Look out fans of the grumpy sunshine trope as these are the books for you! This popular trope is springing up everywhere in the romance book world and I for one am for it.
Don’t miss this book list of the best books in the grumpy sunshine trope that you have you grinning from ear to ear.
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It’s always hard to pick ONE favorite romance book trope but I will say that the grumpy sunshine trope is making its way to the top of the list in my book!
There’s just something about the tension between the grumpy character and the character who’s all rainbows and sunshine that gives a bit more to these romance books than any other opposites attract love story.
And because these characters are such opposites, these romances often also have the greatest slow burn as well which I totally love.
What is it about the grumpy sunshine trope that you love so much?
To make this book list, I scoured my reading list for some of my most favorite books in the grumpy sunshine trope but then had to add a few that are on my TBR list that I cannot wait to read as well!
Do you have a favorite grumpy sunshine book? Share in the comments below!
The Best Books with the Grumpy Sunshine Trope:
The Worst Guy
by Kate Canterbary
Eight weeks of forced proximity is a long time to hate someone you’re trying not to love.
Sebastian Stremmel is a trauma surgeon so he has enough to deal with without Sara Shapiro, the noisy new reconstructive surgeon, starting a heated “debate” that left an exam room left in shambles.
Now he and Sara have landed themselves in eight weeks of hospital-mandated conflict resolution counseling.
Only now being forced to fight fair leads them to playing dirty when no one’s looking.
This grumpy sunshine romance is the perfect enemies to lovers story, and once they started getting it on, this got oh so good.
I love that these two troubled souls were exactly what each other needed. If you love grumpy heroes, strong heroines, and a lot of bickering, you’ll enjoy this book.
Things We Never Got Over
by Lucy Score
Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. He doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.
Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin only to have her evil twin steal Naomi’s car and cash, leaving Naomi with a niece she didn’t know she had.
Since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of Knox, the least he can do is help her out of her jam.
And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.
At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.
Lucy Score really does score with this book which is perfection and instantly became one of my favorite novels of 2022.
It’s a grumpy sunshine love story with the heart of a small-town romance and the angst of an opposites attract romance all in one.
Knox is one of those grumpy alphas who thinks he’s got it all figured out on how to take care of people when he has it all backward. Naomi was his perfect match.
With over 500 pages, I wanted this book to go on forever! My Review.
Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend
by Penny Reid
Winnifred Gobaldi and Byron Visser are not best friends. Yes, they’ve known each other for years, but they’re not even friendly. The truth is, they have nothing in common.
She’s a public school science teacher with stars in her eyes, and he’s a pretentious, joyless double PhD turned world-famous bestselling fiction author.
She’s looking for a side hustle to help pay down a mountain of student debt, and his financial portfolio is the stuff of fiduciary wet dreams. So why are they faking a #bestfriend relationship for millions of online spectators?
When a simple case of tit-for-tat trends between nonfriends leads to a wholly unexpected kind of pretend, nothing is simple.
Sometimes, it takes a public audience to reveal the truth of private feelings, and rarely—very rarely—you should believe what you see online.
Oh, how I loved this book. It’s vintage Penny Reid and instantly became one of my favorites because these characters are amazing.
Winnie is this carefree science teacher/part YouTuber of awesome STEM videos and people person on the surface but underneath she’s a product of a childhood where she learned that she shouldn’t or can’t ask for what she needs.
But Byron is NOT a people person. He is all about honesty though definitely a man of few words which can make him come across as arrogant, righteous and mean.
These two people had my heart in a flutter from the start and never let go. You’ll instantly love this grumpy sunshine romance too! My Review.
by P. Dangelico
Grant Hendricks may be four-time Defensive Player of the Year but a recent back injury is threatening to end his career.
Trying to get his head on straight he escapes to his teammate’s beach house only his solitude is interrupted when a woman and her son move in.
Grant is one of those grumpy heroes who will stay with you long after reading the end. I loved this man and his backstory which made me want to reach into the pages, hug him, and never let go.
Amanda and Grant do NOT get off on the right foot when they find themselves living in the same house, but Dangelico is the queen of slow burn romances and this one is perfection.
I cannot recommend it enough!
The Highland Fling
by Meghan Quinn
Bonnie St. James has lost her way. In the hopes of finding some direction, she decides to answer a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands.
There she finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman, but sparks soon begin to fly.
