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Crafty Chica Novels #1

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter

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With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary . . . especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella "Star" Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family's business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career. To redeem herself, she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend, Ofelia-a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession-and local celebrity Chloe Chavez-a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they'll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.

324 pages, Paperback

First published September 23, 2009

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

11 books154 followers

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5 stars
100 (21%)
4 stars
153 (32%)
3 stars
150 (32%)
2 stars
44 (9%)
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20 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 120 reviews
Profile Image for Melody.
1,152 reviews327 followers
May 25, 2010
I am struggling with this. Not sure if I can make it through. But I won it on Goodreads and feel a sense of obligation to read and review. I also feel obligated to say: I am not a fan of chick lit. I don't know what possessed me to enter the contest for this book. I guess I can be crafty when need be. And I like glitter. I apologize in advance to the author.

As I suspected - it didn't get any better: Constant cliche after cliche; forced reference to music, items and people in popular culture; forced plot advancement; narrative and characters all written in same voice - so no distinctive characters; so many freaking adjectives and similes that I actually got a little queasy.

But I will say it made me visit the author's crafting site and I might go by Hobby Lobby later to buy some glitter and supplies to make a sparkly mixed media art badge. (I will say I'm disturbed to also seeing a link on the site for writing tips)
Profile Image for Jess Kanaan.
16 reviews26 followers
August 18, 2010
Some people might get put off by the mere title having glitter in it. One of my friends flips out whenever a spec comes in close proximity to her. But thankfully, glitter is not the main glue of this story. It's friendship. Friendship tougher than any industrial craft adhesive, tougher than glitter.

This book touched me so that instead of just writing "it was awesome," I thought I'd get a little personal and show you the letter I sent to the author, Kathy Cano-Murillo.
Dear Crafty Chica,
First off, as a fellow Phoenician I want to say a HUGE gracias for writing a book that takes place in a city so close to my corazón. I just finished reading your novel and not only did it have me in stitches (haha craft puns!), but it touched me on a level that was completely unexpected. Star could not be more like me if she had been my glitter-covered Siamese twin! Her inability to finish things, her hurricane energy, her inventiveness, her wandering through life. A paraphrase of a line that really resonated with me, from Chloe: Star may not know what she wanted to do in life, but she would sure help you if you did.
I started crying at that point. That is me! I loved all the different layers of your characters and your passion not only for writing and crafting, but for forming characters you could read about forever.
Thank you so much for this novel, and I know something that will be stuffed in all my amigas stockings this Christmas!
Viva Love and Glitter!
Profile Image for Georgiann Hennelly.
1,926 reviews21 followers
December 20, 2010
This is a cute story of friendships, heart break, family and unwavering love. It is partly about crafting and largely about friendship, love and finding your purpose in life. Chloe Chavez is a glamourus, ruthless T.V. Reporter who covers a crafting segment , even though she doesn,t like crafting. Ofelia is a frustrated housewife and avid crafter. She uses crafting to beauty and order in to her life. Than there is Star or Estella who wanted to be an artist but wound up running the marketing end of her familys business. The craft olympics brings them all together and they make a few solid friends along the way.0
December 15, 2014
This book wasn't perfect but I loved it! I enjoyed the characters and I really liked the lessons that were learned. If you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything, and never give up on your friends <3
Profile Image for Liz.
18 reviews14 followers
June 14, 2011
Couldn't put this book down. I love that the characters are real and relatable.
Profile Image for Donna.
921 reviews22 followers
October 16, 2019
Challenge: RRRCs September 2019 - Set in a big city (4); and, a nod to Latinxathon September 2019. Takes place in my home town, Phoenix, AZ, the fifth most populous city in the US, with a high-rise skyline downtown, midtown, and uptown. The story takes place near downtown Phoenix and involves the inner growth of three unlikely creative friends who are forced to face their respective weaknesses by their own actions with the result that that each finds their purpose through their artistic endeavors. Thoroughly enjoyed this book by a Latinx author who lives her life crafting in Phoenix.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
160 reviews18 followers
December 19, 2010
Review as posted on my blog: http://acozyreaderscorner.blogspot.com 2.5 Stars

Estrella “Star” Esteban has been floating along through life until her most recent indiscretion causes her boyfriend to leave her and her parents to put their foot down. Star is given the choice to group up and make something of herself or get out. For Star, losing the man she loves is a far greater punishment than she ever imagined. Now, in effort to redeem herself, Star agrees to participate in a national craft competition. With the help of Ofelia, her best friend and craftier wannabe, Chloe, a local celebrity crafter with a secret, and a few other new found friends, star attempts to get her life on track and redeem herself. Through it all each of these women find comfort in each other, blessings in their differences and strength in friendship and the value of finding something you truly love.

