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Posted December 31, 2012
What a great book, I will not put the story line out there, but a must read. It will make you smile it will make you cry. It's how's how God is there for you, just on his time not ours
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Posted December 24, 2013
Goodness, I almost don't know where to begin. I spent half of the book in or near tears, and the ending almost had me blubbering. Maybe that tells you just how good this book is. I don't want to give away anything, and I certainly cannot recommend this book highly enough.
When I picked up this book, I figured it would be the typical Christmas book, and I was familiar with the author, so I expected it to be good. I just didn't know how good it would be. My heart was touched, and I saw the life of homeless people in a very different light. This would be the most fantastic Christmas movie if they ever chose to make into one, and I can assure you the majority of people would connect with this story.
I love reading Kathi Macias' books because she writes with heart and emotion while still adding in the spiritual element. I love the prayers that his characters pray within the story because they are so real. So often we forget that God actually does answer prayers--it is not just one-way communication. And it is so good to see that Kathi is not afraid to have her characters question God. After all, I am sure all of us have questioned Him and His ways at some point.
I have been guilty of still seeing the homeless people as "second-class" citizens. This book changed my perspective to the point that I wish I could go and invite one into my home right now. Okay, I'm not going to at this point, but you never know how God might lead. Being open to His promptings is another important element in this story.
I connected so much with this book that I found myself weeping, laughing, and praying (had to remind myself this was a story)for the characters. It is very few books that can make the story seem so real that I connect with it on such a deep level. This is the perfect Christmas book, and it is a super quick read that you won't want to put down!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Posted April 9, 2013
Author: Kathi Macias
Published by: New Hope Publishers
Age Recommended: YA - Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
"A Unexpected Christmas Hero" by Kathi Macias was not just a Christmas Holiday story, but one of 'Homelessness' which can and has happened each and every day of our lives. These people without shelter, food, warmth could be any of us like Josie's but as this story will flow we will see God's love and how he does care for all of His people.
What is this story all about....
"Josie Meyers thinks she is living the American dream when she marries a nice, handsome
man with a promising future. The dream quickly becomes a nightmare when Josie becomes
a widow and must deal with the fallout of her husband's decisions. She soon finds that she
and her two small children are forced to live on the streets and in homeless shelters. While
the scenes surrounding Josie are dominated by Christmas decorations and carols, Josie finds
herself struggling with the demands of caring for her two small children. She is forced to lean
on the kindness and generosity of others. What she doesn't know is that the influence of one
homeless man in particular is about to change the course of her life and lead her home to the
One who waits for her. He becomes her unexpected Christmas hero."
Ms. Macias did a wonderful story job at making it all real and bringing the truth to us. Now, what can we do...because to many 'homelessness' Christmas is everyday without what they need! After reading this you will feel like the story has truly touched your heart, now what can you do about this? Would I recommend this read? YES!
Posted February 14, 2013
What a delightful read! I hated to put it down, even to eat.
By using a young woman and her two children as the main characters, Kathi Macias immediately draws her reader into their desperate situation. I ached for them to have a warm meal, or a proper bed to sleep in. I felt quite cross with Josie at times when she turned down offers of shelter, even though I understood her point of view. I don't think I could have been that brave. The idea of this young woman and her children curled up in her little "spot behind the cleaners" terrified me, especially with the approaching winter.
Despite it having a Christmassy title, this is a book for all year round. As I followed the story, I became increasingly aware of the tragedy and despair of homelessness. Josie had done nothing to deserve this, and it made me realise how often this is probably the case. I will never look at a homeless person in quite the same way again.
It also made me aware of the even more helpless situation for the homeless person in South Africa, where we do not have the regular soup kitchens and shelters that are described in this book. Oh that Unexpected Christmas Hero will come to our country so I can encourage people here to buy it. Maybe someone somewhere will catch a vision and start a new work.