Not a lot of time goes by in this novel but it doesn’t matter because the chemistry between Bonnie and Rowan is spot on.
I LOVED Rowan’s grumpiness and the sparks between him and Bonnie with their sarcastic banter.
I also loved how sweet he became in a hunky, grumpy kind of way. A must read on your grumpy sunshine list if you love Scottish heroes!
Always Only You
by Chloe Liese
The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.
I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue.
Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.
I really enjoyed this grumpy sunshine romance because it turns the trope on its side where the heroine is the grump and the hero is the sunshine star.
Ren is a standout because he is just the nicest guy. I loved Frankie’s crabbiness but it was her honesty and her moments with Ren’s sister that were some of my most favorite.
A must-read for hockey romance fans!
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Romancing the Duke
by Tessa Dare
Izzy may have grown up with romantic stories of love but she’s long since given up on finding love and romance for herself.
With barely a roof over her head, she learns she has inherited a dilapidated castle which happens to have a Duke already living in it.
I definitely have a thing for the grumpy sunshine trope in historical romance! There’s just something about it and Dare does it perfectly with this novel.
Ransom has been living in his castle after an accident that left him a shell of a man. Now he has a woman living under his roof that stirs need in him that he thought was long gone.
Yet even when Ransom was trying to put her off, Izzy fed off it. She would look for the romance and he would cast it aside time and again but she wouldn’t be put off.
I loved her spirit and determination so much.
One of the my favorite books of all time! My Review.
Written in the Stars
by Alexandria Bellefleur
Darcy is tired of her brother trying to fix her up, so after a disastrous blind date with Elle, his coworker, she fibs and tells him that they were a match.
Elle is ready to find her soul mate but she’s assured that it is not Darcy who couldn’t be more opposite to the care-free astrologer.
But when she finds out that Darcy lied to her brother saying that they are now dating, she somehow agrees to Darcy’s plan to fake date through the holidays.
And the more these two spend time with one another, it appears love may be written in the stars for these two opposites after all.
Like many books in the grumpy sunshine trope, this book has a fun beginning where Darcy and Elle have the worst date possible, kicking off this opposites attract, FF love story.
The fact that it weaves in a fun fake relationship between the quirky astrologer and the straight-laced actuary made it all the more enjoyable. My Review.
by Tessa Bailey
It’s two weeks before Christmas and I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.
Unknowing he’s the owner of the store, I told him my honest opinion which landed me a new job. Now I’m dressing store windows and trying to ignore my handsome boss.
Tessa Bailey writes some of the best stories in the grumpy sunshine trope and this is the perfect pick when you’re in a holiday mood.
I love that the grump is the heroine of the story and the sunshine is the hero who is also a character inspired by the TV character Ted Lasso, swoon!
Look the Part
by Jewel E. Ann
Flint Hopkins finds the perfect tenant to rent the space above his Minneapolis-based law office until he discovers Ellen Rodgers, Board-Certified Music Therapist, plays music.
Then he’s quick to serve up an eviction notice to the bubbly, constantly-humming redhead but then Flint’s autistic son, Harrison, takes an instant liking to her.
She’s annoyingly happy with a constant need to touch him—and yet soon their lust-hate relationship escalates into something beautiful and tragic.
I don’t know how Jewel E. Ann does it but she manages to weave in such fun and humor with this grumpy sunshine romance and yet also pull on all my heartstrings and make me cry. Gah!
Ellen is freaking hilarious. She totally beats to her own drum (she has pet rats!) and doesn’t change her tune when it comes to Flint.
He may not be as warm and fuzzy as Ellen but that’s because he’s dealing with one heavy burden.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll love this book.
by R.L. Mathewson
The last thing that Hunter O’Mallery needed was an assistant, but thanks to the deal that he never should have made, he has one.
As long as she stays out of his way, he was more than happy to ignore her, but now that she’s caught his attention, he can’t stop thinking about her.
Everyone has something in their past that they’d like to forget, but for Kylie Davis there’s no escaping her past.
It follows her everywhere, determined to destroy her, and make sure that she pays for the one thing that her family could never forgive her for. Being born.
I love romance books where the angered, stoic alpha male is brought to heel by the herioine.
Hunter O’Mallery is definitely one angered man in this book but Kylie gets him to turn around 😊.
This is a grumpy sunshine romance with forced proximity that Mathewson fans will enjoy! My Review.
by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”
Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.
The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived.
And yet he’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss.
