I just saw an interesting thread asking whether or not people thought a Kirkus review was worth the $425. Most said know, although I would say it depends on your marketing plans for your book. If you're trying to get some indie bookstores to give it a read and possible sell the book, then I would think that may help open the door. - But I'm new to this, so I'm not sure.
But I do agree with the issue of having to pay for a review. I may end up doing it, but I don't like the ethics of it. So that leads me to wonder where a self-published author can find some review love in this world? Has anyone here been successful finding a well-known review to give their self-published book a fair shake?
Side note: I read an article about a self-published article getting a great review from the NYT. I was inspired and thought the NYT was really progressing. Then I looked into it and saw the author was the owner/editor of a well-known literary magazine, and the review had to admit that she was a big fan of the magazine. So, I'm not really going to count that one.