle that defeated the Starkillers took the lives of far too many, and the experimental tech enabling interstellar travel carries a death sentence all its own.

Worse, the alien implant inside Joe Kovacs’s skull isn’t playing nice. Joe no longer sees possible futures. Instead, he’s plagued with hallucinations — visions of dead people.

Dealing with this will have to wait, though, as he has a bigger problem.

Intelligence has translated the string of alien characters transmitted by the implant. The coordinates lead to a dead star rumored to hold an ancient repository.

What Joe finds inside will change the course of humanity forever.


Third and final book of the Vision Rising series. You should read book 2 before reading book 3 for best results.

The aliens weren’t completely eliminated and they are rebuilding. Joe has to tap his visions again to find out more about the species who left behind the artifact providing Joe his abilities. The problem is, the more they discover about their benefactors, the more questions get raised on why they really left the legacy which saved humanity.

As with the other books, the mix of science fiction and special forces military and R&D division work well. Richman works in interesting hard-science tools to create toys for the special ops guys and gals to play with.

I was more annoyed in this book with Joe’s and Ana’s interactions. He verbally goes off several times and never apologizes and is just grateful she understands and lets him do his own thing. I would have liked to see interaction to resolve the issues beyond silent acceptance. The author did take a moment to deal with other trauma aspects; it would have been nice to have the trauma aspects which spouses of soldiers had to address tackled head on instead of the typical female martyr acceptance. Well, everything can’t be perfect.

Great story and great action and great science fiction toys.

Flash: T is for Time (GoTime 3)

Photo from unsplash

Morgan leaned into Monico’s arms, feeling him kiss the top of her head. She wrapped one arm around him, pulling him closer until she could feel him shivering as much as she was.

Together their hearts slowed. She didn’t want to look up and see the fire behind her reflected in his cybernetic eyes. The heat warmed her back and reminded how close a call the most recent attempt on her life had been.

“How much longer?” she whispered into his broad chest.

He moaned regret.”As long as timeline 29 exists, as long as you anchor it.”

Morgan closed her eyes, thinking of her children. “Unless we take the fight to them.” she whispered into his shoulder.

(word count 118; first published 4/23/2023, from a FB visual prompt for a writing group I belong to – aiming for 50 words)

GoTime Series
GoTime (1/1/2023)
GoTime 2 (1/8/2023)
T is for Time (GoTime 3) (4/23/2023)

Book Review (SERIES): Fleet of Malik


Fleet of Malik by Liana Brooks

  1. Bodies in Motion
  2. Change in Momentum

Another series from one of my favorite authors. A perfect marriage of future-humanism sci-fi, romance, and mystery-thrillers. Plus people of color in the mix. These are complicated so it takes her a while to write them. Fingers crossed that she will be a bug to write a bunch of them soon!

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Selena Caryll lost everything in the war—her ship, her crew, her family. Although technically on the winner’s side, her lack of crew makes her easy pickings in any fight—and any bar brawl. But she never goes down without swinging.

Titan Sciarra, on the losing side of the war, brokered a kind of peace with the winners, enough to let him live as the fragile bridge between the two sides. As a Fleet Guardian, he deals with the day-to-day operations of the fleet—and breaks up bar brawls when necessary.

As a Guardian, obviously he should walk the fired-up Selena home. Make sure she gets there safe.

Definitely without flirting. That could bring his delicately spun balance crashing down, dragging the fleet with him.

If only a way existed to get the bodies of the fleet into motion again.

An action-packed enemies-to-lovers romance in a world drawn with stunning vision and depth—don’t miss this fantastic series from Liana Brooks.


This sweet science-fiction romance-thriller is more science-fiction than romance, creating a complicated culture of grounded spacers living in an uneasy-truce with the colonists they transported. The romantic interests were on opposite sides of the spacer war – now cold war on the ground – and all that feeds into the thriller aspects.

Ms. Brooks does it again! If you loved her Time series (Discoherence, etc), you will love this.

I admit, it took me a few chapters to grasp how the tech-enhancements created the psi-powers the spacers use. Actually, I read the chapters and took a nap – after sleeping and letting my brain short it out overnight, everything made sense.

