Tag Archives: history

Issa Review: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

37 Ink
Published Feb 7th, 2017
253 Pages

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital, after a brief stay in New York. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary, and nine slaves, including Ona Judge, about which little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs.

At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.- Goodreads

I have never heard of Ona before of this book and normally I won’t pick up non-fiction reads (I prefer using reading as an escape not something that can piss me off) but I picked this book up because I have never heard of her.

This book was short read but it packed so much information; not only about Ona but also about her family, the Washington, other slaves and Philadelphia. Let me first start off by saying that I loved the fact that this was a short read and it did not have a lot of unnecessary fluff key word unnecessary i.e. the author describing what Ona was feeling. Yes, some of that is there but the author doesn’t assume everything Ona is feeling but it isn’t used as much as a filler but used to provide some form of insight. The author doesn’t rely on emotions but delivers facts and ask possible questions.

Remember how I mentioned fluff? Well there is a lot of fluff. As informative as this book is it was clear that there wasn’t a whole lot of information available on Ona. Was there a chunk of information that gave you a beginning and a end to her life? Yes, there was; It comes full circle. But with all the other information, it was fluff. For instance, the Washington’s head chef, Hercules, has a a good part within in the novel as well as the history of Philadelphia. Although all of this information completes the book, it was fillers for the lack of full details on Ona.

My biggest issue with this book is yes Ona was never caught but it wasn’t because of her constantly running or them even constantly looking for her. Don’t get me wrong they tried but not exactly where your mind goes.

However, I highly recommend this book because it is a starting point to a bigger conversation and it can lead you to other books not just by this author. For instance. this book led me to The President’s Kitchen Cabinet written by Adrian Miller. Ona’s story isn’t typical by any means but its a piece of history everyone should know about. The woman, the slave strong enough to run away from the first President of the United States. . . that is a huge deal.

Overall, not only a must read but something you should have in your book collection.

5 Pickles

Historical Romance: A Raven’s Heart (Secrets and Spies #2) by K.C. Bateman

Lovesewpt To Be Published Oct. 18, 2016 266 Pages
To Be Published Oct. 18, 2016
266 Pages

The War with France is over but England is still on its toes. William Ravenwood knows he cannot trust anyone. After been kidnapped at the age of 19, he vowed never to let his guard down again. Part of a spy ring and a smuggler known as the Raven, Ravenwood is no longer a innocent man. 

Desperte to find his friend Kit, who is missing and presumed dead, Ravenwood teams up with the only woman who has ever made his blood boil, Heloise, his best friend’s little sister.

For the past 6 years, Heloise has been avoiding Ravenwood, since her confession when she was 16 years old. As brilliant coder and England’s greatest asset, avoiding him isn’t too hard. But when she decodes a message that details how Kit is alive, avoiding Ravenwood is not an option. 

Trying to ignore the heat between each other, Ravenwood and Heloise must find Kit and in the process let go of their secrets.

Surprise, surprise; I liked this book. To say it isn’t a typical romance novel, would be a lie but at the same time it is also untypical. It is typical in the sense you get that lust turned love at almost every page. I was actually surprised at how soon the desires started flowing. I guess maybe because this is book two? Which I didn’t notice until I was working on the review. It didn’t feel like a book two and I chalk that up to good writing.

I liked Ravenwood and Heloise because they were intelligent and not the I just read books intelligent but Heloise was passionate about words and history and that was shown throughout the book. I really loved that part of the book it made it so much more than two grown people worrying about society and their feelings.

The romance was typical, so I am not going to get too much into it. But will say that their lust/love was unconventional and I liked it. It was good to see something different and it was actually believable. I can’t say that I didn’t like something about this book. The pace was great, there was a good amount of drama and history and it balanced the romance well.

Overall, a quick read that will want you to read another one.

4 Pickles

Manga Review: Tasogare Otome × Amnesia by Maybe

Kaze Manga Published 2014
Kaze Manga
Published 2014

A young woman was left to died in the old building at the Academy for Sincere Teachings. Niiya Teiichi, a freshman, gets lost in that building and sees this young woman’s ghost. The two join together to find the truth about her death and past. 

*Review of the entire series. 

This manga was fantastic. If you do not mind some ecchi, then don’t read this. The plot. the pace, the mystery and the horror all moved together perfectly in each book.

I liked how the romance wasn’t over done nor was it completely obvious. It could have went either way and I appreciated that sort of “suspense.” Niiya was a character I didn’t think to like. He stayed true to himself and what he wanted and nothing stopped him from that. There was a love triangle… well other people were interested in Niiya but it was one sided. Perfect.