The real-life miracle that occured at the same time as the book's release was so very exciting, and made to an even more thrilling read. For those who don't know, the man the publishers chose for the book cover was indeed homeless. As a result of this book's promotional material, friends of the family recognised him, and today he is reunited with his own family. This book has already brought change and transformation into the lives of many, and I believe it will continue to do so.
Posted February 10, 2013
Josie Meyers was angry, angry with her deceased husband and angry with God. The Meyers family was living the "American dream" until Josie's husband died, leaving Josie and her two small children destitute, with nothing but what they could fit into their backpacks. Josie blamed God for abandoning them in the midst of their crisis. With nowhere to go and no support system the young family was left to sleep in homeless shelters, occasional cheap motels or in an alley when the shelters were full. Soup kitchens provided occasional meals, and only necessities were purchased with carefully managed food vouchers and a small monthly assistance check. On cold rainy days the family would visit the library, spending time reading and studying.
On Thanksgiving Day in a local soup kitchen Josie, Jacob and Susanna had just sat down to eat when Rick, a Vietnam War veteran, entered their lives. Rick was homeless, unkempt, and had demons of his own, but displayed a gentle and comforting spirit. His offer to pray over their food was accepted and as the children interacted with Rick they were immediately drawn to him. Josie however, was reticent and reluctant to warm up to anyone, mistrust still wreaking havoc in her heart. Rick's faith was ever present, but Josie couldn't reconcile with God. Rick was helpful in suggesting ways to make the Meyers family more comfortable especially as the weather in Washington state grew rainy and colder in the winter months. Rick frequently checked on Josie and the children to make sure they were safe. He oftentimes gave up his space in a shelter to other homeless people like Josie and her children, even though his health was impaired. As difficult as their lives had become Josie became cognizant of the generosity, inspiration and strength from outsiders. Eventually Josie's heart warmed with the idea that Rick may be their guardian angel.
The secondary true story that resulted from this publication is as impressive as the fictional story itself. Photographers sought out a homeless man who fit the author's description of Rick, and upon finding an incredible match they asked Willard Parker for permission to take his picture for use on the cover of "Unexpected Christms Hero." Homelessness has been a way of life for Mr. Parker and he was willing to comply. Willard hadn't seen his daughters in several years, and had never met his grandchildren. The resulting hope was that someone might recognize his picture and assist in reuniting him with his family. A friend of one of Mr. Parker's daughters recognized his picture on the book cover, and informed her that she was certain it was her father. Confirmation resulted in a campaign to reunite the Parker family. Author Kathy Macias and her husband Al set up a website for the collection of donations to facilitate in reuniting them. In a matter of weeks the family was successfully reunited through the generosity of the Macias' and the donations of countless others. Mr. Parker is living with one of his daughters as a result of this miraculous event. His is suffering from leukemia, but happy to have this time with his family.
Kathy Macias is a superb author who broaches unpopular topics and carefully weaves a story of truth, reality, strength of human character, sacrificial love and the spirit of generosity in her fictional stories. She carefully incorporates those unpopular topics with inspiration, compassion and spirituality. "Unexpected Christmas Hero" is an emotional portrayal of deceit, a resultant homeless condition, and eventual reconciliation. Although classified as a Christmas story, this is a powerful story that can be read any time of the year, and I intend to read this book again and again.
DISCLAIMER: I purchased a copy of this book with no expectations from the author regarding a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine, and no compensation has been received for this honest review.
Posted December 27, 2012
As an admirer of Kathi’s writings, I was excited about the release of an Unexpected Christmas Hero. It is a wonderful book filled with intrigue and hope. You will feel connected to the characters throughout this heart-tugging tale of a mother and two children who find themselves homeless. Forced to lean on the kindness and generosity of others, this little family is especially helped by a certain homeless man who indeed becomes an unexpected Christmas hero. This book is a must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2012
I had never heard of Kathi Macias before I read this book. I can’t say that I will read her books again or not, especially, since they aren’t in the genre I usually read. But I will say Unexpected Christmas Hero for me is one of those rare books that I will hold dear in my heart. This book is beyond emotional. There aren’t words to express how much this book touched me.