“Waking up in the Land of Glitter” is a story that centers on crafts and art. Though I am a crafty person, this book was a little much for me. While the story was entertaining enough, it had a few flaws that made it less enjoyable and a little difficult to read. The majority of what I liked in the book is portrayed in my synopsis. From the synopsis on the back cover, I gathered the book would have some Spanish terms, names and cultural influences but I did not expect it to the degree it was used. Luckily for me, I checked out the whole book before reading it and found a glossary of terms in the back. This glossary would have served better to be in the front of the book before the story began. While the author mentions that the words can have multiple meanings based on region and that the definitions are specific to her characters in the book, I still found terms that had definitions that did not match up with very specific well known meanings. For example, the word “puta” is stated to mean “hootchie”. This word is widely known to have one meaning and that is bitch. Likewise the word “carbon” is used for “brat” and is widely known to be used as “bastard” or “asshole” in slang terms and literally translates to “billy goat”.

I took the liberty to ask many Spanish speaking friends from all over the country their opinion of translation and all of them agreed with the widely known terms. I then checked multiple internet sites that had Spanish/English translation and found the same conclusion. This seemed to mean the author most likely wasn’t comfortable using the harsher language and instead used her own more subtle terms. I feel that if you are not willing to use the actual word and widely known meaning that it should just be omitted rather than replaced seeing it has no real relevance to the story. Calling someone a brat over an asshole does not give the same thought or level of emotion, just as hootchie doesn’t give the same meaning as bitch.

In addition to the meanings of the language I felt the use of it and English terms didn’t flow well. The author states that Spanish/Spanglish terms are sprinkled throughout the novel though it felt as if the novel was saturated with them in parts and sprinkled in others. The words were sometimes used in a way where the reader would be able to understand the meaning without using the glossary, but more often needed it to help understand the translation. The use of the terms seemed to take away from the characters for me rather than draw me to them. I did not connect with the characters of this book. I found the main character to be quite annoying, childish and self centered. Each character was full of drama that they seemed to create for themselves out of boredom or need for attention rather than having actual issues. The book held my attention enough, but I was never attached to it. I didn’t find myself with a reason to read faster, stay up later or finish an extra chapter just to keep reading. I was content to read when I had time, but also put the book aside for any reason that seemed more interesting than the story. My favorite part was the last third of the book when the characters were mostly spate from each other and finally getting their act together.

Overall, this book is probably best read by extreme lovers of crafts, those who are of the Spanish heritage and would not need the glossary or someone looking for a very different read. I cannot say I have ever read another book quite like this one. It is unique. While I am sure others will enjoy it more than I did, the book simply wasn’t for me. Though I do not regret the read, I would not be able to read this novel again.

Reviewed for author exposure
Profile Image for Zulmara.
17 reviews12 followers
September 12, 2010
Waking up in the Land of Glitter
By Kathy Cano-Murillo

Reviewed by Zulmara Cline

Kathy Cano-Murillo's debut novel, Waking up in the Land of Glitter, is a delightful, fun read. Taking her passion for crafts, art, life, love, and glitter, Kathy has created memorable characters who live in our hearts long after the story has ended. These three very different and very passionate Latinas demonstrate the strength of our community, our families, and our loves.

Adult friendships among comadres is very important en la comunidad Latina, it is a connection that runs deep. Our girlfriends are here to stay and these friendships are bonds that get us through many of the trials and tribulations of life. Kathy captures the meaning and depth of these relationships with humor, emotion, and inspiration, while taking us through some very funny crafty moments.

Lest the book not be great and fun already, add Love Shrines to the book and you have a wonderfully crafty book that leaves you wondering and thinking about the love shrine that you will make…first, next, and then the one after that. The love shrines are made for all sorts of reasons and come in all shapes and sizes, cigar boxes, helmets, boxes, pots, and other assorted "holders" to commemorate the special people and events in our lives.

This book is a keeper. As a culturally sensitive story that captures the nuances de la comunidad Latina, Waking up in the Land of Glitter leaves you rooting for the characters and wanting to know more and more about their stories, their lives, their loves and their next steps. Kathy is truly a gifted writer who writes with a refreshing sensitivity about art, crafts, love, life y la comunidad Latina.