That’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us.
Sometimes the grumps in grumpy sunshine books have a very good reason for their cynical look at life and I’m giving Reed a free pass.
Give it to Keeland and Ward to come up with such a unique way of bringing Reed and Charlotte together.
While they have more of an enemies to lovers start, Charlotte’s sweetness never wavers and their chemistry is off the charts!
Walk of Shame
by Lauren Layne
Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely.
The highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office.
Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, but after he caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple.
And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
You may be tempted to dismiss Georgianna as an uptight socialite who doesn’t have a care in the world living off her trust fund, but I LIKED her so much!
Through in some witty banter with a hot lawyer and this grumpy sunshine book was just delightful and is one of my favorites from Layne.
Last on the List
by Amy Daws
CEO millionaire, Max Fletcher is a single dad in desperate need of a nanny.
Cozy Barlow is in the middle of her self-appointed “gap year” and doing everything she can to detach from her past.
But when her sister begs her to interview for the nanny position of a high maintenance client, she doesn’t have a good enough reason to say no.
While Max is prepared to give the twenty-something the boot, his little girl thinks this plus-sized in body and spirit nanny might be her new bestie, so she hires her on the spot.
Now Max is stuck with this bizarre woman who hates everything he represents—corporate greed, money, status, power.
But one stormy night when the power goes out, he discovers Cozy doesn’t hate him. In fact, he’s the leading role in her fantasies.
Cozy totally made this book for me. I honestly love everything Amy Daws writes but Cozy was a hoot.
While Max wasn’t a total grump, he is a bit of a workaholic and I can only imagine his reaction to a nanny who wants to do nothing 😊.
I loved both of their back stories and the steaminess gets cranked up in this grumpy sunshine romance as well! My Review.
Drive Me Wild
by Melanie Harlow
Griffin’s night out with friends is interrupted when a beautiful woman wrecks her car right in front of them.
Not one to leave a stranger in need, he lets her stay at his apartment for one night. Only that one night isn’t enough.
Is there anything hotter than a grumpy mechanic? Ha! Griffin is definitely one hot main man who steers clear of relationships and anything resembling the L word.
That shouldn’t be a problem given Blair is just passing through but you know how that goes – especially when she’s staying in your bed!
I honestly could add so many Melanie Harlow books to this list but this is a great, grumpy sunshine romance to start. My Review.
Rules of Engagement
by J.T. Geissinger
Maddie McRae, dubbed the Wedding Whisperer, earns her living helping other people fall in love, but she has her work cut out for her with Mason Spark.
Rude, arrogant, and notoriously allergic to monogamy, the hottest quarterback in the NFL is Maddie’s polar opposite and new client.
Her gorgeous, infuriating new client who’s paying her an outrageous sum of money to find him a fake wife. With his multi-million-dollar contract at risk due to his bad behavior on and off the field, Mason is willing to pretend to settle down.
But when he starts to fall for the adorkable matchmaker who can’t stand him, the playboy finds himself in the game of his life to keep something he never thought he’d lose.
Opposites attract, grumpy sunshine stories are so fun because they often have the greatest banter between characters who rarely see eye-to-eye.
Maddie has the patience of a saint when it comes to the antics of Mason. Yet there’s more to Mason under his gruff exterior which you see as the story unfolds.
I loved how Maddie could see beyond his roughness and recognized that there was actually someone hurting inside and someone who didn’t have the self-love to realize he deserved love in return. My Review.
The Love Hypothesis
by Ali Hazelwood
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation.
Trying to convince Anh that she is indeed dating, Olive kisses the first man she sees – Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass.
Adam surprisingly agrees to keep her dating charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend.
But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.
This popular book was the perfect grumpy sunshine romance of 2021. It weaved adorkable characters with the sweetest slow burn and fake relationship love story.
It’s always the grumps who are men of few words that get me because once they do voice their feelings, my heart is a goner!
The Romance Recipe
by Ruby Barrett
Amy Chambers will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove.
But her hopes that Sophie Brunet’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane.
Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her reality TV career, and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean.
Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need.
An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.
This grumpy sunshine romance has been on my TBR list because it had me at cooking 😊.
It’s also fun when a reality TV show is thrown into the storyline which captures all the hidden feelings whether you want them out or not.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown
by Talia Hibbert
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, things always seem to go wrong.
Case in point when she accidentally hits the owner of the bed and breakfast with her car, breaking his arm.