But WOW – my friends who talk about “enhanced humans” will LOVE this series. This is exactly where people hope that technology will take us. And Ms. Brooks mashes up the enhanced human but claustrophobic culture required by spacers and their ships with the less-enhanced grounders but more-versatile culture allowed by being on planet and not worrying about where your next breath will come from if the environmental machines will fail.

Amazing worldbuilding, great characters, complicated story, murder, theft, possible political coups, … just wow.

And if you just want a sweet sci-fi romance, you got that too.

Received from publisher for an honest review.


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Rowena Lee lost the man she was supposed to marry and with him any hope for a happy future in the war. Now, five years later, with a suspicious kind of peace brokered between the sides, Rowena lives a half-life in emotional isolation. Neither her former enemies nor her crew have any use for her, and her only joy comes from her new job training cadets—something made difficult lately by Commander Silar’s constant, irritating presence. If he got out of her way for just THREE SECONDS, she could actually DO her job.

Commander Hollis Silar came out of the war a hero, the golden boy who could do no wrong. Romance came easily too: easy come, and easy go. But Rowena? Challenging. Like trying to flirt with a rock. Especially since he shouldn’t associate with her in the first place.

As politics heat up on Malik IV and factions begin to draw battle lines, an unknown enemy forces Rowena and Hollis into an uneasy partnership. Love is a battlefield, and on Malik IV, war is in the air.

A sensual enemies-to-lovers romance for everyone who believes in the power of one strong woman to change the world.


An enemies-to-friends science fiction romance follows a couple who trained together as children in a generational-spaceship navy, like all members of their community, then ended up on opposite sides of the war. They were both VERY good at being soldiers, leaving a wake of unforgivable actions ordered by their superiors.

Then the navy got grounded and everyone in the civil war had to live together again. Ms. Brooks has created a fascinating society of spacers who are grounded, military who are now forced to live with civilians, warriors acting as police, etc. The tech the spacers produces results that look like teleporting, telepathy, quick healing, and other psychic powers.

This series is the best futurism, altered-humans I have ever read in a sci-fi setting. You aren’t hit over the head with it, but the enhanced human capabilities are integral to the story.

Back to the romance/thriller part of the sci-fi – an complicated political plot, with spies and terrorists, is investigated by the friend-enemy couple. During the investigation, the will-kill-each-other-someday military officers are forced to work together again and again. I love the slow reveal of how people can overcome the past.

One of the best books out there on many different levels: enhanced human sci-fi, friend-enemy romance, exploration of what happens when divergent cultures meet, and political intrigue. Five star all the way.

Disclaimer: Received an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for an honest review.

SECOND READ THROUGH REVIEW – So my book club picked up the book on my recommendation and, of course, I had to read it again even though it had only been a few months. But in those months the world has changed and the rowdies being get up to be a flashpoint of riots to overthrow the government so that they can be changed from paid individuals to slaves again, with confrontations where the leadership tries to make it look like the poor people did the property damage has very different connotations than when I first read the book in Feb 2020. This very secondary part of the story strikes me hard and fast now in the middle of the civil disobediences of the Summer of 2020. The story still amazes and I have to remind myself this isn’t a story written in response to what is happening now, just in response to what has always been happening.

The relationship is between an Asian woman and red-head white man (previous book of this romantic series was between a white woman and a black man – Ms. Brooks often goes for PoC choices).

Still amazing, maybe even more amazing, during the second read.

Flash: GoTime 2

Photo 276330 © Kiankhoon |

Word count achieved! And at the perfect finish point for the chapter.

Morgan closed the file, resaved it locally, to her USB stick, and to the cloud under draft thirty-four. She made a note on her outline and typed in the opening sentence to the next chapter.

“Fighting for what is right is never wrong.”

Too cliquish? Yeah, and in the entirely wrong voice for the POV character of this chapter. Good thing she had time to sleep on it before tackling the next chapter. All, she blinked her tired eyes to focus on the date-time in the bottom right corner of her laptop, three hours and fifteen minutes before getting up in time to get the kids off to school. Tomorrow will be a long day at the office.

Sharpie was doing the cat thing, staring at nothing and hissing. If Morgan didn’t know better, she would think their home was haunted, but it had only been built five years ago. No ghosts here.