About the Author:
Kathy Cano-Murillo a creative talent in both depth and breadth. Not only is she a an amazing crafter, with fun, easy to make, very creative crafts that she shares on her award winning website, CraftyChica.com, she is also a very talented and imaginative writer. Waking up in the Glitter, her first novel, is a delightful and fabulous read, that gives us a glimpse into the la comunidad Latina, with all it loves--food, family, fun, music, novellas, and drama. Kathy lives with her husband and two children in Phoenix, Arizona.

1. Who are your comadres that you can count on no matter what?
2. Pick three people you would make a love shrine for. What would you make it in and what would you include in it?
3. Star gets totally inspired to create her love shrines. Think of a time in your life when inspiration came and just took over your life.
4. Have you ever had a moment like Chole, when you knew you wanted to make some changes?
5. Describe your best and worst Ofie moments? How do you get through them?
6. Describe a time in your life when the karma gods had come to collect?

The karma gods had come to collect (p. 173).

Opening Line:
"Um, you can't go on live TV with blood on your arm; our viewers are eating breakfast," the cameraman said, nodding at Star's elbow as eh hoisted his equipment up on his shoulder.

Profile Image for Laura de Leon.
1,042 reviews29 followers
March 11, 2010
This is a 3.5 star book for me. It's a book that I have a hard time being objective about-- both my positives and negatives are largely personal.

This is a relatively light book, the story of a woman figuring out who she is.

What I liked:

+ The characters. This is a big one for me. While i was entertained by Star, I identified with Ofie-- her escape into crafts, her lack of skill at them, her inadequacy with the housework, her plus sized figure. I enjoyed the full cast of quirky but loving family members.

+ The craft aspect. I like crafts, and this gave me a hook into the story. I think the only other fiction I've read featuring crafts were cozy mysteries, and I haven't encountered many of those, so that was unusual. I also liked the tension of arts vs. crafts, something I haven't seen explored in fiction before.

+ The arc of the story. I liked that path that Star took through the book. She had a journey of self-discovery to make, and she brought a definate flair to it.

+ The setting. I have spent my middle and high school years in Phoenix, but it was all spent in the suburbs, which are briefly described in the book. I never really saw the areas that had more personality, like those where this book happens. I think I missed out, although I doubt I would have appreciated that as a teen!

+ The humor. I frequently found myself smiling (and occasionally giggling) at the characters and the situations they found themselves in. There were also sad and touching moments, but the humor stuck with me more.

What I didn't like:

+ At first I thought I didn't like the writing. Then I changed my mind. It isn't that I didn't like the writing, but that the writing had an unusual flow to it for me-- almost like reading a translation. I think this might have been deliberate-- the flavor of a culture subtly different than mine. Even if so, I found it distracting.

+ The characters. I know, I'm listing them as both a plus and a minus. I really liked the outlines, but I wish they'd been filled in a little better. At moments they seemed like caricatures. They did learn and change as the book progressed, but it seemed a little too pat, too simple.

+ The decisions the characters made. Particularly before the story started, all of the characters made some boneheaded choices. I know, people make those kinds of mistakes, and they were necessary to set up the story. I still didn't like it!

+ How easy everything was. Once the characters figured out what their problems were, solving them was simple. I never find it quite that easy.

In the end, I enjoyed the book. I'll look for the author's craft books at the bookstore-- they sound like fun to flip through, and I could imagine taking one home with me. I hope she writes another novel-- I'd certainly pick it up, whether it has the same characters or a whole new set.
Profile Image for Mary Gramlich.
514 reviews38 followers
February 13, 2011
WAKING UP IN THE LAND OF GLITTER written by Kathy Cano-Murillo
A Crafty Chica Novel
03/10 - Grand Central Publishing – Paperback, 336 pages

Simply a wonderful story that should be read by everyone it is that good!

Female friendships are born from diversity and survive by tenacity. The relationships that make it are road tested over the years but each person in the friendship knows that while bumps in the road come and knock you off the cart they do not stop you from getting back in and finishing the ride. Ofie, Star and Chloe are three sides to a triangle that are different from one another but there is a superglue that has them sticking it out regardless of the cost. While Ofie and Star are old friends with years of memories it is the new addition of Chloe that breathes life into their circle and a little bit of anguish as everything starts to change.

Ofie is a wife, mother and crafting addict gone wrong; Star is an out of control woman who refuses to be a responsible adult and her crazy antics have cost her the love of her love and the tolerance of her parents; Crafty Chloe is a TV personality that while appearing put together and acting all about it on the air is an insecure mess after the camera shuts down and the truth of her crafting inefficiencies comes out.