Jacob may have turned her down for the head chef position during her interview, but with him laid up and understaffed Eve is everywhere he turns trying to help.
Eve’s chaotic nature is the complete opposite to Jacob’s need to control everything, so why is he starting to get used to her being around and liking it?
OMG if there is a grumpy sunshine book to read, THIS IS IT! I cannot express how much I loved this book and loved these characters.
Eve is definitely one hot mess but that is what endears me to her all the same. Jacob is the complete opposite and yet they fit each other so perfectly.
Hibbert outdoes herself with this story and these amazing characters. It’s one not to miss! My Review.
Truth or Beard
by Penny Reid
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved.
This is why perpetually level-headed Jessica James has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries.
She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her.
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle, and unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks.
When Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
You really shouldn’t need a reason to dive into Reid’s Winston brothers series because it’s that good, but if you do, then you’ll love this grumpy sunshine romance that kicks it off.
Duane is not sunshine and rainbows. That is more fitting of his twin brother Beau and the beautiful Jessica but when this man sets his heart on something he goes after it. And boy, does he woo.
This book kicks off with a hot moment of mistaken identity and didn’t let up. You’ll love it.
by Alexis Hall
Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern is trying to fulfill his father’s wish that he marry Miss Arabella Tarleton.
Unfortunately, a marriage of convenience will not do for the romantic and she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on Valentine again.
Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a chase to Dover with Arabella’s twin brother, Bonny, by his side.
But being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.
A grumpy sunshine romance is supposed to make you happy, isn’t it? Well, I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time I was reading this historical romance.
While there is a bit of ridiculousness to this MM romance, I was all about Valentine’s awakening and Bonnie’s sweetness and overarching joyousness.
Valentine’s grumpiness comes with such a sweet side of innocence and naivete. Bonnie’s sunshiny outlook was over the top but so wonderful. I loved it and loved them!
by Olivia Dade
When Martin Krause arrives at Rose Owens’s high school, she’s determined to remain chilly with her new colleague.
Unfriendly? Maybe. Understandable? Yes, since a loathsome administrator gave Rose’s beloved world history classes to Martin, knowing it would hurt her.
But keeping her distance from a man as warm and kind as Martin will prove challenging, even for a stubborn, guarded ice queen.
Especially when she begins to see him for what he truly is: a man who’s never been taught his own value. Martin could use a good teacher—and luckily, Rose is the best.
Rose has her own lessons—about trust, about vulnerability, about her past—to learn. And over the course of a single school year, the two of them will find out just how hot it can get when an ice queen melts.
There’s just something about this grumpy sunshine romance that earned it a spot on my TBR list and it’s high time I read it.
I love romance books that explore vulnerability and I have a feeling Dade is going to give us a heart-wrencher in this one.
The Tourist Attraction
by Sarah Morgenthaler
Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten.
But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham Barnett’s world, she may just find there’s more to the grumpy local than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
I adore books that not only sweep me away with the romance but that take me to a completely different part of the world with its setting that inspires travel.
Alaska is AMAZING and I want to go back there and can with a book like this one. The fact that it’s also about a local grump is just icing on the cake!
It Happened One Summer
by Tessa Bailey
Piper Bellinger may be a fashionable influencer, but when her wild child reputation goes a bit too far and lands her in the slammer, her stepfather cuts her off.
Hoping to teach her a lesson, he sends her off to Washington to run her late father’s dive bar where she meets a big surly sea captain who instantly knows she doesn’t belong in their small town.
Brendan figures Piper won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills even if there is an undeniable attraction between the two opposites.
Piper is determined to prove everyone wrong and can’t risk any distractions, including the feelings she’s beginning to have for the sailor.
If you haven’t yet read this book what are you waiting for?! This grumpy sunshine romance was one of my favorite books of 2021 because it’s that good.
There is so much more to the fun-loving, Piper than she’s given credit for. Brendan may not see it at first but once he takes a closer look, this romance is on. I can’t recommend it enough. My Review.
by Kristin Callihan
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London. That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever.
He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant man who looks down his nose at me.
I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes.
Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart. Let the battle begin.
I LOVE this series so much and this is one of the best! While I love the rock stars, Scottie easily earned a spot in my heart.
The man is stoic, keeping anything personal close to the vest, but Sophie slowly works herself into his heart and it’s beautiful. I need to reread this ASAP just thinking about it.
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