I think any woman in this world could be Josie. Josie really was living the “American dream” with a nice house in the suburbs, married to a wonderful man, and having great kids. Then over the course of a year or so, she lost all of that and more. Her mother died and then shortly afterwards so did her husband. With her husband’s death, Josie realized that her life was a lie. Her husband lost his job, but was too proud to tell her. He then cashed out all of their savings and even took out a second mortgage on their house, just keep up the pretense that everything was fine. Josie NEVER had any idea how broke and destitute they actually were. In a matter of months, they lost everything they had; their house, cars, furniture, jewelry, and clothing. Josie and her kids, seven-year-old Jacob and five-year-old Susanna only had the clothes on their backs and what little they could each carry in a backpack.
This story really starts with a chance encounter at a soup kitchen serving Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Rick Johnson, a homeless vet strikes up an innocent conversation with the Meyers family sitting across the table from him. That brief encounter changed the lives of four people forever.
Rick is an incredible person. He has his own problems and issues, but he has such a STRONG belief in God. He doesn’t worry and knows that everything will be okay and just as it should be. Josie is a woman who found herself moving away from the Christian beliefs she was raised on. But with the help of Rick and several other strangers she meets in the weeks after Thanksgiving, she is able to forgive and restore her faith in God.
Unexpected Christmas Hero will reinforce your belief in God and remind you that there are indeed Angels walking amongst us. In this book, you will see the kindness of strangers at it’s best. You will realize that no matter how bad your day may seem or how bad you think things are for you, things could always be so much worse.
Unexpected Christmas Hero is what Christmas and Christmas stories are ALL about. It will touch your heart and make you question yourself and your humanity. It will make you want to be a better person. You just have to believe that things will happen in God’s time and not in your time.
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Review blog
Posted November 27, 2012
Unexpected Christmas Hero
By Kathi Macias
New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL
Christmas is the season of giving, but what if one has nothing to give? In fact, they are trying to survive day by day. That’s what Josie Meyers experiences as she and her two children are homeless and daily wondering where their next meal would come from and where they would sleep.
The author of Unexpected Christmas Hero, Kathi Macias, is known for writing about real issues in the lives of people and her characters are well developed to handle the circumstances they are in. Her books, such as this one, inspire the reader to action.
Josie and her children, Jacob and Susanna, meet a homeless man named Rick Johnson at a shelter during the dinner hour. When Josie and the kids leave to find a place to sleep … behind the cleaners, Rick comes to tell them that the shelter they just ate at also offers beds for the night. Each night out of the cold was a blessing, and Rick had helped them many times.
Other characters reach out to Josie and the children such as the Lunds, who through their daughter finding them in the mall, invited them to stay with them. There were times of being helped like this and other times of need. As hard as it was each day, they struggled through. Most of their days were spent at the library where a kind librarian named Karen allowed them to stay each day. Karen desired to help them so much, and she did what she could for them.
Josie was angry with God. Her husband didn’t tell her about the debt they were in and after he died, their house was foreclosed leaving his family with nothing. She wondered why God had allowed it. She didn’t want to pray for anything thinking God wouldn’t answer anyway. Through her journey, Josie learns some very important heart lessons about God and the people He sends into her life.
This book is truly a wonderful Christmas read. It warms the heart and inspires the soul to fall in line with what God is doing for the people of this world. God is the maker of heroes.
Posted November 17, 2012
When Josie's husband Sam passed away, she was horrified to learn that because of his financial decisions she and their children were left homeless. While eating Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter, they meet Rick, a homeless Vietnam vet. Josie doesn't realize that while Rick may not have a home, he can lead her back to her Heavenly Father and to the safety and security her children crave.
