Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Louisa
Have you ever heard that a zebra never changes its stripes? Well, not in these grumpy sunshine romance books.
The grumpy sunshine romance trope is about finding a fixer-upper and turning that frown upside down. They’re about finding the beauty in everyone, even if those people are cold and resolute, to begin with.
They’re about embracing who you are and loving someone despite their flaws. It’s truly one of the most heartwarming romance tropes out there.
But what are the best grumpy sunshine romance novels? In this guide, I’ve listed all my favorites! But first…
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What is a grumpy sunshine trope?
You might have stumbled across this guide and thought, what in the world is a “grumpy sunshine?”
Well, you wouldn’t be the first, or last person, to ask this question.
The term grumpy sunshine is used to describe an opposites attract romance book in which one of the main characters is a grumpy, ill-mannered, or bad-tempered person, who falls in love with a bright, happy-go-lucky sunshine person.
Usually, grumpy characters are quiet, reserved, stoic, or even icy and sarcastic, and prefer living life by routine and order.
The sunshine characters tend to be outgoing, extraverted, overly friendly, and nice, and see the goodness in everyone and everything.
Usually, the man is grumpy and the woman is the sunshine, but this is not always the case, as you will find out with some of the suggestions I have for you.
It’s a heartwarming, opposites attract combination.
The Best Grumpy Sunshine Romance Books
Now you know a little bit about what to expect from a grumpy sunshine romance book, here is the list of my favorite books in this trope.
1. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood
The Love Hypothesis, written by New York Times bestselling author Ali Hazelwood, is a fake relationship romance book that dominated the Tik-Tok charts and captivated readers everywhere.
The story follows Olive Smith, a third-year PHD student who has put her career first ever since she was young.
Having analyzed her life extensively, Olive has come to the conclusion that long-term relationships are not for her.
However, Olive’s best friend is a hopeless romantic and refuses to let the topic go. In order to get her off her case.
Olive decides to kiss the first man she sees – only to find out he’s none other than grumpy professor Adam Carlson, one of the hottest shots in academia.
In a bid to convince her best friend that she’s fine with relationships, they enter into a fake romance – but when Olive needs someone in her corner more than ever before, will Adam be there for her?
Could it be possible that Olive had misjudged relationships all this time?
Uncover the heartwarming answer in this medical romance novel full of gripping twists and unexpected events! If you think this sounds like a fun book, then you may also like these other books like The Love Hypothesis.
2. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me – Mariana Zapata
If you’re in the mood for a rags-to-riches story with a sprinkle of romantic tingle, look no further than Vanessa Mazur’s popular book in the football romance genre.
After spending too long as the assistant to the National Football Organization’s top defensive end, Vanessa finally decides to quit and move on.
Just when it seems like her situation can’t get any more complicated, Aiden Graves arrives at her doorstep – renowned in the league as The Wall of Winnipeg and someone who never gave Vanessa much attention before.
But now he needs something from her?
Experience this unforgettable grumpy romance story yourself and see what twists await! You won’t be disappointed.
3. Kulti – Mariana Zapata
Kulti is one of the best steamy, slow-burning grumpy/sunshine age gap romance books that’s sure to warm your heart and make you wish it wasn’t standalone!
It tells the story of German International Footballer Reiner Kulti and Salome (Sal) Casillas, who has idolized him since she was young.
When he becomes the assistant coach for her soccer team, Sal hopes this could be what finally brings them closer.
Kulti initially comes off as moody and aloof with an unlikeable attitude – but beneath the surface, he battles demons that only Sal is willing to take on.
As they grow closer in secret, the chemistry between them intensifies and the strong tension practically radiates from the pages.
Sal is a brave heroine who follows her passion no matter what, while Kulti stands by her side in support.
Despite the large 12-year age gap between them, their attraction can’t be denied – not even by Kulti’s alpha-like protectiveness which just makes him all the more irresistible.
Experience their captivating friendship blossom into something more as they explore this exciting new connection between them! This is one soccer romance book that deserves a spot on any romance fan’s bookshelf.
4. Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score
Things We Never Got Over is a grumpy sunshine bad boy romance book featuring the scruffy barber Knox who spends his life flying solo – until an unexpected runaway bride comes into the picture.