With the Craft Olympics coming to Phoenix these three unlikely people are drawn together to create some of the most beautiful artwork ever seen and push each other toward greatness when hidden talents start bubbling to the surface. Each of these women has been forced to face the reality of sick or swim for this event and when they come together to create they make one another more independent and create such magic tears are shed even some family drama can’t slow the crafting process. But all good relationships get tested and the real push for any true friendship is when you get to the top of the mountain and your fears of failure come out and you know your worth of self is built around the complexities of your friends and they share their strength with you not keep it for themselves.

This book covers so many areas but has the basis built in friendship and moves the story out from there. Friends are the wonder in your life as well as create some of the difficulties but building on these difficulties we realize all is not glitter and gold in our lives and you can’t always put memories in a scrapbook but you can pull together something beautiful and touching with the right word or having a sincere friend stand beside you when you need it the most. Life is not about crafts that have gone wrong or pictures hanging on the wall crocked, it is about what we show with a simple act of kindness which after all is a grand deed. However, everything seriously does look great with glitter on top and you cannot put too much on anything.
Profile Image for Colleen.
30 reviews71 followers
March 8, 2010
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo tells the story of Estrella (Star) Esteban's antics as she tries to redeem herself in the eyes of her parents, her boyfriend and her friends. Star, the daughter of new age parents Dori and Al, moves relatively aimlessly through life starting projects she never finishes and shirking her responsibilities as she lives rent-free at age 28 in her parents' home. Her father finally gives her an ultimatum requiring Star to plan and execute an event to benefit the family business - this ultimatum sets Star on a path to discover what she really wants from life.

Star and her crafting friends - Ofie, Crafty Chloe and Benecio - are very likeable characters. Star is the "Lucy"of the group and she is caught in crazy scenarios that she brings on herself but you root for her anyway. Ofie is desperate for others approval and the mother figure for the group while Crafty Chloe is an ambitious career woman who looks around and realizes her career is all she has in her life. Benecio, the talented teenager who hides his artistic interests from his absent parents, is actually wise beyond his years and provides steady support for the women in the group. The four embark on a crafting project extraordinaire in order to meet Star's father's ultimatum. Along the way they develop a friendship - this friendship and how it supports them through a variety of challenges is endearing.

With these characters and snappy dialogue with frequent pop culture references, the book has a lot going for it. However, when I reflect on the novel in its entirety, it seems to just miss the mark. Some of the scenes are difficult to believe and not just difficult to imagine happening in real life but difficult to imagine with what we are given with these characters. For example, Star and Crafty Chloe move from being arch enemies to the closest of friends with little to explain the transition. I had difficulty believing how easily everything started to fit together within the storyline. There were many storylines going on at once in the novel - perhaps with a few less characters and by cutting a story line or two, the book would have rung more true for me and seemed less trite.

Bottom line - the is a fun, frothy novel but it is terribly predictable. The book does a good job of honoring friendships and the power that an artistic release can have in a person's life.
Profile Image for Read In Colour.
281 reviews437 followers
January 29, 2011
Star Esteban is a hot mess. From the very beginning I could tell reading about this chick was going to be fun and that I would love every minute of it. And I was right!

Twenty something Estrella "Star" Esteban works at her family business, La Pachanga, a combination restaurant and art gallery. As an only child, Star's every whim has been catered to by her hippie parents, so it's not unusual for her to start and stop projects without worrying about the repercussions. But when she goes overboard with her crazy antics, her father gives her an ultimatum: get yourself together or get out of our house.

Her best friend Ofi uses crafting to avoid dealing with real life. Her mother-in-law is practically raising her daughter and running her house while Ofi overspends at the local craft mart. She's sure that she'll make it big in crafting one day, though it would help if people could figure out what exactly it is she's making.

The ambitious Chloe Chavez is determined to get to the top. She's long admired another newscaster turned crafting celebrity. If she follows her path, she's sure to end up with endorsements and possibly a national news spot. The fact that she doesn't really care for crafting is just a minor detail.

With the assistance of her friends and a 14 year old boy wonder designer, Star sets off on a path to discover her true passion and get to know herself. Along the way, her friends begin their own journeys and find that they all have room to grow.

What did you like about this book?
So many times in books women are waiting (whether or not they know it) to be saved by a man. Star saves herself and I loved that! That's not to say that there is no romance involved, but it's not the determining factor in who she becomes.

The writing flows extremely well. I'm really glad that the author took the time to develop the secondary characters so well instead of leaving them in the background.

What didn't you like about this book?
I honestly can't think of a thing.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Find someone to make it into a movie. I could totally see this on Lifetime or HBO.