Anyone who can read this through with dry eyes is worse than the Grinch. There; I've said it. But it is not one of those sappy, schmaltzy Christmas novels that are so sweet they make your teeth hurt. This one has a message, and it really made me think. We're right in the middle of the season where shoppers trample one another to grab a bargain, while on the street outside there are people, even children, who don't know where their next meal is coming from or where they will sleep that night. If you feel, as I do every year, that your holiday is becoming too commercial, read this book. I guarantee you will give thanks with a truly grateful heart this year.
5 very thankful stars
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Pump Up Your Book book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted November 14, 2012
This lovingly emotionally story is not your everyday jolly holly Christmas story. It is so much better and more meaningful. Homelessness could be considered the central focus of this story, and it certainly awakens ones attitude towards those whose focus is more on shelter, food, warmth, and friendships because of homelessness. But the real focus of this story is God's love and care for all of His people, and His still small voice.
Josie and her son and daughter find themselves homeless after her husband dies, having lost his job and all that they have taken for granted! Rick is old man, with no family of his own, who suffers from PTSD after serving in Vietnam. Josie's family and Rick meet while seeking shelter one night. Their friendship develops with much guidance from The Lord.
The tone of this book seems very much like The little Match Girl story, but with a much more hopeful aspect involving God's people, prayer, and the promise that God looks out for His people even when all seems lost.
I enjoyed this book very much. It gave me a much different feel for the 'joys' of Christmas. It was very faith affirming!
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays arriving soon, many of us have families to gather together with and a home to return to after the get-together. Josie Meyers had the same plans for her family, until tragedy struck and her husband had passed away. Leaving the family in financial ruin, Josie and her children, Jacob and Susanna, find themselves homeless. Josie receives some money from social services, which she has to stretch to last through the month for shelter from the cold, wind, rain, and snow and for nutritional food.
Josie prays, but thinks that God is not answering her prayers. How could God let this happen to her and her children? Yet an elderly homeless man, Rick, a homeless Vietnam vet, helps to look out for her and her children, working to keep them safe in shelters as much as space is available. People from church help her out as much as possible, yet their family eventually has to return to the street. Little does she know that she will meet an unexpected Christmas hero, and what it will mean for her and her children.
Kathi Macias's story, Unexpected Christmas Hero, depicts the life of the homeless eking out a `life' on the streets, hoping for a warm meal and a place to sleep. It's a life depicted in all its pain and sickness. It's heart-wrenching to `see' all the people suffering and looking for food and shelter. Yes, in your mind's view, you can `see' the long lines of huddling people waiting with hope. Your heart breaks when you realize some are turned away because the shelters are full. The aching of Josie for her young children wrenches your heart.
This scenario is repeated in city after city here in the US. Many families are only a month or two from this same dilemma. How can we personally help others in this position of homelessness? Kathi opens our eyes to ways of assisting the homeless.
Let Kathi's book stir your heart and be led by God to assist where possible in your own communities. Read it with an open mind and heart.
The man on the cover--whose name is Willard Parker--readily agreed to pose, and then explained that he truly was homeless and hoped having his picture on the cover would somehow help him find his family, particularly his grown daughter. We are doing our best to stay in touch with Mr. Parker and also to spread his story across the Internet and on radio/TV in hopes of fulfilling his dream to be reunited with his family. If anyone looks at the picture on the cover and/or recognizes the man's name (Willard Parker) and knows the whereabouts of any of his family, we would truly appreciate it if they would contact me at ezyrtr(@)ca(.)rr(.)com so we can take the necessary steps to try to make this reunion happen.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CSS Virtual Book Tours in exchange for posting the author's interview and/or book review on my blog. No monetary compensation was received.
Posted November 13, 2012
Kathi Macias has done it again, another book that makes you think..."There, but for the Grace of God, goes I". Such a tough subject of being homeless. You find yourself in their shoes, walking and feeling the cold. Hungry, and trying to get into shelters.
