5 Best Grumpy Sunshine Holiday Romance Books: Where the Grinch Finds Love

Tune into the latest She Reads Romance Books podcast episode for the best grumpy sunshine holiday romance books. Not everyone loves the holidays, especially those Grinches and Scrooges who would rather say “Bah Humbug.” If you’re in the mood for a holiday romance book where the Grinch finds some holiday cheer while also falling in love then you’re going to love today’s book list!

Episode 18: 5 Best Grumpy Sunshine Holiday Romance Books Where the Grinch Finds Love

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Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Episode Show Notes:

Hello readers! I have to say that even though Christmas is still a few weeks out, I’m in the mood for some holiday romance books. Just like the stores can’t even wait for Halloween to pass before they’re throwing up the holiday decorations, so too are publishers already peddling their holiday romance books long before December.

This year I saw some Christmas romance books releasing as early as August with a lot dropping the last week in September so if you’re ready to get in the holiday spirit you already have a bunch of books to choose from.

I love to celebrate Christmas in July with my book list of the new Christmas books for the year so be sure to check that out my list of new Christmas romance books releasing in 2023 as well as my list of all-time favorite Christmas romance books.

But for today’s episode I wanted to talk about a certain type of holiday romance that gets me every time and those are the Christmas romance books with a holiday humbug. Think of these as the ultimate grumpy sunshine romance books that are set during the holiday season.

They have one main character that is a complete Scrooge, the Grinch of all Grinches, that wants nothing to do with Christmas or any holiday cheer. They of course come in contact with the other main character who is the epitome of Christmas cheer.

These are the heroines or heroes who can’t get enough of Christmas and all that comes with it. They are probably the ones who don’t hold anything back when it comes to the decorating and the baking, the gift giving and the partying and the dressing up.

I’m calling these the holiday romance books with a humbug where that Grinch meets his match who not only makes his or heart grow three sizes by making them fall in love with them but makes them fall in love with the Christmas holiday too.

For this book list I’m changing it up a bit and sharing a few books in this category that I’ve already read and loved as well as a few books that are on MY TBR list that I cannot wait to read because I absolutely need a new Humbug to fall for.

So here we go with today’s list:

Book one on my list of holidays with a humbug goes to 14 Days of Christmas by Louise Bay. Think small-town Hallmark romance but in a book.

14 Days of Christmas is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list on She Reads Romance Books.

14 Days of Christmas
by Louise Bay

Sebastion is the CEO of a company who’s a total Scrooge because he hates Christmas. He’s banned decorations from the office, festive music from the lobby and there is no secret Santa gift exchange of any kind.

But just as he’s about to head out on a sunny vacation to Barbados that is the complete antithesis of the holiday, he’s called to the small village of Snowsly, the Christmas Capital of England, because his Granny has sprained her ankle and she can no longer help with the Christmas market.

Since he’d do anything for his grandmother he reluctantly cancels his plans and travels to help her instead which puts him in the same orbit as Celia Sommers who adores Christmas and is just trying to hold everything together to make this year the most perfect Christmas ever.

This book read as if I was watching a Hallmark movie. It has the small-town feel, interfering townsfolk, a woman on the rebound and a man set against falling in love with the town and the woman. But, we know how these stories always end don’t we?

The opening to this book really pulls you in but I actually would have liked Sebastian to have been even more grinch-like than he was but his chemistry with Celia, a total sweetheart, was really good.

I will say that given how sweet the story was, I was pleasantly surprised by how hot their bedroom scenes got. Whew! Those won’t be in any Hallmark movie though you can count on that.

If you’re looking for a fun, hot holiday romance with a humbug to get you in the spirit of the season, then consider this Christmas romance which is available on Kindle Unlimited!

Check out my full book review of 14 Days of Christmas.

The second book of holiday romance books with a humbug on my list is also available on Kindle Unlimited and that is Elves with Benefits by Jana Aston.

Elves With Benefits is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list on She Reads Romance Books.

Elves with Benefits
by Jana Aston

This is a Christmas romance novella, part of her Reindeer Falls series which she expanded from the original 3 novellas to 6 novellas and you honestly should read each and every one! They are just the cutest and the perfect short romances that will get you in the holiday spirit if you’re feeling a bit Grinchy this year.

This one pits Maggie, aka the Christmas cop of Reindeer Falls, against Ryan Sheppard, the man who could care less about Christmas. The only reason he’s back in town is to sell the house he inherited from his late uncle and he basically wants to just get in and get out and return to the city and get the promotion he wants at work.

But then there’s Maggie who’s telling him he can’t sell a house at Christmas time and giving him tickets for violating holiday décor policy and unsportsmanlike Christmassing. It’s hilarious how far Maggie will go to make sure that Ryan doesn’t ruin the Christmas spirit for Reindeer Falls.

She seemed like she was continually amped on hot cocoa spiked with a lot of caffeine given her spunk and unwavering focus on Christmas cheer. She was delightful and I loved her passion.

Aston gives just enough back story for Ryan to understand his lack of Christmas cheer but he quickly succumbs to the sexy elf as he calls her.

For a Christmas novella, I especially appreciated the funny gems Aston included, like the girls’ book club and their annoyance of romance books that really turn into women’s literature because I feel the same way! Anywhoo. This is such a cute holiday romance with a humbug that you definitely can’t miss. Check out Elves With Benefits by Jana Aston.

Check out my full book review of Elves With Benefits.

Book three on my list of holiday romance books with Scrooges is Scrooge-ish by L.B. Dunbar.

