Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Unexpected Christmas Hero" by Kathi Macias Book Review/Guest Post

Never expecting to be homeless, Josie Meyers and her children are shocked when circumstances force them to live on the streets. Rick, a down-and-out disabled vet, befriends them, reawakening memories of a faith Josie had in childhood. But can she reconcile her once-held beliefs with her current situation? Will she and her children even survive long enough to try to rekindle Josie’s faith?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 giveaway 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 he characters pray within the story because the 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.

Kathi Macias
My 2012 Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, released from New Hope Publishers in mid-October. It is a story about a family (mother and two small children) who become homeless when their husband/father dies unexpectedly and leaves them in terrible financial straits. The family is befriended by a homeless Vietnam vet who becomes their “unexpected Christmas hero,” despite his own precarious position. I just learned from my publisher that the man on the cover (Willard Parker) truly is homeless but graciously agreed to pose for this photo. He told the photographer that he is separated from his family and would like very much to be reunited with them (particularly his grown daughter). So I thought about all you wonderful blog followers and social networking friends and decided, Why not band together and try to make this happen for Mr. Parker? I am posting the story from the photographer below so you can see how Mr. Parker ended up on the cover. If you recognize/know Mr. Parker and/or have any information about his family, please leave a comment here with your contact information or email me at Meanwhile, please pass this information along to anyone you can–via your own blogs, social networks, email loops, whatever way possible to help get the word out. Let’s make this go viral and bring this family back together!
Story from photographer/designer:
We (designer and photographer Michel Lê and spouse Christine) were Christmas vacationing in Asheville, NC.
I had Kathi’s book cover to design and needed photos of homeless people. Christine remembered seeing homeless people under some bridge in town. I grabbed my camera and off we went.
After unsuccessfully circling around for an hour, I decided to call it off and head back.
That’s when God told Christine to persevere, and to go in a different part of town. And there he was, Willard Parker, the perfect physical representation (in my opinion) of Kathi’s Unexpected Christmas Hero‘s main character. We stopped the car and asked him if he was homeless and willing to pose for a few photos, after explaining to him the book story.
Willard said yes and was very accommodating. While driving to a suitable place for the photos, Willard offered us a glimpse of his life. He lost his house a few years back. He has a daughter somewhere north (maybe Detroit?) whom he lost touch. Willard also believes in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We had a sense of great sadness in his life, that it didn’t turned out the way he hoped for. Willard had a very humble and kind spirit. But we sensed a quiet yet powerful sparkle and desire for life. He longed to see his daughter, and we felt how hard that would be for him in his present situation. He is basically illiterate as I found out (when I asked him to read and sign the Model Release).
I wanted to buy him lunch in a restaurant but he politely declined (maybe for fear of not being “part of the crowd”). We gave him some money and left, with a heavy heart and deeply moved.
While designing the cover, I prayed that the one with him would be chosen (there were others being considered), so I could send him a few copies, that in turn he could send one to his daughter (assuming we locate her). I prayed that God would make this happen, that He would flood his daughter with new love for her dad after seeing him on a book cover, that she would be proud of him, that she would have a great desire to reunite with him, just like we long to reunite in love with our Father. I hoped and prayed for it to happen. It would be the greatest Christmas gift of all for Willard.
Then the cover with Willard was chosen and the author decided to launch a campaign to find Willard’s family and reunite them. Thank You, God! We hope/pray that many of you will join us to spread the word. Sooner or later, someone out there will recognize Williard’s picture and/or name and know how to contact his family. Thank you all for being part of this! Now let’s get to work and see what God can do!!!

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband. You can find out more about Kathi or contact her via her website:


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review of Kathi's second Christmas novel. I agree with so much that you said about this book and Kathi's gift in bringing stories like this to life. Wouldn't this make the best Hallmark Channel movie?

    Thanks again for the review. Wishing you and your readers a blessed Thanksgiving.

  2. Thank you so much, Ruth, for the wonderful review. Blessings to you and all your readers/followers!


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