Profile Image for Kristi .
448 reviews37 followers
April 3, 2010
I really enjoyed this book - and not just because it combined two of my favorite things - reading and crafts. Star is very much a free spirit. She lives at home and works at her family's restaurant, doing press releases for the art shows they host. Her life isn't very demanding, and she doesn't really have a lot of tough decisions to make, so when she suspects Theo, her best friend, is about to propose - it kind of causes her to lose a little control. She ends up getting drunk with her cousin Maria Juana (I laughed too) and doing some things that she is not too proud of. These things cause her to lose Theo and for her parents to lose their faith/trust in her. Her dad basically tells her she has 6 months to get her act together - working somewhere other than La Pachanga.

Star gets involved with the Craft Olympics, as La Pachanga is in charge of the center pieces for the tables - 200 of them. . . Olfie jumps right in to help, but her ideas are not very attractive. No one is willing to tell Olfie that her crafts and awful, as she tends to melt down. Olfie has been struggling with being a good enough wife and mother her entire marriage. It doesn't help that her mother-in-law is always there to help out, and does things much better than she ever hopes too. Her husband and daughter both love her unconditionally though, and do not discourage her crafting.

Chloe Chavez and Star did not get off to a good start the first time they met. When they discover they are both going to be making the centerpieces together, you think that sparks are going to fly. But together with Benecio, a teenager, who with his passion for fashion hopes to score a booth at the craft olympics, they come up with an idea and begin the process of making centerpieces. Unfortunately, their individual lives are each spiralling out of control and they each have to make some tough decisions before they can begin the process of starting over.
1,428 reviews51 followers
March 10, 2010
From my blog....[return][return]Waking Up In the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo is a cute story of friendships, heartbreaks, family and unwavering love. Murillo's novel is well written, her characters are quite real, her descriptions are vivid enough to make me hungry on more than one occasion. With all that said, I struggled to identify with many of the characters, quite possibly because my children are so close to the ages of several of the key players in Waking Up In the Land of Glitter.[return]While I found myself relating more to Star's father, Alfonso Ortega Esteban more than Star, most likely considering Al and I are about the same age, I am glad I persevered through the novel and read it to the end. I will not give away spoilers, however, it is well worth the wait. 350 pounds of imported glass glitter and a promise of 200 handmade centerpieces in exchange for La Pachanga's sponsorship of the CraftOlympics have Star turning to her friend Ofie, who loves to craft, for help and from there an odd lot, each for their own reasons, begin to meet weekly at Ofie's home to begin brainstorming ideas for the centerpieces. Thus begins the intriguing dynamics of the relationships of Star, Ofie, Crafty Chloe Chavez, and Benecio. I did find it interesting that while the 20-somethings behaved as adolescents it took an adolescent to bring them together. As I previously mentioned I related best to Al, Star's father and of course Ofie's mother-in-law Nana Chata, however, Ofie and her husband Larry weaved their way into my heart, while everyone had so much to gain and learn in this novel, I was most pleased with Ofie and Larry. Waking Up In the Land of Glitter was not what I expected it would be; yet I believe many readers will come to love this eclectic group of 20-somethings. For anyone looking for a novel about family, friendships and finding oneself, Waking Up In the Land of Glitter may be exactly what you are looking for.
Profile Image for Toni.
246 reviews40 followers
December 7, 2010
What a fun, fun, book! I won it last year on Goodreads and just got around to reading it. Partly because I wanted to read something funny and partly because I really need inspiration to get creative and most fiction revolving around crafting is geared toward 70 year old ladies!

I'm so mad at myself for waiting so long, because I loved it. La Pachanga restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona serves great Mexican food and acts as and art space for local artists. Estrella "Star" Esteban, whose family owns the business, acts as its biggest champion and marketer. A little flighty, she sees herself as an artist as well, but leans more toward fine art and hates anything "crafty" that involves glitter. One night Star makes a series of bad decisions and her parents give her an ultimatum to get her life together and commit to something.

Ever the crafty (pun intended) one, Star puts a plan in motion that brings together and unlikely cast of characters to participate in a national craft competition that could prove lucrative for La Pachanga, including her best friend, Ofelia, a wife and mother who escapes her stressful life (and mother-in-law drama) by crafting to the point of obsession and her new acquaintance, Chloe Chavez, a local television personality , known for her craft segments and aims to be the next Martha.