Scrooge-ish is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list on She Reads Romance Books.

Scrooge-ish
by L.B. Dunbar

This is another novella but one that totally satisfied like a full-length novel. It’s actually a second chance romance bringing two former lovers together again.

Ev-ah (who’s super particular about the proper pronunciation of her name which I’m probably getting wrong) hates Christmas and with good reason. Her mother left her as a young child on Christmas Eve which pretty much ruined the holiday for her from that point on.

But a colleague convinces her to attend her 22nd high school reunion where she runs into the boy now man who she had a hot summer fling with after graduation, before college.

They had such a connection that summer but then he pretty much ghosted her and she hadn’t seen him again until this reunion where he is equally smitten and relieved to run into her again.

Zebb is a former NFL quarterback turned fireman and single dad and he is not letting Evah get away again.

So first I’ll say that I love Dunbar’s little nods to Dicken’s class holiday novel with the names she choose and the costumes they wore to a holiday party. It was super cute to add those details to this story which only makes sense given the name of the novella.

She’s also a go-to author for romance books with older couples and older heroines and that’s definitely the case here as Evah turns 40 in this novel.

There is definitely a seriousness to Evah and her backstory but I loved her hot connection to Zebb who wasn’t perfect at times but was totally into her. Because of their past I was onboard with how fast things moved with them where they got hot and heavy at a high school football game and I loved it.

After reading Scrooge-ish, you can also check out her second holiday novella in her Holiday Hotties series which released this year called Naughty-ish. This is another holiday with a humbug romance between a single mom and her firefighter neighbor. So check that one out too!

These next two books are ones I have not read yet but have on my TBR list to read this holiday. The first is How the Grump Saved Christmas by Claire Kingsley. And the title alone makes it a perfect pick for this book list.

How the Grump Saved Christmas is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire list on She Reads Romance Books.

How the Grump Saved Christmas
by Claire Kingsley

It is a small-town, grumpy sunshine romance that’s also a second chance romance about Isabelle Cook who is trying to save her family farm, site of Tilikum’s Christmas Village, from her ex, Elias Stoneheart.

Elias is set on getting Isabelle’s family to sell their farm so he can gain a promotion. So it’s the Elias, the grinch who hates Christmas, against Isabelle who loves Christmas and maybe still him.

Claire Kingsley is an author I have not read enough of so I’m hoping this book moves me in that direction. I loved her bodyguard romance, The Mogul and the Muscle which is a 5-star romance for me, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she brings some of her sass and good banter to this holiday romance. Check out How the Grump Saved Christmas by Claire Kingsley with me this year.

The final book on my list that is on my TBR list for this year was a new Christmas romance book release from last year, You’re a Mean One Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky.

You're A Mean One Matthew Prince is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list on She Reads Romance Books.

You’re a Mean One Matthew Prince
by Timothy Janovsky

I mean, both of these books have the best titles, going off on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, so they are perfect for this book list.

As a total aside, did you know that there is a new Grinch book that released this year? If you have kids, grandkids or just love How the Grinch Stole Christmas, then you should check out How the Grinch Lost Christmas which is out now!

But back to You’re a Mean One Matthew Prince, this is a gay romance with a bit of forced proximity and found family trope mixed in which sounds like such a perfect mix for a holiday romance.

Matthew Prince is young, rich, spoiled, and totally ignored by his parents. But after one major PR oops, Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ small town that is all about Christmas.

There he ends up sharing a room with Hector Martinez, his grandfather’s student, who wants nothing to do with Matthew. But the charity gala loses its coordinator and Matthew steps in to help and somehow Hector becomes his plus-one.

This is book two in Janovsky’s Boy Meets Boy series. I read the first one, Never Been Kissed, which was super cute so I’m ready to see what he brings to this one with a total Grinch at the helm.

From some reviews I’ve read, it’s giving off a Schitts Creek vibe which only increases the desire to read it. Plus, it gives some good attention to generalized anxiety disorder and I’m always a fan of romance books that feature mental illness in a positive and constructive way.

So You’re a Mean One Matthew Prince is a holiday romance with a humbug that I hope delivers some good laughs for me this Christmas.

I’ll end this episode with a spicy Christmas romance book that I read recently and which definitely deserves its place on my spicy Christmas romance books list which you can find on the blog, which is Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert. Holy heck is this one hot erotic romance.

Gifting Me to His Best Friend is one of the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books worth reading. Check out the entire book list on She Reads Romance Books.

Gifting Me to His Best Friend
by Katee Robert

I actually listened to the audiobook on Hoopla and had to be careful that my audio didn’t jump to someone else’s air pods in my house or that it didn’t just started playing in my car or on my phone if I pushed the wrong button because this book is just one sex scene after another.

Katee Robert doesn’t shy away from the taboo or the forbidden and this is a holiday novella about a married couple, Emma and Grayson, who are spending the Christmas holiday with Grayson’s best friend Derek in a cabin in Colorado.

Grayson and Derek have been best friends for years and Emma hasn’t missed the heated looks that pass between them. But she gives heated looks to Derek as well but it wasn’t until this Christmas that she and Grayson acknowledge it and Grayson decides to gift her to his best friend. Yet really it’s about all three of them getting it on for the 36 hours they gave themselves to explore their attractions.

If you’re looking for a very steamy, very spicy Christmas romance novella then look no further than Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert.

Happy holidays folks and happy reading!

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Check out the best holiday grumpy sunshine romance books in this list and podcast episode from She Reads Romance Books.
Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Leslie Murphy, Author

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion along with raising her two amazing children who love to read! Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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