19 Best Books With The Grumpy/Sunshine Trope

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Shine a little light onto your day with the grumpy/sunshine trope. Opposites in almost every way, grumpy/sunshine romance books typically features two love interests: one who is a big grumbling grump and the other who makes the world a little brighter and those around them a little happier. Even though their personalities tend to clash, they always fall for each other in the end.

From grumpy heroes who cannot be more standoffish to bubbly heroines who are literal walking rays of sunshine, prepare to find your next favorite grumpy/sunshine romance book in this curated list.

Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

When runaway bride Naomi Witt rolls into town to come to her twin’s rescue, she does not expect to get the third degree from the town’s occupants, nor for her sister to leave her with an 11-year-old niece she never knew existed minutes after stealing her car and money.  

With no money, no job, no car, and a surprise kid, Naomi knows nothing will ever be the same. And if not for Knox Morgan, a surly grump of a man who distrusts Naomi, she would be in a world of pain. Because even though he would love to book her a one-way ticket out of his life, he refuses to stand by and watch as her world falls apart.

Adorable, fun, and sweet, Things We Never Got Over is an enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance featuring a sunshine runaway bride, a grumpy business owner, a funny kid, and a small town full of gossip.

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Make Me Fall by Riley Nash

Minutes before jetting off to start his first year of law school in NYC, 23-year-old Jonah Scott unwittingly lands himself in first class next to the handsome 36-year-old lawyer Gray Freeman. 

While talking to pass the time, Jonah lets out that he thinks he might be bisexual, a declaration that ends with them joining the mile-high club. 

Months later, Jonah is struggling. Between the rigorous curriculum and lengthy case briefs, Jonah is at his wits’ end when the enigmatic lawyer from the plane enters the picture once again and shakes everything up.    

For a beautifully written and heartwarmingly sweet age-gap MM romance that centers around the grumpy/sunshine trope, I recommend taking a look at Make Me Fall. You will not be able to put this 2022 must-read down.   

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Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is a human tornado. When she “accidentally” lets loose a flock of doves and ruins an expensive wedding, her parents cut her off and demand that she grow up. 

If only it were that easy.   

Determined to show her parents that she can survive on her own, Eve snags an interview with a grumpy B&B owner, only to bomb it spectacularly when she accidentally hits her would-be employer Jacob Wayne with her car. In a shocking turn of events, Eve gets the job, and chaos ensues. 

Hilarious, witty, and emotional, Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a heartwarming romantic comedy perfect for anyone who loves a heroine with a sunny and chaotic disposition and a hero that is a picture of calm and control, at least until the heroine enters his life.

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Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Professional hockey player Ren Bergman is a walking, talking ray of sunshine. And ever since he met Frankie Zeferino, the social media manager for his team, he has been falling head over heels for the certified grump. 

There is just one problem.

Frankie sees Ren as nothing more than a six-foot thorn in her side.

Always Only You is an unforgettable contemporary romance perfect for readers who go feral for independent women, Shakespeare-loving ginger hockey players, Harry Potter references, and, of course, the grumpy/sunshine trope.   

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The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Graduate student Olive Smith is single-minded in her pursuit of attaining her Ph.D. Nothing can derail her focus, not even the aloof hotshot professor that sends students running from his office in tears.   

By all accounts, Olive knew that she, an exhausted and overworked grad student, probably registered as nothing but a blip on Adam Carlsen’s radar. And that would be true if Olive had never accosted said professor with an uninvited kiss. 

What should have been a one-and-done smooch to curb her bestie’s concerns over her dating life quickly spirals out of control when news of the “relationship” trickles down the STEM department grapevine.

To say that the pair are in a tricky predicament would be the understatement of the century.

Smart, witty, and adorably romantic, The Love Hypothesis is a hilarious college romance theorized to be one of 2021s best romantic comedies with the grumpy/sunshine trope.   

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Moth by Lily Mayne

In a post-apocalyptic world invaded by monsters, ex-soldier Charlie is just trying to survive as he traverses the dangerous Wastes with his best friend and his big purple monster boyfriend. 

When they come across a raider camp, Charlie finds himself volunteering to search for the missing leader alongside the arrogant and allusive half-monster Moth, who seems to hate him at first sight.

But Charlie quickly realizes that the prickly demeanor Moth wears like a second skin is all a facade. And once that guise unravels, Charlie finds himself plagued with a bout of unrequited love because Moth could never love him, not when he has feelings for someone else. 