Waking Up In the Land of Glitter reminded me how much I love reading popular fiction by Latina authors. The inclusion of the diversity of Mexican and Hispanic culture make the story so much richer and I learned a lot. That makes a great book to me. The author is an accomplished crafter and you can see her incredible work at CrafyChica.com. She even includes instructions to make some of crafts featured in the back of the book. Her second novel, Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing is due out in March and you can guarantee that I'll be the first in line to buy a copy!
Profile Image for L V.
104 reviews8 followers
November 5, 2013
Reviewed by: Celia
Member of Livin' la vida Latina

Review: I liked the way it started—very gripping and honest. I totally understood Star’s desire to live her life for herself first and foremost before settling into anything. I especially liked how the author rendered both sides of the complicated love/hate relationship of Star and Theo in a zany, confusing “tug-of-war” way (they basically wanted to love and hate each other at the same time.) The love that Theo had for Star was endearing yet overwhelming (who wouldn’t freak out at the sight of wedding brochures?) Yet he was a good guy, perhaps too good for Star. My first impression of her was that she was a whiny, selfish brat that expected everything to be done for her without doing anything to earn it. Seriously, what did Theo see in her?

Almost every character (particularly Olfie) in the story succumbs to the belief that crafts are the answer to life’s problems and that they make the world happy and perfect. I felt that the whole idea was kind of surreal and unimaginable; it was like believing that a round of Candy Land will turn everything into lollipops and marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong. Crafts can be an art form that can reflect one’s spirits and identity, and, yes, they can even bring a little happiness. Clearly, that was the message the writer wanted to convey with much success—perhaps too much success.

The book was filled with flawed and diverse characters that can annoy you at times but you can definitely relate to. To put it better, they all intertwined together like colored thread with loose ends and tight knots.

Honestly, the story didn’t get good for me until about 2/3 of the way when the “truth” comes out on everyone. The drama was so flavorful and exciting that I couldn’t sit still for the most part.

Ultimately, the characters had to find their true “crafter” to see who they really wanted to be, and I think it all came together pretty well in the end.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,360 reviews63 followers
March 13, 2010
2.5 stars. I received this book for free through the FirstReads program. Waking Up in the Land of Glitter follows a group of women working toward competing in the Craft Olympics, a national craft competition where they have volunteered to make centerpieces and also potentially compete in some of the contests. Ofie is a housewife who loves all sorts of crafts; Star is only participating because she's made a huge mistake with her parents and with her boyfriend and wants to fix it; and Chloe is the local crafty TV reporter who's joined forces with the other women to further her career. While trying to fix their own problems, the women begin to come together and learn how crafts and friendships can help them get their lives back on track.

The plot is fairly thin, and unfortunately, so were most of the personalities. The characters felt very two-dimensional, and I didn't feel a lot of heart behind the story. Although the dialogue wasn't stiff, it also didn't seem quite natural, and many minor characters seemed to only exist to give the main characters someone to talk to or interact with as necessary. I never connected with any of the characters or felt fully drawn into their problems. I did like that each of the main characters had something to overcome, but everything wrapped up really quickly and neatly; the obstacles to get there seemed as if they mainly occurred off-the-page, leaving the reader with the impression that very little had to be done to get to the resolution. For example, I never fully got the sense that the women were bonding with each other; they met, their interactions were summarized, and then suddenly the narrator alluded to them having become close friends. I hadn't seen it occur at all.

Overall, this book was kind of forgettable. I enjoyed parts of it, but when I set it down, I wasn't in any rush to pick it back up again.
Profile Image for Gaby.
649 reviews22 followers
March 10, 2010
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel is partly about crafting and largely about friendship, love, and finding your purpose. Its the story of Chloe Chavez, the glamorous and ruthless TV reporter that covers crafting segments, even though she can't stand crafting. It's equally about the frustrated housewife and avid crafter Ofelia. Ofelia turns to crafting to bring beauty and order in her life, but her enthusiasm overtakes her talent. The third and key character is Star or Estella who started out wanting to be an artist but somehow ended up running the marketing end of her family's business.

The story opens with Chloe interviewing Star about the recent vandalism to an important mural on Star's family's business. While Chloe and Star immediately dislike each other, they both live and work in Phoenix and keep running into each other. The CraftOlympics bring Chloe, Star, and Ofelia together, and they make a few more solid friends along the way. Together and individually, these characters find their way and give us a story of friendship, love, and being true to yourself.