She leaned down to pick up the family calico to take him and the laptop in for the night. Sharpie darted forward toward the laundry room, making Morgan overbalance reaching for her, falling flat, her hands saving her from a full face plant. The air sizzling over her head kept her down.

Morgan lifted her chin up. Shapie hovered midair, clinging to … something. Not a ghost. Ghost didn’t shake around while claws dug in.

She rolled to the side, landing against an oversized planter and reached into the waterproof holder beneath the orange tree for the revolver she kept there since finding the copperhead in the backyard last summer. Two shots to the torso, either side of Sharpie and two where she guessed the head should be. Since no drywall puffed up behind, she judged her target right. Hard to miss at this range.

She had gotten lucky in whoever they were missing her.

Sharpie rode the body down, until he hovered midair about a foot from the ground on the invisible being. The cat rocked back and forth, scratching and biting, indicating whatever was there was injured, not dead, and Sharpie was displeased with that status.

Standing, Morgan kept the handgun pointed at the danger. Two bullets left. Thank god she had trained to hit snakes to keep her children safe. She glanced at her laptop.

It was … partially missing. Not melted, just parts gone. Not broken. Nothing falling or blown back into the yard just beginning to become visible in the false dawn. Just missing.

She gulped.

Her eyes did one snap to the intact USB, breathing a silent breath of relief. Then made her way over to her cat imitating a rider on a bucking bronco.

A huge gun, more ridiculously complicated then her children’s bubble rifles for their water balloon wars, was visible to one side, its strap torn. She kicked it further away, wincing as soon as her foot made contact thinking: That was dumb. What if it went off?

She pointed the gun at the empty air. “Freeze motherfucker.”

Sharpie continued to bounce around on nothing, hissing.

Then Morgan heard the noise she was hoping she wouldn’t hear came.

“Mom,” Henry appeared at the other side of the laundry room, his ten-year scrawny body in front of his six and eight year old sisters,“what’s happening?”

“Don’t know yet Monster Man,” she nodded at Sharpie’s antics, “take your sisters and go next door to Fred’s. I’ll come get you when I can.”


She sent Henry the Mom Look.

(words 592, first published 3/4/2023, Make the Mood Monday 500-word Expansion – one out of five of the FB group stories get expanded)

GoTime Series
GoTime (1/1/2023)
GoTime 2 (1/8/2023)
T is for Time (GoTime 3) (4/23/2023)

Flash: GoTime

Photo from Unsplash

“Resolution complete. Matching timeline chronology.”

Go time, Monico thought as their eyes swept the darkened room, the green low-light goggles showing nothing on the infrared. Where is the target?

The AI embedded surgically into their head responded, “Target historically spent more time with their laptop on their back porch than in their bedroom.”

Of course they did.

Monico growled under their breath. They were not dressed to open doors conventionally, especially in this timeline with their stupid round doorknobs. They lifted one oversized glove off their dissolution transport and grasped the small metal at the side of the wooden plank, twisting carefully, having learned the right pressure during previous missions. Gently, after ordering the AI to scale back the pressure-response cycle throughout their mech suit, they pushed open the door.

Camouflage mode, stalking tread.

“Quiet as a mouse,” the AI assured them in a sing-song child voice, “fully activated.”

When did the computer in their head became more human than them?

“Merging-collapse of chronologics loops fifteen through nineteen. With related update 107.3.9.That’s when the magic happen.”

Joy. Four weeks subjective time. Monico slipped down the hallway through the twenty-first century open floor plan, monitoring their progress through the blueprints downloaded. The door in the laundry room, which doubled as a mudroom for the porch had the door open, letting in the crisp early Spring air for the backporch. This early in the season, at least in this timeline, bugs weren’t an issue yet.

Infrared signatures.

“Three heat sources. Laptop, cat, and linchpin.” The AI outlined the large shape marked linchpin, one of the dozen humans anchoring this timeline.

Monico raised their dissolution transporter to their shoulder to remove the human keeping the unwanted timeline functioning. Time to prune.

(words 288, first published 3/4/2023, from a FB visual prompt for a writing group I belong to – aiming for 50 words)

GoTime Series
GoTime (1/1/2023)
GoTime 2 (1/8/2023)
T is for Time (GoTime 3) (4/23/2023)