Emotional, action-packed, and fascinating, Moth is a gripping slow-burn MM paranormal romance filled with wonderfully complex world-building, a memorable ensemble of charaçters, and the grumpy/sunshine trope.    

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It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Wild child Piper Bellinger is no stranger to the tabloids, not with her outlandish exploits and partying lifestyle. When things go too far, ending with her behind bars, her stepdad steps in and sends her to the cozy seaside town of Westport to reconnect with her roots and find her purpose in life. 

There she meets Brendan, a gruff fisherman who cannot stand Piper’s frivolous and shallow nature. But with each passing day, Brendan learns there is more to Piper than the party girl facade she wears for the rest of the world. 

Schitt’s Creek meets Legally Blonde in It Happened One Summer, a hilarious romantic comedy featuring a grumpy fisherman, a bubbly socialite, and a slow-burn grumpy/sunshine trope, perfect for fans of A Simple Wild.

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The Wall of Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata

Vanessa Mazur is a glorified mother to the famous football legend nicknamed The Wall of Winnipeg. What was supposed to be a temporary position turned into a two-year game of running around like a chicken with its head cut off for a man who never even had the time to acknowledge her birthday. 

Knowing it’s time she moves on, Van hands in her letter of resignation. Imagine her surprise when Aiden Graves shows up on her doorstep, asking that she come back.  

As one of the best slow burn forced proximity romance books, The Wall of Winnipegneeds to be on your TBR bookshelf. Plus, if you love enemies-to-lovers romances, you’ll fall in love with this hidden gem. After all, Mariana Zapata puts the slow in slow-burn.

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

City girl Calla Fletcher flies out to Alaska to reconnect with her estranged father Wren after learning that his days are numbered. But when it comes time to leave the beautiful state behind, Calla finds herself pulled in two different directions: one pushing her to the bustling city of Toronto and the other to the brutally honest, rugged Alaskan pilot Jonah.

K.A. Tucker brings us a heartwarming tale of family, heartbreak and unexpected love. As one of the best contemporary romance books with the grumpy/sunshine trope, you would be doing a disservice to yourself by not reading The Simple Wild

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Role Model by Rachel Reid

Troy Barrett cannot sink any lower – Not after being traded to Ottawa, home to the worst team in the NHL. Resigned to his fate, Troy is determined to keep his head low and play hockey free of distractions. That plan falls apart when the team’s social manager Harris Drover enters the picture and shakes everything up.

Role Model is an unbelievably sweet MM hockey romance perfect for fans of the sunshine/grump trope. And if you are obsessed with Ilya from Heated Rivalry, you are in luck because he makes some special appearances in this must-read.

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The Maddest Obsession by Danielle Lori

At twenty-eight, Gianna Marino’s happiness lies in white lines, alcohol, and risky behaviors. Everything changes when she meets the elusive dirty fed who challenges her in a way no one else does. 

At thirty-three, Christian Allister is a crooked FBI agent who takes orders from no one – not the feds, not the mafia, and most certainly not his lovers. But then Gianna walks into his life and flips his carefully constructed life on its hinges.

And when their game of cat-and-mouse begins, nothing will ever be the same.

For a slow-burn mafia romance with the grumpy-sunshine trope, I recommend cracking open The Maddest Obsession. Filled with off-the-charts sexual tension, banter, and insane chemistry, prepare to have an epic book hangover.

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Beach Read by Emily Henry

College rivals turned literary competitors Augustus and January could not be more different. 

Acclaimed fiction novelist Augustus Everett has no problem killing off his entire character ensemble. Bestselling romance writer January Andrews is partial to happily ever afters with 100% survival rates. 

When they find themselves in neighboring beach houses for the summer, the two learn they have one thing in common: writer’s block. Desperate to have their manuscripts ready by the end of summer, the pair strike up a deal designed to force them out of their comfort zone. 

What could go wrong?

Heartwarming, sweet, and witty, Beach Read is a swoon-worthy contemporary romance perfect for readers who cannot get enough of the grumpy/sunshine trope.

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Managed by Kristen Callihan 

In a stroke of luck, Sophie Darling lands herself a seat in first class next to one of the most striking guys she has ever seen. Unfortunately for her, Gabriel Scott sees her as nothing more than a pest invading his space. But when Sophie learns of Gabriel’s aversion to flying, she manages to take his mind off that little tidbit in the funniest of ways. 