The artwork was great. There was horror not graphic, not bloody but certain images did provide the horror. What I really did love about this book is it was a huge game of telephone. Not everything was what it seemed, not everything was a lie. It was a great blend of what the babbling of high school students can and cannot do.

I can go on and on about this series but it would give a lot away. Overall, unforgettable story.

5 Pickles

Book Review: These Dark Wings (Ravenmaster Trilogy #1) by John Owen Theobald

Head of Zeus Published Feb. 11, 2016 320 Pages
Head of Zeus
Published Feb. 11, 2016
320 Pages

12 year Anna Cooper is experiencing the war first hand. After her mother is killed and her father lost in the North Sea, she is sent to live with her Uncle, the Ravenmaster Uncle she never met, at the Tower of London. 

In the tower of secrets, a ancient legend tells that if the Ravens leave the Tower, the Nazis will win Britain. When the Ravens begin disappearing and it is up to Anna to go through the war torn town to find them. 

*Short Review*

The reason this book is a short review is because it is a slow i,e boring read. Therefore, I lost enthusiasm very fast, This does not mean that it wasn’t a thoughtful and creative; it was but it was lacking on some passion and a bigger voice from Anna. Her tone remains the same throughout the entire book and it is unfortunate because she goes through some things that shape her.

The pace of the novel is slow and it feels like the author struggled to keep it moving. The excitement wasn’t as exciting as I though it would be nor was the mystery within this book. I did enjoy the history i.e. the war that the author was able to capture. The imagery of it was great and that is what I liked most about this book.

But overall there could have been so much more done to this book. So it was a tad disappointing.

2 Pickles

Year in Review: Favorite Reads of 2014

Quick Five© with DiscoverBlack

Motif Ink has a special treat for our readers today. Normally our Quick Five©  sessions are with authors of books. But we believe strongly that it is important to spread knowledge. So we would like to introduce our readers to Discover Black.

Name: DiscoverBlack

What is DiscoverBlack? It is a up and coming company that promotes the underrated African American culture including art, inventions, teachings etc.

Motif Ink is extremely proud and honored to have Tania Lasenburg interview DiscoverBlack and find out how they are reaching for the goal of having African American names considered common knowledge.



What does Discover Black consist of? And why is this movement even needed?

Courtesy of Discover Black
Courtesy of Discover Black

DiscoverBlack is a social initiative to re-establish Black American culture and history in our every day society. There are thousands of ideas, arts, businesses and inventions that were started by Americans of African descent  that remain untold, unheard of or even ignored. As we go further into the new digitally social age, it’s important that the stories of visionaries, entrepreneurs, inventors and idealists are finally woven into the American social narrative and never hidden or forgotten.

If there are already outlets such as libraries (ha), the internet and even some highly knowledgeable professors with books, why is there a need for the Discover Black movement?

DiscoverBlack purpose is to create a universal hub or one central destination of all things related to Black American Culture.  That is why there is a need. No longer will you have to search hundreds of sources for information on Black American culture. From the arts, music, movies, literature, poetry, inventions, history, spirituality, and more, our mission is to bring a stronger awareness to all, inspiring a new generation of thinkers, idealist, entrepreneurs, and culture enthusiasts.

How exactly are you going to get the information to those who need it?

We are currently building one of the most interactive websites for Black American culture at www.discoverblack.net. This will be the primary destination for visitors to check us out. We are also available on social media at Facebook @ DiscoverBlack and Twitter @discover-black or search #discoverblack and follow us online. Although DiscoverBlack was born online, we plan to spread our voice across the world through a number of special events and sponsorships.

What kind of change are you expecting with Discover Black?

As I mentioned, DiscoverBlack is a social initiative. Our plan is to inject Black American culture back into communities to inspire the next generation of leaders and thinkers of the world, regardless of race and gender. We believe there should always be a connection between the past and the present to make a better way for the future.

Finally, what literature do you recommend to promote black history?

The list is endless! But off the top you have Black Reconstruction by W.E.B DuBois, The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and our recent find Great Discoveries and Inventions by African Americans by David M Foy. This book is a gem! Its perfectly written for children and young adults with stories of Black American inventors who many have never heard of but have invented some of the most widely-used products we use today. We’ve been telling every parent and teacher about that one!

To know more about Discover Black or to simply follow their journey you can

Follow their twitter here

 If you are interested in having your book reviewed or having a Quick Five© with Tania, please email her at wordpress174@gmail.com