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is a heartwarming, fun read.
ISBN-10: 0446509248 - Paperback $13.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (March 1, 2010), 336 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Cinnamon.
Author 3 books16 followers
August 31, 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's not going to change the world, but I realized after reading the book that reading it was a lot like crafting. It was fun, and I felt better about myself when I was done with it. It took me a little while to get into it, but by page 40 I was hooked and interested in what Star was going to do next. I read this right after reading The Friday Night Knitting Club, which I started out liking but ended up disliking. I was afraid that jumping into this book next would color my taste for it. But I was wrong. Both books set out to set up crafting as a fun and enjoyably productive hobby that can be tailored to suit the personality of the crafter while making the crafter feel closer to other women. But this book succeeds in ways that FNKC just didn't. I became attached to the characters, even the ones that I didn't want to become attached to, and I was rewarded for investing in them emotionally. And where I felt like I should have cried while reading FNKC, I actually cried when reading this book twice, because I was moved emotionally by the characters.

And while I love crafting and have generally been ambivalent towards glitter, I think this book made me like it. I haven't used it since I was a kid, but I'm thinking I need to get some. Maybe I can justify it for Halloween? That's a respectable time for glitter usage, eh?
Profile Image for Jodi.
1,658 reviews62 followers
August 13, 2017
At first, I didn't think I liked this book. The characters were weird and not particularly likeable and I really didn't understand the craft obsession. (I know that's the whole point of the book but it didn't make a lot of sense.) There were a lot of bad decisions made by each of the main characters but their redemptions were well worth the wait. The basic story is about three women. 2 are friends. Star Esteban is an artist-wannabe whose parents own a very popular Latin restaurant. Her boyfriend is an up-and-coming artist. Star has never actually stuck with any one thing before. But the night she gets drunk and defaces her boyfriend's mural sets her life in a whole new direction. Her best friend Ofelia has been intimidated by her mother-in-law for years. They are just scraping because she spends every spare and not so spare penny on crafting supplies only she has absolutely no talent. The last member of the trio is Crafty Chloe, a women who has been sleeping her way to the top of her news career and meets Star when she interviews her about the vandals that defaced the mural. It gets off to a very slow start but eventually becomes entertaining and actively enjoyable. Ultimately, there was tremendous character growth that was shown and not told and that made the book worthwhile.
March 11, 2010
I am a quilter and a part-time book reader. I'm also follower of the crafty chica blog. I've been waiting for this book to come out after reading about it for years on her blog. I wasn't sure what to expect. I finished it in two days and absolutely loved it. It made me laugh and it made me cry at some parts. I really liked that it presented a different type of latina characters that were all very creative in their own way. I really want to try some of the projects they made. The characters seemed very real to me and I found myself hoping for the best for them even crafty chloe chavez, and I didn't like her at all in the beginning of the book, but by the end I really felt sorry for her. Ofie's story was a favorite and Star (Estella) was close behind. I liked the positive latino male role models. No drug dealers or gang bangers which is so often found in latino fiction. I think if there was a way to make it better I would have liked to see it longer with more background on the character of Benecio, he was really clever. I look forward to the next crafty chica novel and in the meantime I will be passing this book around to my friends! I really loved this book!
Profile Image for Gail.
Author 9 books37 followers
August 1, 2010
There are two types of people: those who LOVE glitter and those who despise it. So when I saw this book on the library shelves, I just had to read it. I love glitter.

Estrella "Star" Esteben disdains glitter. She's an artist, doing real art with a global message. Except...this 20 something woman is always planning for someday, and not following through on her committments to her boyfriend, to her parents/and employer, or to her friends. There's a stream of half-done projects, half executed promises, and undone potential.

After a distastrous night of drinking, Star finds herself talking into the microphone of Crafty Chloe Chavez, local craft queen diva and ambitious television personality who has secrets of her own. Her disastrous night leaves Star with no job, no boyfriend and a demand that she shape up or .... it's all in the contract her parents drew up for her.

Star and her crafting friend Ofelia form an uneasy alliance with Chloe to redeem themselves and trade in their secrets for honesty, love, and respect.

This is a great book with great characters. Funny, touching, and redemptive. I enjoyed every minute of it. And there was lots of glitter.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 2 books16 followers
June 4, 2010
Waking up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo is not the typical type of book that I review for the Soft Flex School of Design, so it was neat to read something a little different that still applies to the craft industry. Kathy (also known as Crafty Chica) is a well known author of several craft titles. This book is her debut work of fiction. The characters were very cute and super crafty, as you would expect from a craft diva. I have a feeling that any girl or guy that has found themselves up at 2am with a hot glue gun and glitter would find this book right up their alley. I know you are out there and I know that there are lots of you because I see you at CHA twice year!

From the back cover: "With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary...especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella 'Star' Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart."