All too quickly, the plane lands, marking what should be the end of Sophie and Gabriel’s short, yet memorable friendship. However, fate has other plans.

Witty, steamy and funny-as-hell, Managed is an enchanting read perfect for anyone in the mood for a slow burn, friends-to-lovers romance between a broody hero and a hilarious heroine who level each other out perfectly. As one of the best contemporary romance books with the grumpy/sunshine trope, I recommend dropping everything and cracking open this page-turner.

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Wait for It by Marianna Zapata

After a fatal accident left Diana Casillas as the legal guardian of her two nephews, the 29-year-old is determined to give them a good life, though the transition has been anything but easy. While getting settled into her new home, she meets her smoking-hot neighbor Dallas Walker. The two get off on the wrong foot, but between neighborly events and baseball games, Diana and Dallas find themselves growing closer.    

From the Queen of Slow Burn comes Wait for It, a steamy and captivating slow burn romance that ticks all the right boxes, including the grumpy/sunshine trope. As Diana is the cousin to soccer star Sal Casillas (from Kulti) and best friend to Van (from The Wall of Winnipeg and Me), Zapata fans will be happy to catch some moments with the beloved characters.

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The Sunny Side by Lily Morton

Divorced single dad and owner of a successful modeling agency Jonas Durand lives and breathes work. Nothing has ever been able to divert his focus nor break down the walls he erected following a tumultuous childhood. 

Enter his polar opposite, Dean Highly, the sought-after supermodel who is as laidback as they come. Ever since Dean started at Jonas’s agency and laid eyes on his boss, he knew his unrequited crush would be just that – unrequited.

Luckily for Dean, he could not be more wrong.

Steamy, snarky, and sweet, The Sunny Side is a heartwarming MM contemporary romance overflowing with sarcasm, humor, emotion, love, and adorable children. As one of the best grumpy/sunshine MM romance books, I could not recommend this enough.

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Long Way Down by Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

As the two daredevils of the gang, nothing has ever been able to slow down Daisy Calloway and Ryke Meadows, not their seven-year age gap, despite their families’ reservations, nor the public’s unwanted opinions. 

Determined to live life by their own standards, the two decide it is time to chase after their long-deserved happiness and continue taking risks for each other. 

Long Way Down is an emotional romance with a little bit of everything – explosive chemistry, incredible character growth, and unimaginable angst. As one of the best romance books with the grumpy/sunshine trope, I could not recommend it enough, although I suggest starting Daisy and Ryke’s story with Hothouse Flower

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Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

College graduate Bree Prescott flees from her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to the small lakeside town of Pelion, Maine for a fresh start. 

While there, she meets 23-year-old recluse Archer Hale who hasn’t spoken for sixteen years after undergoing a traumatic experience. 

Determined to befriend the enigmatic man, Bree sets out to help Archer rediscover his voice and shatter the walls he has lived behind since the age of seven.

Mia Sheridan weaves an unforgettable tale of friendship, forgiveness and love that will make you cry, laugh and swoon. Archer’s Voice is not a slow burn romance you want to miss, so make sure to add it to your TBR list, especially if you love the grumpy/sunshine trope. 

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Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

When the uptight thirty-five-year-old lawyer Flint Hopkins rents out the upstairs unit to the bubbly, recently divorced music therapist Ellen Rodgers, he expects Beethoven and noise-canceling headphones. What Flint gets instead is a cacophony of sounds that permeate through the walls and drive him insane.

Determined to send Ellen on her way, Flint serves her with an eviction notice. But his plans are quickly derailed when his twelve-year-old autistic son Harrison becomes fast friends with Ellen and develops an appreciation for her music and four pet rats.

Hilarious, sexy and fun, Look the Part is an unputdownable rom-com and one of the best single parent romance books, perfect for fans of music, the grumpy/sunshine trope and slow-burn romances.

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Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Walking down the aisle with cold feet and second thoughts is not a great way to start a marriage, but what’s she to do? Daisy has no other choice. She’s broke. And the cherry on top of this delightful situation? She’s been threatened with jail time if she refuses to marry the mystery man. All she has to do is stick out the next six months with his traveling circus, and then she’s free.

Humorous, witty, and emotional, Kiss an Angel centers around an accidental pregnancy and an arranged marriage that evolves from a fake relationship into something real. Daisy and Alex’s enemies-to-lovers romance will make you laugh, cry and think. It’ll undoubtedly stay on your mind for quite some time.

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