Naomi isn’t just fleeing her wedding but is desperately trying to rescue her twin from the rough town of Knockemout, Virginia, where everything from disputes to bar brawls are settled in a not-so-peaceful way.
However, her evil twin doesn’t redeem herself and leaves Naomi stranded with something she had no idea existed: her niece!
Now with no car, money, job or home and an 11-year-old child to take care of, Naomi seems lost – but that’s when Knox decides he’ll lend a helping hand.
Guess his plans for living a solitary life have been put on hold!
Get ready for this slow-burn single parent romance novel that starts with lust and ends with love.
5. The Spanish Love Deception – Elena Armas
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for sizzling grumpy sunshine romance books with themes of enemies to lovers and fake relationship romances.
It’s playful and funny and restores your faith in love. The story follows Catalina Martín’s desperate attempts to find someone who’ll pretend to be her boyfriend for a transatlantic journey to a wedding in Spain.
Although she cannot tolerate him, her colleague Aaron Blackford seems like the unlikely best choice—instead, the only choice Catalina has—and they embark on a trip that will change their relationship forever.
Swoon-worthy and steamy, The Spanish Love Deception is a story about the rambunctious wedding that brings Catalina and Aaron together.
6. Beach Read – Emily Henry
Beach Read is a great grumpy romantic comedy novel about a romance writer who no longer believes in love.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction, and January Andrews writes bestselling romances. The only problem is they are both stuck with writer’s block.
To find inspiration, they have been sent by their publishers to a beach house, where they will spend three months working on their next book.
Until one evening when too much wine leads them to strike a deal – Augustus will write romance, and January will write the next Great American Novel.
The pair take each other on a series of dates to inspire the other with their novels.
At the end of the three months, each will finish their book, and no one will fall in love…
7. It Happened One Summer – Tessa Bailey
Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer is a grumpy sunshine, small town romance novel to read if you’re itching for books to make you restore your faith in love.
Piper Bellinger, the “It Girl” of Hollywood, finds herself in a world she loathes – Westport, Washington, her small hometown – after a party debacle.
She faces skepticism from herself and everyone else about her chances of success. However, she’s determined to prove them wrong and does her utmost to adapt to this new, small world where everyone knows everyone.
The situation worsens when burly sea captain Brendan won’t leave her alone and continually challenges her.
As the story progresses, Piper’s feelings towards the town and Brendan begin to change, and she finds a sense of belonging where she least expects it.
It Happened One Summer is also being turned into a movie.
8. The Fine Print – Lauren Asher
This grumpy billionaire boss meets sunshine employee romance is an unforgettable read that will draw you in from the start!
Rowan, the exiled grandson of a billionaire, finds himself at his family’s amusement park, where he meets Zahra; a talented and beautiful employee whose ideas could potentially save them money.
This novel is unique in its dynamic interracial romance between a female billionaire with a strong backbone and an ambitious man whose character undergoes a touching transformation throughout.
If you’re into billionaire romance novels, this one’s definitely for you!
9. Twisted Love – Ana Huang
Twisted Love by Ana Huang is an exhilarating brother’s best friend romance novel between a grumpy man and a ray of sunshine woman.
Alex, his best friend’s sister Ava, form an unlikely connection despite the shadows haunting her past.
When Josh, Alex’s best friend travels abroad, he finds himself with the task of looking after Ava – but unexpectedly discovers emotions he has never felt before.
Suddenly, a secret from their past surfaces and threatens to disrupt both their lives.
If you enjoy suspenseful bodyguard romance novels that don’t follow the rules of a traditional romance, this is an excellent pick for you.
10. The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren
The Unhoneymooners is a rom-com about the unlucky twin, Olive Torres, who is at her sister’s wedding. Only she has to confront the annoying best man, her nemesis, and the grumpy, Ethan Thomas.
Olive puts on a brave face, but disaster strikes when the entire wedding party comes down with food poisoning. Now, there’s a honeymoon arranged, and no one to go on it.
Ethan jumps at the chance, but Olive won’t let this annoying man take this trip to paradise alone.
The pair travel to Maui for ten days of bliss. But pretending to be newlyweds is easier than they thoughts… in fact, they kind of like it too much…
11. Fix Her Up – Tessa Bailey
Georgie Castle is from a family who owns a home renovation business, but she decided to become a party planner instead.