You can buy this book from amazon.
Profile Image for Carol.
2,157 reviews11 followers
August 21, 2012
One of my favorite topics - WOMAN HELPING WOMAN. And ever better it's set in Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria!!! Fun to read about the area I live in. The main characters are all drawn together because of crafting, each one is challenged in the ability to cope with life but as they hang together as a group they help each other to find the way to mature and overcome hangugs and shortcomings. They even help a teenage boy to make peace with his family so they can accept him for who he is.Here is a quote by Ofie at the end of the book: "And to all of you out there who think you are not spcial, I'm here to prove you are! Even when all the world is against you, you have to have faith in yourself; otherwise you are no good to anyone. Find what you are good at and celebrate it."

Enjoyable read without language or violence! Kathy Cano-Murillo also wrote Patternless Sewing another great story about woman.
Profile Image for Heidi Gustad.
Author 1 book4 followers
January 23, 2013
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter is a fun read about a group of women dealing with love, friendship, and finding their creative selves. I'm a Librarian and a Craft Blogger, and I checked this book out after meeting The Crafty Chica in real life and learning that she is a novelist in addition to being a well-known craft professional. As a Librarian, I was curious to see if a craft blogger could hack it in the world of fiction.

While my husband couldn't believe his Librarian wife was running around town with a (literally) glittery paperback in tow, I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved how Cano-Murillo conveyed some of the quirks of the all-too-competitive world of crafting. What really sold me on Waking up in the Land of Glitter was its realistic portrayal of adult female friendship and professional competition in a woman-dominated industry.
Profile Image for Kristina.
126 reviews67 followers
March 16, 2010

I loved it! I'll do this in a list form because I think all crafty chics should pick up this book! I'm a scrapbooker myself so this one was right up my alley!

1. Loved the cover first of all! (I am a self proclaimed glitter lover LOL)

2. Loved the storyline! (who can beat a book about crafting!)

3. Loved the characters! (all so different but tied together by a common thread...yes, pun intended!)

4. Loved the fact that I could tell that the author was passionate about what she was writing! (and you can find out more about why in her bio)

It was a great book that touched on alot more than just arts and crafts. Love Friendship, and a loyalty to the ones you care about were all prevalent in this one!
Profile Image for Colleen.
253 reviews2 followers
May 14, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised by this light offering, which started out a little to frothy for my taste, but then developed into a truly interesting story. I was initially interested because I love crafts, and found the idea of a craft-related novel appealing. The characters as initially introduced are typical quirky chick-lit characters whose problems are entirely of their own making. Fortunately, as the novel progresses, these women become more like characters and less like caricatures, and I found myself truly invested in their adventures. They each achieve some believeable personal growth, and I was definitely rooting for them as the big craft competition approached. This would be a great book club offering, or a wonderful spring break beach read.
Profile Image for Continualknowledge.
124 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2011
I really did like Waking up in the Land of Glitter, although I thought I was going to have some problems with it. It took me a while to actually get into the book but the easy writing helped as the book picked up speed. What I did think though was that the book could have been shortened. It seemed to drag in some instances even though it was a quick read. She had some funny and moving parts and it was good to see some development in the characters. We could see them actually become "real" people. And while some characters were developed, others were left kind of stifled. Like how does a woman get married and she knows nothing about him and neither does anyone else. And I know it happens but really????? All in all a good summer read, a great chick lit read and ready for some more.
Profile Image for Nicole.
65 reviews
March 12, 2010
First off, this book is one I received from Goodreads First Reads program.

I really enjoyed this book! It was slow going in the first eight chapters, but something came together in chapter nine and I couldn't put it down. It's an endearing tale of three friends and how they come to meet and form their friendships. I caught myself laughing out loud during some parts and tearing up during others. It is written with quite a few Spanish/Spanglish words and I did find my Spanish classes came in handy. When I finished I realized there was a glossary in the back to explain what all of the Spanish words were. I really enjoyed this and will look for other titles by this author in the future.
Profile Image for Tracey.
15 reviews7 followers
August 4, 2011
I added this book to my suitcase when I was packing for a trip to Phoenix. It seemed appropriate to read it while visiting the city in which it is set. I'm glad I did. My only wish is that I was home so I could dive into my glitter while reading! :)

This book was so much fun to read. I loved the flawed characters and how their friendships grew despite those flaws. I found myself wishing they were in my circle of friends and at the end, I really wanted to read more adventures of Star, Chloe and Ofie.

I would definitely read more Crafty Chica novels. A nice easy summer read that I had a hard time putting down!!

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