Kathi brings to life the "Street People", ones who maybe less than a year ago were living the "American" life. Then the rug was pulled out from under them.
We met a Mom...Josie Meyer's and her children Jacob, 7, and Susanna, 5. Her husband has died, and left her with nothing. They had to leave their home with just the clothes on their backs.
Along the way they met other people in the same predicament, some befriend them...Like Rick, a man with his own demons, and very sick.
We meet people like the Lunds, who don't have a lot, but open up their home and give all that they have. Also Nancy, who's love of the Lord compels her to help wherever and whenever she can.
The story takes place over the Holidays, and once you start you won't be able to put this book down...I couldn't!
This book makes a wonderful gift, and makes you appreciate all that you have been blessed with.
I received this book from the Publisher New Hope, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted November 11, 2012
"The late November sunshine was thin and tepid, but a welcome interruption to the gray skies and constant drizzle that usually hung over the small Washington town of Riverview for the better part of eight or nine months each year. Josie Meyers shivered as she stood in line behind her two children, waiting their turn for a free Thanksgiving meal.
Tears bit her eyes at the memory of past Thanksgiving celebrations, particularly the most recent one the previous year. Though they had all been grieving the passing of Josie's mother, they still managed to turn the day into a festive occasion, as the four of them gathered around the table to give thanks for the spread that awaited them.
Sam, she thought. You stood there that day, offering a brief prayer of thanksgiving to a God I'm not sure you even believed in, and never let on for a moment that you hadn't a clue where our next meal would come from or how we'd make the mortgage payment that month. How in the world were you able to carry it off for so long? If you hadn't gotten sick, would you finally have found a way out of the mess we were in - or would you be standing here with the three of us now, begging for a hot meal and wondering where we'd sleep tonight?" (pg 9).
So now Josie is forced to take things one day at a time as she tries to find enough food and a place that is warm enough each night for herself and her young children Jacob and Susanna. There is a waiting list for government assisted housing so for now she kills time at the local library and mall until the shelters open each night. Occasionally she can save enough through food vouchers and her monthly checks to stay in a modest motel but more often than not, she's on the streets trying to stay warm and try til something better comes along.
In Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias, we find out what it's like to live through the eyes of Josie Meyers who had everything until her husband Sam died from cancer and left her owing more money then she could ever imagine. When their home was repossessed, there was no family members who would take her in and her pride kept her from calling on her friends to ask for help. She had hoped that some how, some way, that she could figure out a way to secure them all permanent housing but never realized that it would turn out like this. Now when she meets a homeless Vietnam Veteran by the name of Rick who offers her son Jacob the last piece of his pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, her life will be changed in unseen ways by the God she has abandoned in her search for hope.
I received Unexpected Christmas by Kathi Macias compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and New Hope Publishers for my honest review. Even though this is a Christmas story I can see the message that it contains being shared throughout the year. After reading this one, I felt like I had just witnessed a true Hallmark moment, like the movies that come out this time of the year. What an ideal movie this one would make and the impact to people seeing it would really spread the message of hope and faith in God no matter how dire the situations are in your life. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 Christmas Stars and have now added this one to my permanent shelf to read every single year. This is soon to be a classic in my opinion.
Posted October 11, 2012
This story just grabbed hold of me from the start and wouldn't let go. It has given me a whole new view of the homeless and made me determined to find a way to help.
Josie's story, her fall from the life she had always known, to the depths of being homeless with two young children, is heartbreaking. And Rick shows more kindness and generosity out of his poverty than many who have more - kind of reminiscent of "the widow's mite".
I loved this story. It made me laugh and cry...and hope. Ms. Macias does a wonderful job of making it all real and bringing the truth home. I pray this story touches many hearts!
Posted November 2, 2012
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Posted January 19, 2013
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Posted October 29, 2012
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Posted December 11, 2012
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