Georgie is a ray of sunshine who loves planning children’s birthday parties.
When she meets Travis Ford, her brother’s best friend and the former major league baseball player whose career came to an end from an injury, her heart backflips.
Wanting to escape the town’s comments about his career, and her wanting to shock her family, they enter a fake relationship.
But when grumpy Travis sees the young girl he used to tease is now a sunny, full-of-life woman, it becomes harder to fake his feelings.
12. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
Lucy and Joshua’s competitive relationship takes a surprising turn in Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game.
Despite their opposite personalities; Lucy’s laid-back and easygoing attitude and Joshua’s reserved demeanor, when they share an unexpected kiss during an elevator ride, it flips their world upside down.
The stakes of the game ascend higher as they both strive for a promotion, but they can’t help looking forward to more than that.
If you’re into angsty grumpy sunshine romances – this book is sure to draw you in with its heart-wrenching story.
13. Twice Shy – Sarah Hogle
Twice Shy follows the story of Maybell Parish, who has always been a dreamer and lover of love.
But she has been alone for too long, and when she inherits a charming house in the Smoky Mountains from her late Great-Aunt Violet, she decides it’s time for a fresh start.
But the house is falling apart, and it turns out she’s not the only inheritor – she must share everything with the groundskeeper, Wesley Koehler – a grumpy, grouchy, gorgeous man — with a different vision for the house.
The pair must now compromise on things related to the house, as well as follow the dying wishes left behind by her Great-Aunt Violet left behind.
Soon she begins to learn that behind the grouchy exterior, Wesley is sweet underneath. Soon they let their guard down and must both step out of their comfort zone.
14. Marriage For One – Ella Maise
If you’re looking for a more marriage of convenience trope grumpy sunshine, then Marriage for One is a worthy option.
It follows Jack and Rose who got engaged on the day they met. He asks her into his office and asks her to marry him, and after her fiancee left her a week ago, she agrees.
He was cold, hard, and grumpy but still handsome, striking, and could seemingly have any girl he wanted.
But Rose is a stranger, and he needs to get married to elevate his career. It was a marriage of convenience.
But that’s where things started to fall apart. Her mind started to fall, but he remained cold.
Can this sunshine girl make this grumpy business-minded alpha male fall?
15. Icebreaker – Hannah Grace
Anastasia Allen is a competitive figure skater who has always focused on her career.
When a misunderstanding on the rink takes place, she meets Nathan Hawkins, captain of the Maple Hills Titans hockey team.
The misunderstanding causes her partner to get hurt, so to make things right, Nathan swaps his sticks for tights.
The pair soon find themselves stuck together not just in the sport, but in their personal lives too.
This is a sweet sports romance story about a grumpy woman and a sunshine boy.
16. The Singles Table – Sara Desai
The Singles Table is an opposite attractive romance book with a grumpy sunshine lead. It follows a free-spirited lawyer trying to find a bachelor at her friend’s wedding.
Zara Patel has closed her heart until she meets the sinfully sexy and utterly grumpy Jay Donovan at a wedding.
Jay is a former military security specialist and has a hardworking, focused routine.
There is no doubt that Zara upsets the balance of things, and they find themselves stuck together at this wedding.
But soon, they find themselves stuck together in other ways, too.
17. Irresistible (Cloverleigh Farms Series) – Melanie Harlow
Declan MacAllister, or Mack, is a full-time single dad to three girls and the CFO at Cloverleigh Farms. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, he’s too busy running a business. What he needs is someone to look after the kids and look after the house.
Frannie Sawyer is the boss’s daughter. She’s a 27-year-old, beautiful, sweet girl who agrees to be Mack’s part-time nanny.
But he can’t stop fantasizing about her. He knows she’s off limits, but how bad could one kiss be? Only he can’t stop with one kiss. Now he can’t stay away and she’s everything he ever needs.
But he’s still too busy for love. Now he must decide between giving up the life he wants or the life she deserves.
This is a cute, grumpy sunshine nanny romance book to swoon over!
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Final Thoughts on Grumpy Sunshine Romance Books
So there you have it, those are the top grumpy sunshine romance stories I’ve read so far.
As you can see, there are a lot of different storylines and styles to choose from.
I hope you found something that interests you on this list. If you think I’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments!