I agree that the app store is very bad, and got even worse with the new version. I use AppZapp Pro, have tried a couple of other apps but I didn't like them.
I agree it's very frustrating not to be able to read reviews from other countries. Sometimes there are no or only a few reviews on the French app store because the app is new or not very well-known. For a while I had set up appzap to connect to the US app store so that I could at least see the ratings, but that messed up my connection to the app store (at one point I couldn't see any of my apps any more), so I had to give it up.
I certainly wouldn't want to receive notifications every time a new app is posted, but appzap has daily recaps for that, and I set an alarm for some apps I'd like to try, if the price drops I get an e-mail. Plus I look at the daily promotion list and sometimes "buy" free apps just to try them.