Also appears on my blog, The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received for review via Amazon Vine.Books like Embrace make me wonder whether or not I hate myself. Why else would I go into what I recognized as a risky book with high hopes and expect it to be good? I could only be setting myself up for disaster. Three-hundred sixty-nine pages later, sixty of those skipped and another one-hundred skimmed for the sake of my health, my hopes have been thrown into a bag of dog crap, set on fire, and left on my porch for me to discover. A few feet away, a piece of paper is taped up with nothing but a smiley face on it.Our heroine Violet is whiny, selfish, and naive. We got off on the wrong foot at the start because of how she described her best friend, among other things, and we never got on better terms. Her motivation for saving someone else's life? How it will affect her. Not because saving someone else's life is the right thing to do, but because seeing them die will make her miserable. Her characterization is also inconsistent; an incident where a teacher tried to sexually assault her is supposed to affect how she interacts with other people, but it gets brought up twice and never mentioned again. I unfortunately know from personal experience that it is not that easy.She also can't make a good decision to save her life, and I mean this almost literally. Given the choice between spending time with a miserable friend and spending time with an exiled angel you just met, don't completely trust, and know is following you around, I would certainly choose door number one because I have a brain like that. Violet charges headfirst through door number two and never stops to so much as shake off the wood chips.The aforementioned Phoenix is one of the creepiest, most untrustworthy love interests I have ever seen and Violet comes to trust him so easily that it nearly drove me batty. Thirty pages is all it takes her to go from thinking he's creepy to having no problem with it when he shows up in her room in the middle of the night while she's sleeping. His endless innuendos weren't romantic or sexy; they made me a little sick, actually. Another point that is not romantic? How he has no issue with manipulating Violet's emotions as he pleases. The symbolism of Violet tasting apples when he came around was not lost on me, though I wish it could have been so I could have rolled my eyes less.Her other love interest Lincoln is no better for different reasons, but there is more to say about Phoenix. What the two of them share is a violent strong enough to make me fear for Violet no matter how much I dislike her. What if that anger gets taken out on her one day instead of a wall or a door? Entirely too much time was spent on the love triangle when each of them should have had five-hundred yard restraining orders in place on the other two. First books do have to do a lot of set-up, but when the book is almost entirely set-up and angst with very little action, a reader can't be blamed if they don't want to read the second book. The first book needs action too.The "cosmic order" of Embrace didn't appear to make much sense. Put together a man and a woman and give them complementary powers. Then give them a deep connection that affects their very souls and say they are meant to be partners that fight against the exiled angels. But can they be together romantically if their deep connection happens to give birth to romantic feelings? Absolutely not! This feels more like an excuse for Lincoln and Violet to angst about how they can't be together than anything.Sure, I pick out bad books to read sometimes just because I expect them to be horrible or because I want to learn something from their poor quality, but I swear I requested this novel with only the purest intentions. There was no expectation for it to be fantastic because it was risky, but I expected it to be readable at the very least. What I got was a book devoid of a single redeeming quality. I regret my reading experience turned out so badly, but I don't regret anything I've said because every word of it is the truth.