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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Coconut Shrimp | The Summer House

Coconut Shrimp | The Summer House
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Welcome to my stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Summer House, Lauren K. Denton's latest novel. This is the second book I've read by Denton, the first one being her debut The Hideaway, three years ago. They are very similar in a few ways. First off, both are set in sleepy Alabama towns you might initially overlook, but where you wind up finding your place...and your the end. Both focus on women in different stages of finding themselves, each has a young woman trying to find their path with the friendship and encouragement of some wisened older women. Both have an arc of change and growth, through the sometimes murky waters of love and loss.

In other words, Denton definitely has a style. It's a style that I enjoy. One that's fit for reading on the beach or under a shade tree on a hot summer's day (depending on your preference). And they both pass the "able to be made into a Hallmark movie or series" test. I haven't yet read the two books sandwiched between these two, but I've added them to my list (and after reading their "blurbs", I bet they fit the mold).
TLC Book Tours host

But back to this book specifically. We meet Lily Bishop, a young woman whose life is upended when she wakes up to find divorce papers in place of her husband. Stuck in an unfamiliar town with no support system, Lily pushes forward, determined to find herself again. She meets an interesting pair of older ladies at the grocery store just before spying a want-ad for a hairstylist (her former profession), which turns out to be a position in a small community (village) called Safe Harbor, where the two women reside.
Coconut Shrimp | The Summer House
Fast forward to the owner of that village, Rose Carrigan—she's stern, no-nosense, and runs a tight ship; because she feels like she has to. She doesn't take to people right off, so everyone is surprised that she offers Lily the hairdresser position and a place to live on the spot. Rose recognizes something in Lily, something that reminds her of herself. And the decision shakes something loose inside of her.

The stories of both women intertwine, as is likely to happen in a small village. Lily and Rose's nephew Rawlins find themselves drawn to each other; it's a slow-burn that definitely deserves another "season". Rose lets go of guilt that's been eating away at her for decades with the indirect help of Lily, and manages to love herself again, which opens the door for her own love interest.

All that amidst the background of the beautiful river, summer parties, home-grown live music, and Jimmy Buffet, this book just screams "summer read". Oh, and I forgot to mention that there is a ton of food on these pages. Aside from the menus of the local Sunrise Cafe, Rose and Rawlins' family are in the shrimp business; Rawlins himself is a third (I think that's what it was) generation shrimper. Rose's love-interest Coach makes the best ribs around, a restaurant called Pirate's Cove makes the best "cheeseburgers in paradise", and somebody is always baking something, passing nibbles or appetizers, or mixing up a cocktail. Seriously, I have a ridiculous amount of notes on the food in this book.
Coconut Shrimp | The Summer House
Just this weekend, I made a couple of things mentioned in the book—a Coke float (using chocolate chip ice cream) and some shrimp. Because, shrimp! While I contemplated skewering up some shrimp, sausage, and veggies like Rawlins did at one point...and still might...ultimately I decided that a batch of Coconut Shrimp was the perfect accompaniment to The Summer House. Both are decidedly summer fare.

Want to hear more about The Summer House? Visit the TLC Book Tours page here to find links to more reviews and features via the rest of the tour stops!

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

The Summer House

author: Lauren K. Denton
publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 2, 2020)
book source: TLC Book Tours
genre: Southern Fiction
hardcover: 352 pages

"foodie" read: I say YES!

opening sentence: The morning Worth left, something pulled Lily from her sleep, though at first glance nothing seemed out of place.

teaser: Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

about the author: Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, THE HIDEAWAY, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, HURRICANE SEASON, released in spring of 2018, is a USA Today bestseller. GLORY ROAD will release in March, 2019.
Lauren K. Denton author

connect with the author: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

recipe(s) inspired by the book: Coconut Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings
Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Tender colossal shrimp nestled inside a crisp, coconuty shell. Perfect munchies for a hot summer day.
Prep time: 25 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 35 M


For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup Apricot Preserves
  • 1 lime—finely grated zest + 1 tablespoon freshly squeeze juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or more to taste
For the shrimp
  • 1 pound raw Super Colossal (13-15) Shrimp, tail-on, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (recommend Pink Himalayan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 egg whites, beaten until frothy
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut*
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (regular or gluten-free)
  • coconut oil, for frying


Make the sauce
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
Make the shrimp
  1. I like to butterfly my shrimp here, but it is not necessary. If you'd like to, simply use a sharp knife to cut a slit down the middle of the "underside" of the shrimp (where you deveined it), taking care not to cut all the way through. Once slit, gently spread the cut sides apart like "butterfly wings"; this makes them stand up, should you wish.
  2. Once your shrimp are cleaned and prepped to your liking (butterflied or not), pat them dry with a paper towel, then set up a breading station.
Breading station set-up
  1. Set out three medium bowls or pie plates, with a parchment or foil lined tray at the end.
  2. 1st bowl: whisk together tapioca starch and seasoning.
  3. 2nd bowl: beat the egg whites until foamy
  4. 3rd bowl: combine both types of coconut and the breadcrumbs
  5. One by one, holding the shrimp by their tail, dip the shrimp into the 1st bowl, then shake off excess. Dip in the 2nd bowl, swirling to coat with the egg white. Set in the 3rd bowl and press to coat with as much of the coconut mixture as possible on all exposed surfaces.
  6. Set on prepared tray. Repeat until all of the shrimp have been "breaded".
Frying the shrimp
  1. Set a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  2. Heat enough coconut oil to just submerge the shrimp in a medium-sized, deep pan until it reaches 350° F. It is important to maintain this temperature for optimal cooking. If you don't have an oil thermometer, you can carefully use an instant-read thermometer.
  3. Once the oil reaches 350° F, carefully lower the shrimp into the oil, taking care not to crowd the pan by doing this in batches. Gently turn the shrimp over during cooking as needed, until the outside is golden and the shrimp is just cooked; this will take about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Use a skimmer or something similar to remove the shrimp to the wire cooling rack. Repeat process until all of the shrimp is cooked, taking care to bring the oil temperature back up to 350° F before each batch.
  5. Serve immediately with the sauce.


*Feel free to use all sweetened or unsweetened coconut in the recipe, as either will work. You can even ditch the Panko and use all coconut (using the Panko adds extra crunch).

Dipping sauce from Betty Crocker.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

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